Thoughts on China…

I am reading through Jonathan Spence’s (史景迁) book God’s Chinese Son about the horrific Taiping period (1845-64, 20 million dead) and Hong Xiuquan, who believed himself to indeed be God’s Chinese Son and who seemed to come from nowhere to upset the equilibrium in China. This got me to thinking that there have been a number of interesting articles that suggest the equilibrium in China may be in some danger of wobbling again. Here is a selection:

You’ll never be Chinese” – “When the bubble pops, or in the remote chance that it deflates gradually, the wealth the Party gave the people will deflate too. The promise will have been broken. And there’ll still be the medical bills, pensions and school fees. The people will want their money back, or a say in their future, which amounts to a political voice. If they are denied, they will cease to be harmonious.”

Great Leap Backward: China’s Leadership in Crisis” (older, but interesting) – “Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears that party leaders are now willing to risk destabilizing their system in audacious bids for power. This new boldness is especially evident from the assorted allegations that Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai were planning a coup and that Zhou aided Chen’s dramatic escape to Beijing. It is clear, whatever the truth of the stories carried by social media, that sharp Maoist political tactics are making a comeback in China today. As in the early days of the People’s Republic, leaders are evidently playing for keeps, willing to employ the roughest means.”

Two Prisms for Looking at China’s Problems” – “But to my eye, we may well find a significant and lasting disruption… Consider a broader historical perspective: How often in world history have countries enjoyed 30-plus years of extremely rapid growth without a major economic tumble somewhere along the way? One can be optimistic about China for the long term and still be fearful for the next turn in its business cycle. “

Five years on, the Great Recession is turning into a life sentence” – “China is sufficiently alarmed by the flint hardness of its “soft-landing” to talk up trillions of fresh stimulus.”

 

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