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Francois Frank Prinsloo
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China no super power

13 June 2014, 21:08

There is fixation with China and it’s supposed growing regional and global dominance, although there is some truths to these claims, the proponents of this idea overlook some serious concerns that will probably ruin China in the coming years.  

China’s economy is growing at rapid pace of economic growth [averaging 10% annually]. With a wide range of products and minerals being made in China probably make it one of the diverse economies in the world.  It has large population that is still steadily growing [Chinese government has repealed the one child policy], it is enacting new environmental laws and food safety laws.

The powerful middle kingdom is in the strongest position it has been in nearly 400 years.

But is it maybe too good to be true? I think so. Despite having very large economy and strong sphere of influence China faces many challenges to its regional hegemony from old and new regional power houses. Countries like India, Russia and Japan box in the powerful dragon from all sides. It might be said that these countries probably won’t win a war with China but China isn’t in any position to face of any of these countries either.

Even small countries like South Korea , Taiwan and Vietnam pose a some security threat to China. Just think of a regional alliance between South Korea, Japan and Taiwan: it would have the capability to block most of China’s sea trade with relative ease due to their geographic positions.

Despite China’s strong advisories in the region, China also as strong competitors from regional influence in its own backyard. Russia and India have already carved out their spheres of influences. India is also flaming regional tensions in China by supporting Tibetan separatists. China is largely playing a catch up game.

And comparatively only success China has had in its own region to create a relative sphere of influence was North Korea and Pakistan – both aren’t in any position to really help China if help is ever needed.

The Chinese economy and demographical position is also slowly heading down hill as its economy is slowing down and the markets are slowly losing confidence in China due to bad government control over the Chinese financial sector(there are estimates that put 60% of China’s internal debt as bad debt or basically useless unpaid  debt). Investors are increasingly looking to cheaper markets like Indonesia and East African countries due to rising labour costs and labour discontent in China.

China’s is facing large population problem due to the effects of the one child policy. There is now only one child in China to support two parents. Maybe on small scale the problem could be handled but the fact is that it is very large problem and affects a nation of one billion people.

Unless China mechanizes and utilizes robotics on massive scale (which their neither have the resources or expertise to do) to make up for the nearly halved Chinese labour force, China will face large economical contraction and slow down.

Slowly there is also developing two or maybe three Chinas that have vastly different views on where they want to see their country.  While the coastal provinces are rich and liberal the interior provinces are poor and communistically orthodox. Chinese government have also been slow to develop the interior provinces while the coastal provinces had an abundance of government support.

There are also large ethnic problems in China’s western regions that are always a thorn in the side of the Chinese government. It will be interesting to see how China tries to assimilate these regions or crush opposition as China is declining in the coming decades.

There is also man made environmental catastrophe on the horizon for China, with over 40% of their water contaminated with toxins and 60% of China’s agricultural land in similar state, one can hardly imagine this country to even care about the world with such disasters that it faces internally.

All in all, I think most people are blowing up China to be mighty dragon but in reality due to internal and geo-political as well as economical reasons China is merely a paper tiger that will slowly become weaker and more internally divided in the coming decades. 

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