China’s plethora of challenges on the world stage

12 July, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma

China Uncategorized

According to local media, China is grappling with a wide range of issues that pose a serious danger to its economy and are driving the nation toward an increase in worldwide mistrust.

China is grappling with a wide range of issues that pose a serious danger to its economy and are driving the nation toward an increase in worldwide mistrust according to a local media.

A few of these problems include an ageing and shrinking population, persistent social, racial, and regional inequalities among Chinese citizens, an extremely polluted environment, a reliance on imports for food, energy, and raw resources, and a sluggish economy with a heavy debt load. These problems, which have been emphasised in several scholarly studies, highlight the dismal outlook for the nation. According to Taiwan News, the three most important problems among those mentioned above are China’s falling population, slowing economic growth, and unfavourable perceptions by the rest of the world.

China’s GDP forecast by the World Bank shows slow growth. In June 2022, World Bank said, “We project real GDP growth to slow sharply to 4.3 per cent in 2022 – 0.8 per cent lower than projected in the December China Economic Update.”

This is not an isolated forecast by any financial institution. The cut down on China’s GDP forecasts was also projected by two investment banks. Last May these had already cut their China GDP forecasts even further based on the continuing cost of government-imposed COVID controls.

It is evident that China’s strictest pandemic protocols have perpetuated a dire economic fallout. Even JP Morgan reduced its projected growth rate from 4.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent, while UBS cut its forecast even further to 3 per cent, down from 4.2 per cent. Meanwhile, the official PRC target for 2022 remains 5.5 per cent growth, as per the media portal.

On the population front, China is on the brink of a demographic disaster. This will further propel a worse economic situation. Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist writing in his book, “The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization(2022)” writes, “China in 2022 is the fastest ageing society in human history. In China, the population growth story is over and has been over since China’s birth rate slipped below replacement levels in the 1990s. A full birth replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. As of early 2022, China’s only partly released 2010-2020 census indicates China’s rate is at most 1.3, among the lowest of any people in human history.”

“The country’s demographic contraction is occurring just as quickly as its [earlier] expansion, with complete demographic collapse certain to occur within a single generation. China is amazing but not for the reasons most opine. The country will soon have travelled from preindustrial levels of wealth to postindustrial demographic collapse in a single human lifetime.”

This population crisis will cause labour crisis and will shrink China’s working force. And the final trouble for China is the view of the international community of the country. “The data from more than 20,000 respondents in 19 advanced economies revealed highly critical views of China on a range of issues, but also a shared view that China’s influence is growing,” according to the latest Pew Research Center survey released on June 29.