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27.1 Introduction
27.2 Emergence of People’s Republic of China
27.3 Post-Cold War World and Uni-polarity
27.3.1 China’s Military Capability
27.3.2 PLA Modernisation
27.3.3 PLA Structure

27.4 China’s Economic Strength
27.5 Stability of China
27.6 Summary
27.7 Exercises

About China, Napoleon had once said: “It is a sleeping giant, let it sleep for if it wakes it would
shake the world”. Whether Napoleon’s prophecy has come out to be true or not is a matter
of perception but one thing is certainly true that today China’s presence is felt the world over.
Political observers and analysts have been discussing and debating on the role of China in
international politics and the status it has among the comity of nations. China has the largest
population in the world, approximately 1.5 billion people, according to the latest official census.
It has the fourth largest territory-Canada, the United States and Russia being the only other
countries bigger in size. It has the biggest land army in the world. Today, its GNP per capita
is second largest and it has maintained a growth rate of about 8 per cent for the last many
years. However, to assess correctly China’s potential of becoming a super power or even a
great power capable of threatening the only super power in today’s world viz. the United States
of America, it is necessary to understand a whole gamut of features and factors about China
which would be done in this Unit

China is one of the oldest civilisations on this earth. For several centuries it remained isolated
from the rest of the world as it was self-sufficient in every respect. The Chinese political system
until the year 1911 was dominated by an emperor, who according to the Chinese ruled with the
“mandate of heaven”. In other words, the emperor was divine, he was son of God. They,
therefore, conducted their international relations in a way which seemed very unusual and
strange to Westerners. All those who established any kind of relations with them had to pay
“tribute” to the emperor. Foreigners were considered barbarians as the Chinese considered
themselves superior to outsiders. However, traders, monks, scholars and curious travellers had
visited China and many have spent years there. Nonetheless, China remained an enigma to
many foreigners. It was only after Western colonialism began to spread its tentacles that China
was forced to become a part of the international system. After the Opium War of 1840 when
the British, using what is called ‘gunboat diplomacy’, got the Chinese to open their ports for

However. brazenly markets its weapons to pariah states and aggressively pursues export-led growth strategies is even looked upon by some as a threat to 10 . China remained politically independent in the sense that no power took away the political sovereignty of China but economically it was plundered by all-Britain. However. it said that it was part of the Socialist Bloc led by the Soviet Union. it is all these factors in combination which bestows a big power status to any country. as they were known. came to an end in 1911. After the United States and Russia. the PRC claimed that it was part of the Third World which meant the nations of Asia (minus Japan). In less than three decades China has emerged as a big power in many respects. The communists who had the mainland under their control called it the People’s Republic of China (henceforth the PRC). since its birth the PRC has been an important player in the post-Second World War era. until the early 1960s. the international scenario was dominated by the two super powers viz.e. Post-liberation China is chronologically divided into two periods i. From all its policy statements it is clear that China is opposed to a uni-polar world and supports multi-polarity because it is opposed to all forms of hegemony. the monarchy and with it the emperor-system. Led by Mao Zedong. a peasant revolution with the support of a peasant army. its economic strength or its political stability? In fact. it is undoubtedly the next powerful country. the Mao period (from 1949 to 1977) and the Reform period (1978 onwards). As Karmel has observed: “A more confident but still authoritarian China-a state that suppresses pluralism. The latter fled to the island of Taiwan and established the government of the Republic of China (henceforth ROC). After that a cultural renewal movement emerged which brought into existence a communist party. to grasp the extent of China’s power it is imperative for us to analyse some factors. The end of the Cold War created a totally new scenario in the arena of international relations. France.3 POST-COLD WAR WORLD AND UNI-POLARITY As is known to all during the period of the Cold War i. These treaties subjugated China to all European powers and later to Japan too. Germany. In the latter period when its relations with the Soviet state soured. brought liberation to China in 1949. The communists finally defeated their compatriots namely the Nationalists. As long as the PRC had cordial relations with the Soviet Union i. China had to sign a series of ‘unequal treaties’ with almost all imperialist powers. In the 20th Century. the position was held by the ROC government. First. the United States and the Soviet Union. This was a matter of grave concern for all patriotic Chinese as this amounted to humiliation for the entire nation which was always a proud civilisation. Africa and Latin America. In that sense the PRC poses a challenge to the only super power-the United from the end of Second World War to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Although up until 1971.e. (The Non-aligned countries claimed to belong to no bloc). and Japan-in different ways. What is it that makes a nation a big power? Is it its military capabilities. The United States is the only super power unchallenged by any. Russia. China witnessed far-reaching changes and experienced a massive transition. That same year the Chinese began to reform their system in the most dramatic and totally unexpected ways. An overwhelming part of China’s resources were under the control of the various imperialist powers. Most countries of the world were part of any one of the two blocs. the PRC government was not accepted as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.e. 27. Diplomatic recognition by the United States came only in 1978. Along with the process of globalisation that is going on in full strength a completely different world order is emerging and China is making a valiant effort to have an effective presence in it.

In addition the Reserves comprise of 1. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies the total number of troops is 2. Known as People’s War. the other principle that was accepted during the struggle for liberation was that of “Party commands the gun”. The People’ War doctrine remained an important component of Chinese communist ideology even in the post-liberation period as long as Mao Zedong was alive.090. the Chinese National People’s Congress (China’s parliament) passed the National Defence Law in which this Maoist principle of the Party controlling the gun has been stipulated.2 PLA Modernisation China has the biggest land army in the world. For Chinese communists the term ‘people’ implied those who supported the CPC which includes workers. This was reinforced by the fact that Chinese did not undertake any massive military modernisation programme due to the limited resources the state has at its disposal. the peasant army used guerrilla tactics to fight the enemy. There are many instances of bravery and courage that the PLA displayed to bring liberation to China.000 men and the People’s Armed Police (a paramilitary body) have 800. What we would try to see here is that can China be a potential threat to the United States in the forseeable future. the CPC has a Central Military Commission (CMC.000. Apart from People’s War. a moral connotation-an army that fights for the people and not a state. However.the United States”.1 China’s Military Capability It is beyond doubt that China’s dramatically expanded military might and economic development make the states of Asia and beyond feel threatened. which effectively means civilian control over the military. peasants and progressive sections of the middle classes. While it is true that a lot of information on the Chinese military is not available to the outside world but many studies have been done on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by a number of scholars. 27. Having given so much clout to the military in its struggle to liberate China.000 respectively. During the Mao period i.000 soldiers and the airforce. In 1997. Zhu De and Mao Zedong were the main organisers and in its early years it was called first the Eighth Route Army and then the New Fourth Army.000. There have been instances in post-liberation China when the army has been called to intervene in. 280. The name PLA was given to it after the Japanese attacked China in 1937.3. In the following passages we would take up a brief discussion of the PLA to understand and analyse its role in giving China the status of a big power. navy and strategic misile force have 470. Origins of the PLA The PLA was formed in the year 1927 when the communists organised the poor peasants in the remote areas of Southern China. 27.e. The PLA fought the Japanese as well as the Chinese Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek. earlier it was called the Military Affairs Commission) and it is chaired by the most powerful civilian leader. all military doctrine as well as strategy and tactics fell under it. the CPC has always been wary of losing its control over the army. The Chinese claimed that even in case of a nuclear war they could defeat the enemy using People’s War strategy. what many would call a political dispute.840.000 and 125.3. up to 1976 with the People’s War doctrine upheld. To maintain its supremacy over the PLA.000 of which the army has 2. (At present Jiang Zemin is its Chairman). In its early years most of its recruits were poor peasants. a large army was 11 .200. It had. therefore.

In other words.) which would put the economic development programme in jeopardy. according to another source 80. Since Reforms were initiated under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. Once into Chinese territory the enemy may destroy very important economic installations (factories. This has led to a new emphasis on the navy. did have a flaw. marine. Deng realised that without professionalising the army and modernising the weaponry.000. It has been officially announced that the number of troops would be reduced gradually and brought down to 2. their technological foundation. their position and use are increasingly prominent and important.3. changes have occurred in the military doctrine. No one knows how many soldiers are there in each of these regions.3 PLA Structure The PLA land forces are divided into seven military regions namely Beijing.000 soldiers are stationed in the coastal Fujian province. Deng Xiaoping talked about and then theorised the concept of “People’s War under Modern Conditions” which gave the ideological justification for modernising the PLA. this concept was not much publicised mainly because this war was fought decisively by the air force with no role for the army. should it occur. In late 1985. has to be provided. children’s education. oil refineries. This theory. strong mobility. however. Since the Reforms which led to a policy of Open Door. submarine. healthcare. China’s goal of becoming a developed country would be unachievable.” The Chinese navy can be broken down by function into five categories: warship. Lanzhou. As Deng Xiaoping had stated: “Navies in the present era create great power.000 and the naval air force approximately 25. 27. This not only led to more stress on the technological advancement of the PLA but also brought about new thinking encapsulated in the doctrine of “Modern Warfare under Hi-tech Conditions”. air ports. however. In modern warfare. After Mao’s death when the CPC decided to modernise its military as part of the Four Modernisations policy (which later on was called the Reforms under Deng Xiaoping) an oversized PLA is clearly a liability. probably to be engaged in a cross-strait military conflict. uniforms. interesting to note that China’s ground forces are not at all towards any national border or potential battlefront. bridges etc. After the Gulf War (1991). housing. Coastal defence forces are believed to have 29. This is so because a state needs lots of resources to maintain so many soldiers as rations.perceived as an asset. Nanjing. South and North China Sea fleets. more than before navies are of substantial significance. People’s War under modern conditions meant that in the event of a war guerrilla tactics would be first used against the enemy which would be drawn into Chinese territory and later it would be attacked with modern weaponry. China’s coastal areas have prospered far more than the interior. this emphasis is also due to the perception of the importance of the sea as a strategic resource and battleground.5 million. Jinan. Moreover. it was clear to the military planners of China that in this day and age superior technology matters. naval aviation and coastal defence force. entertainment etc. and the capacity for worldwide intervention. However. However. The army is intended more for maintaining internal order engage in construction and relief activities and perform mainly domestic functions. It is estimated that as many as one million troops are stationed in Xinjiang (Sinkiang) province which has seen terrorist activities grow in the last few years. Here it needs to be mentioned that gaining control over the province of Taiwan has been the most crucial of China’s policies. For a nation that has taken up a very ambitious reforms programme a huge army is an expensive proposition. China’s navy is divided into East. regular training and exercises are also necessary to keep the army’s morale high. and Chengdu. It is. Guangzhou.000 soldiers. Shenyang. the marine corp of around 5. Trapped inside Chinese territory it would not get an escape route and this would make it either surrender or perish. Troop reduction has therefore become an important issue for the Chinese at present. the Naval Military Academic Research Institute was established to coordinate 12 .

China remains well behind the United States. Throughout the reform period the military strategists of China have emphasised the importance of missiles in modern warfare.4 CHINA’S ECONOMIC STRENGTH As is well-accepted. high technology. its first hydrogen bomb was tested. Key equipment and ordnance for naval modernisation also appear to be beyond China’s reach both technologically and financially. operations and tactics. economic strength and domestic political stability. advanced and consistent training. The air force is a capital-intensive branch of the armed forces which in order to be effective relies almost entirely on modern logistics. however. the fourth branch of China’s defence system is its missile force or Second Artillery.and provide research and analysis for the formulation of naval strategy. the Chinese air force is third largest in the world in terms of the size of its inventory. Of course efforts are on to improve quality as is indicated by new purchases and development programmes and formation of elite air force units. The United States is the super power of this era because of a combination of its military power. an oversized army and a not completely modernised navy and air force prevent the Chinese from posing a major threat to bigger powers like the United States and Russia. However. may be operational.” In other words. Modernisation of the navy has been undertaken rather seriously in the last two decades but military analysts feel that it continues to face some crippling weaknesses. The development of a powerful nuclear missile is a very effective way to maintain a massive deterrent against super power attack. It is well known that maintenance of a missile force requires the services of a very well trained group of scientists and technicians. It is said that the bulk of China’s naval ships are aging and in the process of going out of use.000 planes. navy and air force. Like the navy. for instance. Between 1956 and 1981. sheer military prowess does not make a nation a major power. As one author has remarked: “Even if China develops the technical and economic capacity to promote military modernisation more quickly. The figures regarding how much China spends on its air force are not available but it is believed that the air force comprises an increasing per centage of China’s overall defence spending. It has. Since then it has conducted several nuclear tests. too many old ships which need to be replaced by new ones with advanced technology. It may have more than 6. China has many technical. and developed command and control systems. A nation’s economic resilience is also an extremely important criterion to judge how important a role it can play in international affairs. The former Soviet Union 13 . Most of these planes. The country has expressed its ambition to have blue water navy but most analysts feel that China is decades away from it. The apparently huge size of China’s outdated air force suggests that the emphasis is still on quantity rather than quality. China is struggling to develop these elite units that require to be trained to employ the newest hardware it is acquiring. economic and political obstacles in implementing a new strategy. and in 1967. Russia and Japan. In addition to the army. leaders are afraid that a shift away from the rank and file and toward these high-tech goods might cause the Party to lose control over the gun. Despite possessing laser guns. As far as naval ordnance is concerned. China’s strategic doctrine on the development of missiles and nuclear bombs appears shrewd and realistic in comparison with its doctrines on the air force and navy. stealth fighter planes and nearly silent submarines. China exploded its first atom bomb in 1964. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) could not grow in the pre-reform period as the People’s war doctrine was extremely inhibiting. brilliant bombs. The present leaders of China do agree that the air force is the most important branch in a modernised defence establishment. China developed its first generation of ballistic missiles. 27.

China has sustained investment rates of over 35 per cent of GDP. High savings have been invested in infra-structure and education to create the supporting environment for mass scale production.5 per cent of the total population. less than half of China’s.e. India’s current GDP is around US $ 450 billion i. Families have mainly borne the burden of their child’s education. China. its population policy of ‘one-child family’ has decreased the dependency ratio and raised the savings rate substantially. At the high school level i. it is 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively. is way behind.000 kilometres of expressways and adds 3000 kilometres each year. Hence when we assess the power of a state we must take into account the all-round capabilities and not just one criterion. China’s economy could be worth US $10 trillion. At present the enrolment ratio is 11 per cent which means that it has gone up by more than five times in about a decade. In contrast. Even after twenty years of rapid economic growth China is still considered a poor country. Singapore. Moreover rapid growth has. In the 1980s. India is still below the 1000 km mark in expressways. College enrolment in the 1980s was about 1. therefore. Taiwan. it is clear in retrospect. on the one hand. The disparities between the wealthy and the poor have increased massively. has led to a host of problems which China is grappling with. and politically. Huge investments in infrastructure have created a national power grid with ample generating capacity. most of the figures for China are impressive but in comparison with many other Asian states China still has a long way to go. Nine-year education is universal. In the last thirty years. In the last twenty years there has been tremendous progress. About 11 per cent of high school graduates go in for tertiary (or college) education. it was a very fragile nation-state. wealth and opportunity. South Korea. China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at US$ 1. China is building around ten huge new cities that will house over ten million people each. These issues if not properly addressed may lead to major crises in Chinese society. Urban productivity is four times of rural productivity. the Chinese government is using it as a trigger to implement far-reaching and radical reforms to globalise the economy. This indicates that there are question marks on the prospective social stability 14 . China’s foreign exchange reserves exceeded US $ 216 billion in 2001. Rural families are still reluctant to send their children to high school. the twelve year school the numbers enrolled are about seventy per cent of those leaving secondary school. Compared with India. Urbanisation is taking place in China at a rapid pace as the belief is that “economic development is basically about moving people from villages to cities”. From one of the most egalitarian societies in the world it has become the most unequal in its distribution of income. The share of public education expenditure in the GDP has been declining in the last twenty years. Apart from this there are various other problems that have resulted as a consequence of the reforms that began in the late 1970s. India’s rate of investment peaked at 26 per cent in 1996 and has since declined to about 22 per cent in 2001.e. Human capital formation is also one area China is working on. Malaysia have given their people a higher living standard than China has to its people. Since its membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In the last twelve years China has built over 19.1 trillion and the average growth rate registered in the past twenty years has been 9 per cent. In the year 2001. China sustains high rate of investment by high rates of domestic savings of around 40 per cent. enlivened the stagnant economy of the 1960s and 1970s but on the other. It is expected that by the year 2020. a national telecom system with the largest mobile network in the world and a national aviation system. In most villages there is at least one nine-year secondary school.did have enormous military prowess but could not maintain its economic strength. This is remarkable in contrast with China’s past and that of most other developing countries but if we compare it with that of the US and Europe.

short-lived and not well organised. The primary objective of the reforms undertaken since 1978 is to strengthen China’s international position while retaining the authority of the Party. All forms of violence are swiftly curbed and sometimes proper corrective measures are taken to pacify the peasants. The newly emerging private sector and multi-national corporations together are in no position to absorb all workers who have lost their jobs. Reforms may have brought more wealth to Chinese society but its distribution has not been balanced. The results of the reforms include: glaring regional imbalances.. riots. women. the elderly. political and social stability. The creation of a market economy and opening to the outside world gave intellectuals and the 15 . No nation can achieve a major power status unless it has domestic peace and stability. However. How long the state would be able to do so is a question many ask. killing of cadres or police. exacerbated rural-urban divide. pollution due to new factories. The SOE reforms have worker-retrenchment at its core. peasants and intellectuals have been affected by the reforms in a variety of ways. adverse impact on minorities.5 STABILITY OF CHINA This is a question that is being frequently asked by many scholars observing the growth of China. This is having a noticeable negative impact. the SOE workers were a rather privileged group with guaranteed employment. demonstrations. Among the reasons for peasant unrest are high taxes. Nonetheless. Waves of peasant unrest occur in certain villages of different provinces and subside after some time. 27. and received cradle-to-grave services from their work units. lowering of grain prices. The total number of destitute workers nation-wide is estimated at 20 million. workers. losing land for industrialisation. In the following section we discuss these. pension benefits etc. In the last decade more than 14 million workers have been laid off. insurmountable ecological and environmental problems. social security. cultural and social conflicts (for example. noticeable sectoral imbalance. Veteran permanent workers and retirees find their employment security. These are mostly spontaneous. Reforms have led to rural discontent in several parts of China where peasants have expressed their anger often violently. For some period of time the regime may succeed in containing the unrest in the countryside but a real threat to it may appear in the event of rural protest movements linking up with their urban counterparts. many important issues have arisen in the last two decades which need to be addressed in such a way that China is able to sustain economic growth without any major dislocation to its social system. welfare benefits etc. superior organisational force of the state has been able to forestall any major outbreak of violence. holding officials captive. This brings us to the next criterion to judge China’s big power status viz. corruption of officials and their abusive behaviour with peasants. violent fights between peasants and Party cadres. Reform of the State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) has been a crucial part of reforms in the urban sector on the workers. in jeopardy. Strikes as well as other methods of agitation have been followed to get the state to hear their voices. As a result resistance-both passive and active-has become visible and in the last few years many cases of violent workers’ protests have been reported.of China. During the pre-reform (Maoist period). the state supports cremation of the dead but the custom is burial). The working class is facing drastic dislocation. the disabled and so on. road blocks. Being a big country China can perhaps absorb and neutralise many crises before it goes beyond control. More often than not the target of these protests is not the state or the central government but the local officials and local government. Three important sections of Chinese society viz. damaging state property. Peasant protests have taken a variety of forms: petitions.

its path to becoming a great power would be less difficult to tread. In such an eventuality China’s international image would also be negatively affected and if it has any big power ambitions that too would receive a setback. China has played a key role in the formation of the ‘Shanghai Five’ and signed with the four countries. the Chinese believe. Many demanded civil and political rights along with economic rights. To others. non-state enterprises. mainly in the Asian region. widening income gaps. Equally significant is the fact that intellectuals can remain totally distant from political participation if they so desire. talk of a “China threat” either directly or in a veiled form. 27. peasants.students of China. pollution and corruption is to develop democracy. There is some evidence of underground alliances between workers’ groups and disgruntled intellectuals and if they consolidate and come out in the open and a movement resembling that of Solidarity in the Poland of the 1980s. Highly placed academics called for more political reforms. China has always opposed the hegemony of super powers. and intellectuals-in the forseeable future. China is a rising or an emerging power which may. foreign-joint ventures. Japan is considered an economic super power and plays an important role in world affairs but does not have a standing army. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan. a free press and autonomous unions.6 SUMMARY The debate regarding China’s great power status has had a variety of interpretations. It has never expressed the desire of becoming a super power or even a big power. Nonetheless. providing a degree of economic independence which gives them some protection from political retaliation. But we all know retrospectively that the Soviet Union was internally a weak nation-state or else it would not have crumbled so easily. Russia. China has resented the fact that other nations. lead to the rule of law. Genuine political reforms may take place which could create viable political institutions. if at all. China is a struggling developing country with high ambitions. A group which tried to form a political party to challenge the Communist Party of China was quickly repressed with all its leaders arrested. According to some scholars. there is an apprehension that an alliance between the three or even two of these may be potent enough to challenge the regime leading to chaos and instability. emerges on the scene then it certainly does not augur well for the Chinese regime. it may be a necessary condition. for the first time in the PRC. The fate of the Soviet Union also teaches us that a mere military might is not a sufficient condition for big power status. This is being done to maintain unipolarity and prevent China from initiating the process of creating a multi-polar world and more importantly to prevent China from becoming a developed country. supported a multi-polar world which will not be dominated by one super power. However. The Chinese regime does not face any major or imminent threat from any of these groupsworkers. Kazakhstan. a positive scenario can also emerge. in the future.” It is believed that China’s main aim in having close 16 . They believe that economic reforms cannot be sustained without political reforms and the only way to deal with rising unemployment. China has. or their own businesses. be powerful enough to threaten the United States. either in the professions. therefore. a treaty in 1996 which it called “the first multi-lateral treaty… to build confidence in the Asia-Pacific region. the way the Soviet Union did during the Cold War. give China an independent judiciary. In this multi-polar world it wants to see itself as playing a crucial role. Without a major upheaval if China becomes more open and democratic. alternatives to government employment. The party-state tolerates and even encourages an apolitical culture so that intellectuals stay away from politics. Towards the end of the Century one witnessed different intellectual currents in China.

cooperation with the Central Asian countries is to have access to the energy supplies which China needs for its economic development programme. these are signs of weakness and insecurity. At present China is completely involved in developing its economy. Ideologically. China often behaves in such a way that others see a ‘China threat’. In the last fifty years tension has developed a few times on the Taiwan Straits but has not led to war. policy papers etc. At that point. although by then. This ‘triangle’ would be very clearly some kind of a counter to the United States which has become the sole super power. Describe China’s economic strength. the Jiang Kai-shek regime with American support settled there and since then the Communist Chinese have been claiming the island as part of their territory. resolutions. statements. This is of vital importance to the PRC as it permits the PRC to security concerns to its east and south and provides access to weapons which it can neither produce itself nor purchase elsewhere. Russia and other nations may also become more powerful. Once China becomes politically and economically resilient. the liberation of China is not complete without Taiwan. China has said that it would prefer a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Taiwan issue but it does not rule out the possibility of using force. China has developed what is called a ‘strategic partnership’ in the last few years. Also. Some discussions at various levels have been going on towards this direction but India’s enthusiasm for this has not been much. This statement is seen by observers as public posturing as China knows any attempt to forcibly take over Taiwan may have frightening consequences not just for China but the entire region or may be even the whole world. 3. What is China’s position in the post-Cold War unipolar world? 4. 27. China will not achieve big power status till it is able to get the Taiwan dispute resolved in its favour. it would cease to make others feel threatened. Explain the structure of the PLA of China. it would be in a position to be considered a super power. its military might would increase and political stability would be consolidated. Taiwan is a province which was part of China since time immemorial. With Russia. the inviolability of national sovereignty and Taiwan. Most importantly it complicates the American attempts to isolate China on matters such as arms control. The Chinese have often stated and worked towards expanding this ‘strategic partnership’ to a ‘strategic triangle’ in which along with Russia. we cannot ignore the point made above that speedy economic growth may lead to political instability. However. India too would be a member. Unification with Taiwan has been a pronounced objective of the PRC government as evident from all their documents.7 EXERCISES 1. 2. Such attempts by the Chinese clearly indicate the PRC’s sense of insecurity and self-perception that in the near future it cannot take on the United States. The underlying belief is that once it achieves a certain level of development. What is your assessment of China emerging as a super power in the future? 17 . In 1949 when mainland China was liberated. Yet one more factor that is indicative of China’s weakness vis-a-vis the US is the Taiwan issue. the US.