The big contradiction seems to be that a fifth of humanity is living under a communist one-party state within a free-wheeling capitalist economy – a conflict that, on the basis of history, should tear the country apart.
“The spectre of turmoil terrifies the leadership,” says Ferguson. “They face the challenge of managing a dynamic society and that is a real problem with real tensions. But I don’t buy the idea that China is about to implode or disintegrate.”
Harnessing the resurgent nationalism is part of the strategy to contain this threat. So is a policy of economic expansion overseas.
Why does this matter for the rest of the world? For one thing, Ferguson sees unnerving echoes in that mixture of shrill nationalism and overseas ambition of Germany a century ago.
China is already devouring two-fifths of the world’s coal, zinc, aluminium and copper. Now it is turning its attention to foreign territory for those basic natural resources. In Zambia, after Ferguson descends a Chinese-run copper mine, he muses: “Maybe this is the beginning of a world empire.”
Full article: Niall Ferguson: China’s got the whole world in its hands (The Telegraph)