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The Red Dragon

China, the Red Dragon, has arrived on the global stage as a superpower. It is sitting on foreign currency reserves of trillions of dollars. Manufacturing prowess makes it a major exporter in the world. Infrastructure is well developed. It is a nuclear power with a massive conventional army and firepower. It could not have been in a better position to flex its muscles both internally and around the world.

China achieved the superpower status due to the efforts of Deng Xiaoping and Zhu Rongji. They built China from a developing nation to a developed nation. They also have the cold war to thank for. When the US and the communist Soviet Union were the two superpowers fighting out a battle, Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State under President Nixon, worked on a strategy to split the communist powers, started befriending China in 1971. Nixon visited China and started giving them favorable terms for trading. The west kept feeding China hoping that there would be a shift towards democracy. It never happened. Communist party remains firmly in the saddle.

Successive US Presidents courted China even after the cold war ended in 1989. Luring them with a membership into WTO (World Trade Organization) without meeting any conditions. As a result, China gained by exporting to other countries while protecting its own markets. All the while stealing industrial secrets from the western countries to feed its manufacturing base.

China remained subdued while achieving enormous growth in its economy and military. Enter Xi Jinping about a decade back. He anointed himself the President for life. In the last few years, China has grown to be a global villain. Territorial disputes with India flared up. Threatening Taiwan with claims of being part of China. Trade disputes with the US, EU and Australia. Suppression of its tech giants. Notably, the CEO of Alibaba, the global e-commerce company Jack Ma, is reportedly missing after a tiff with the Chinese government.

China has been having border disputes with India ever since the Dalai Lama went into an exile in India around 1960 after China annexed Tibet. In the last decade or so, China has been in bed with Pakistan to have access to their Karachi port on the Arabian sea. In exchange it is aiding and abetting Pakistan’s incursions into Kashmir and sponsoring terrorism.  Leading to double jeopardy on India’s north eastern and north western borders.

China has been attacking Indian borders more recently along Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Why ? It is speculated that Tawang is home of a Buddhist monastery which plays a bigger role in anointing the next Dalai Lama. China wants to control this process. By building islands in the seas East of China, it is trying to build military bases. Why the incursions into Ladakh in India to move the border of stones by a few feet ? It beats me. It is like a millionaire fighting for pocket change.

Another country at the receiving end has been Taiwan. A renegade island nation formed by dissidents from mainland China, although not recognized as a different country, the US tacitly supports it with protection. Taiwan is to China’s psyche as much as Kashmir is to Pakistan’s. Besides, Taiwan has the largest semiconductor manufacturing company in the world called TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company).

Covid 19 originated in either the wet markets selling live animals, or a leak from a virus lab in Wuhan, China. China has been covering up information, particularly the lab leak theory. It has repeatedly stonewalled the western countries and the WHO (World Health Organization). No access has been given to any international scientist and they declared the investigation closed.

My opinion is that bad karma eventually catches up with nations too, like with individuals. No country can continue to grow forever. China is slowing down and has issues. It is facing energy shortages. It pumped heavily into the real estate sector and overbuilt houses for which there is no demand. As a result, the real estate companies are defaulting on their huge debt. Evergrande is one such major real estate company in a deep fiscal crisis. China has an ageing population because of the one child policy harshly implemented for the past several decades. In a decade or so, there will be more retirees than working population to replace them.

China’s best years may be behind them.Arrogance has brought many a country down. The growth is slowing down and there are a myriad of problems, some of them avoidable like the disputes with other countries. Four of the countries – US, India, Japan and Australia have formed a coalition called “Quad” to counteract China. The global companies are looking for alternative logistics for manufacturing and supply chains. India is in a favorable position to grab this opportunity, including manufacturing of semiconductors. Unless wisdom dawns on the Chinese leadership…

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Prasad Ganti

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Suresh Rao
2 months ago

Well scripted and articulated Prasadji. The paragraph on “My opinion is that bad karma eventually catches up with nations too, like with individuals. No country can continue to grow forever. China is slowing down and has issues. It is facing energy shortages. It pumped heavily into the real estate sector and overbuilt houses for which there is no demand. As a result, the real estate companies are defaulting on their huge debt. Evergrande is one such major real estate company in a deep fiscal crisis. China has an ageing population because of the one child policy harshly implemented for the past several decades. In a decade or so, there will be more retirees than working population to replace them.” should be an eye opener to all going ga ga on Chinese wealth.

My Sulekha blog on China’s wealth vis-a-vis all wealth of UNSC permanent members refers@ http://creative.sulekha.com/china-is-richest-country-in-world-it-has-more-wealth-than-most-wto-countries-put-together_639649_blog

Navneet Bakshi
2 months ago
Reply to  Suresh Rao

I think the Shipping building Industry in China too will go the real estate way. It had shown the signs of buckling when I was still there. To take over the business of ship construction from Korea and Japan the government had given a lot of doles after the slump in 2008 because of which huge investment had come in this sector, but the Chinese ship construction quality as compared to Korea is very poor and of course both of them are no match to the quality of ships made by the Japanese, but their cost of construction is so high that in the modern times of fast changing technology for the ship owners it does make an economic sense to get the ships constructed from Japan. On the other hand the Chinese give them the ships on absurd terms of interest free loans which the owners can pay up to five years from the profit they make by running the ships, but the quality of the ships they make is so poor that they don’t last for five years 🙂

Navneet Bakshi
2 months ago

Beautiful article as always and a very interesting one from my point of view especially because of my special attachment with China because of having had the chance of seeing it very closely. My Chinese fans who were very happy to see my articles giving a positive view of China and its people were very excited to share with me the books about China that threw light on her culture and some that were written by the foreign authors. One set of books were by Peter Hesler who happened to be there when the change had just happening. He had a keen observation maybe because he had gone on a teaching assignment because of which he had good interaction with the people and later he became a reporter for The New York Times. Another book that I read was When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques and then I started reading the book On China by Henry Kissinger but I think I left it in between. I have pdfs of all the books and I can share these with you if you want me to.
Now coming back to the subject of your post, the Chinese are very focused and driven people. Unlike us they are very nationalistic and they have achieved the position of being number one because it was drilled in to the mind of every Chinese by their rulers. They didn’t have any say in the affairs of the government and they unlike us couldn’t dare to speak against it anyway. It is good in a way, otherwise I think that these excessive interference in the affairs of the government like we have is like ticks to a dog. Maybe bad karma is catching up with them but then what is bogging India down? Why can’t we have that national spirit, despite our differences? Why can’t we work as a team and race to the top like China has done. Why we end up playing in the hands of the foreigners and we refuse to learn from our mistakes?

Navneet Bakshi
2 months ago
Reply to  Prasad Ganti

Japan was among the first few foreign nations I had a chance to visit in 1976 and formed an impression about it from what I saw then because, I didn’t know Japanese. I was very impressed would be an understatement. Even then they had escalators at the stations and automatic doors in the trains. Even then they were at least fifty years ahead of the U.S. if that be used as a benchmark. I haven’t been a student of history and I didn’t know anything about their dark past. Actually I came to know much of it from the book Wild Swans- Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang and I would say that you must read it if you haven’t read it. It will simultaneously tell you about the dark sides of China and that of Japan too. Since it is only a comment on your post, I won’t like it to be longer than your article and let me close it by saying that the Chinese hate them and the Japanese will scoff at the mention of the Chinese trying to imitate them but indeed the Chinese are following the Japanese road map to be number one-but try telling it to any Japanese and he will say Hahaha and so do I. I am sending you the pdfs of the books that I have.

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