Globalization has been defined differently by various authors. One review by Zemin (2001) globalisation in four categories – internationalization, universalisation, modernisation and deterritorialization. Criticisms of globalization have been largely based on its socioeconomic effects, but the environmental impacts of globalization are equally important in China. On a global scale, these environmental issues include – the acceleration of climate change, the drawdown of global stocks of cheap energy, substantial increases in air, water, and soil pollution, decreases in biodiversity which includes a massive loss of crop and livestock varieties.
Environmental issues hits hard on Chinese society though as globalization has since made China the centre of outsourced manufacturing of the different multinational corporations of the world. If much of the world’s assembly lines across different industries troop to China for cheaper labour, the necessary consequence of such would ultimately lead to environmental issues as those indicated above, especially the most pressing problem on the rising prices of oil in the world market.
On education, the effects of globalization in China are equally felt. Authors King-lun Ngok and Julia Kwong have provided a brief yet informative discussion of the political changes in China that have allowed the growth and restructuring of the Chinese economy and educational system. The control of the educational system has been decentralized to the provincial and county levels along with the responsibility of funding forty percent of the costs. Grants and loans have become increasingly important to institutions and new fee paying students.
This trend towards a more neo-liberal framework in higher education has utterly posed problems to the socialist principle of democratic access to higher education as envisioned during the Maoist period, where education in general is a matter of right and not a mere privilege of the people. With globalization though, China has given more emphasis today on increasing its research output in science and engineering and the training and development of professionals to respond to a rapidly widening industrial economy.
On the other hand, globalization has provided China the opportunity to use information and technologies that provides for long distance learning. Today, more rural areas are gaining access to educational opportunities through the use of broadband access to the Internet and mobile telecommunications, all of which might be impossible had the Chinese government insisted on its former isolationist policy in the past.
On the realm of social culture, there is a close relation between economic globalization and the spread of foreign culture. With the trading of goods and services, Western cultural hegemony has also engulfed much of the Chinese population in the cities. Instead of Mao’s Red Book, the proud Chinese people might now be enjoying the books of John Grisham or listening to Britney Spears on their IPods.
This might spell well for the Chinese people, as they gain access to liberal democratic ideas, which lead to the challenging anew of the Communist regime to loosen its grip on Chinese politics and society.
William, A. H. (1987): Cultural Anthropology [M]. Fifth Edition; New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Zemin, J. (2001): Speech on Asia-Pacific Summit of Industrial Leaders. Being Review [J], VOL 40.