The recent human rights showdown between the Chinese government and the United States over a blind activist who escaped from house arrest has once again thrown the far eastern country into the spotlight around the world, as well as given the two world powers yet another place to argue about the many factors straining relations. In the last decade or so, Beijing has established itself as the second most powerful country on Earth, yet its human rights record remains questionable, and its grip over every aspect of its citizens lives remains as tight as it was in the 1980's. Sure, the internet has provided the newest generation of Chinese with tools to gain a voice in the politics of the country, but every attempt at change as been thwarted by the wary communist regime.
As the years pass, Beijing will face increasing pressure to relax its solitary control over the country and allow its citizens more individual freedom. The task of playing "nanny" to each of the more than one billion people residing within its borders will become more and more difficult as the technology improves. I won't go as far as to say that the government will lose its legitimacy, as on a world forum, that scenario is unlikely to occur, however it may lose favor with its own people (if it hasn't already) and be overthrown when the next generation comes into play.
Likewise, with each passing year, America will gain more leverage in its ever-continuing struggle with Beijing over a number of factors that two world powers would be expected to have. Just like this past week, Washington and the media won't be slow to make known news of this kind to sway public opinion and gain allies in Asia. The campaign of the US is not to see a decrease in human rights violations, but to oust the communist regime in favor of one that promotes capitalism in China. However, I believe that all would prefer that the government implement reforms on its own rather than those reforms being forced by outsiders.
My question to you all is: do you think the Chinese government will reform (change) on its own, and how long in the future? Or will the reforms come with a regime change?