China is gearing up for the Beijing Olympics, and rushing to improve the infrastructure already present and construct all the rest of the necessary buildings and facilities to support the huge event. Financial experts believe that China's overall GDP will grow around 11% in the coming years, and that's no percentage to scoff at.
McDollars are rolling in, with new restaurants sprouting up in addition to the over 800 restaurants there already. New hotels and transportation venues are popping up as well. A story on China's new developments can be read here: (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20148672/)
So expansion and new development, making travel and conveniences easier to obtain is a good thing, right? For one of the world's largest populations, any investment might seem like a wonderful positive. The attention that is momentarily bestowed upon the host country of the games is always an excellent incentive for the leaders and investors. Despite its sometimes backwards approach to things, the PRC (People's Republic of China) is doing pretty well - they are not receiving the same detrimental coverage that Greece received a few years ago because of their planning, or lack of it, and the concerns that Athens would not be ready. But there should be concerns. China, like its rapidly developing infrastructure, is rapidly showing signs of the same problems usually associated with Western countries.
Don't misunderstand, it's a good thing that China is opening up to foreign markets, and the globalization will benefit many if things go well, and it will hopefully loosen the "communist" notions that China still barely clings to - because despite labels, we can all see that China is not a true communist state, it is more like a oligarchy/one party state pretending to be something else in order to distract the opposition. The Chinese leaders understand the importance of financial well being. But what about the well-being of the everyday citizen?
BBC news reported recently that an estimated 5% of the entire Chinese population is depressed, and these numbers are probably underestimated, because depression is extremely stigmatized, and therefore under-reported in China. HIV/AIDS is also rampant in the population - and receives less attention in comparison to other nations outside of Asia.
While it is a generally good thing for China to expand and develop in a business sense, the population should not be left in the tailwinds, struggling for a firm hold. As the Olympics hurtle closer, it's time to bring attention to the other aspects of Chinese society: human rights, mental and physical health, and overall quality of life issues that need to be addressed. Surely there is money to be made in China, but that can only be sustained by an enriched and happy population.