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Rise of China to 2030

Rise of China to 2030

Professor Carl Thayer
Futures Seminar
Futures Seminar  
May 11, 2011
• China
China’ss future will be determined mainly by
future will be determined mainly by
– Continued economic growth
– Maintenance of political stability
Maintenance of political stability
– Impact of regional and global developments
• Th
The legitimacy of the Chinese Communist 
l iti f th Chi C it
Party (CCP) is based on  continued economic 
growth, political stability and appeals to 
th liti l t bilit d l t
• Continued
Continued economic growth at 10% is 
economic growth at 10% is
probably unsustainable
– Economic reform will be necessaryy
– Demographics – an aging population
• The legitimacy of CCP rule will come under 
g y
challenge due to:
– Corruption
– Governance issues
– Gaps in regional development
• External factors will impact on China
External factors will impact on China’ss future
– Taiwan and the question of reunification
– Instability on the Korean peninsula
Instability on the Korean peninsula
– Territorial disputes with Japan
– Rise of India
Ri f I di
– Relations with the United States
• Global Climate Change has the potential to 
l b l l h h h l
trigger domestic disruption
Alternate Futures
Alternate Futures
• China’s
China s future may be grouped into five major 
future may be grouped into five major
cluster of possibilities:
– Continuation of the one‐party state
Continuation of the one party state
– Populist /Nationalist state
– Turbulent Democratic Transition (Democratic state)
Turbulent Democratic Transition (Democratic state)
– Authoritarian state
– Fragmented state
F t d t t
• Economics and Politics will shape these clusters
High Economic Growth

Populist or 
Turbulent  One‐Party 
Democratic  State
Political  Political 
Instability Stability

Fragmented  Authoritarian 
State State

Low Economic Growth
One Party State Trajectory
State Trajectory
• The
The CCP succeeds in delivering economic 
CCP succeeds in delivering economic
growth at about 7%
• The CPP manages pressures for political 
The CPP manages pressures for political
change through a deft mix of liberalisation
and repression
and  repression
• Stable authoritarian rule results
One Party State Trajectory
State Trajectory
• China’s
China s economy overtakes the U.S. economy 
economy overtakes the U S economy
around 2030
– China and the U.S. become peer competitors
China and the U S become peer competitors
• China’s continues to modernise and transform 
its military
its military
• China’s demand for resources and energy 
increase its role as a global actor
l l b l
• China’s security becomes interdependent
Signposts One‐Party
Signposts One Party State
• Regularity
Regularity of CCP congresses and generational 
of CCP congresses and generational
leadership change
• Increased Chinese foreign investment abroad 
Increased Chinese foreign investment abroad
coupled with mercantile behaviour
• Central government addresses social welfare 
C l dd i l lf
and environmental issues
• Cooperation and friction in external political 
and defence relations
Populist/Nationalist State Trajectory
Populist/Nationalist State Trajectory
• An
An enlarged politically active citizenry 
enlarged politically active citizenry
• The state becomes more responsive to 
The state becomes more responsive to
pressures from outside the CCP
• Slower economic growth leads to increased 
Sl i hl d i d
contestation over resource allocation
• Political instability increases 
Populist/Nationalist State Trajectory
Populist/Nationalist State Trajectory
• Foreign
Foreign policy issues become internalised
policy issues become internalised
domestic political issues
• Chinese nationalists press for 
Chinese nationalists press for
– Reunification with Taiwan
– Resolution of territorial disputes
– End to foreign (US EU) pressures over human 
– Greater use of military instrument of national 
Signposts Populist/Nationalist State
Signposts Populist/Nationalist State
• Alteration
Alteration of state institutions  and decision
of state institutions and decision‐
making structures to accommodate politically 
active citizens
• Economic disruptions caused by disputes 
between administrative units
• Increased pressures on Taiwan to 
• Frictions with neighbours over territorial 
Turbulent Democratic State Trajectory
Turbulent Democratic State Trajectory
• An
An enlarged politically active citizenry 
enlarged politically active citizenry
emerges demanding rule of law and 
democratic reform
democratic reform
• The CPP initiates a gradual process of political 
• The pace and scope of political change 
becomes contested d
• Political instability is more marked
Turbulent Democratic State Trajectory
Turbulent Democratic State Trajectory
• China
China gives prominence to the role of the 
gives prominence to the role of the
United Nations in global governance
• China gives prominence to the role of regional 
China gives prominence to the role of regional
multilateral institutions
– China is more proactive in contributing to security 
Chi i ti i t ib ti t it
in Northeast Asia (Japan, Korean peninsula)
• Chi
China and the US develop a more cooperative 
d th US d l ti
relationship, some irritants remain
Signposts Turbulent Democratic State
Signposts Turbulent Democratic State
• Alterations
Alterations to Constitution and laws to shore up 
to Constitution and laws to shore up
democratic change
• Media reports of contested election results
Media reports of contested election results
• Increased court convictions for corruption
• Release of political prisoners from gaol
R l f liti l i f l
• Constructive Chinese behaviour in global and 
regional governance matters
i l tt
• Increased defence transparency & cooperation
Authoritarian State Trajectory
Authoritarian State Trajectory
• Economic
Economic growth declines and falls below 7%
growth declines and falls below 7%
• The state responds to calls for political 
liberalisation by increased repression through 
by increased repression through
‘rule by law’
• Both the internal political security apparatus 
B h h i l li i l i
and the military grow in strength
Authoritarian State Trajectory
Authoritarian State Trajectory
• China
China reacts negatively to any manifestation 
reacts negatively to any manifestation
of US support for Taiwan
• China becomes more assertive in pressing 
China becomes more assertive in pressing
territorial claims in the East Sea
• China seeks maritime dominance in the 
Chi k ii d i i h
Western Pacific and northern South China Sea
• China challenges US global leadership in 
multiple venues
Signposts Authoritarian State
Signposts Authoritarian State
• Increase
Increase in number of labour
in number of labour strikes & urban 
strikes & urban
demonstrations related to economic matters
• Growing frequency of arrests, trials and 
Growing frequency of arrests trials and
imprisonment, vilification in media
• Increased budget and size of security forces
I db d d i f i f
• Marked friction and incidents related to 
territorial disputes
Fragmented State Trajectory
Fragmented State Trajectory
• Economic growth falls below 7%
Economic growth falls below 7%
• Multiple sites of contestation occur
– State and enlarged politically active citizens
St t d l d liti ll ti iti
– State and society 
– Between regions
– Between ethnic groups and Han Chinese
• Central government weakens with marked 
political instability
Fragmented State Trajectory
Fragmented State Trajectory
• Erratic
Erratic foreign policy behaviour
foreign policy behaviour
• Central government moves to protect 
economic linkages and continued access to
economic linkages and continued access to 
resources and energy supplies
• Bouts of proactive nationalist behaviour
B f i i li b h i i
defense of national sovereignty 
• General decline in international defence
Signposts Fragmented State
Signposts Fragmented State
• Marked
Marked internal migration
internal migration
• Increase over time in the number and scope of 
public confrontations over political economic
public confrontations over political, economic 
and resource issues
• Clashes between security forces
Cl h b i f
• Mobilisation of the military for internal 
security operations
Future Research
Future Research 
• Climate
Climate Change 
Change – its regional effects in China 
its regional effects in China
and how it will impact on political, economic 
and social cleavages in society.
• Assessing the impact of protracted instability 
on the Korean Peninsula for China’s alternate 
• Impact on defence spending if China seriously 
began to address environmental, health, 
financial and infrastructural deficits.