News / Asia

    Q&A: Will China Dominate the 21st Century?

    FILE - China's President Xi Jinping.
    FILE - China's President Xi Jinping.
    Will China dominate the 21st century? It is a question that has been asked and written about often, and a question answered in recent years as “most likely yes.” But not everyone is convinced because of several different factors. Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and author of Will China Dominate the 21st Century. He spoke with VOA’s Jim Stevenson about his view of modern China and the challenges he sees for its government.
     
    STEVENSON: There are many factors in the case against China dominating the century and you lay out several of them, starting off with the political trap.
     

    FENBY: Yes, indeed. I think we have here the last major state on earth run by a communist party. You may say that the system which runs China is largely influenced by capitalism and the market, but it is still a communist party which is the sole political party running China. And I think that is leading it into increasing contradictions, as Mao Zedong would have put it, which actually inhibit its ability to develop and reach a position of dominance if it wished to. I am not convinced that China actually wants to dominate the world.
     
    STEVENSON: There are some extraordinary pressures that China will be facing in the coming 50 to 100 years, especially with an aging population and some potentially serious health issues weighing on the state with the amount of pollution that they have, and other factors.
     
    FENBY: Absolutely, because growth has gone ahead without much effective concern for other issues which you mentioned. Fertility has been falling off in China. We have the one-child policy. We have the sheer cost of having a child because of the lack of health care provision in China, and the gender imbalance. You also have the environmental issue. There was a survey done last year by a number of international universities which reckoned that if you have been born this century in China, your life expectancy in northern cities where the worst pollution is, would be cut by five and a half years. On top of this is the question of what I call the trust deficit, that people do not believe in the cleanliness of the air, the cleanliness of the water, in food safety, the lack of the rule by law, all these create difficult social issues and social tensions which the administration is going to have to deal with.
     
    STEVENSON: Would you say the internal pressures on China are greater than the external ones in the argument that it will not be dominating in the 21st century?
     
    FENBY: Yes. I think the first concern of the Chinese leadership, of the communist party leader Xi Jinping, is domestic. Last November there was a big meeting of the leadership which laid out an ambitious plan, 60 points of changes to be made over the next six to seven years. Those are all domestic issues. This is really where the crux of the matter is. International affairs, foreign affairs do not matter that much for China so long as China does not feel threatened by external powers, so long as it does not feel other powers are not going to intervene in its internal affairs, or its access to iron ore, to oil and other resources which it needs are going to be under threat. My argument in my book is that those domestic problems are so challenging, I do not say necessarily they will turn out badly, but they are so challenging for China that its prime focus is internal rather than external.

    Jim Stevenson

    For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora