China ranks 60th on index of peace

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-02 08:48

The first study to rank nations and regions according to their peacefulness has put China at No 60 and the United States at 96.

In the Global Peace Index (GPI) report, Norway, New Zealand and Denmark took the top three spots, while Iraq came in last due to its constant conflicts.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, the country intelligence division of the Economist Group rated 121 countries and areas, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, based on 24 indicators, including military expenditure, death total due to civil organized conflicts, number of dispatched UN personnel and relations with neighboring countries.

The report showed that the most peaceful countries are mainly located in Europe, with Japan being the only Asian country to make the top 15.

As well as ranking the countries, researchers tried to determine the "drivers" that create and sustain peace.

They found out that peaceful countries often "share high levels of democracy and transparency of government," education and material well-being. Plus, peace is correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration.

However, the US place appears to buck the rule.

Its low ranking is a result of gun abuse, civil riot incidents, engagement in warfare and external conflict, as well as the fact that a large share of its GDP goes on military expenditure.

The study is the brainchild of Australian IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea.

The index has already won the support of an influential and distinguished group of supporters, many of whom are dedicated to promoting global peace, including former US President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Harriet Fulbright of the Fulbright Center.

"This index stands to broaden our very definition of what peace is, as well as how to achieve it," Fulbright was quoted by PR Newswire as saying. "Peace isn't just the absence of war; it's the absence of violence."

Pang Zhongxin, a professor at the School of International Studies under Renmin University of China, said: "The index shows the research group's deep understanding of peace. It is a positive step in evaluating a country's peacefulness and finding the factors behind it.

"In my opinion, the measurement should be extended to regions. With surging globalization, a country's peacefulness can be easily affected by external factors, and regional peace can sometimes better express the status of a certain area."

Peng Guangqian, an expert on strategic problems questioned some of the rankings and said people should not judge a country's peacefulness entirely according to the index.

"It is very hard to quantify the peacefulness because it can be affected by so many things. However, we can take this report as a reference point."

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