Justice Markandey Katju-
I had a long talk today with a middle aged Chinese who is presently in Toronto, Canada, where I am presently staying too. He lives and works in mainland China ( for the sake of his security I will not mention his name or the name of the city or province he lives in ). I told him my impression was that China was rapidly advancing in science and technology, and the Chinese economy was rapidly growing, and will overtake the US economy in about 20 years.
His reply surprised me. He said that this was not correct, and the truth was that China was collapsing. I asked him why he said so.
He said the Chinese economy was going downhill, there have been massive lay offs in China lately, which is because many industries and businesses have closed down, but these have largely been unreported in the media.
He also said there is no freedom in China, no Facebook, no internet, no twitter, and no free media. Everything is strictly controlled by the government. About the economy he said many industries had closed down and the Chinese economy was tanking, but all this went unreported. It was not possible to set up a successful business in China unless one had some connection with a high up in the ruling Communist Party. The level of corruption in China was flabbergasting. There appeared to be prosperity in the coastal regions like Shanghai, but in the interior of China there was tremendous poverty—and the gap between the rich and poor was widening.
I myself noticed that in many cities in North America ( where I am presently staying ) e.g, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver etc the Chinese have bought a large amount of real estate by down payment of huge amounts of money, and they are not even living in the houses they have bought, but have done so only to park their ill gotten wealth.
Today many Chinese have no ethics, and can do anything for money. I was told by a German friend who is in business that German industries do not normally employ mainland Chinese, as these often commit industrial espionage. The German industries have to invest a huge amount of money in research, and they would naturally not like the inventions and discoveries they have patented at huge cost to be secretly pilfered away by some outsider, but this is precisely what many Chinese do. The Chinese gentleman I spoke to said there is no real progress in science today in China, so the Chinese often indulge in stealing technical secrets from Western countries. That way they don’t have to spend money on their own research.
The truth about the Chinese economy has been mentioned in great detail in several articles published in the international media e.g.’China’s economic slowdown : How bad is it ?’ published in BBC News, ‘How close is China to a financial crisis’ published in forbes.com, and ‘China heading for crisis’ published in the New York Times. All these articles mention how the Chinese economy is going downhill. President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese exports are seriously pinching it.
In the article ‘Forget the Trade War. China is already in crisis’ published in Bloomberg.com it is stated that even if China resolves its economic slowdown it will remain mired in debt driven slump. Sales of cars, iPhones, etc have fallen drastically lately. The Shanghai stock market has plunged by more than a quarter since its 2018 high.
So what will the Chinese leaders do about this economic crisis ?
I had written an article ‘Trump’s opposition to Chinese Imperialism overshadows his defects’ which was published in outlookindia.com. In this article I had explained that China has now become imperialist, and wishes to capture the markets and cheap raw materials of foreign countries ( like a typical imperialist ), as that is the only way it can resolve its home crisis. The Chinese have already penetrated the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America, apart from the developed countries, and is seeking to expand further. China is therefore today the greatest danger to world peace, as it is expanding aggressive imperialism, as Nazi Germany was in Europe, unlike British and French imperialism which were on the defensive. Of course this Chinese expansion into foreign countries is presently not by military means, as German Imperialism was, but by economic means, but we can never say what is coming in the future.
So it seems that what the Chinese gentleman told me today is correct, and I was under a wrong impression about the situation in China.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.]