Demography is China’s Achilles’ Heel

From the economic point of view, America is still the country with the largest domestic economy. From a military point of view, she has the capacity to face China. China has nuclear weapons but weapons are not everything. Wars are also fought by human beings. This is China’s true Achilles’ heel. One needs demographic power to win a war. This is the central element that is lacking in China.

In my demography classes, I explain to my students the different categories of demographic transition. To achieve my aim, I use the textbook of Livi-Bacci, A Concise History of World Population. In his last chapter, Livi-Bacci takes the example of China and India. Both countries adopted policies to reduce their population. In China, the policies were forced from above with the introduction of the one-child policy.  No family in China could have more than one child. In India, the policy was more chaotic and came from below. There was no forced control but a lot of economic measures were taken to encourage the population to have less children.

Now, both countries are economic world giants. According to Livi-Bacci, the Indian model is demographically healthier. This is one of the reasons why India is destined to become a stronger economic country than China. Perhaps, most of the Western media present China as the economic giant. And China is being suggested as a possible partner for Europe, if Donald Trump decides to abandon this Continent. In this analysis, less importance is given to India, even if it is recognized as an economic giant. I am sure that in the coming years, India’s economic importance will increase at the expense of China. I don’t think it is a mere coincidence that Trump is not referring to India or that India does not figure in his political rhetoric. This is a sign that Trump does not intend to pick a fight with India. On the contrary, he wants India on his side. History is on his side, in the sense, that India is an ex-British colony and embraces a Western, or better, English system of Government. This makes it easier for America to reach  an agreement with India.

Unlike what the Liberal media is trying to imply, Trump is not mad. Now, even academics are starting to speak positively of his economic measures. Trump knows exactly what he is doing. He knows that China cannot sustain a full-scale war. The forecast is that were Trump to hold an election today, he would increase and not decrease the number of votes.

The one child policy is one of the main reasons why China cannot afford to go to war. Indeed it has now reviewed this policy and families are being allowed to have two babies. In itself, this is an indication that the one-child policy was taking its toll, having a deleterious   effect on the country.

But still many Chinese today cannot afford to have two children. Life today is so expensive in China, that many families can barely afford one baby. The price of the apartments in big cities in China is so high that many families cannot afford to be the owners of their property.

But the real problem lies in the gender imbalance created by the one child policy. Many families opted for a boy and used technology to abort their child if the first and only baby was going to be a female. Having more boys may appear a blessing in time of war. Wars are fought mostly by men even though today we also have women fighting on missions. But the problem here is that Chinese families were forced to have one child.

This explains why today, in China, political protests are on the increase and are often related to accidents at the place of work.  In the past months and years, a number of riots broke out in Chinese cities when families lost their only child to construction accidents. In more than one instance, the police and army had to be called to calm the situation. This goes to show that in case of war,Chinese families, unlike the Americans, cannot afford to lose their only child in bellicose actions.  This explains why the population would not be ready to tolerate the cost of a war. Losing their only offspring would not instigate Chinese patriotism. On the contrary, the Communist Government would be blamed for such a loss and the whole Chinese system would implode.