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Will China’s Dream of a World Empire Collapse Before it Begins?
China is on the brink. Xi Jinping’s dream to rule the world may be doomed, because China is imploding from the inside.
From time immemorial, China has thought of itself as the center of the world – “the Middle Kingdom.” That idea dates back more than 3,000 years when the Chou dynasty thought that their empire was situated in the very center of the earth, giving them great power. Today, China’s President Xi Jinping clings to that idea. Not only is China the center of the world, from his perspective, but it was also ordained to be the leader of the whole world, with himself at its helm. In his own words, “the sleeping giant has awoken.”
In looking back over the past 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese hierarchy revels in its own fantasies about its goals and achievements. On February 25, 2021, 68-year old Xi announced that among its great accomplishments, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had eradicated extreme poverty in China! This was one of his primary goals when he assumed office in 2012, and now, according to Xi, every Chinese citizen is living above the country’s standard of $355 a year in this country of 1.4 billion people.
But China’s ambitions are far greater than this meager accomplishment (imagine trying to survive on $355 a year!). China’s mission, aligned with its perceived place as the ‘Middle Kingdom,’ has been the centerpiece of the CCP’s plan for decades – to overtake the United States and become the world’s economic leader, replacing democracy with the CCP’s brand of socialism – worldwide.
Building a Global Empire
Over the last few decades, China has installed itself on every continent, and in every major ocean. Here are just a few examples:
Africa – In Nigeria, China has engaged in rampant illegal logging, fishing, and mining of oil, coal, and gold that have resulted in great rewards for China but massive environmental damage for Nigeria, including the pollution of rivers and streams, the erosion of valuable topsoil, and even the extinction of animals and plants.
This is the pattern Chinese companies have established for decades. Since 2000, China has invested a total of $47 billion in 52 of the 54 African countries, and has left them all poorer in one way or another.
Ecuador – In the South Pacific, off the protected Galapagos Islands, hundreds of large Chinese fishing vessels have been illegally stripping the waters of rare, irreplaceable fish and destroying this ecologically sensitive habitat in order to placate the Asian palate for rare fish, including protected sharks and squid. In the summer of 2020, a flotilla of nearly 300 Chinese vessels descended in the ocean just outside the archipelago’s protected boundaries, according to a report by the marine conservation group Oceana. In 2017, the Ecuador navy apprehended a Chinese fishing boat within the Galápagos Marine Reserve, with nearly 7,000 endangered sharks found on board.
Ports – In its race to the head of its own version of a new world order, China has also targeted the major seaports of the world. Chinese companies now manage nearly 100 major seaports in 63 countries around the world, including our own port of Long Beach, California.
Military – China’s adventurism has brought it to the brink of a small war with India. It undertook to build ten airbases equipped for fighter jets and ground support along the Indian border. It also got involved with the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and provided intelligence and special operators to support the Taliban in their campaign to bring down the elected Afghan government. China took over Bagram Air Force Base that the U.S. abandoned, which gives it now a new military foothold there.
Taiwan – In another display of sheer power lust, China promises to attack Taiwan, and “reunite” the democratic island nation with the mainland to realize his “Chinese Dream,” even though Taiwan has never been a part of China. Nevertheless, Xi said, “All the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together, move forward, and resolutely oppose any attempt at Taiwan independence.”
The list of China’s efforts to indulge its greed and lust goes on and on. But however grand their vision of China’s future is, there is more to this story than just the CCP’s dream of global power.
Despite all of its ambitious plans, China is on the brink. And its future may not be nearly so bright or bold as they seem to think it is. Because with all its bluster and aggressive activities abroad, the country is imploding from the inside.
China Opened Its Own Pandora’s Box
When the CCP unleashed the COVID-19 virus on the rest of the world, they clearly knew the danger. What they did not anticipate was how badly it would come back to haunt them.
In the height of their first epidemic, in late 2019 and early 2020, when the hospitals in Wuhan were full, and people were dying in the streets, the CCP allowed five million Wuhan residents to travel abroad. Only then did they lock down the city to prevent the virus from traveling to other parts of China. And when America’s CDC requested access to their Level 4 Wuhan Lab, from where the virus had come, they refused all access. Further, they refused to provide any information about the virus, its source, or its likely effect on the world’s population.
Today, in 2022, despite their best efforts to spread the virus abroad, the CCP has failed to contain it at home. And China is now facing not one but three epidemics that are ravaging its population: the COVID-19 virus, the Nipa virus (which has a 50% – 70% fatality rate), and hemorrhagic fever.
Not surprisingly, the CCP has responded with viciousness and great cruelty. More than one hundred and fifty million people are reported to be starving, because they have been ordered by the government to stay at home and are forbidden to go outside, not even to buy food or medicine.
And in the city that sits at the epicenter of the epidemic, Xi’an in north-east China, the entire population of 13 million people has been locked-down in their homes, unable to leave for even the essentials of life. And to make matters even worse, residents, including the elderly, the sick, and young children, have been rounded up in the middle of the night and taken by force to quarantine centers, where the facilities are bare and unwelcoming, reportedly with neither heat nor food.
Mother Nature Strikes a Different Blow
In another blow to the CCP’s master plan, last summer’s torrential rains and the floods that followed them destroyed much of the year’s harvest, and created a food shortage that all but guaranteed a winter famine. Millions of acres of farmland were flooded, and the harvests were totally lost. In addition, millions of hogs and chickens, which are staples in the Chinese diet, were also lost in the floods.
China’s economy is also failing. China invested in its infrastructure for many years, including large housing projects and high-rise buildings. But many of these properties remained empty. They were far too expensive for most Chinese workers to afford. At the end of 2021, real estate giant China Evergrande had debts of $408 billion, and so many empty buildings that it was forced to demolish many of its high-rise towers. One estimate suggested that all the empty buildings could have provided homes for 90 million people.
China is also spending huge amounts of money on Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, which was unveiled in September 2013 and is now a part of the CCP’s constitution. This initiative, with a price tag of $1 trillion, seeks to connect Asia with Africa and Europe, shifting the balance of economic power from the U.S. and Europe to China.
An Economy Built on Corruption
In addition to the real estate market, the people who manage the Chinese economy appear to be thoroughly corrupt. The people on the top of the food chain in China lead lives of luxury and even debauchery, while the mass of the population lives in squalor. Fraud in industry is, from all accounts, rampant, from semi-conductor fraud to financial fraud to pharmaceutical fraud to technology fraud, and much more. Chinese companies that trade in the U.S. have been well known for many years for their fraudulent practices, particularly among the investors who have been victimized. And in China, as the domestic economy in China worsens, companies operating in China are moving to other countries, such as Thailand and Viet Nam. China’s manufacturing base is shifting away from the mainland.
Whither Goes China?
However grand as it may appear in Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream,” China’s future is far from a sure thing. The failure of the CCP to understand how to balance its management of the affairs of state with the welfare of its people, who provide the labor and human resources necessary for the nation’s success, is a failure of gigantic proportions. And even as their country is breaking apart from within, even as the virus they created now consumes their own population, and even as the nation’s economy continues to fail, the CCP, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, continues to believe in its destiny to rule the world.
And herein lies Xi Jinping’s greatest weakness. His hubris. Like many famous leaders before him, he has over-reached beyond his ability to control the outcome – in policy, in the building of his military, in his over-reach to control so many parts of the world, in the disregard of his own people, in the disrespect towards the other members of the CCP, and of his overall underestimation of the many enemies he has acquired since he assumed his position at the head of the Chinese government.
Today, there seems to be a shift in the power base in which Xi has replaced the collective concept of leadership that has been a hallmark of the CCP. Instead, he has installed himself as the strongman in a position of absolute leadership. No one dares to contradict him, and this is his greatest over-reach of all. The collective will not likely forget – nor forgive him for this breach. And it will likely be his own hubris that’ll lead to his ultimate downfall – and, perhaps, one can hope, to the downfall of the CCP.
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