By Fu Xi
NEW YORK (China Daily Show) — In his famous polemic The Coming Collapse of China (2001), Gordon Chang predicted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would implode within a decade.
Ten years later, Chang admits he was wrong — but blames the calculation on a faulty Mayan calendar.
“It was made in China. What can you expect?” Chang joked. Now the Sinologist has gone back to the drawing board and come up with an ironclad set of new predictions.
“Depending on which calendar you use, China will collapse in the late half of the twenty-first, according to the Roman, or sometime next century if you believe the one this monk drew up for my astrology chart,” he told China Daily Show.
In his original book, Chang blamed a number of factors – including a spiritual vacuum, religious persecution, over-leveraged state banks and unbridled corruption – and pointed to a military confrontation over Taiwan as the likely tipping point for the CCP’s demise.
But for his upcoming tome Fear of a Yellow Planet (2011), Chang posited three fresh possible doomsday scenarios.
“While superficially China continues to grow,” writes Chang, “the nation faces many structural and developmental issues, as yet unaddressed, that will likely bring disaster in the next millennium.
“These include a vast and growing wealth gap, an outdated and poorly regulated banking sector, an inability to pay basic medical or education expenses, a dearth of graduate jobs, endemic corruption, constant censorship, an ongoing and unstoppable ‘brain-wealth drain,’ as well as chronic pollution and environmental degradation, all fueled by rampant inflation and a relentless provincial focus on GDP growth.
“Add rampant augmentation technology that will render many citizens unthinking lethal weapons and the ever-present threat of the Predator, and it’s a recipe for fresh government.”
In Chang’s chilling second scenario, China’s ruling party will simply decide it’s no longer worth it and wander off elsewhere.
“You first started to see this kind of political ennui set in when Hu [Jintao] came to power and called off plans to renovate Zhongnanhai,” he said, referring to the Central Beijing eco-dome where most of China’s politicians are bred.
According to Chang, the CCP compound hasn’t been updated since Deng’s day, its harem is down to 400 girls from Qinghai and most buildings are in dire need of a fresh lick of paint.
But construction of a new 30-slide water park and brick-for-brick reproduction of Sanlitun Bar Street was halted in 2004, Chang says. China’s cadres are in real danger of growing bone-weary of constantly having to “save” China and its economy.
“Many of them want out. They look at Africa, at places like Niger and Somalia, and think: ‘That’s what I’m talking about’.
“Nor,” Chang added, “is China positioned to take full advantage of the upcoming Singularity.” This concept, beloved among tech-geeks, promulgates scientific advancement reaching such a point in the near-future that humanity is essentially rendered godlike.
“The increasing speed of technological advancement will see Man transcend mere physical form to live as immortal beings of a digital universe. But Anhui’s still going to suck.”
Chang’s final throw of the dice is the most likely scenario, and will probably happen “before 4012.”
“There will be a ‘solipsism failure’ – call it a glitch in the matrix,” Chang postulated. “Everyone will finally become self-aware.
“If none of that happens, though, something else will,” he added. ” Of that we can be certain.”
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