China’s Junk-Rated Future, by Al Fin.
Mr. Xi — like Mr. Putin before him — seems to have leaped too soon, and his nation is likely to pay very dearly for his miscalculation. The appearance of indomitable strength is not the same thing as indomitable strength. Mr. Xi appears to have taken his own propaganda and ginned up statistics too seriously — committing the particularly egregious sin of projecting past trends into the future far beyond their expiration dates. …
Going back thousands of years, China’s history is full of ambitious expansions followed by devastating collapse. Today’s Chinese Communist Party of Mr. Xi appears ready to take another wild ride on the cyclic China Express. It is difficult to see any other outcome than bloodshed on a grand scale — a phenomenon that historians often airbrush out of their portraits of time. …
Always watch the fundamentals and discount the official public pronouncements and rah! rah! cheerleading. Remember that right up until the Soviet Union fell, it was still being promoted as the successor world superpower destined to replace the US — by a mainstream media and world punditry that remains similarly blindered and tunnel-visioned today.
From The Problem With China’s One Belt, One Road Strategy, by Spencer Sheehan:
China doesn’t always offer the best value to partnering countries. Projects are often tied to political pacts through which China’s state-owned enterprises get exclusive bidding rights, as opposed to competitive tenders between SOEs and other international firms….
In the case of Kenya, Chinese companies have delivered the centerpiece Standard Gauge Railway at a cost of $5.6 million per km, close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate.
In China, the newly wealthy live in contrast with the old rural poor, by Nick Holdstock.
So why does Xi Jinping believe that the Party is fighting for its life? Because he knows that behind this gleaming facade lies another reality. He knows that the people who live and work in the soaring buildings dare not drink tap water, their life expectancy has been cut by five years by polluted air, and cancer is growing in their babies’ lungs due to levels of PM2.5 invisible to the eye but clearly shown by an app on my iPhone.
… It is not only their savings that the rich are trying to move abroad; China is suffering from the greatest brain drain in the history of the world (by 2006, 750,000 students who had studied abroad had failed to return to China.)
… It is not only their rulers whom the common people distrust: they tell me their distrust runs horizontally as well as vertically. They shake their heads and say: “In China there is no trust, and no truth.”