became the world's second largest economy.
Hu and Wen have both taken a number of high profile trips to the poorer areas of China with the stated goal of understanding these areas better
because of the clear slant towards more capitalist elements under a one-party system, it has been contested that the government has an unclear ideological direction
general internet censorship involving sites such as Google and Wikipedia persist. Moreover, the news media from Hong Kong, protected by Basic Law, has become increasingly involved in news reporting in China, and have become increasingly accessible to a Mainland public hungry for "real news"
Hu and Wen's egalitarian focus began with more favourable policies towards China's farmers, who continue to occupy over half of the Chinese population. In 2005, the Chinese government abolished all form of taxation on farming, the first such policy in Chinese history. Rural poverty has also been significantly reduced, as the government aims for a xiaokang society. Rural regions surrounding the Yangtze River Delta have become some of the most prosperous places in China. According to official estimates, by 2006 China's poverty rate has fallen below 10%, while literacy rates exceeded 95%, with few lacking basic amenities such as food, shelter, and health care. In addition, life expectancy is now over 72 years of age, well above the average of developing countries.
the Communist Party of China still asserts a monopoly on exposing corrupt officials and businessmen, and critics accuse the party of selective punishment. Analysts say the authorities are reluctant to pursue senior figures and their allies and punishment comes in the form of political purges rather than genuine law enforcement. – it’s a method of struggle within the ruling caste
North Korea's nuclear test in October 2006 came as a major embarrassment to the Chinese government's policies, and marked the beginning to an eventual split between China and Kim Jong-il's regime, who was unwilling to pursue a road of economic reform and opening up. – North Korea – a more Stalinist state
In 1996 the Shanghai Five grouping was created, comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. When Uzbekistan joined the group in 2001 it was renamed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Western analysts note that the SCO may serve as a balance against US and NATO advancement in the region. Some have even called it a new Warsaw Pact.