China, the next world superpower?

In recent years, since China began its unprecedented economic boom and its transition to a market-style economy, there has been absolutely momentous admiration for the Chinese economic miracle and countries have been all but jumping over the moon to embrace China politically and economically. Everyone has been rushing to sign trade agreements with China and invest in China, and both political leaders and the media are obsessed with their praise of booming China. Declarations that China will be the next world superpower are routine, and to a large extent these predictions come with a sense of optimism and elation.

While I won’t deny for a second that China’s economic growth in recent years has been quite incredible, I find all this admiration completely over-the-top and unwarranted. Behind the façade of the ‘new China’ is the cold reality that China is one of the most organized and repressive totalitarian dictatorships in recent world history, a country which flagrantly dismisses even the most primitive human rights and democratic standards. Among my criticisms are following:

  • China is a dictatorship
  • China operates large scale ‘reeducation through labour’ camps, where petty criminals and political dissidents perform slave labour for the government.
  • China does not have an independent judiciary.
  • The Chinese political and economic systems are riddled with obscene levels of corruption and lack of transparency.
  • Lack of transparency is the Chinese financial system continues to make investment in China, and therefore the long-term sustainability of economic growth, uncertain.
  • There is no freedom of expression in China, be it at the personal or mass-media levels. All forms of mass-media are government censored, the internet is filtered via the so-called ‘Great Firewall of China’, as is personal expression of political views.
  • China actively oppresses certain religious group, the most well-known of course being the Falun Gong movement.
  • China continues to occupy Tibet, where it continues to systematically destroy Tibetan culture and the Tibetan race, which, many argue, amounts to genocide.
  • China facilitates a massive black-market in human organs and body parts, fuelled by the world-topping number of executions it carries out.
  • China routinely appropriates private land for development purposes, without compensation.

My question to world political leaders, the mass media, and everyone else who has jumped on the ‘praise China’ bandwagon, is “aren’t there countries more worthy of praise than China?”. Obviously world political leaders and the mass media are not going to comment on this blog, so I’ll answer the question myself. The answer, of course, is yes, and in particular I’d like to use the example of India because it’s a country in a very comparable situation.

India is a country with a population on the same order as China, is equally well posed to become a world superpower, and in much the same timeframe. India’s economy has been experiencing the same levels of unprecedented economic growth as China – on the order of 10% per annum. India, unlike China, has fully embraced democratic values and is a fully functioning parliamentary democracy, with an independent judicial system. None of the above criticisms of the Chinese regime apply to India.

In summary, there are two points I’d like to make. Firstly, the incessant praise that China receives is completely over-the-top. There’s really only one overwhelming point worthy of praise, and that is the level of economic growth. Secondly, is the Chinese government really the type that we should all be rushing to appease, praise, and promote as the next world superpower, the overdue response to American economic and political supremacy? For all it’s worth, despite my severe misgiving about American politics and current world leadership, I for one am not looking forward to the day when a government such as the present Chinese one reigns supreme.

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