China over rated as a power ?

Its become quite common to post/mention China as the next big one. As a future rival to the US. Ok… China does have nukes… does have a space program and does have a big army. Still I feel the tendency to say that the next super power will be China as overblown.

Their GDP per capita is very low still... even if they do have a huge population its still underdeveloped at $4,440 per capita income. (Brazil according to the same source: CIA world factbook has $7,200 in comparison.)

 Corruption is endemic and strongly entrenched. The justice system is pretty flawed too. A rising oligarchy is tending to dominate. Technology is backward.

China is no lightweight due to sheer size mostly. Still one has the impression that they will remain outside the greater powers due to cultural and economic disparities. Or do you see good reasons that in the future China will become a super power ?

If you’ve ever been to HK or Taiwan, you’ll see how compatible capitalism is with Chinese culture. Unleash that in the PRC, throw in a dalop of political reform, and you’ve got a country that could easy rival any in the west in a generation. Just do the math with a GDP growth rate slightly skewed towards the PRC.

One variable that could be a big stumbling block is seperatist movenments in various regions (ala USSR) if political reform truely takes root. I’m not too knowledgeable about the specifics, but I’m sure other posters who are can weigh in on that.

I think the issue is mostly about potential. IF China continues to Westernize its economic policy, improves technology, etc., there’s no question it’ll be a major player on the world stage if only because it’s a gigantic market (the biggest one out there) and it’s just now opening up to all the people who’d like to sell it things. :wink:

Is it even accurate to call China “communist” any more?

Heck, give the neocons another few years, and you probably won’t be able to distinguish between the Chinese government and the US government anyway… :wink:

Interesting question Rashak Mani. Personally I think China is certainly on the way to becoming the predominant power in Asia, overtaking Russia militarily and Japan economically within the next century. It’s already well ahead of India the only country of a comparative size in population terms. The 2002 estimate of GDP per capita for India is only $2,540.

As for rivalling the US, that will still be a long way off. China has virtually no deepwater navy so it’s capacity to project power to other continents is very limited.

In one sense China’s predominance in Asia is merely a reversion to the situaiton that existed until the late eighteenth century. China was far and away the largest and most powerful nation in the world through most of history.

But as John Mace points out China faces some significant problems. Political reform still seems a long way off. Seperatism in the western regions will continue, particularly in Tibet and also Xinjian. These two problems and the continued economic development issues will probably delay China’s growth in power for some while yet.

Militarily - no. You wouldn’t believe how many (stupid, stupid) people seem to believe that China could whip the US military’s ass on our own soil if they chose - because I guess if you have a lot of people that translates to a powerful military - but they have no hope of invading Taiwan, let alone challenging the US militarily.

Economically - not my department.

Today China cannot beat the USA, obviously, but neither can the USA entirely beat China. I can’t see why that is really so relevant. You cannot kill your boss at work without losing your own life and neither can he kill you without losing his. So what? He is still much more powerful than you are. Power is ,easure by what you can do, not by what you cannot do.
China is overrated in what sense? China today is what it is and I do not think it is overrated in any way. Rather I think it is underated in many ways which is normal because it takes time to overcome old perceptions. Even after Japanese cars were equal or better than American cars many people still thought anything out of Japan was junk.

If we are talking about the future potential of China then I think there are many opinions and only time will tell which are over or underrated. I think China today is comparable to post-WWII Japan. The potential is enormous. If China continues to develop peacefully at the present rate there is no question that in 50 years it can be first world power in every sense with a big difference over the rest. In the end what counts is that they have an economy capable of sustaining the military they would like to have. I think it is very possible that China’s economy could surpass that of the USA in less than 50 years which means they could afford a stronger military. If China has a greater economy than the USA and the USA enters an arms race with China then the USA will go bankrupt before China. Whether that will come to pass or whether my assessment is overrating China’s potential. . . only time can tell. Bump this thread in 2053 and I’ll give you the answer.

You compare the GDP at purchasing power parity. I think that’s only good to get an idea of their standard of living but not a good measurement to compare the power between China, India and the US.

China’s actual GDP in US$ is 840 per capita. India comes to 450. USA: 34,100
And if China would let the Renminbi float to a more realistic value, it’s much less then above stated.

Well I am reading again Paul Kennedy’s book “Rise and Fall of the Great Nations”. Criteria he kept using was GDP and political organization. Education figures highly too…

I agree that in 40 years or so China will be even bigger… but will that translate in a much more efficient and possibly a military superpower ? The way people babble about Chine you would think they are a decade away only from becoming anything beyond a regional power. (Being a regional power since 1945 anyway… even Brazil is a regional “power”.)

I think more fuss is being made out of its market size... so the real issue is not China's status.... but the fact that no one can afford to be left out of such a big (and underdeveloped) market. So many developed countries avoid confrontations with chinese politics... pure economic reasons creating this defference.

I know China in the past clashed with the USSR, India and other neighbors... but the more "modern" it becomes... the more its internal contradictions will break apart central power. Less central power means less ability in the current system of wielding that power to obtain super power status.

FabianBlume, if China’s growth rate continues to develop so much faster than the US, it’s economy could easily surpass the American economy in some decades. I would guess that if you take the growth of both economies in the last 5 or 10 years and project it into the future at the same rate, China’s would match the USA’s in just some decades. Whether that will happen or not is another question. To me there is no question that China’s economy will grow faster, just because it is catching up. The uestion is how much faster?

Anothe important aspect is the political will to maintain a large military. Europe has an economy of a comparable size to the USa but it does not have the political will to spend the money on maintaining a large military.

The Soviet Union OTOH, had the will to spend a greater percentage of its GDP than the USA. We would have to see what China decides to do but, for now, they certainly have quite an interest in modernizing their armed forces.

In any case, there is virtually no risk that the USA and China would ever go head to head. Their might and power would count in world influence and in local conflicts in other places.

Chian already has enough influence and power that the USA and Europe have to listen very carefully. Taiwan is legally not an independent country because the USA and Europe cannot afford to piss off China. When taiwan goes around shopping for arms, many countries pass the juicy contracts because they cannot afford to piss off China.

Already today china has enough economic power and weight that it counts a lot in the world and that power is only oing to grow more.

Measuring the power of China versus the USA in terms of an all out war is just silly because it is not going to happen. It is like saying you are as powerful as Bill Gates because he can’t kill you.

I expect China’s economy to grow in the coming decades to becoma a major player in the world. In proportion the economy of the USA, while continuing to grow in absolute numbers, its share of the world economy will continue to diminish which means the power of the USA in the world will also diminish. My guess is the share of the world economy is spreading more among North American, European and Asian countries and I think it is a good thing too.

China was the world’s most important country, or one of the two most important, for about three thousand years. The situation of the last few centuries is what’s unusual - China being the world’s preeminent power would be a return to normalcy.

>> Less central power means less ability in the current system of wielding that power to obtain super power status.

Just look at the USA. Divided by race, by poverty, by region (they had even a bloody civil war). Yes, they could never be a world power! :wink:

On what basis do you claim that China is not already a superpower?

On what basis is America currently considered a superpower if it isn’t nukes, a space program and a big army?

China is a power... I just don't think they are super in any sense yet except in size. If she keeps things going she might... but I think their deficiencies will hurt them to much. Their military are backwards and they just sent an astronaut to space how many decades after the Soviets did ? Corruption is rife... etc.

The US became a superpower based on its economic strength… (something many tend to forget). This economic strength and a secure position allowed for a pivotal role in WWI, WWII and a huge current army, nukes and space program. I think China is going after the status symbols of super power instead of becoming one with its current space and rearmament. The US before WWI and WWII was pathetic militarily as compared to europe… but was still a major power due to military potential.

Hmm this is easy to answer... Egypt was also a big player for thousands of years. Rome as well. Things come and go. China was major major (yep double) power until they isolated themselves. So we could argue that China has a natural tendency to be a "power" mostly due to size nowdays... but are they the stuff for a super power ?  I think not. 

(Ok we can argue the exact meaning of a super power forever… but I think most agree that the URSS was one… the US is one… and Britain and maybe Germany were once recently. )

Why is everyone saying that Chinas return to preminence is a good thing, its still an undemocratic dictatorship.

Because nothing is more evil than the US, duh.

That’s a simplistic statement if there ever was one. First of all, I have not seen “everyone saying China’s return to ‘preminence’ is a good thing” so you might ant to be more specific in what posts you are referring to.

Furthermore, China is making very good progress towards becoming a freer society and its development depends on it so I believe it will necessarily become a country with formal political freedom.

And I also think that it is not good for one country or group to dominate the rest. I believe a balnace of power is better whether you are talking about the division of powers inside a country or in the international arena. I like to see power divided. I always think it is bad when one party has absolute majority and a division of poers between parties is better. For that reason, I think the rise of China is a good thing.

And, not the least, because I think the Chinese people deserve the same standard of living we enjoy. No less.

If CHina is making good progress towards freedom then so is Afghanistan and Iraq and any dictator we currently support.

China is rated 7,7 by Freedom House, the worst possible freedom rating.

China has a worse freedom rating than North Korea and Checnia ?! I don’t doubt their freedom ratings suck… but the worse ? Strange… cite ?