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China’s explosive growth has made it the emerging
hegemon of Asia and one of the most powerful engines of the global economy. But
if the giant country fails to meet the challenges that lay ahead, it may also
cause a lot of turmoil in the 21st century.
The leaders of China have not found a way yet to tame their rogue ally, Kim Jung-un. Thus far, the North Korean dictator has been able to continue both developing his weapons of mass destruction, which China fears and has gently tried to block, and extracting economic aid from Beijing that his mismanaged economy necessitates.
China’s economy slows down, companies in the steelmaking and coal industries
are letting employees go. The government estimates that overall up to 6 million
people will lose their jobs. As workers organize and take to the streets in
protests, Beijing is bracing for the worst and increases the budget of the
state security force.
Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive has involved hundreds of thousands of arrests at all levels of power, civilian and military. Corrupt officials are the second biggest concern for the Chinese, after inflation, so his move appears to be partly to increase his support, particularly in view of looming economic problems. Doubts remain as to whether Mr Xi’s campaign is...