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China as a Super Power: More Myth than Reality

Updated on November 29, 2013
Regimented troops
Regimented troops
Military boots in Tibet
Military boots in Tibet
Chinese labor camps
Chinese labor camps


I am an Indian who resides in Singapore. The majority in Singapore are Chinese, but there is no support for China here. China to most Asian countries appears a threat mainly because of its GDP and the massive army it supports. It has engineered conflicts of interests with almost all its neighbours like India, Vietnam, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. As Nehru said” a strong China is always an expansionist China”.

The above statement is true, but is China all that strong? I have visited China and my views are different from what most writers are writing about China. Facts and figures in the books and papers do no present a true picture of China. Read on to understand what I mean.

Poverty in China

China is the most populous nation on earth. If one looks at Russia under Brezhnev, one could never imagine that the massive Soviet state could collapse. Yet, it did because of inherent contradictions in its makeup. Similarly China does appear a monolith giant, but it is not a cohesive nation. Let us look at the economic progress of China. This is touted by China supporters and apologists as a sign that China will dominate the world.

The facts are different. In reality I have seen that vast areas of China are poor and poverty ridden. The Chinese government has concentrated its attention in a few areas which are presented to the world as ‘progress’. In reality more than 700 million Chinese live in abject poverty. On top of this is an iron framework of suppression and lack of freedom. It is a sad commentary that at millions of Chinese are herded into ‘corrective Labor camps’ for being a ‘threat’ to the security of China. Anything can be a threat to the ‘Security’ of China, like even owning an airgun.

Internal Contradictions in China

China is not a cohesive nation. Throughout History China has never known democracy or egalitarian rule. The Chinese history is replete with war lords and dictators. This culminated with the rise of Mao tse Tung who turned out to be a bigger tyrant than Hitler and as per conservative estimates executed or caused the death of 20 million Chinese. Yet the Chinese are not presented these figures as a totalitarian state apparatus is created and the body of this so called ‘peoples leader’ is interred in a mausoleum in the capital of Peking.

The point I must make is that a fear psychosis is created among the population for lack of information. The communist party which espouses Marx is an insult to the great thinker. It is a hybrid apparatus that talks of ‘peoples power’, but in reality is plain and simple dictatorship and one party rule. It is not a benign dictatorship but an iron fisted rule. One must be in China to sense the undercurrent there. There are severe undercurrent of dissent and yearning for a better life, which is denied to 50% of the population. This is sure to implode at some time or another.

Dissent in the Occupied Areas of China

China under Mao occupied Sinkiang and Tibet. The Chinese method of assimilation of these areas is simple. Forget about your culture and religion and accept the supremacy of China and the Chinese race. Mao’s “let a hundred flowers bloom…” which was an excellent ploy to bring out the people, who disagreed with him, was used skilfully to mark out the dissenters and most were executed. The Chinese leadership has applied this in Tibet and Sinkiang.

In Tibet the situation is particularly bad. At least 2000 monks have immolated themselves to protest Chinese rule. China maintains nearly 30 divisions there and is mortally scared of India. It has long festering border dispute and with 30% of the Tibet population refugees in India, China sees a threat from them. No wonder that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibet people is not allowed entry into Tibet for the last 55 years. He had escaped to India in 1959 when he got wind of a plot to murder him and Nehru granted him political asylum. After that the Chinese allow no Indians to enter Tibet.

The problem of Tibet is a weak point in the China system and at some point in time when China implodes, Tibet may see better days.

Last Word

China is not a cohesive nation. It is beset with internal contradictions. Economic progress for a small portion of the population is not enough to sustain China as one nation. Just like Russia, China will also have an internal upheaval and the world then will be a different place. Yet at present Chinese economic might look formidable, but it’s like an outer shell of an egg and can crack at any time.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very Interesting

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      My job takes me to many locations on our planet. Even while writing this i am on my way to Beijing.

      So over the years i got to identify the changes taking place in individual countries, changes in human well being, changes in selfesteem, changes in overall economic performance.

      Concerning China, i am impressed of the progress the country and its people made and make. There is only one economy coming close and that is Brazil. That leaves the 2 other economies of the BRIC (Russia and India) far behind.

      When you go to a country in fairly regular intervals (may be once a year), your will notice the changes. Of course the level is still quite low compared to developed economies, but progress, advancements are visible. Of course China is not a free country. But for me it is obvious that people got educated enough to perform a bird eyes view of their own situation.

      In many situations i still live the prejudice: one European negotiating and holding down dozens of Chinese counterparts. But times are changing and within a few years this will be over.

      For those in developed economies who are afraid of the progress of China and its way to a Superpower: Don´t be afraid. Because true Superpowers need ingenuity in technical and social and economic skills. And here is where China is still behind.

      China will need to transform their educational system and their cultural backbone of neglecting individuality. This is a challenge for China and a chance for developed western economies. Not because it will not happen (the transformation) but because when China transforms, it will be the same as all western economies, with all the advantages and drawbacks.

      So China is impressive today. They are on the way to become a superpower. And this is nothing to be scared of.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      China as a Super Power: More Myth than Reality interesting insight here you have accomplished an informative and lots to ponder about China I have heard lots about how strong China has grown over the years but it is not all so true according to this hub.