Since 2000, the rise of China’s economy has gained momentum and anyone can see it. It also began to attract the attention and research of many political economists. On the real side, many SME owners had ‘boldly moved west’ long before the Tiananmen Square incident on June 4, 1989. The Tiananmen Incident did not deter these people either. The smell of money, apparently, overshadowed the smell of blood.
The most daring prophecy of the time was “China’s Impending Collapse”, published by Gordon Chang in 2001. Gordon Chang is an American scholar of Chinese descent. He has the freedom of information, thought and publication in the free world. This is his advantage. The boldest of his prophecies was that he thought China would collapse in five to ten years’ time. The reason is that there is a fundamental contradiction between China’s political system and its economically open capitalist market economy. Two important factors that he underestimated were the control of the Chinese Communist Party and the slavish and animalistic nature of the Chinese people. And the second point is the very basis of the CCP’s control. Not to mention five years and ten years, twenty years have passed by today and China has not collapsed.
Taiwan’s small and medium-sized business owners, who are in the most ‘money’ line of the battlefield, are the ones who are witnessing the ‘now-going’ in the fire. With their keen sense of smell and highly flexible adaptability and penetration of the business environment, they would rather trust their own judgment based on their experience and intuition from actual exposure than believe the predictions made by scholars based on research materials and theories. The general trend in the economy is visible to everyone. But that won’t change radically in a very short period of time (say five or ten years). The flexibility of Taiwan’s SME adventurers and their thinking about business operations (e.g. the concept of sustainable management) is not something that these scholars can understand.
People who decide on business operations based on ideology type will not be the majority. If your money is given to you by the Communist Party (e.g., collusion between business and government), if China really collapses one day, you will have to go with him to the end, with little choice and no complaints. Competent and far-sighted business owners, who know the principle of ‘three caves for a cunning rabbit’. They have long smelled the scent of danger, but also far-sightedly set up factories in Southeast Asian countries. There are even those who have set up factories in Isobia.
Smaller adventurers, some earn money, see the good, not to play with him to the end, and no capital to play with him to hang. They were still in their prime thirty years ago, with energy and dreams of middle-aged people, and now they have reached the age of retirement. Not to talk about the unfavorable international political situation, the business environment alone, in and out of the pinch, really do not need scholars to predict, they should be very easy to judge. What “China Trap” 2001, “China Fever” 2002, “Desire for China” 2005, “Empire of Lies” 2006, “Age of Ambition” 2015, etc., are mainly academic studies of scholars, or personal experiences of journalists. In fact, Taiwan’s businessmen are all witnesses who have personally experienced coming through the tiger’s den, without the need for scholars to say much.
The fate of Taiwan’s nation faces a critical moment
We need not worry for Taiwan’s businessmen. But we have a bigger issue to be concerned about. That is the safety and development of the Taiwanese nation. For this reason, we still need to pay attention to the research and observation of scholars, which is, after all, their profession. They will provide their unique insights based on a lot of information and data.
Recently, the situation has become increasingly serious because of China’s threats against Taiwan, and the international diplomatic situation is very unfavorable to China’s siege. The fate of the nation of Taiwan seems to have come to a critical moment.
Since China is a great enemy, wouldn’t the threat to Taiwan be naturally lifted if China collapsed? I recently read “China Collapses but Does Not Collapse,” published in Taiwan in 2017 by Ching-lien Ho and Xiaonong Cheng, Chinese-American political and economic scholars in the United States. This is a banned book in China because the book has too much documented information that the CCP fears the people will see. Even though the information on which it is based is very detailed and the research attitude is less ideologically biased, we do not have to necessarily believe their final conclusion that China collapses but does not collapse.
Their reasoning is that the first three of the four pillars that hold society together: economic order and employment, the ecosystem, morality and ethics, and government control, have collapsed, but the centralized control of the Communist Party has been able to keep China from collapsing. These are discussed in detail in the book. Nor is there any optimism about one of China’s future possibilities for resolving these contradictions, local governance (somewhat of an allusion to local autonomy). This is because Cheng Xiaonong has talked in an online media interview about his work as an errand boy in the Central Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and about the tight control of the top echelons of the CPC Military Commission over the messaging from the Central Office, as well as the fact that the medical health and close guard of all Politburo members and other dignitaries are unified and assigned to command by the Central Military Commission. Thus it is the same as saying that all political dignitaries are under the control of the highest level of the Central Military Commission. Civilian network control and stability maintenance funding exceeds defense funding, and controls the people’s minds to death. This is the reason why he predicts that China will not collapse in the next ten to twenty years.
But if we have to criticize the weakness of the book’s thesis, the first is that the external pressures and crises of the international situation are not taken into account. And with the globalization of economy and politics, China is not immune to foreign pressures and influences. The book was published in 2017, and the posture of the advanced industrial powers of the free world besieging China in 2021 had not yet happened even then. Perhaps this is something the author did not expect. Is it possible that the stupidity and mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party leaders will cause a political, economic and even military attack by the world powers, which will finally trigger an internal revolution in China and make China fall apart in just one or two years? From the current situation, it looks as if it is moving in this direction.
The second weakness, perhaps critical and perhaps not so certain, is the starting point of the argument, which is a bit more ‘materialistic’. The data and information are very ‘materialistic’. The Chinese people, although very servile, are also very ‘materialistic’, and their minds are very tightly controlled. But while such control appears to be tight and the people’s slavery and animalistic nature appears to be easily controlled, the people are becoming more and more educated, internet flipping is becoming more and more difficult to control, and there have been almost no restrictions on Chinese translations of Western free world writings for decades. Only recently have restrictions begun to be cleared. I think that Chinese intellectuals who are not influenced by their ideas are the same as saying that there are no intellectuals in China. I believe that political revolutions begin with ideological revolutions. People have been thinking about change for a long time, and the revolution is just waiting for a lit match. Perhaps because this factor is difficult to determine definitively, they do not want to speculate out of thin air. This is understandable. But I don’t have such confidence in asserting that China will not collapse within ten to twenty years.
Would a collapse of China be good or bad for the world? There are different opinions. One of the most deviant statements is that of Barack Obama. He believes that “a declining China is more frightening than a rising China. He is afraid that he will not be able to avoid conflict with China. He also feared that the United States would face more difficulties and challenges as a result. Now it turns out that this was a wrong imagination and inference. The rise of China has turned into the greatest threat to world peace, not to mention the fact that Chinese pneumonia has plagued the world, causing more than 180 million diagnoses and 3.85 million deaths. Is this the result of the decline of China or the rise of China? I say Obama is full of crap, and he’s absolutely right. America was almost killed by these left-leaning politicians.
For Taiwan, I think a free, democratic and equal China would be good for Taiwan. The rise of a dictatorial and authoritarian China is definitely worse for Taiwan than the decline. This is what ordinary common sense and logic can infer. Taiwanese should be prepared for the thought. In the past, the fate of the Taiwanese was at the mercy of imperialism because there was no national consciousness and no will to assert their own destiny. If it comes to a critical moment, Taiwanese should know what to do.