Will China collapse under authoritarianism? | Pakistan Today

Will China collapse under authoritarianism?

  • Or is wishful thinking at work?

In The Age of the Economist, Daniel R. Fusfeld tells how economics governs our life today. In today’s market or quasi-market economies, no country can live in economic isolation. India, the USA and their `satellites’ are trying to isolate China economically. Already, they have hung the isolationist Financial-Action-Task-Force Sword of Damocles over the head of China’s all-weather ally Pakistan. Through its economic relations and defence purchases, India scuttled Pakistan’s effort to draw world attention to Kashmiris in prison. India’s Defence Ministry approved purchase proposals of Rs 38,900 crore. In Sri Lanka, India, by underhand machinations, managed to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from office in 2015. Rajapakse had leased out strategic Hambantota port to China and allowed Chinese submarines to dock in Sri Lanka. Now Sri Lanka has handed over control of Humbantota to India. India gave Sri Lanka $45.27 million aid to develop KKS harbour.

India extended NR 2.1 billion aid to Nepal as the first tranche of housing support to 42,086 governments of India- supported beneficiaries in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts. It pledged Nepal $1 billion aid and soft loan (25%) for Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction. India bears pension liability of Gorkhas equivalent to Nepal’s annual budget. But, offended at occupation of the Kala Pani territory by India, Nepal enacted a law to affirm its territorial sovereignty. Nepalese prime minister Oli is tottering because of India’s underhand effort to topple him.

India has no border at Doklam with China, yet like a super power it jumped in `at Bhutan’s request’ to stop China constructing a road there. It pledged Rs 4,500 crore to Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan (2018 to 2023). It completed the Mangdhechu Hydroelectric project and Ground Earth Station for South Asia Satellite, and launched the RuPay card. Besides, it committed Rs 4,500 crore for implementation of development projects and Rs 400 crore for transitional Trade Support Facility during the Plan. Under it, 51 large and intermediate projects and 359 Small Development Projects (SDPs)/High Impact Community Development Projects (HICPDs) are being carried out. India’s commitment to it constitutes about 14.5 percent of Plan outlay, which is around 38.75 percent of the capital outlay and 71 percent of total external assistance.

To Bangladesh, India extended three $8 billion loans. A total of 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now being supplied by India to Bangladesh. The increase signifies a “quantum jump from megawatts to Gigawatts and is symbolic of a golden era” in bilateral ties. Markedly, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has pledged to raise the power supply to Bangladesh to 1000 MW. Though electricity will not be a substitute for Teesta water, the plan to boost power supply is on anvil. Bangladesh is however annoyed at dillydallying at Teesta Accord, and India’s inability to brief her about the Galwan situation.

In cahoots with the USA, India wants to get China declared a pariah state. The aim is to impose economic sanctions, or an aid or trade embargo on China. The USA uses a flexible format to dub or delete a country as axis of evil, money-laundering conduit, sponsor of terrorism or pariah, or rogue (Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela). The Ottoman Empire was persecuted as an outcast by European States since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 until the 19th century on a religious basis

India provided Lines of Credit worth $ 96.54 million to Niger for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water. It granted $15 million to Niger for organising the African Union Summit. India and Japan have launched their own joint initiative in the shape of Asia-Africa Growth Corridor to rival China’s Belt-Road Initiative, for undertaking development and cooperation projects in Africa.
India punished Turkey by not allowing it to bid for construction contracts. Import of palm oil from Malaysia was truncated.

Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammad had said last September that India had “invaded and occupied” Kashmir. He was joined by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that India had virtually imposed “a blockade” on Kashmiris. Their views on Kashmir and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) irked India.

The spectacular economic growth in China in the past four decades has inspired a large strand of research to understand China’s unconventional growth path. China is expected to suffer a sudden economic collapse because of lack of inclusive institutions, debt policies, and authoritarianism. Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson in their book Why Nations Fai argue that without economic institutions, particularly private property, and competition, nations fail to promote economic growth and alleviate poverty. Powerful people should not seek to grab complete control over government, undermining broader social progress. It is freedom that makes people rich. Without political change, even sensible economic ideas and policies will fail.

To strengthen his rule, CXhinese President Xi Jinping has allegedly assumed an absolute control over all the institutions of country in guise of national rejuvenation and reforms.

Norwegian political scientist stein Ringen in his book “The perfect dictatorship: China in the 21st Century calls XI’s rule “Controlocracy”. Xi chairs, roughly, eight of the leading small groups including the national security commission. He also handles internal security directly, thereby reducing any possible chance of mutiny. Tai Ming Cheung, a professor at the school of global policy and strategy at UC San Diego, alleges, “No other Chinese Communist Party leader, not even Mao Zedong, has controlled the military to the same extent as Xi does today. Mao had to share power with powerful revolutionary-era marshals.” To show how “hands-on” he is, Xi has taken the new post of commander-in-chief of the PLA Joint Battle Command.

This view is debatable. Discussion papers are included in in Allen, Franklin & Qian, Jun & Qian, Meijun, 2018. “A Review of China’s Institutions,” CEPR Discussion Papers 13269. Their paper focuses on the recent development of China’s institutions, financial markets, innovations and government-business relations in the context of their roles in supporting China’s growth. Alternative financing channels and governance mechanisms, rather than the markets and banks, continue to promote growth in the most dynamic sectors of the Chinesed economy.

Tom Orlik, chief economist – Bloomberg Economics and David Dollar, senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, John L. Thornton China Center, do not agree. They trust China would tide over economic crises through out-of-box thinking and ingenuity of mind. Klaus Muhlhahn in Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping highlights the role of institutions in China’s rise. During the 19ty century, China suffered the humiliation of defeats in the Opium Wars at the hands of Western imperialists. Like a sphinx, China rose from ashes to baffle the world we live in, through its flabbergasting if not unprecedented economic growth and participation on the geopolitical stage as a powerful player.

Charismatic leaders (Sun Yat Sen, Mao Ze Dong to Xi Jinping) did contribute their effort in transforming China. The official line says China’s rise began with Deng Xiaoping’s rule in 1978. But history reveals China’s recovery was in the making for about a century. Historical legacy, cumulative experience a desire to see a better tomorrow and resilience in overcoming adversity contributed to China’s emergence.

China’s rise is not an overnight exploit or legerdemain of some leaders. Its present status is cumulative product of its institutions in early modernity or the late imperial period (mid-17th through 18th century). Beginning in 1644 during the Qing dynasty, many core institutions were developed and the empire achieved its zenith. The social and cultural institutions of this period account for China’s brilliant trajectory into the 19th and 20th centuries. The institutions of yesteryear relate to key areas of government economy sovereignty, border security and exploitation of natural resources.

In cahoots with the USA, India wants to get China declared a pariah state. The aim is to impose economic sanctions, or an aid or trade embargo on China. The USA uses a flexible format to dub or delete a country as axis of evil, money-laundering conduit, sponsor of terrorism or pariah, or rogue (Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela). The Ottoman Empire was persecuted as an outcast by European States since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 until the 19th century on a religious basis.

Deon Geldenhuys. points out multifaceted criteria for declaring a state pariah: having ‘artificial borders’ (Iraq), siege mentality, anti-West sentiments and a desire to subvert the international status quo, or not being a considerable `world power’(“Pariah States in the Post-Cold War World: A Conceptual Exploration”). So far, China has eluded the pariah label, proving it to be a ‘world power’.

Why India is hostile to China? Modi himself told an all-party conference, “Neither have they [Chinese] intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them (China)”. Even former Defence Minister AK Antony and former foreign secretary Shyam Saran denied China had taken over 640 sq km of Ladakh territory. Even, “The Indian army denied that Ladakh had shrunk. Change in the river course was cited as a reason for the loss of 500-1,500 meters of land annually”. Then, why is the storm in a teacup?

Talk of Chinese bubble bursting appears to be a propaganda tip.

The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]