from BehindTheNews Website
December 10, 2019
It was only by borrowing
and assimilating Chinese innovations that the West was able to make
the transition to modern capitalist and imperialist economies.
Western Imperialism and the Decline of Chine
China's global predominance was based on 'reciprocal benefits' with its trading partners, while Britain relied on mercenary armies of occupation, savage repression and a 'divide and conquer' policy to foment local rivalries.
A point to note here is that in 1850, the two largest economies in the world were India whose share of global GNP was 25%, and China, whose share was 55%.
Within a 100 years, their
combined share had dropped to some 10%. That was British
imperialism, at its finest...
As a result China was flooded with British opium produced on its plantations in India - despite Chinese laws forbidding or regulating the importation and sale of the narcotic.
China's rulers, long accustomed to its trade and manufacturing superiority, were unprepared for the 'new imperial rules' for global power.
The West's willingness to
use military power to win colonies, pillage resources and recruit
huge mercenary armies commanded by European officers spelt the end
for China as a world power.
It was thus able to secure military supremacy over China. China's foreign policy was hampered by its ruling elite's excessive reliance on trade relations.
Chinese officials and merchant elites sought to appease the British and convinced the emperor to grant devastating extra-territorial concessions opening markets to the detriment of Chinese manufacturers while surrendering local sovereignty.
always, the British precipitated internal rivalries and revolts
further destabilizing the country.
Imperialist pillage forced greater exploitation and taxation of the great mass of Chinese peasants and workers.
China's rulers were
obliged to pay the war debts and finance trade deficits imposed by
the Western imperial powers by squeezing its peasantry. This drove
the peasants to starvation and revolt.
The principle ports were controlled by Western imperial officials and the countryside was subject to the rule by corrupt and brutal warlords. British opium enslaved millions...
Under the aegis of imperial rule, hundreds of millions of Chinese had starved or were dispossessed or slaughtered, as the Western powers and Japan plundered its economy.
The entire Chinese
'collaborator' comprador elite were discredited before the Chinese
The People's Liberation 'Red' Army defeated first the invading Japanese imperial army and later the US imperialist-backed comprador led Kuomintang "Nationalist" army.
This allowed the reunification of China as an independent sovereign state.
The Communist government
abolished the extra-territorial privileges of the Western
imperialists, ended the territorial fiefdoms of the regional
warlords and gangsters and drove out the millionaire owners of
brothels, the traffickers of women and drugs as well as the other
"service providers" to the Euro-American Empire.
The new leaders then proceeded to reconstruct an economy ravaged by imperial wars and pillaged by Western and Japanese capitalists. After over 150 years of infamy and humiliation the Chinese people recovered their pride and national dignity.
elements were essential in motivating the Chinese to defend their
country from the US attacks, sabotage, boycotts, and blockades
mounted immediately after liberation.
It began in 1950, when the agrarian reform provided land, infrastructure, credits and technical assistance to hundreds of millions of landless and destitute peasants and landless rural workers.
Through what is now called "human capital" and gigantic social mobilization, the Communists built roads, airfields, bridges, canals and railroads as well as the basic industries, like coal, iron and steel, to form the backbone of the modern Chinese economy.
Communist China's vast free educational and health systems created a healthy, literate and motivated work force. Its highly professional military prevented the US from extending its military empire throughout the Korean peninsula up to China's territorial frontier.
It is clear that China's
rapid economic growth was based on the development of its internal
market, its rapidly growing cadre of scientists, skilled technicians
and workers and the social safety net which protected and promoted
working class and peasant mobility were products of Communist
planning and investments.
China's ruling political
class embraced the idea of "borrowing" technical know-how and
accessing overseas markets from foreign firms in exchange for
providing cheap, plentiful labor at the lowest cost.
They ended subsidized public housing for hundreds of millions of peasants and urban factory workers and provided funds to real estate speculators for the construction of private luxury apartments and office skyscrapers.
China's new capitalist strategy as well as its double digit growth was based on the profound structural changes and massive public investments made possible by the previous communist government.
China's private sector
"take off" was based on the huge public outlays made since 1949.
This new Chinese elite
have been less eager to announce China's world-class status in terms
of brutal class inequalities, rivaling only the US.
While foreign capital profited, it was always within the framework of the Chinese state's priorities and regulations.
The regime's dynamic 'export strategy' led to huge trade surpluses, which eventually made China one of the world's largest creditors especially for US debt.
In order to maintain its dynamic industries, China has required huge influxes of raw materials, resulting in large-scale overseas investments and trade agreements with agro-mineral export countries in Africa and Latin America.
By 2010 China displaced the US and Europe as the main trading partner in many countries in,
Modern China's rise to world economic power, like its predecessor between 1100-1800, is based on its gigantic productive capacity:
Unlike the US, China did not initiate brutal wars for oil; instead it signed lucrative contracts.
US military spending is
twelve times that of China. Increasingly the US military plays the
key role shaping policy in Washington as it seeks to undercut
China's rise to global power.
China's innovative techno-scientific establishment routinely assimilates the latest inventions from the West (and Japan) and improves them, thereby decreasing the cost of production.
China has replaced the US and European controlled "international financial institutions" (the IMF, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank) as the principle lender in Latin America.
China continues to lead as the prime investor in African energy and mineral resources. China has replaced the US as the principle market for Saudi Arabian, Sudanese and Iranian petroleum and it will soon replace the US as the principle market for Venezuela petroleum products.
Today China is the
world's biggest manufacturer and exporter, dominating even the US
market, while playing the role of financial life line as it holds
over $1.3 trillion in US Treasury notes.
In contrast, US wages,
salaries and vital public services have sharply declined in absolute
and relative terms.
This may have allowed
China to direct public resources to maximize economic growth, but it
has left China vulnerable to US military superiority in terms of its
massive arsenal, its string of forward bases and strategic
geo-military positions right off the Chinese coast and in adjoining
The British and its mercenary allies encircled and isolated China, setting the stage for the disruption of China's markets and the imposition of the brutal terms of trade.
The British Empire's
armed presence dictated what China imported (with opium accounting
for over 50% of British exports in the 1850s) while undermining
China's competitive advantages via tariff policies.
The Obama-Clinton White House is in the process of developing a rapid military response involving bases in Australia, Philippines and elsewhere in Asia.
The US is intensifying its efforts to undermine Chinese overseas access to strategic resources while backing 'grass roots' separatists and 'insurgents' in West China, Tibet, Sudan, Burma, Iran, Libya, Syria and elsewhere.
The US military agreements with India and the installation of a pliable puppet regime in Pakistan have advanced its strategy of isolating China.
While China upholds its
policy of "harmonious development" and "non-interference in the
internal affairs of other countries", it has stepped aside as US and
European military imperialism have attacked a host of China's
trading partners to essentially reverse China's peaceful commercial
The most striking example is Libya where US and NATO intervened to overthrow an independent government led by President Gadhafi, with whom China had signed multi-billion dollar trade and investments agreements.
The NATO bombardment of Libyan cities, ports and oil installation forced the Chinese to withdraw 35,000 Chinese oil engineers and construction workers in a matter of days.
The same thing happened in Sudan where China had invested billions to develop its oil industry. The US, Israel and Europe armed the South Sudanese rebels to disrupt the flow of oil and attack Chinese oil workers.
In both cases China
passively allowed the US and European military imperialists to
attack its trade partners and undermine its investments.
Today's capitalist China does not have an active policy of supporting governments or movements capable of protecting China's bilateral trade and investment agreements.
China's inability to confront the rising tide of US military aggression against its economic interests is due to deep structural problems.
China's foreign policy is shaped by big commercial, financial and manufacturing interests who rely on their 'economic competitive edge' to gain market shares and have no understanding of the military and security underpinnings of global economic power.
China's political elite is deeply influenced by a new class of billionaires with strong ties to Western equity funds and who have uncritically absorbed Western cultural values.
They seek "accommodation
with the West" at any price.
While China's "business first" outlook may have worked when it was a minor player in the world economy and US empire builders saw the "capitalist opening" as a chance to easily takeover China's public enterprises and pillage the economy.
However, when China (in
contrast to the former USSR) decided to retain capital controls and
develop a carefully calibrated, state directed "industrial policy"
directing western capital and the transfer of technology to state
enterprises, which effectively penetrated the US domestic and
overseas markets, Washington began to complain and talked of
Since the US lacked economic leverage to reverse its decline, it relied on its only "comparative advantage" - its military superiority based on a worldwide system of attack bases, a network of overseas client regimes, military proxies, NGO'ers, intellectuals and armed mercenaries.
Washington turned to its
vast overt and clandestine security apparatus to undermine China's
trading partners. Washington depends on its long-standing ties with
corrupt rulers, dissidents, journalists and media moguls to provide
the powerful propaganda cover while advancing its military offensive
against China's overseas interests.
They have successfully demanded and received a 19% annual increase in military spending over the five year period from 2011-2015. Even with this increase, China's military expenditures will still be less than one-fifth of the US military budget and China has one overseas military base, in Djibouti-Africa, in stark contrast to the over 750 US installations abroad.
Overseas Chinese intelligence operations are minimal and ineffective.
Its embassies are run by
and for narrow commercial interests who utterly failed to understand
NATO's brutal policy of regime change in Libya and inform Beijing of
its significance to the Chinese state.
These Chinese intellectuals parrot the US propaganda about the 'democratic virtues' of billion-dollar Presidential campaigns, while supporting financial deregulation which would have led to a Wall Street takeover of Chinese banks and savings.
Many Chinese business consultants and academics have been educated in the US and influenced by their ties to US academics and international financial institutions directly linked to Wall Street and the City of London.
They have prospered as highly-paid consultants receiving prestigious positions in Chinese institutions. They identify the 'liberalization of financial markets' with "advanced economies" capable of deepening ties to global markets instead of as a major source of the current global financial crisis.
These "Westernized intellectuals" are like their 19th century comprador counterparts who underestimated and dismissed the long-term consequences of Western imperial penetration.
They fail to understand
how financial deregulation in the US precipitated the current crisis
and how deregulation would lead to a Western takeover of China's
financial system - the consequences of which would reallocate China's
domestic savings to non-productive activities (real estate
speculation), precipitate financial crisis and ultimately undermine
China's leading global position.
They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign bank accounts, purchased luxury homes and apartments in London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore.
They have one foot in
China (the source of their wealth) and the other in the West (where
they consume and hide their wealth).
To the extent that the compradors gain influence, they weaken the strong economic state institutions which have directed China's ascent to global power, just as they did in the 19th century by acting as intermediaries for the British Empire.
Proclaiming 19th Century "liberalism" British opium addicted over 50 million Chinese in less than a decade. Proclaiming "democracy and human rights" US gunboats now patrol off China's coast.
rise to global economic power has spawned monumental inequalities
between the thousands of new billionaires and multi-millionaires at
the top and hundreds of millions of impoverished workers, peasants
and migrant workers at the bottom.
Millions of Chinese households are being dispossessed in order to promote real estate developer/speculators who then build high rise offices and the luxury apartments for the domestic and foreign elite.
These brutal features of ascendant Chinese capitalism have created a fusion of workplace and living space mass struggle which is growing every year. The developer/speculators' slogan "to get rich is wonderful" has lost its power to deceive the people.
In 2011 there were over 200,000 popular uprisings encompassing urban coastal factories and rural villages.
The next step, which is sure to come, will be the unification of these struggles into new national social movements with a class-based agenda demanding the restoration of health and educational services enjoyed under the Communists as well as a greater share of China's wealth.
Current demands for greater wages can turn to demands for greater work place democracy.
To answer these popular demands China's new comprador-Westernized
liberals cannot point to their 'model' in the US Empire where
American workers are in the process of being stripped of the very
benefits Chinese workers are struggling to regain.
The time of unbridled exploitation of China's labor has to end in order to face the US military encirclement of China and economic disruption of its overseas markets.
China possesses enormous resources. With over $1.5 trillion
dollars in reserves China can finance a comprehensive national
health and educational program throughout the country.
Their program of developing alternative energy sources, such as solar panels and wind farms - are a promising start to addressing their serious environmental pollution.
Degradation of the environment and related health issues already engage the concern of tens of millions. Ultimately China's best defense against imperial encroachments is a stable regime based on social justice for the hundreds of millions and a foreign policy of supporting overseas anti-imperialist movements and regimes - whose independence are in China's vital interest.
What is needed is a pro-active policy based on mutually beneficial joint ventures including military and diplomatic solidarity.
Already a small, but
influential, group of Chinese intellectuals have raised the issue of
the growing US military threat and are "saying no to gunboat
China, a nuclear power should reach out to its similarly armed and threatened neighbor, Russia.
Putin vows to
increase military spending from 3% to 6% of the GDP over the next
decade to counter Washington's offensive missile bases on Russia's
borders and thwart Obama's 'regime change' programs against its
In taking on China, the US will have to face the opposition of many powerful market-based elites throughout the world.
In other words, modern China, as a world power, is incomparably stronger than it was in early 18th century.
The US does not have the colonial leverage that the ascendant British Empire possessed in the run-up to the Opium Wars. Moreover, many Chinese intellectuals and the vast majority of its citizens have no intention of letting its current "Westernized compradors" sell out the country.
Nothing would accelerate
political polarization in Chinese society and hasten the coming of a
second Chinese social revolution more than a timid leadership
submitting to a new era of Western imperial pillage.
December 25, 2019
It has been a great and
terrible time for China, as history has been for most countries. But
China is a nation on a scale that dwarfs other countries - and,
therefore, both its greatness and tragedy dwarf those of other
When they arrived in the 1840s, China was the largest economy in the world. Industrialization had only just begun, so the machinery did not yet define the size of an economy. Rather, it was defined by land and labor, and in these areas, China towered over most of the world.
Meanwhile, Britain's industrial revolution was accelerating, and it was searching for raw materials to fuel its industry and markets in which to sell its products.
It was inevitable that
British industrialism and mercantilism and Chinese pre-industrialism
and mercantilism would meet, and meet violently.
The opium destroyed many lives in China, as it did in all countries, while the British made vast amounts of money from the trade.
As they discovered China, they discovered potential markets for many goods and labor to produce them. They demanded that areas like Hong Kong be ceded to British rule to protect their economic interests.
weakened by the British, had no choice but to concede. Over time the
British were joined by the French, Germans, Japanese and Americans,
The coast remained Chinese, but economically it faced outward to the world, not inward to the rest of China. The coast was where concessions were under the control of foreigners and many Chinese who lived there prospered from this relationship.
But over time, this generated complex systems of conflict. Chinese factions fought over relationships with foreigners. Foreigners conspired with each other.
The central government was deeply divided and fought internally. Interior regions fought to secure some of the coastal wealth.
It is hard to capture the complexity of the violence and the suffering it imposed.
The Chinese had cheap labor, which meant that manufacturing in China gave foreign companies a price advantage in their own markets.
The Chinese were also hungry for foreign-manufactured products that they could sell in China or use to manufacture more complex products.
Those Chinese who participated in this trade prospered enormously and therefore gained political power. But they depended on their foreign business relationships for trade. They had to subordinate themselves to the foreigners economically and politically to maintain that power.
To do so, they had to
reach out to the West to maintain an internal balance of power that
focused on fighting each other rather than threatening their
business interests on the coast.
This was not new to China.
Such conflicts had been
present long before the foreigners came, and when they exploded,
dynasties fell. And so too did the hapless Qing Dynasty, giving way
to the Republic of China under
Sun Yat-sen, a
Honolulu-educated Christian who represented to many Chinese the
foreign influence that was tearing their country apart.
On the surface, it was a Marxist party, focusing on class struggle and the creation of a communist paradise. But that Marxism was intertwined with nationalism.
The class struggle had to be against foreign interests and their Chinese partners. Therefore, class interest and national interest intersected.
From the beginning, the CPC could not define itself except as a party committed to freeing China from foreign imperialism. Indeed, when Mao Zedong tried to stage a worker's uprising, it failed.
The workers had interests in common with the foreigners - they were wealthier than their cousins in the interior.
Mao led the legendary
Long March to the interior to raise a peasant army to resist the
foreigners' Chinese allies and expel the foreigners altogether. This
appealed to the peasant class, they were enemies of foreigners and
the Chinese coast, and that was good enough.
Mao understood that China could never be secure while the concessions operated in any way. When China was engaged in global trade, parts of it became wealthy, other parts sank into worse poverty, and worst of all, China was divided and weak.
Without internal strength and cohesion, China would always be exploited.
Mao slammed the door shut on most trade and imposed the party's will over internal decisions, rooting out alternative centers of power as best he could with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, designed to ensure that the bureaucracy would not usurp his power.
He made China secure and
united but terribly poor. China's paradox was that it could be
wealthy through trade but remain divided or be united by
isolationism and remain poor. Mao pursued the latter path, into a
kind of logic that ultimately looked more like madness.
On the 70th anniversary of the founding of China, Deng's bet is being called. The Chinese have once again become dependent on foreigners and foreign investment in the coastal regions' factories.
It is not the concession of the 19th century, nor is it the autonomy Mao wanted. As the United States presses its demands on China and China pretends to be impervious, the power of the foreigner is felt again. So too are the divisions.
The tension between the wealthy coast and the poorer interior has reemerged. It has not yet resulted in conflict, and the government seeks urgently to relieve any tension.
We are now, 70 years after the founding of the PRC, facing the question of whether a nation so constituted can long endure, or more precisely, endure without internal conflict. It is an old question in China and repeats itself in different ways.
But in the end, it seems to terminate either in conflict or in ruthless suppression.
Xi Jinping has signaled that he wishes to suppress conflict with minimal ruthlessness. The question is whether there is such a choice in China. The idea is that 5G and its brethren will allow China to leap over the question.
Perhaps, but 5G will be sold to foreigners, and the customer has power.
And in China, that power
has always been dangerous.
All of its rivals were
destroyed. Now, it set about conquering the world, either through
the use of diplomacy, or other means such as economic and financial
blackmail, through the use of military force.
Under the US system of global capitalism, the demand for energy and other vital resources is unlimited. The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle East or elsewhere states.
However, it is important
to recognize that this goal is not new.
The imperial project was outlined in the immediate wake of the 2nd World War.
It was part of the "Truman Doctrine" formulated in 1948 by George Kennan (one of the architects who had authored the Rockefeller Foundations "War and Peace Study Group" in 1939), Director of Policy and Planning at the U.S. State Department:
While it would have been
impossible for the U.S. to continue to monopolize a full half of the
world's wealth after Europe, Japan, China and the USSR inevitably
got up upon their feet after WWII, the U.S. has nonetheless done an
amazing job of controlling an unjustifiable and disproportionate
amount of the world's resources.
An article in Scientific American, explains that,
The only way the U.S. has been able to achieve this impressive, though morally reprehensible, feat has been to undermine, many times fatally, the ability of independent states to exist, defend themselves and to protect their own resources from foreign plunder.
This would seem to be an insane course of action for the U.S. to take, and indeed it is, but there is method to the madness.
And, this goal is being
achieved with resounding success, while also achieving the
subsidiary goal of enriching the behemoth industrial-military
Given this, it is at best
foolish and naive for people of any political stripe, to put any
stock in the notion that the U.S. is acting in the defense of human
rights, democracy or any such lofty goals in intervening militarily
The aim was to build up a powerful naval force that could blockade China's flow of goods on the seas. The bulk of China's trade with the world was by sea.
There are two key maritime choke points that the US Navy could close, and deny access to ships carrying goods to or from China.
These two choke points are,
To avoid these maritime choke points, China developed two economic corridors that would bypass these choke points.
Beginning in the late 2000s, China began to develop,
In addition, China was making remarkable progress in building transportation corridors linking the Central Asian nations to China, through pipelines carrying oil and gas.
But, this was not enough.
This concept was first
announced by LaRouche in October 1989, in Berlin, on the eve of the
collapse of the Soviet Union.
It would reduce their
grip on the global flow of goods, and power would shift to the "rimland"
countries, as against the "maritime powers".
Although some progress
was made in building various road, rail and pipeline connectivity
between the period between 1992 and 2012 in Eurasia, what was
lacking was a coordinated approach, including financing.
It was financial warfare.
Just as Moscow has many senior figures within its government, so does Beijing. Many of China's top technocrats, civil servants, bankers and economists studied at prestigious universities in America, as well as most of their children.
This group constituted the "pro-West" faction within the top-tier of Chinese politics and finance. And they listened to advice from Wall Street banks, etc.
This advice was that it
was time to pump up the Chinese stock markets, through "suggestions"
from key policy-makers in Beijing.
In retaliation, the Rockefeller Empire put into motion an act of financial warfare against China.
And it used many
US-educated, pro-Wall Street people who were in high positions in
government agencies to facilitate a stock market crash that caused
losses of $4 trillion, and from which China-its people and companies
- have not recovered from.
Beginning in the early 1990s China has achieved two decades of remarkable double-digit growth. But it is increasingly clear that this export and investment-led growth is not sustainable without substantial restructuring and rebalancing of the economy.
Then came the 2008 great recession, causing global demand to fall precipitously and China could no longer keep its growth going through exports. And its own citizens weren't consuming enough to create the demand necessary to keep the growth engine revving either.
The Chinese government's answer was to mount a massive stimulation package, using monetary policy, state-owned banks, local governments, and other tools under its control to push internal investment.
The result was a massive buildup in factories, highways, airports, real estate, and much more.
China has become famous for its profusion of empty stadiums, skyscrapers, and ghost cities.
The result is a lot of overcapacities and many state-owned enterprises and local governments are ridden with enormous bad debt. This is part of why the Chinese government encouraged the stock market boom.
As said by an analyst,
In a sense, the stock market boom was caused by government's strategy to solve the debt problem of zombie state-owned enterprises and the government's facilitation of margin trading by relaxing the previous restrictions.
This coincided with the timing when the Chinese property market went down, and people who were putting their money in property began looking elsewhere for better returns.
As The Economist puts it,
Before reaching the ceiling on June 12, 2015, China's stock market had ballooned about 150 percent in a year.
The Chinese stock market crash began with the popping of the stock market bubble starting on June 15, 2015 and ending on August 25. The Bank of China pumped in some $500 billion to stabilize the market, which seemed to have calmed down with the index hovering around 2900 points (compared to 5178 peaks reached on June 12).
The total loss amounted to some $3.6 trillion.
Add to that an additional
$500 billion pumped in by the government, the total losses came to
more than $4 trillion, most of it lost by the public and business
Thus we need to understand what caused the bubble in China's stock market to form.
Many companies with meager earnings (or even losses) were seeing a meteoric rise in their shares. Meanwhile, the country's broader economy was going the other way, with economic growth slowing down significantly (the economic growth rate has fallen from double-digit figure in previous years to 7%, dubbed the "New Normal".)
But the Chinese economic growth has been declining in the past few years and was not expected to go back to the brisk growth in the near future.
Therefore, the 2014-2015
run-up was clearly a bubble without support from the real economy.
Worse yet, many of these
novice investors were making highly leveraged purchases with
The borrowed money flooded into the Chinese stock market between June 2014 and June 2015, helping to push stock prices up 150 percent.
trading - and margin debt - skyrocketed, and a perfect storm was
This announcement acted as the last straw and triggered the market to fall on the following Monday.
When the market
nose-dived, investors faced margin calls on their stocks and many
were forced to sell off shares in droves, precipitating the crash
further. Now the bubble has popped.
Trump was mandated by the Rockefellers' to implement the "FORTRESS AMERICA" plan, and also to form a secret alliance with Putin, in regard to China and Iran.
While campaigning for the White House, Trump lays out plans to counter unfair trade practices from China at a rally in Pennsylvania.
He also previews his eventual moves to apply tariffs, citing human rights violations of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang Province, says China's entrance into the World Trade Organization enabled the "greatest jobs theft in history."
In March 31, 2017, Trump, now president, signs two executive orders.
Trump's tariffs policy aims to encourage consumers to buy American products by making imported goods more expensive.
Starting in 2018, he ratcheted up tariffs, which are a tax on imports, while encouraging U.S. companies hurt by them to move production - and jobs - back home.
But Trump also pulled the U.S. out of a proposed trade deal with Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific countries, calling it unfair for U.S. workers, and started talking directly with Japan instead.
He has threatened 25% tariffs on millions of imported cars and car parts from Europe and Japan, and insisted on renegotiating (and renaming) the 1994 pact with Canada and Mexico known as Nafta.
Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs as retaliation against France for its new digital tax on technology companies.
The U.S. trade deficit increased to a 10-year high of $621 billion in 2018, although the trend may have reversed in 2019 as imports fell dramatically.
farmers lost markets and income as China and other trading partners
raised tariffs in retaliation.
Studies have shown that Chinese exports led to lower prices for U.S. consumers - and helped lift many millions of Chinese out of poverty. The country's ascent also resulted in the loss of millions of U.S. factory jobs.
China's power - especially its technological prowess - is now at a point where it risks eroding American military and economic advantages.
China insists it plays by
global trade rules, and it sees the U.S. as seeking to contain its
rise. It is accelerating the development of its own high-technology
industry to be less dependent on the U.S.
China responded in kind...
Before that year ended a truce was called and a deal seemed to be in the offing. But in May 2019, Trump started raising tariffs on a scale not seen in decades, provoking further retaliation.
The dispute has seen the US and China impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods. Trump has long accused China of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft.
In China, there is a
perception that America is trying to curb its rise as a global
Starting in 2018, the disease spread rapidly all across pig farms in China. An epidemic of African Swine Fever swept through China's hog farms, and the effects are rippling across the globe, because China is a superpower of pork.
Half of the world's pigs live in China - or at least they did before the epidemic began a year ago.
By the end of 2019, China's production of pork could be cut in half. That's roughly 300 million to 350 million pigs lost in China, which is almost a quarter of the world's pork supply.
Up to now, Chinese
consumers still are finding enough pork to buy, because many farmers
slaughtered their herds early, out of fear of infection. In the past
6 months or so, however, supplies have started to run short, and
pork prices are now rising sharply in China.
The growing Chinese pork shortage is good news, though, for pork producers in the rest of the world:
China's unsuccessful efforts to stop the disease may have hastened the spread a devastating disease spreading from China could bedevil Beijing and global agriculture for years to come.
The pig disease - a highly contagious and untreatable outbreak that is not fatal to humans but can be spread by us - has now extended swiftly out of China. It has moved across nine other Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, which is the world's fifth-largest pork producer and has lost much of its herd this autumn.
Before reaching China,
the disease had been slowly infecting occasional farms in Russia and
elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Brazil is now ramping up
beef and chicken production to meet demand, partly by burning
forests in the Amazon to clear land for agriculture.
Pork prices in China have
more than doubled...
Pig prices have climbed
so high that one livestock company,
printed red banners to recruit potential farmers that read, "Raise
10 sows and drive a BMW next year."
China denied the charge, and suspended all agricultural meats.
The story continues in our next article, titled "China - The Virus Crisis".