08/05/08 — Pitfalls of progress: China's new, growing power could impact world

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Pitfalls of progress: China's new, growing power could impact world

There is a reason to watch China -- and not just for the Olympic Games that are slated to begin this Friday.

This burgeoning industrial power is one of the reasons you are paying too much for gasoline -- and an example of what happens when quality controls are discarded in favor of unfettered progress.

Along with the talk of gold medals and Olympic excitement, many commentators have pointed out the smog that hovers over Beijing -- so thick sometimes that it interferes with broadcasts.

And there are others who have said that China's unquenchable demand for oil has placed an unavoidable advantage in the Middle East. Oil-producing countries do not need to worry about displeasing the United States and Europe -- their biggest customer is going to be China. And on the flip side, China also has no incentive to get tough with some of its suppliers. Officials there do not want that resource to dry up.

And as if that were not enough proof, remember the scandals with the quality of Chinese-produced products? Recalls are necessary when standards are so lax that they are dangerous.

China is not going to stop developing, but it is incumbent on the rest of the world to make sure that its progress does not hamper other nations' health, safety or national security.

Being a good world neighbor requires more than holding an Olympics every once in a while.

Published in Editorials on August 5, 2008 11:16 AM