A wake-up call in China

Posted: October 25, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

Many analysts are wringing their hands about the elevation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to an unprecedented third term as head of the Beijing government.

The United States should worry about his intentions because Xi has made it clear that he’s a bad guy. Our government has failed to see that in Chinese leaders like Xi since we have played footsy with them over the last 50 years, hoping to make friends and allowing them to steal, murder, and pillage at home and abroad.

During the four summers I traveled all over China, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Chinese build stuff well, particularly roads and bridges. But the country has overbuilt high rises in an investment boom, leaving many vacant apartment complexes.

I remember one Chinese guide asking me: Do you know the Chinese national bird? The crane. The construction crane.

Because of the overbuilding inside China, jobs had to be found for trained construction workers. That helped to create the Belt and Road campaign—a mixture of exporting jobs and gaining allies with massive building projects worldwide. Instead, many developing nations owe Beijing billions of dollars from loans, creating far less benefit than Xi wanted.

Many of my students came from wealthy families who made their money in the private sector. Xi has moved away from the recent trend toward capitalism, potentially alienating those with money.

Although the Communist Party holds almost absolute control over the people, few become members. Virtually all my students hated the mandatory class in the philosophy of Mao, which is required in all universities.

Although the Communist government doesn’t tolerate political dissent, there seems to be a growing resentment of President Xi, particularly after his total clampdown during COVID. Nevertheless, dissidents have become more public, particularly outside the mainland.

More importantly, Xi pushed out or passed over many influential people inside the party. It will be challenging to determine how his actions in the party may ultimately hurt him, mainly since his new economic team seems quite unprepared for the road ahead.

That lack of confidence sent the New York and Chinese markets spiraling downward within hours of Xi’s ascendance.

China also faces some internal economic woes. The one-child policy, which was only recently changed, has left China with an aging population with huge benefits and a dwindling younger population that want office jobs rather than assembly line work.

Although the Chinese military buildup, particularly air and naval, should concern the United States, China hasn’t fought a war in decades. That means no one at the top of the military food chain has experienced the fog of war. That’s a huge minus for China—one quite like what we’re seeing with Russia in Ukraine.

Perhaps most important, the United States knows China is an enemy—not a friend. That’s an important realization. We cannot depend on China for critical minerals. We cannot rely on shipments of anything from China, as we saw during the supply line crisis during COVID.

All told, the elevation of President Xi should worry the United States. But it also serves as a needed wake-up call.

  1. Malcolm says:

    I agree with your assessment. I experienced red tape slowing up decisions in the lower strata created by fear not following the Party Doctrine.