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If you believe the hype, China seems set to be the Next Big Thing, a superpower extending its influence throughout the world. Yet, despite all the hype, China is not quite as invincible and unstoppable as seems, neither is CCP rule iron-clad and indefinite. Here's why.

In recent years, many incidents in China have come under scrutiny. Among them is the outrage over last year's train crash (not least the incompetence of its handling by authorities and alleged cover-up), the incident where a little girl was run over and nobody seemed to notice, its appalling food safety problems, and many, many other things that seem to indicate a country where material progress and financial gain clearly overrides concern for morality and human life, which let's face it is a logical result of six decades of CCP vandalism of ancient Chinese civilisation. The consequences for life in China are hideous.

In wake of the Arab Spring, the regime tightened censorship and cracked down on dissidents. Yet the Internet culture is increasingly sophisticated. And you can tell on Chinese Internet, cynicism and disillusionment among the populace may indeed be growing. There is a certain frankness about the state of affairs in China, expressed without challenging CCP rule. The threat to the regime comes not from dissidents, but from within the Chinese Communist Party itself. With a change of leadership scheduled for next year, what's emerged is the biggest power struggle since Mao's death. Bo Xilai, who represents the party's "New Left" faction, is quite possibly a casualty of that struggle. Just this year, rumours floated on government Intranet about a coup. The Internet itself may be a threat to the regime, as exposure of damaging incidents (like last year's train crash) only provoke fierce debate.

A struggle in an least nominally Communist party between "left" and "right" is not unprecedented even if it would seem absurd. China abandoned Communist economics starting in the late 70s, but the public sector continues to play a large role and even private capital is closely tied to its ruling elite anyway. Some would say this is more a "facist" or "Nazi" like state (in some ways it's actually worse...).

Gerald Warner and Peter Hitchens provide some insights into what China's very real problems are, or will be in the near future. The country's population policies- the one-child policy and forced abortions- are a very real threat both to social stability and economic growth, as well as fuelling an evil trade in stolen children and the export adoption industry. China faces a demographic catastrophe bigger than Europe or the rest of the world will face: a greying population coupled with gender imbalance. Already, we're seeing signs of societal breakdown. The recent outrage over a forced abortion seems unprecedented, its significance not to be underestimated.

If a collapse of the PRC happens within our lifetime, it would actually be entirely consistent with the cycle of Chinese history. Anyone with a brain knows that the result will not be anything like "democracy", but possibly akin to warlordism. The acceptance of the regime by most Chinese is slowly eroding. Its internal politics draw comparisons to court politics in past eras. All speculation, but not implausible.
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