There has been much speculation on ATS, in the world of politics, in business discussions. China appears to be what every one is holding their breath
over. But the question still remains, how big will China get? When will they stop growing? And why does the West feel China could be a threat, and
why they are not even entirely sure about whether or not China can even pose a challenge.
There are three major areas of focus when it comes to studying China, the world most populace nation.
The first being the Economy. The second being the Military power. And lastly would be the government and their human rights records.
Economy: China has long been one of the Worlds leading economies. For centuries the East and the West traded in peace, bringing wealth to the
Chinese empire. That lasted until approximately until the beginning of the 19th century when famine and civil unrest tore the empire apart. After
WW2 and the Japanese occupation, the Chinese under MAO Zedong turned to Communism to solve there problems. It was here that the United States and
China differed on their government and how their economy was run. The United States and China have never been close friends, and even now while being
major trading partners can not consider themselves to be cozy with each other. Even so the US continues to trade in massive deficits to China,
dealing with unfair trading practices, ignoring Chinas human rights records, dealing with espionage including stealing nuclear secrets from the United
CIA World Fact Book
China's economy during the last quarter century has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more
market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Reforms started in the late 1970s with
the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased
autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state
sector, and the opening to foreign trade and investment. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion, including the
sale of equity in China's largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements in foreign exchange and bond markets in 2005. The restructuring of
the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity
(PPP) basis, China in 2006 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower
middle-income and 130 million Chinese fall below international poverty lines.
Military Power: When it comes to military power, China is actually weak. The most intimidating thing about China and it’s military power is the
fact that China has a population of roughly 1.3 billion people. Compared to the US who has just over 300million. Though size should not intimidate
you. During the 1st Gulf War, Saddam marched with the Worlds fourth largest army and was decimated by mainly arial power sustaining massive
casualties and loosing most of his armed forces. It takes far more then sheer man power to defeat a military power like the United States or a union
of European countries. While China is trying harder to build up it’s military power it would take the majority of its GDP to even come near to
catching up, and the alarms such spending would be a declaration of war. China increases it’s “defense” spending by about 15% per year. In the
past 10 years China’s spending for military means has increased 300% but only comes to about 1.55% of China’s actual GDP, while on the contrary
the United States with an economy roughly five times larger then China’s, spends about 3.9% of its GDP on military spending. That does not cover
black projects whos total price tag is hard to estimate. The fear from China is clearly not military power, but economic. The more people China
gets, the richer they get, the more buyers they get they will soon become the next United states.
Because right now most of China is poor and the government spends most of it’s money and efforts just trying to keep the state from collapsing, they
progress slower then they would normally be able to. When the Chinese cast out their current dictorial communist party and embrace a more democratic
system and continue working on their capitalist economy, they could in a few decades pose a real threat to us. Already it is being felt, though not
in the way the economist ever expected. For instance, if a company in the UK or Germany once sold it’s parts to American firms, and since our
economy has slowed since last year and our dollar continuing to weaken, those European companies sell less to our American firms. Normally, about 10
years ago even, an economic slow down would be felt hard on our European counterparts. That is apparently no longer the case. While America’s
economy is slowing down from its speed a few years ago it is not being felt around the world like it once would. Now the companies get orders from
places like China, or from Russia, even Iran. While this is a global problem, China’s rising middle class is leading the stress on the US.
The United States economy and how it works is directly related to Chinas. Chinas economy grew so fast because American's no longer worked in
factories, they wanted more money, better jobs, better benefits. The result is America became the corporate headquarters, the white collar jobs rule
the economy and fuel the middle class. The result of that, all those manufacturing jobs moved out of the country. Americans got more money, and
want bigger and better things. Newer cars, name brand clothes, big screen HD TVs, computers, the list goes on and on. Someone had to make those
things, Chinas large population was an easy answer for companies to outsource to, along with other countries like India. Now that China has been a
industrial nation for some time now, feeding off the purchasing power of American civilians, they are becoming wealthier them selves.
In fact, the emerging "middle class" in China carries special meaning for multinationals that are counting on the huge Chinese market to boost their
That explains why stores featuring luxury brands such as Gucci, Christian Dior and Chanel have begun to appear in more and more Chinese cities. The
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) released a report earlier this year that suggested China's "middle class" accounted for 19 per cent of
the country's 1.3 billion population by 2003.
Based on an annual growth of one percentage point, the "middle class" people in China is expected to make up for 40 per cent of the total population
in 2020, the academy report said.
According to the academy's standard, families with assets valued from 150,000 (US$18,137) to 300,000 yuan (US$36,275) can be classified as middle
Meanwhile, the French bank BNP Paribas Peregrine estimated that the number of "middle class" households in China stood at 50 million in 2002, with
each having an annual average income of 75,000 yuan (US$9,068) and assets of 310,000 yuan (US$37,485).
The figure is expected to rise to 100 million in 2010, with each household having an annual average income of 150,000 yuan (US$18,137) and assets of
620,000 yuan (US$74,969).
That all comes back to the government, which as of now is still communist. There are signs however, that China is slowly becoming a more socialistic,
democratic or at least capitalistic in nature. The more people that become middle class the more luxuries they will desire, one of those being the
right to vote. How that will turn out is pure speculation, one thing is for certain how ever, eventually the people will want to be free and if the
communist want to remain in power it will be through physical means.
mod edit: changed to external quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)
[edit on 22-1-2007 by UK Wizard]