China on the Verge of Collapse?
Marxism is a material philosophy that denies the existence of anything but the physically substantial. Thus, communism’s hatred of religion, which proposes that there is an unseen world and that life beyond the grave should concern mortal men and women.
Additionally, Marxism sees itself as a comprehensive, anti-theistic religion demanding not only entire allegiance but unquestioning acceptance of its dogmas.
So, it is natural that the world’s largest communist state, China, should oppress religious believers of all faiths and deny the Chinese people even a hint of self-government. In the absence of religion and civic self-determination, China’s leaders have promised their subjects (an appropriate characterization of those living under the Maoist thumb) growing economic prosperity in place of religious and political liberty.
Marxism reduces man to a strictly economic creature for whom beauty and creativity must comport with strict, state-approved standards.
In recent decades, China has become economically stronger and stronger. Its standing among the family of nations has grown exponentially as its business and military sectors, integrated closely with one another, have led to skyscraper-laden cities and potency in the world’s economic forums.
China is expanding its global influence through loaning money to developing nations for infrastructure (the “Belt and Road Initiative,” or BRI) and membership in the “BRICS” bloc. Composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (and, recently, six new smaller nations), BRICS members seek to thumb their nose at developed and republican-oriented nations. Aggravated by calls that they observe respect for human rights and, in some cases, stop their military adventurism, the BRICS countries see themselves as an alternative to the industrialized powers of Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia.
But economies can change rapidly. No one anticipated the COVID down-turn of 2020 and its effects on a booming U.S. private sector. And it looks like the uber-Maoist Xi Jinping has been caught rather by surprise by the slump that is hitting Red China.
Characterized by financial journalist Milton Ezrati as “always something of a Mafia-like enterprise,” the BRI would invite poorer countries to borrow money from China in return for construction of dams, roads, rail lines, and so forth. The problem for China is that these poor countries remain poor — and cannot repay their loans. Ezrati notes that “economists at the World Bank estimate that now some 60 percent of all BRI loans involve countries in financial distress.”
Then there’s China’s relentless assault on U.S. firms. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, on her recent trip to Beijing, reminded her hosts of China’s “raids on (American) firms” with offices in China and its vast intellectual property theft enterprise. Raimondo also noted that along with “unexplained fines and unpredictable official behavior,” China is on the verge of becoming anathema for U.S. companies. “U.S. business needs to see some action taken to address these issues,” Raimondo said. “Otherwise, they will deem it as just too risky and … uninvestable.”
The federal government is also taking action against China’s theft of critical American technologies and even such things as copyrighted agricultural products. The FBI “has designated Chinese espionage as its ‘top counterintelligence priority,’ considering it a substantial threat to the nation’s core economic assets and technological innovations.” China has “targeted a broad range of sectors, including government, businesses, academic institutions, researchers, and even the general public.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray reports that “China’s hacking program is more extensive than the combined efforts of all other nations, making it a significant challenge for U.S. cybersecurity.” The Biden White House is restricting American investment in “Chinese military–connected firms operating within certain critical technology sectors — semiconductors, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.” But there’s much more to do.
The notorious and now thankfully defunct “one-child” policy also cost China tens of millions of men and women who would now be in the workforce. The grotesque immorality of this policy is now compounded by its economic impact: “With China’s population aging rapidly, there are fewer working-age people to support retirees,” writes my friend Jeanne Mancini. “The one-child policy, which lasted for more than three decades before ending in 2016, worsened the situation and threatens long-term economic prospects.”
Put altogether, China’s prospects for economic power are dimming significantly. “Consumer prices are falling, a real estate crisis is deepening, and exports are in a slump. Unemployment among youth has gotten so bad the government has stopped publishing the data,” writes journalist Lauren He.
So, China’s promised prosperity is shriveling, and its oppression of Christians, Muslims, and others is increasing. Long a land of frequent revolutions, it’s not unrealistic to wonder what the next 10 years bode for the Middle Kingdom.
Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Lecturer in Regent University's Honors College.