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China Facts We Should Consider When Thinking Ahead (if We Do)

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Once upon a time it was a basic assumption that no country had permanent friends, but that each country had permanent interests. Friends might come and go (“what have you done for me lately?”) but interests, well, they were based on geopolitical realities, not on ideology or religion. When we now have a major domestic political party that is more interested in contemplating its own navel, driven by its own ripening rightist heroics and fantasies, and whose presidential choices never seem to think more than one move ahead, well, it behooves the rest of us to protect ourselves and our national interest by doing exactly such thinking ahead. Therefore, here are some facts (yes, I know that “facts” frighten the aforementioned political party, but so be it) we may wish to contemplate and include when exercising foresight for our future, facts complied by BusinessInsider

1- By 2025 China will build TEN New York-sized cities which, says Mckinsey in “Preparing for China’s urban billions” will add 40 billion sq. meters of floor space in 5 million buildings (50,000 of those buildings could be skyscrapers).

2- By 2030 China will add more new city-dwellers than the entire US population, that is, China will have added more than 350 million people in another 20 years.

3- China already consumes twice as much steel as the US, Europe, and Japan combined, and this also means that China drives the iron ore and coking coal markets as well.

4- If the Chinese, one day, use as much oil per person as Americans, the world will need 7 more Saudi Arabias to meet their demand:

US, with population of 307 m, consumes 0.064 m barrels of oil per day

China, population of 1339 m, consumes 0.006 m barrels of oil per day

If China consumed at US rate, it would consume 77.06

Saudi Arabia produces 10.78 m barrels of oil per day

So we’d need 7 times as much daily production as Saudi Arabia currently produces for China alone

5- There are already more Christians in China than Italy, and China is on track to become the largest center of Christianity in the world. The estimated number of Christians in China= 54 million (10 million Protestants and 14 million Catholics), whereas Italy, with 60 million population, has 47,700,000 believers (16 percent of Italians are now irreligious). Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, says that China will “soon become home to the largest Christian population on the globe.”

6- Chinese are far more likely to believe in evolution than Americans. The only countries where people are skeptical about evolution, believing that all life on Earth has always existed in its present form, are Russia (48 percent), the US (42 percent), South Africa (41 percent), and Egypt (25 percent). In China, 74 percent believe life evolved over time, and God played no part; others of like mind include Mexico (69 percent), Argentina (68 percent), UK (63 percent), Spain (56 percent), Egypt (52 percent).

7- Chinese internet users are five times as likely to have blogs than Americans. Of course, China has an Internet police numbering at least 30,000, and they manage to erase almost instantly any comments the State finds offensive—- proving that a determined body can indeed censor the Internet,

8- China has 150 percent more soldiers than the US, PLUS a high tech ‘Kill Weapon” the US can’t deal with. The U.S. Naval Institute itself has acknowledged that there is a Chinese missile with such an enormous warhead that it can destroy a U.S. supercarrier with one strike. It is estimated that it can make mach 10 and reach its range of 2,000 km in less than 12 minutes, and so far there is no defense against it.

9- China still has the medieval plague, as evidenced by a quarantine blockade around a northeastern town, according to Xinhua news agency recently. Sporadic outbreaks of pneumonic plague (bubonic) do occur, and there are some suspicions that Chinese animal markets are breeding grounds for new killer bugs.

10- 40 percent of Chinese small business went bust or almost went bust during the world financial crisis. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has reported that 20 percent of small businesses crashed and another 20 percent went “to the brink of bankruptcy between October 2008 to March 2009.

11- China executes three times as many people as the rest of the world COMBINED, and uses mobile execution vans for efficiency, says Amnesty International; there were 1,718 executions confirmed in 2008, but many executions were not reported. They use mobile vans (like modern tumbrels?) and injections, which are considered more humane than firing squads.

12- China averages 274 protests PER DAY, although there are an estimated 100,000 protests per year, most occur in rural areas among “desperate peasants” and are quickly dispersed—- and censored.

13- If you buy Chinese stocks, you are basically financing the Chinese government, since eight of Shanghai’s top ten stocks are actually state-controlled: PetroChina, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Sinopec, Bank of China, China Shenhua Energy Company, China Life Insurance Company, and Bank of Communications. (Source, Wikipedia).

14- 50+ percent of counterfeit goods come from China, about 54.57 percent of the world’s total—- mostly CD/DVDs (44 percent), cigarettes (23 percent), and clothing and accessories (10 percent), according to the European Commission Report on intellectual property theft.

15- The majority of Chinese drink polluted water. China, with 20 percent of the world’s population, has only 7 percent of the world’s water resources; 90 percent of cities’ groundwater and 75 percent of its rivers and lakes are polluted —- 700 million people drink contaminated water every day. (Wikipedia, World Bank)

16- By the early 2020’s, China will overtake the US in terms of GDP, according to Deutsche Bank’s Chief Economist for Greater China, Jun Ma.

Each of these facts tells a perceptive person many important things, no matter how trivial or amusing some may seem. China, quite frankly, and the Chinese system of state capitalism under the iron hand of old-line Communists, offers a working alternative to America’s capitalism. China is gobbling up the raw materials and the markets of the world; like it or not, they are powerful rivals to our system and our corporations. While we spend our resources and impoverish ourselves chasing after Taliban and “terrorists” in a Republican-mandated “long war of civilizations” a giant black swan looms that can (and will) upend the hubris-inspired invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and American hegemony.  In other words, we are concentrating on the wrong problem, in my opinion.

The Republican presidents of recent times have done America many disservices, but probably the greatest is this: they have wasted our substance  whoring after the misbegotten chimera of “terrorism,” leaving us woefully unprepared to compete with a rising China—- and even global corporations (supposedly our own) seek fawning cooperation with Chinese state businesses (see 13). The Pentagon may be keeping an eye on these events, but that does not matter if the civilian leadership falls into the hands of the political party which has consistently misread the world’s future geopolitical realities, while all the time pretending to be the “realists.”

I realize that there is some possibility that China may disintegrate (see 9 and 12), but hoping that China’s growing power will be diminished thus is foolish. China, facing a vastly growing population (see 1 and 2) is frantically locking in access to raw materials and manufactured products everywhere, including in Latin America and Africa (see 3 and 4) and you can be sure they will be ruthless in protecting these assets (see 8). The stupidest move would be to ignore all this; the next most stupid move would be to provoke China needlessly—- and, given the normal Republican propensity always to have a boogeyman devil to hate, that would be exactly what a Republican president could end up doing, if he or she suddenly noticed China, and/or became disenchanted with their terrorism boogeyman, or if terrorism suddenly lost its ability to scare voters and they had to find a new boogeyman, as happened when they replaced Communism with Terrorism.

Does America recognize its own national interests anymore? Do we have any sort of plan for our future in a world in which we no longer are positively the only top dog? Thanks to our dominant philosophy of the Free Market, with its emphasis on short-term quarterly profits, most American businessmen and politicians think that long-term means two quarters, and they therefore have a mental horizon of six months into the future. China thinks that long-term means at minimum two generations, and they plan far, far ahead. We must begin to do likewise.

  • Teddy Goodson

    has traditionally been concentrated in areas near the original centers of Han Chinese culture; there seems to be a rhythm of expansion, consolidation, disintegration, revival and a return to expansion, consolidation, disintegration. Today, the Communist leadership has put itself in the position of modernization in order to keep its population happy enough to forestall mass revolt—- with the result they must have continuous growth, even more than the Western capitalist system demands.

    Therefore, they must constantly stockpile raw materials, gold, and other resources to enable continued expansion. It is a vicious circle, and one that deprives the rest of the world of raw materials they need as well. We will eventually reach a point where China will defend its assets abroad, in Africa, Australia, Central Asia, S. America, who knows, because the leadership in China must continue growth or it will have to attack its own rebellious population. I would prefer not to have to fight them again (as we did in Korea).  

  • For those who want to know more about the origins of modern-day China see Thunder out of China , 1946, Theodore H. White and Anna Lee Jacoby.

    This fascinating book of historical journalism is still in print after 64 years and cautions us to ignore China at our peril.