A global human rights campaign has focused on Tibet, a region occupied by China in 1950. The government claims that Tibet has been part of China for centuries. China has cracked down hard on Tibetan Buddhists, who have accused China of suppressing their culture and religion. They also resent China's policy of moving Han Chinese into Tibet, which they see as another effort to undermine their traditions.
In November 2013, the Chinese government took more tentative steps toward reform. It announced new policies on some of China's most notorious human rights issues, such as an end to labor camps, which had long been used to punish political dissidents. China also promised an improved judicial system and greater freedom for farmers to sell land for financial benefit. However, many critics still argued that no real political reforms were announced. The government still holds a tight rein on individual rights and freedoms.
With more than 1.3 billion people, China has the world's largest population. To slow population growth, in the 1980s, the government imposed a one-child policy, which limited urban families to a single child and allowed rural families two children. The government enforced this harsh policy with steep fines and other penalties. Children born in violation of the policy often could not get an education or other services because they did not have identity cards.
Although the one-child policy was widely condemned, it did slow population growth. Since 2013, the government eased the restriction slightly, allowing couples to have a second child if one of the parents is an only child.
Other reforms announced by the Chinese government included greater freedom for farmers to sell land for financial benefit, and an improved judicial system. However, many critics still pointed to the fact that no real political reforms were announced. The government still holds a tight rein on individual rights and freedoms.
How did the global economic recession affect China?
China imposed a strict one-child policy in the 1980s. This mural encourages parents to be satisfied with a single child.
Like China, India is a huge country with a large, diverse population and widespread poverty. After gaining independence in 1947, India set up a democratic government and planned to develop a modern economy.
After independence, India like many developing nations, followed a mixed model of development, using features of both socialism and capitalism. By the late 1980s, however, India had begun to introduce more free market reforms. It privatized some industries and made foreign investment easier. Before long, it emerged as one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Today, India has the third largest economy in Asia, after China and Japan. It is also part of the BRICS—the five fast-emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Indian agriculture benefited from the Green Revolution. High-yield crops, chemical fertilizers, and better irrigation systems increased output.
India, like all nations, has faced economic swings. The 2009 global economic recession hurt growth, but the Indian economy recovered. In recent decades, India has moved into the forefront of information technology, providing computer software and other technological services to the world.