the prompt is write about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging:
this is my essay
I recently finished reading an engaging book called China Shakes the World: A Titan’s Rise and Troubled Future—and the Challenge for America by James Kynge. Usually, I don’t go for the informative, non-fiction type books, and since I was required to read it for school, I took the “cup half-empty” approach to reading it. But what started out as boring, time-consuming school work, quickly evolved into an intellectually stimulating experience. As Kynge moved from China’s economic strides and accomplishments, to the surprising and negative ramifications of its prosperity, I became very fond of his writing style. He would find a way to illustrate his points with perfect anecdotes from his repertoire that he built as a journalist in China for two decades. These powerful anecdotes, and the points he makes with them, got me thinking. Thinking hard. Thinking so hard, that sometimes I would lay awake at night reminiscing about my trip to China last summer, and how everything that Kynge talks about in China Shakes the World could have been hidden so well from me. One of the many egregious stories that Kynge includes in his book features a slew of forty-some companies that decided to sell a cheaper, less nutritious version of milk powder bearing counterfeit brands. This new powder contained just enough protein to keep a baby alive for 6 to eight months, but not enough to promote normal growth and development. The companies hoped that the more malnourished and sick a baby looked, the more fake powder their parents would feed them, thinking that the baby was being underfed. This would be good for sales, but unfortunately, it was not good for the babies, as hundreds are known to have died, and countless others would be affected for life; all of this just because a few companies wanted to earn the “extra buck”. Another anecdote reveals that government officials neglected to perform costly, but necessary, procedures to test donated blood for diseases such as AIDS. Consequently, hundreds of rural adults became infected, died, and left their children as orphans. Among others, he also talks about the story of a young woman, who was informed that she had been mistaken about being accepted to college. As she lived her life, she encountered many curious circumstances, such as congratulatory baby baskets when she had no child on the way. Later, she found out that her college entrance exam results and her identity were stolen by the unintelligent daughter of an important Communist Party member. While the young woman lived a life of poverty, another woman was living a great life under her identity. All of these, along with examples of blatant disregard for the environment, an absence of intellectual property rights, and abuse of power, made me question China. How could one billion people allow themselves to be manipulated and abused like that? The only answer I could come up with would be a lack of direct accountability. Since the Chinese people don’t have any power to elect new officials, the current ones can just act in their own self interest and there is no way they can be taken out of power. Obviously, this kind government facilitates the actions that are described in Kynge’s book, so I am extremely thankful that I live in a country with a representative democracy based on direct accountability. I wonder how one of the most populous countries in the world could allow itself to be governed by selfish tyrants who only think of their own benefits, at the expense of the rest of their country, the world, and future generations. That people who would knowingly sacrifice newborns in order to make more profit exist in this world appalls me. Honestly, what kind of society can facilitate such behavior? It’s unthinkable. To me, it seems like China needs a revolution to unseat a government run by the greedy and immoral, before its huge business and environmental influence ruins the world we live in.