China – Written Oct.27.1999

China – Near Future

China’s a country which hasn’t reached
anywhere near it’s potential to be a major player on the world scene. It could
easily surpass all countries, including the United States, by shear force of
numbers of workers and consumers of products once it shook off the suppressive
yoke of Communism, became truly democratic and modernized sensibly. A tall order
but easily do-able. The old fellows in their 80’s you see in the top seats of
the Chinese government aren’t the true rulers and managers of China.
They serve more as figure-heads, much like our Senate but with far less
influence. It’s their assistants and younger managers running their departments
who really hold the power.

I’ve travelled and spent considerable
time in Asia, including Hong Kong and mainland China and I speak a little of the
language. My wife grew up in China and came to the West as a refugee in her
twenties just after the student killings in Bejing. One thing which becomes
apparent to you as you travel around the country is the immense population in
comparison to most all other countries except perhaps India. The proportions of
bodies utilized in relation to everything, army, policemen, government workers,
bank employees, street cleaners,etc. is immense! In one view, down one street,
in one major city, your eyes can take in 50,000 people. Glance down another
street you’re crossing at an intersection and see another 50,000 people. Turn
around and see another 50,000 people behind you! Incredible! And that’s only the
people on the sidewalks!

China will be badly affected by the
economic downturn. Moreso in the import/export areas than in agriculture or
internal commerce. Though they use computers, they aren’t used as extensively as
the West or modern Europe. They surprizingly ulitilize more people to do things
by hand (helps keep the masses employed) and computers have been too expensive
for small businesses to buy and use. Commerce by the people is still mostly done
with cash. Where they will be badly hit is in power, telecommunications and the
exports of their products, mainly due to shipping and international commerce
problems. This, of course, will result in massive unemployment and a severe
recession.

China still retains a lot of the ‘old
world’ ways in agriculture and product manufacturing (manual labor) so will
recover internally very rapidly from the adverse effects of Y2K
internationally.

I see some type of ‘polite’ purge of the
old guard out of the highest seats of the Chinese government very soon. Those
assistants and managers who actually run things will organize, elect one of the
more competent leaders amongst themselves and send the older fellows into a
specially created advisory council. The elderly, frail members will be grateful
to bow out from the pressure gracefully and the public will be complacent as
ever with the new leadership. Chinese government is so BIG, with so many members
dealing with so many people, the common people there are overwhelmed with all
things government. The transfer should be smooth. There will be some trouble
from the military but the generals will be won over, promised more perks and
expanded power.

The catalyst will come early in 2000.
Three or four of Mao’s old war-horses will die of old age within a two week
period, leaving a power gap with which the younger members will see an
opportunity to institute some changes for the entire body.

In 2001, China will take neighboring
territories in one fell swoop. Hong Kong and the Macao take-overs have rekindled
the flame of expansionism in the Chinese leadership. The advantages in commerce
and power prove too much to resist and a fine diversion for public unrest with
unemployment and borderline starvation. Especially while the USA and other NATO
countries are in disarray over economic disruptions and the United Nations has
become insolvent and ineffective. Self-preservation in the USA and most
everywhere else, along with a firm reluctance by uneffected countries to get
involved in foreign military disputes, provides an opportunity for China’s
advancement.

The World Bank, the IMF, NATO and all the
other world bodies will register their protest and impose sanctions and sabber
rattle, but China will thumb their nose at them and carry on with their
intregration. (see Wars)

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