Over the past decade, China is trying to proved that they can play as a "Superpower" nation. They have been at the top of the world's economy and these past few years they are eagerly trying to expand it's Sphere of Influence to the sea; especially the South China Sea. How could they able to transform themselves from a nation that was once dub as the "sick man of Asia((sick man of Asia - wikipedia))" into a modern powerhouse?
This is the first part of China focus article which will tackle aspect that contributed to how China become what is it today. It will cover the economy, military might, the sphere of influence and other factors conspired.
During 1820's China or to exact the Qing (Ch’ing) or Manchu dynasty was the world largest economy((China and the West: Imperialism, Opium, and Self-Strengthening [1800-1921])). This was greatly attributed to the agriculture, industry, and trade which China benefited from the Western world alongside with its traditional economy, cultural preferences, and trade policies. But due to unstable government and rise of rebellion, the Qing gradually weaken until it falls.
During 1820's China or to exact the Qing (Ch’ing) or Manchu dynasty was the world largest economy. This was greatly attributed to the agriculture, industry, and trade which China benefited from the Western world alongside with its traditional economy, cultural preferences, and trade policies. But due to unstable government and rise of rebellion, the Qing gradually weaken until it falls.
The "sick man of Asia" is a phrase originally referring to 19th and 20th century China, during this time the country was being taken advantage by the western worlds. But it began to change and China started to catch up on the world stage since 1978. Prior to the reform in 1978 China was poor in fact their GDP per capita was the same as Zambia a South African nation that is around 750,000 km2 compare to the land area of China.
Today China is the biggest importer and second largest economy overtaking the spot of its old rival, Japan. How did they accomplish this achievement?
- China primarily focuses on Agriculture at first, since the majority of its people were farmers.
- Open Market - unrestricted market made the farmers able to sell products and goods at favorable prices.
- Privatization of institution - the success of agriculture and open market lead to privatization of government institutions.
- Special Economic Zone - as the success of first 3 approaches China created a 4 special economic zone.
In 2013 US was hit by multiple cyber attacks. The attack isn't just concentrated to the government institution but also targeted on a large corporation. This happened repeatedly until now which is said that was able to infiltrate and obtain confidential documents; US war plan, information about nuclear weapons, snooping into the electrical grids and even financial network. The report also included that China gain data amounting hundreds or thousands of petabytes from U.S. Diplomat, economic, and other defense sectors.
101 East - China's cyber warriors via Al Jazeera English
Since the end of cold-war Washington and Beijing have maintained peace despite many close calls, as technological infiltration might be their way to challenge the US its supremacy. China’s military has been developing ships, submarines, aircraft, as well as intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to become a global military power. With around 2,260,000((China Military Strength)) active personnel and the biggest army in the world.
Even with a great number of the soldier at China's disposal, the formidable thing they have is the alliance with US counter rival the Russia. Beijing and Moscow's partnership enable China to acquired military assets such as; land attack cruise missiles, missiles destroyers, sophisticated grenade launcher capable of hitting target 800m to 1000m (1km), sea mines, satellite destroyer, and an estimated 3000 nuclear weapons. The deal also included S-400 missile capable to travel 600km and hitting the target at 400km away with an astonishing speed of 17000 kph. This military arms trade deal is reportedly amounting $1 billion per year.
The greatest asset China has at its disposal is its labor forces. Being the most populous country in the world slightly ahead of India, China has a massive population to boost and maintain it's economic growth. The country’s economy is driven by the manufacturing industry and has relied for years on readily available cheap labor to produce goods and services at competitive prices.
Aside from its population is the fact that U.S. owes China $1.15 trillion and followed by Japan((China is America's biggest creditor once again)). The dept allows China to control the value of its money (Yuan) against U.S. Dollars and to remain competitive with other emerging markets that had free-floating currencies. That makes the yuan more attractive to forex traders in global markets.
We might be thinking that China hasn't yet at the pedestal of a new "Empire" or already one, with its aggressive expansion on every corner of its border and it looks like he isn't stopping anytime soon.
See you at part 2 of this article.
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