China: heading for 2050


Download: China 2020-2050

We are now at the start of 2017.

As the world is celebrating the coming of 2017 among many possibilities, I am keeping an eye on an emerging superpower who is claiming to be in a dream of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit for all.

China’s GDP growth rate for 2016 as a whole will come in very close to 6.7%. The forecast for 2017 is clouded by the uncertainty in the United States over the economic and other policies to be adopted by Donald Trump when he assumes the office of President in January, according to a recent report by China Daily.

China is still leading the world economy after thirty years of continuous development. Despite the many problems and concerns in the environment, corruption, government debt, soaring property markets, and others, there are positive signs as a source for domestic growth by private entrepreneurship, enhanced social well-being and family life under a more responsible government administration. This trend should continue in 2017, as governments at all levels are pushed hard to realize the national vision of creating an ecological civilization for many if not all.

China is moving closer to its goal of building an all-round moderately prosperous society by 2020, inspired by the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, according to Xinhua News Agency.

June 25th 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in London released its long-term macroeconomic forecasts with key trends to 2050, stating that China will surpass the USA in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2026, and top ten economies in 2050 at the EIU’s projected market exchange rates, in descending order, will be China, USA, India, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, UK, and France.

Its report, Long-term macroeconomic forecasts: Key Trends to 2050, finds that: 1) China is expected to narrowly edge ahead of the US for the first time in 2026, with a nominal GDP of US$28.6trn versus the US’s US$28.3trn. 2) By 2050, China will boast a GDP of US$105.9trn, compared with the US’s US$70.9trn. 3) The UK will fall out of the world’s top 5 economies by 2026. 4) Indonesia and Mexico will rank among the top ten economies at market exchange rates by 2050, overtaking economies such as Italy and Russia.5) Asia will continue its rise and by 2050 will represent 53% of global GDP, compared with from 32% in 2014.

According to Reuters, although the United States will be number two in 2050, its economy will be much smaller than China’s. Goldman Sachs projects that China’s GDP should match America’s by 2027, and then steadily pull ahead. The collective GDP of the four leading developing countries (the Brics–Brazil, Russia, India, and China) is likely to match that of today’s leading Western nations by 2032. The World Bank predicts that the U.S. dollar will lose its global dominance by 2025 as the dollar, euro, and China’s RMB become co-equals in a “multi-currency” monetary system.

According to PwC, China is already the world’s biggest economy in PPP terms and will become the biggest at the more commonly accepted figures of market exchange rates by 2028, despite its projected reversion to the global growth average. China’s share of world GDP in PPP terms is forecast to increase from 16.5 percent in 2014 to a peak of around 20 percent in 2030, before easing slightly to 19.5 percent in 2050.

Agriculture has always been the top priority as the country still has a huge population of poverty in the rural areas. The State Council of China issued an opinion on August 7, 2016, asking its ministries and departments as well as provincial authorities to continue the development of modern agriculture. The opinion sets a goal of significantly changing the way the country’s agriculture is running by 2030.

“Made in China 2025” released about the same time is the country’s first ten-year action plan focusing on promoting manufacturing. The plan proposed a “three step” strategy of transforming China into a leading manufacturing power. It pledges that China will be an “innovative nation” by 2020, and an international leader in innovation by 2030. The third step of the strategy will be establishing China as a world powerhouse of scientific and technological innovation by 2050.

A similar blueprint “Innovation 2050″ also predicts that China’s economy will reach the world’s highest in 2050, when China’s political, material, social, spiritual and ecological civilizations will be highly developed and China will be highly open.

Apart from its domestic reforms, China is exercising its muscle towards the outside world by starting the “Go Out” policy and “Belt and Road” Initiative.Its president has pledged to further open the country’s economy and make sure “the fruits of development are shared.”

But not everyone is so optimistic.

China’s Go-Out policy is driven and shaped by complex domestic and international factors. In the past four years, proactive reforms and the anti-corruption campaign have brought about anxiety and resentment among many in addition to applause. Over a longer period of time, China under CPC has not proved to be a game player that follows the rules. And there are other problems and negative concerns.

Opponents say the policies of China has created a demographic “timebomb”, with the country’s 1.3 billion-strong population aging rapidly, and the country’s labor pool shrinking. The UN estimates that by 2050 China will have about 440 million people over 60.

“The gender imbalance is going to be a very major problem,” warned Steve Tsang, a professor of contemporary Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham. “We are talking about between 20 million and 30 million young men who are not going to be able to find a wife. That creates social problems and that creates a huge number of people who are frustrated.”

“The most important development in China’s future will be the movement toward the rule of law. Whether the future Chinese legal system will accommodate such concepts as freedom of speech, expression and assembly is an issue that remains unanswered.”  stated a CNN report. Analysts believe the next 50 years will bring another series of radical shifts in China, affecting its people, its government and the world.

“Serious concerns about China’s debt burden relate only to the combination of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and their local government supporters. The proper way to de-leverage is to pursue more energetically President Xi Jinping’s goal of moving toward a market-dominated economy in which private-sector firms rather than SOEs dominate and in which local governments more reliably implement the policy directions from the center in this regard. ” A western scholar said in an interview with China Daily without citing his name.

A survey by Pew Research Center in October 2016 shows that China has benefited greatly from economic globalization, and most Chinese (60%) believe their country’s involvement in the global economy is a good thing; only 23% think this is bad for China.Such self-confidence about China’s international stature coexists with some degree of anxiety and a general tendency to look inward more than outward. A majority of Chinese (56%) want Beijing to focus on China’s problems. Just 22% voice the view that their government should help other nations. And there is widespread unease about the impact on China from the world around them. Roughly three-quarters (77%) of the public believes that their way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence, and such sentiment is up 13 percentage points since 2002. Moreover, about six-in-ten Chinese (59%) are concerned that territorial conflicts between China and neighboring countries could lead to military conflict.

There is another voice by the pro-democratic circles of Chinese scholars in the western world that China’s economy will likely collapse into a recession in the coming decade because of a political turmoil.

“If, as seems likely, Xi’s effort to combine restoration of Leninist discipline with market liberalization proves unworkable, the regime will confront a deeper crisis. That might not come soon, but it seems sure to come in the end. Xi has embarked on his present course for good reasons. Whether he has good solutions is quite another matter.”The British journalist Martin Wolf with the Financial Times said in one report.

The United States has been the most cautious as China remains the largest trade partner for the US, the third-largest export market and the No. 1 source for imports. Acting against the TPP (Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement), China is a vehement supporter and advocate of liberalized trade and it has been actively pushing for the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

The Guardian says in an article that it is far from certain China’s ambitious goals will be achieved, besides that a ream of statistics about the rapid and prolonged expansion of China’s economy and scientific prowess is causing concern in Washington. And the Pentagon also singled out China as the only country with the capability to emerge as a military rival.

According to a World Finance (Magazine) report, the US and other powers should accommodate the rise of China, not resist it. China will not become over-dominant in any likely scenario and is likely to end up with a smaller share of global GDP than many predict. But it is still self-consciously a rising superpower. It will be more likely to integrate cooperatively into the global system and adopt international norms of governance and human rights if it is accorded respect and influence proportionate to its size.

President Xi’s Chinese Dream is described as achieving the “Two 100s”: the material goal of China becoming a “moderately well-off society” by 2021, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and the modernization goal of China becoming a fully developed nation by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

To lead China’s dominance, China’s constitution sets term limits for presidents and ministers, but there is no such rule for the party secretary. Whether the Communist Party leadership under President Xi would continue to rule after 2030 is a topic for hot debates. Some analysts say that President Xi will outstay his term to more than 10 years or even 20 years. “A lot of analysts now see it as a given” that Xi will seek to stay party general secretary, the country’s most powerful post, said Christopher K. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and now China specialist at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

July 2016, the Serie A team owner Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sold his AC Milan to a Chinese consortium, as the club was not able to compete against other well-funded rivals. Football is a popular sport in China but it has never won any big games on the international football field. President Xi is a football enthusiast and said he wants China to win the World Cup in 15 years. To this end, the Chinese government has pledged to revolutionize the game all over. By the end of 2016, China has unveiled a strategy to become a “world football superpower” by 2050, with plans to get 50 million children and adults playing the game by 2020.

When we look at the developments of China, we would better look at them from a historical view span of two thousand years or more. The country has been accustomed to working for general stability along a middle way. The radical communist regime against its traditions is no more than a freak in its historical cause. The nation shall have a revival in the near future with the collapse of the communist party and justice and morality shall prevail. With lack of concrete evidence, I am not in a position to make more profound predictions. What I would like to say is that, to pursue its dream, the country must ensure it is on the right track.

>> Download the report: China 2020-2050

Lotus Dragon


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