China as a “ticking time bomb”?: Beijing’s problems are the world’s problems

China as a “ticking time bomb”?: Beijing's problems are the world's problems

Sharp words from Joe Biden: The US President recently described China as a “ticking time bomb”. He does not want to “damage” the People’s Republic, but the country is in an “economically difficult situation”. That’s “not good,” Biden analyzed, “because when bad people have problems, they do bad things.”

A spokesman for Biden later specified that the president was referring to China’s domestic political challenges – economic, social and cultural. These tensions are having an impact on how Beijing interacts with the world.

Whether Biden’s statement was politically wise remains to be seen. But what the US government says is not wrong. Economic growth in the People’s Republic is weakening; now the country is slipping into deflation.


percent of young Chinese are unemployed.

Prices are falling, which can stimulate consumption in the short term and have a stabilizing effect. But economists consider such a development to be dangerous in the long term because it depresses corporate profits. The result: pay cuts and layoffs.

Just last year, experts warned that the huge Chinese real estate market could collapse – also with consequences for the global economy. The construction giant Evergrande had stumbled, which also caused unrest in the country. Many Chinese who had been saving for their own apartment for decades lost their money through Evergrande.

The country is aging, young university graduates are becoming waiters

In addition, thanks to the decades-old one-child policy, the country has a self-imposed demographic problem: society is getting older. While the overall unemployment rate is relatively low at just four percent, youth unemployment rose to over 20 percent this year.

More and more young people in China have a university degree, but the number of qualified jobs is not enough. Corona and mega lockdowns like in Shanghai have put a damper on China’s companies. Many are still reluctant to hire new staff.

And so more and more well-educated twenty-somethings are taking on waiter or courier jobs to survive. Many doubt whether they can afford a child. All of this makes you dissatisfied. And this is exactly where the risk that Biden fears lies. You let us govern, we ensure your prosperity – that is the deal that China’s Communist Party (CP) made with the people. But what if the calculation no longer adds up?

Party and state leader Xi Jinping and his leadership clique already have a plan B – and it’s called nationalism. Even primary school students learn that their country of 1.43 billion people is superior to others. They are raised to be patriots and receive military training from high school. The state-controlled media are increasingly painting a picture of the West oppressing China.

China wants more than trade – it wants political dominance

A system battle is already raging that should not be underestimated. China is expanding its influence in international organizations. It makes other countries economically dependent on itself in order to use this for political purposes.

With international initiatives such as the Silk Road project, the dictatorship also wants to establish its own dubious values ​​in the world. What China thinks of human rights can be seen, among other things, in the systematic oppression in Xinjiang and Tibet. Beijing sees our democratic system and diversity of opinion as a weakness.

Now it’s time to lose the United States. The conflict over Taiwan could escalate. China claims the island, although it was never part of the People’s Republic founded in 1949. However, the Communist Party claims that its vision of China as the dominant world power can only be fulfilled after the annexation.

Preparations for this gigantic patriotism project are already underway: Xi wants to command the most modern and powerful military in the world by 2049. An aggressive foreign policy has always been the means of dictatorships against the growing dissatisfaction of the people.


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