The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Sobering thoughts on China
By Chrisco

It's a sobering thought, but let's face up to it: the American economy, and by extension all our fates, are in the hands of the Chinese government, and the politicians and voters of Taiwan.

China could, should it desire to for its own reasons, bring the American house of cards crashing down. Admittedly, it is a risky proposition for Beijing, as the ensuing global downturn will naturally badly hurt Chinese exports. The counter to this is the possibility that Beijing reckons that its own domestic consumption will survive the squeeze and continue the Chinese economic miracle, as was demonstrated by China's ability to weather the Asian financial crisis of 1997. (That said, the greatest risk to China's continued growth is precisely what saved it in 1997: its domestic banking system. They are working on their solvency issues, but this is going to take time.)

This begs the question, why would China attempt to pull the rug out from under America? The only motivation that would cause the CCP to take such extreme measures is Taiwan, which the Chinese do take very, very seriously. However, the one thing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) prizes above all else is domestic stability, and thus the risks involved in destabilising the world economy are probably too great, unless they felt they had no other option.

So, China is probably not going to make a grab for the island state/renegade province unless the Taiwanese make a formal declaration of independence. Yes, they rattle the sabre now and again, but this is for domestic reasons: to embellish the mantle of nationalism that the CCP has been wrapping itself in as it quietly dropped most of the tenets of communism. The most likely scenario is that Beijing will continue to wait; as Chinese living standards catch up with those on Taiwan, the hope is that a wealthy and prosperous mainland will seem less of a threat to Taiwan and thus the implementation of a 'one country, two/three systems' policy will be attainable. Perhaps even, if the Taiwanese stick with the status quo for long enough, democracy itself will have begun to take root on the mainland (they've managed for sixty years with an ambiguous status - what's another half-century?) But if before then Taiwan pushes ahead with an independence referedum, Beijing will act.

So let's all just hope that Taiwan doesn't vote for independence, or we're all in it.
posted by Apollo Project @ 8:44 am  
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