Our friends at Xinhua have published their list of the top 10 domestic news stories of 2008, a translated version of which you can check out here. For the most part the list seems reasonable and serves as a good reminder of how tumultuous 2008 was.
However one story didn’t quite seem to belong on the list: China’s first spacewalk. Leaving aside the moral question of why any nation would fund a space program when tangible down-on-earth things like schools and roads need cash, why all the fuss when China’s “spacewalk” was essentially some guy poking his head outside the craft’s window for a couple of minutes. It wasn’t like he had to deposit a nuclear bomb on an asteroid before it destroyed the earth as American astronauts did 10 years ago. The whole thing seems less newsworthy when you consider that the world’s the first spacewalk was performed in 1965.
Nonetheless, here are a couple of stories that I think should have made the list in its place, though of course this is hardly exhaustive. Sadly neither Gong Li, Huang Guangyu or even the release of Chinese Democracy made the cut (sorry Axl).
– China’s looming healthcare funding crisis: Some truly disheartening research about the cost of health care.
– Land use rights reform: This could be on the magnitude of Deng’s original economic reforms 30 years ago, though its implementation will be unbelievably complicated.
– Censorship alive and well: Just in case you thought anything would change after the Olympics… Another reminder of the anti-climax that was Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games. Yeah Fuwa!
– China’s manufacturers/exporters feel the pain: ‘Nuff said.