The Dilemma of China’s Political Future

China has been experiencing a rash of internal and external challenges. At first the challenges have been manageable but now we can see that these issues are affecting the future of China Inc. Most certainly in the short term but now it seems China is making a fundamental shift to what I think is an insurmountable political and economic dilemma.

The issues are Trade Wars, severe governance  and security issues in Mainland China with China in the Moslem populations in Xinjiang’s Uighur community using alleged concentration camp style tactics. There is also the protests in Hong Kong which have turned violent and have blown up into a major issue with how to deal with this important financial center to the world.

I have been going to Hong Kong on and off since 1983 and have done business with the people of Hong Kong in the past. It saddens me to see how the  miracle that China has become economically cannot be reconciled with the protests that are racking a place that I know is an important part of China’s success.

The following quote from the Foreign Affairs article regarding the issues of the situation that took place in the Tiananmen Square massacre can shed some light on current dilemmas too.

“Yet centralized leadership has not resolved the abiding contradiction between reform and control that generated the Tiananmen crisis 30 years ago.The more China pursues wealth and power through domestic modernization and engagement with the global economy, the more students, intellectuals, and the rising middle class become unwilling to adhere to a 1950s-style ideological conformity, and the more conservative party elites react to social change by calling for more discipline in the party and conformity in society.”[1]

The issue in Hong Kong has mirrored the effects of society in China in the future. The difference in Hong Kong is that they experienced an unprecedented freedom of expression and a Western legal system which they are loathe to give up.

Hong Kong is different in the sense that they have experienced the epitome of freedom in the world and China is going to have to reconcile that with  the most violent uprising in the territory since 1969.


[1] ForeignAffairs, July/August 2019, “The New Tiananmen Papers” Andrew J. Nathan