Thursday, January 19, 2023

Nowhere to Go But Down


Friends, my latest article is a reflection on all that is going horribly wrong for China's leaders, who heretofore seemed to be enjoying a charmed existence.  China is entering a new phase of its history, when its seemingly inexorable rise to greatness is replaced by a series of giant question marks, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  See if you don't agree...

Red China is on the Ropes – Beware!

Chicom haters (like Yours Truly) will be chuffed at the recent spate of bad news for China's hard-line communist leaders, but at the same time the world as a whole must view these developments with a certain amount of trepidation, simply because adversity is a foreign country, as it were, for many Chinese bigwigs, and how they will react to disappointment and frustration is anyone's guess.

Most recently, the Chinese government announced that the country's population is, for the first time since the 1960s, falling. What's more, ultra-low fertility rates mean that the Chinese have reached the same demographic dead end that we face in the West: unless we import oodles of immigrants, our population levels will soon enter a death spiral, and able-bodied workers (or factory drones, as the Chinese prefer to think of them) will be hard to find.

In addition, supply chain disruptions, COVID craziness, and international mortification over Chinese tyranny have all combined to stifle China's economic growth rates, which have, as everyone knows, been incredibly robust for decades. China's GDP grew only 3% in 2022, putting the country in the same economic doldrums that we face here. This begs the question: will the Chinese people continue to accept CCP hegemony/thuggery when the party loses its trump card of never-ending and rapid improvements in the standard of living?

The Chinese leadership, in the wake of massive, nationwide protests, recently found the courage (or was it the cowardice?) to abandon its insane “zero COVID” policies, permitting the Chinese people much greater freedom. Its reward was a huge spike in COVID cases and COVID deaths. China is thus facing a reckoning with COVID, in the here and now, that most Western countries had months or even years ago. Its medical infrastructure, which was never all that strong, is straining to cope.

Communist China is also facing unprecedented levels of criticism and scorn internationally. According to a Pew poll, 82% of Americans now view China unfavorably. Not since the era of Mao has Red China been held in greater contempt in the West. What's more, this onslaught is bewilderingly multifaceted, from the Chinese perspective.

China's government is blamed for everything from the genesis of COVID, to pollution and carbon emissions, to ravaging the civil liberties of its citizens, to exterminating the Uighurs, to pilfering Western government and corporate secrets and technology, to corrupting and/or intimidating politicians, celebrities, and opinion leaders worldwide, to threatening the peaceful people of Taiwan, and much, much more! So far, none of this criticism has led to meaningful sanctions, much less to serious preparations for military conflict, but it is leading to countermeasures against Red Chinese influence operations, espionage, property acquisition and corporate takeovers, and, perhaps most alarmingly for the Chinese themselves, it is causing some mega-corporations to question whether they want to do business so extensively within and with a country whose reputation is so checkered, and whose future is so beclouded with uncertainty and dread.

All in all, things aren't looking so hot for the Chicoms, who until recently seemed to be on one of history's greatests “rolls” of all time. For those who have tended to view the rise of China and the expected global hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party with apprehension, verging on horror, these developments seem overwhelmingly positive, at first glance. Perhaps it was always inevitable that China would come down to earth, at some stage, and probably it is for the best that it has, BUT...

The giant caveat to the humbling of Red China is this: a cornered animal is always a dangerous one, and thus it is possible that the Chinese leadership will respond to all the aforementioned headwinds in an aggressive or destructive way. Stripped of its legitimacy, its reputation for competency, and the aura of historical inevitability that have shielded the CCP for so long, party leaders may lash out militarily in an effort to refocus Chinese public opinion on external threats, or they may greatly intensify efforts aimed at internal repression, which could cause even greater revulsion in, and estrangement from, the world community.

In the worst case scenario (or is it the best case?), even the social and political stability of China could be jeopardized, with essentially incalculable, but deeply sobering, ramifications for the global economy and for world peace. Lest we forget, China has enormous leverage internationally, given its financial and manufacturing strength, and it has vast arsenals of shiny new weapons, including ICBMs, which, heretofore, the Chicoms have felt no compelling urge or need to utilize. If China implodes, however, all bets are off.

One is reminded of the old saying, “May you live in interesting times”, because Red China's current stumbles are the very definition of “interesting”: indeed, the fate of all of us is bound up in the decision-making of a small band of corrupt, pseudo-Marxist, and decidedly peculiar party bureaucrats in Beijing, who – God help us! – could easily steer their massive country, and the world as a whole, into an abyss, if they and we are not very careful.

Fingers crossed!

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480/106.9.

And here it is at Townhall:


  1. First of all I learned a new word today (chuffed): Thank you.

    I agree with your comments about China. It occurred to me that one truly dangerous action of the CCP would be to invade Taiwan to "repopulate" the mainland. That I have seen, no one has discussed that option in the media.

  2. Hey! Every time you log on to, it's a learning adventure... :)

    Hmm. You're suggesting that demographic factors alone could prompt China to invade Taiwan? I dunno. That definitely seem like "the hard way" to go about it. Another option for the Chinese would be to try to recruit as many ethnic Chinese as possible to "come home to the Reich" (as the Nazis did, with some success, before WWII). It looks like there are about 40 million of them here and there, especially in Southeast Asia. Of course, many of them would be hard to persuade. They left Red China for a reason, or their ancestors did...

  3. Dr. Waddy fromJack : test

  4. Dr.Waddy from Jack: China was and is a meritocracy ( a most unsocialist thing); success and advancement are customarily gained by very hard work. I saw this first hand when I attended a Chinese University in Singapore. Xi's face appears the product of bitter study and a prolix regimen of nights with but four hours sleep. And China's leadership is not hereditary, as is Korea's. In all that China's leaders are no strangers to adversity and the wisom it imparts. I would expect of them caution in foreign affairs.Too, there is China's absolute devotion to ensuring that its 1820 - 1953 traumatic humiliation from without never be repeated and that it be vindicated by the return of all territory once China's.I think their main motivation is that of ensuring China's security and dignity as they see those factors. Foreign adventure or expansion (again, as they see it) may well be considered not worth the risk.

  5. Jack, all you say may be true, but then again it may not be, as China is a rapidly evolving beast. I'm reminded of the Eastern Bloc, the dynamics of which, in 1988, seemed largely fixed, but then 1989 happened and we learned that none of the old rules applied. As for China's communist leadership, it's defined by many things, and hard work is only one of them. Nonetheless, I agree that heretofore they've been extremely cautious, and so the smart money would suggest that they will continue to be so...until, of course, they aren't. Ha!

  6. P.S. What happened of such great moment in 1953 (besides the coronation and Ike's swearing in)?

  7. Dr.Waddy from Jack: The Korean War ended, with China having demonstrated a willingness to fight to preserve its territorial integrity. There was of course incalculable suffering yet in store but, being generated by Maoist insanity, it came from within.

  8. Dr.Waddy from Jack: But the Eastern European revolutions occured in countries which had, pre commie, viable economies affording adequate food, shelter and some recreation. They knew their commie regimes to be be thoroughgoing shams imposed by a brutish Russia. It took a commie hero no less (Teng Hsiao Ping) to deliver China from Maoist depravity.The prosperity he unleashed by enabling China to be China in a modern world and unfettered by foreign " meddling", gave rise to utterly unprecedented prosperity which was an immeasurably joyful thing. The difference it made was as striking, I think, as to make popular uprising unlikely. True, many of the young may not appreciate thd benefits of living in a humane economy but the older set surely does and traditional Chinese deference to age may well have been restored after the unspeakably shocking oppression of seniors during the loony "Cultural Revolution" of the 60s, a happening for which in China may be now regarded with profound shame and regret.

  9. Jack, generally speaking we would expect a more prosperous, modern society to be one relatively immune from civil unrest and potential revolution...but the problem is that the relationship between the two phenomena is far from linear. When the Eastern Europeans rebelled against communism, their living standards were at a high point, not a low point. What's more, all the revolutions of the post-WWII period occurred in circumstances in which people were far better off, materially, than virtually anyone was before 1800. Ergo, I conclude that prosperity and technological advancement do not convey "stability", per se. That is mostly a question of perception, which is slippery, to say the least!