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Strategically, is the PRC up Against the Ropes?

Background

In a recent Op-Ed by Bill Stanton over at the Taiwan News with the headline “A PRC in decline: A multitude of difficult challenges,”  Stanton itemizes the difficulties facing the “Great Power” nation:

“Given the international enthusiasm the PRC (People’s Republic of China) often generated in the past and from which it has profited, chiefly because of its impressive economic growth rates, it is notable how more recent 2022 assessments of China have significantly soured.

This should not be so surprising given the enormous and growing challenges the PRC faces:

  • a declining and aging population;
  • continuing social, ethnic, and regional inequality among the Chinese people;
  • a terribly polluted environment – including the air, water, and land;
  • its daunting dependence on imports of food, energy, and raw materials;
  • a slowing economy with a huge debt burden built on government loans for often unnecessary infrastructure and unsellable empty housing, office buildings, and malls;
  • decreasing foreign interest in investing in state-subsidized Chinese companies that steal intellectual property;
  • Xi Jinping’s commitment to a widely unpopular, oppressive, and commercially unfriendly zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy that has failed;
  • an increasingly authoritarian government that stifles innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • widespread global dissatisfaction with PRC policies toward Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, among other concerns, and the resulting increase in unfavorable views of China and Xi Jinping.” (1)

Stanton goes on to provide an analysis of “three issues that may be the most serious for the future of the PRC: a decline in economic growth, demographic failure, and growing international distrust and opprobrium.”

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.