I'm not surprised by any of this although it still amazes me to see how fast things are changing. As a Brit I do have a couple of questions though.
Is a more democratic China likely to emerge within the next 10 years?
Do people in China appreciate just how the industrialisation of China is going to cause the world massive environmental challenges?
P.S on the last question I'm not argueing against China's right to industrialise, I guess I'm just saying that in places like Britain there is a growing realisation that if we were to reduce our carbon emission to 0 then China's booming economy would replace all our Carbon outputs within a year. So in a sense we feel almost helpless in Britain on the enviroment...
If by democracy, you mean direct mass elections for the highest office of the land. I don't think China will get there in ten years. Neither do I think that's necessarily in the best interest for China at this stage of development. Democracy is a system of institutions which work best when there is a strong foundation of widespread high educational attainment, rule of law and a large middle class that have a stake in the system. China is certainly getting there, but not yet.
However, I think China will be much freer in ten years as personal freedoms and political freedoms continue to grow. China is a very different country from ten years ago and I believe it will be even more different in ten years. China's society is opening to the world and modernizing at such a fast pace, it's hard to keep up with all the changes.
About the environment. I believe that the Chinese central government realize that this is a major problem. Certainly, China's environment has been strongly hurt by the industrialization. I think it is imperative that China learn from the mistakes of developed nations and try to find ways of promoting green energy and reducing pollution. The central government has been focusing on this issue, but the problem is so massive that I think the results are quite limited. China has a severe pollution problem and I dont think it will go away anytime soon.