Is China on a trajectory to overtake America as the world's number one power? The topic is growing in importance to Americans, 65 percent of whom now consider China an "adversary" or a "serious problem." And with the visit this past week of President Hu, we got worrisome headlines like this and this that suggest an ascendant and dangerous China.
I guess it’s not surprising that the Chinese government has drunk the “China-Number One” Kool-Aid. But for the rest of us, to quote Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.”
Recently in Paris I discussed China’s prospects with a French construction magnate who is making a fortune in the developing world. He’s abandoned operations in China completely and believes India, which was endowed with British democratic ideas and values in its colonial period, will overtake China someday. He said of China, “Everything is fake,” and he mentioned all the shiny, new and empty office buildings he saw, how treacherous and predatory the Chinese government can be in business dealings, and the culture of corruption. He called their economy a house of cards.
China also faces a grim demographic future because of its one child only/forced abortion policy; it’s a future in which there will not be enough workers to support an aging population.
History shows over and over that when a government mangles natural law and human rights in the weird and evil way Communist China has, the government can’t just suddenly change its mind and its policy and skip merrily into some bright capitalist future. As much as America is doing to plant dynamite on its own position at the top, through big government and an exploding deficit, the seeds of extreme social turmoil and even revolution remain embedded in Chinese society.
Le Livre Noir du Communisme (The Black Book of Communism), an 850-page book of scholarly essays, estimates that 64 million Chinese died as a result of communism. Countless others had their lives wrecked or family torn apart. China still runs a concentration camp system called the Laogai, and even tries to make money from it.
The government tortures, imprisons and kills pastors, priests, and political dissidents. Increasing the standard of living can only be a band-aid over stuff like that. Prosperity can’t permanently remove the deep and longstanding grievances and social toxins created by Maoism and by hideous experiments like “The Great Leap Forward.
“ An economic depression in China now would probably bring revolution or something close to it. And that’s not the stuff great nations are made of.