Red Dragon, Dead Dragon

They say demography is destiny. According to the following report by H. Numan, China’s destiny is in an accelerating tailspin.

Red dragon, dead dragon

by H. Numan

I’ve written an essay in which I showed that the People’s Republic of China (‘China’) isn’t going to attack the Republic of China (‘Taiwan’). They probably still won’t, but the whole situation has changed with the advent of the Russo-Ukrainian war. China is on the way to oblivion. In 2050 the country will have fewer than 700 million citizens. Worse, the Chinese government knows it. That changes everything.

It won’t be through war, thank God. Nor by famine or diseases. Though all will definitely play a part in the future. It’s because of demographics. The One Child Policy has been way more effective and has lasting effects far beyond what policymakers could imagine. China will die slowly of old age. Not in the distant future, but (Mark 9:1) within the lifetime of those here standing. By 2050 the Chinese population will be half of what it is today. The shrinkage didn’t start this year, as was expected by the Chinese bureau for lies statistics, but had already begun around 2010. They miscalculated and included about 100 million that should have been born but weren’t due to the one child policy.

Demographics are complicated

Let’s have a look at how demographics work. We can’t foretell what individuals will do when they reach a certain age, but we can do that fairly accurately for large groups. Those groups are called cohorts in demographics; they consist of males and females of the same age bracket, in periods of five years. A generation is the period a cohort needs to start reproducing, usually 20-25 years.

We can split the population into roughly three groups: juveniles (< 21), adults (21-65) and pensioners (>65). Every five years a cohort moves up one spot on the graphs. On the left side are males, on the right side females.

The first graph is Niger, a country with a fast-growing population. Observe a huge number of infants and a very small number of pensioners. This kind of growth is disastrous. In 15 years the largest cohort (bottom) will start reproducing. Making the bottom cohort even larger. A country like this runs out of resources quickly.

The next graph is Sweden, which has a stable population. Though when you look at the bottom, they are slowly shrinking. The last graph is Singapore, which has a declining population. How can you see that? Look at the bottom. Move up the bottom cohort, with a small reduction for death. The Singaporeans aren’t replacing themselves. The bulge in the middle are the people that are the most productive for the economy. By looking at those three graphs, you can see that Niger is in trouble, Sweden is doing all right and Singapore is booming at the moment.

The Chinese graph is worse:

In both graphs you see more males than females. That’s deadly for any civilization. Imagine a war kills off 50% of all males in a country. It will take a while, but they can recover. Imagine the same, but now 50% of all females are killed/removed. That country will never recover. Impossible. It’s gone forever. An observant reader will say: in the right graph are far more females than men. Correct, but have a look at their ages. They start catching up from 55 years and older. Not too many women in those age groups are likely to give birth …

The One Child Policy started in 1980, and was abolished in 2015. That means 35 years or seven cohorts (!) were raised as single children. That’s far more than a generation. Not only that, but Chinese prefer boys over girls. If they only can have one child, it better be a boy! That single boy is far more precious than you think, because he eventually has to provide not only for his parents and grandparents but those of his wife as well, if he can find one. China does not have an old age pension, and does not allow its citizens to invest for retirement.

This created three unforeseen effects. Once those single boys grew up, they started to look for prospective wives among the surviving single girls. For girls a dream come true: they could marry a young handsome millionaire! If a prospective groom doesn’t bring at least two houses (pauper!!) and a BMW he doesn’t have to waste his time wooing her. Yes, even in this woman’s paradise there are still leftover women. The grass is never green enough. Some things never change.

The other effect nobody thought about is that children raised as single children have great difficulties socializing and do not want more than one child themselves. If they want children at all, that is. In 2015 when the Chinese government allowed for two children, nobody responded. A bit later they encouraged three children, but that was ridiculed by the people. A poll was quickly taken offline, because the results were not exactly what the government wanted to be. +90% of respondents stated that they don’t want any kids at all. None. In very plain language. Not a word of Chinese in it (in a matter of speaking, of course)!

The third and most important effect is that the emperor cannot send countless soldiers to die in a vain, glorious war. Invading Taiwan will immediately cause widespread revolution. Because the parents and grandparents of those soldiers would have lost the means to subsist in their old age.

What’s the complexity of demographics?

First nothing seems to happen, then it happens all of a sudden. It takes 20 years (four cohorts) to become a productive adult. It takes 45 years (nine cohorts) to reach the age of retirement. Then, all of a sudden … boom! … retirement. One day you are working, the next day you’ll never work again. It’s not a gradual process, it happens from one day on the next.

From 1980 onwards Chinese people became prosperous. Less poor, for the most part. But some people really became wealthy. Here China loves to play the numbers game. “We have more millionaires than The Netherlands has inhabitants!” True enough, but China also has 1.4 billion citizens. If we look at the percentages, China has less than 1% of it citizens as millionaires. In The Netherlands that’s 3%.

The prosperity of China is over. Forever. Demographically, they borrowed from the bank. Now it’s payback time. Raising children is very expensive. From 1980 onwards Chinese didn’t have to spend their money on raising children. They could spend it on whatever they wanted. That’s the reason why Thailand became — until Covid — the most popular foreign tourist destination for the Chinese. Chinese tourists amounted to one-third of all arrivals. That money would otherwise have been spent on raising children.

The same thing happened in the West to a lesser extent. We didn’t have a forced One Child Policy, but reduced our number of children voluntarily. We have exactly the same aging problem (too fewer boys), but not as severe. There is one major difference. We changed our economic model, from production to development. We don’t make shoes anymore; China took that over. They can produce far more shoes for far less money than we can. Western countries switched to high-end technology. Also, our workforce became much more efficient. Yes, a western employee earns 10x or more of what a Chinese chap makes. He’s also 20x more productive.

China didn’t invest in education. They invested in production. Salaries did go up, but it only made Chinese production less competitive. Compared to 1990, a Chinese employee earns 12x more, and is 2x more efficient. The net result is a more expensive low-quality product. Technology isn’t developed in China. They steal it from elsewhere. Why spend good money on development when you can copy it? The copyright is the right to copy! Even if Trump hadn’t started a trade war, American companies would have moved away from China. A Mexican worker is slightly more expensive, better-educated, and transportation costs are less. It’s the political situation that cost Mexico its low-tech jobs so far. As soon as the drug wars are over, Mexico will become big. At the expense of China.

That’s the demographic side. Xi Jinping knows this. He also knows there is nothing he can do to change it. He can’t even postpone it. Even if he orders mass orgies with free Viagra, it won’t save his country. In 2050 China, probably a lot of Chinas by then, will be gone. It’s no longer a superpower. It will slump back into oblivion.

Money doesn’t talk, politics does

There is another side to this story. Politics, not money. In the West we make money to gain power. In China it’s the other way around. Money is a reward the party grants you for services rendered. It is not, repeat: not, possible to first become millionaire and then a big shot in the party. The party controls everything. You need to become a party big shot first. Please observe this is nothing new in China. The state exams are millennia old.

Xi Jinping is busy setting up a personality cult surpassing Mao. People are encouraged to read the little red book of Xi, for example. Anyone not tiptoeing the party line is removed. Maybe you have heard about Jack Ma. He disappeared for a while, after publicly making remarks that the party — Xi — found offensive. After three months he reappeared and lost half of his company. It was taken over by the party. Jack Ma is a billionaire, so a lot of money was taken away. He’s not the only one. A rule of thumb: any billionaire who matches Xi’s wealth is in serious danger. Even billionaires are not safe in China. Let that sink in. The government doesn’t only target IT companies. Many other companies and industries are targeted.

For example, private foreign language education. That’s a multi-billion dollar industry in China. We all know Asian parents want the best education possible for their children. Overnight, private education was shut down, forbidden, completely banned. Foreigners were ordered to leave the country forthwith, companies simply went bankrupt, parents lost the school fees already paid. Why? Because the party — Xi — doesn’t need or want foreigners. All they do is pollute children with bad ideas, anyway.

What have we got so far?

  • The worst demographics in human history
  • The largest imbalance between males and females in human history
  • A leader who wants to be hero-worshipped
  • Economy going down the drain

Can it get any worse? Sure it can! Let’s have some fun with bats. Who wants a fresh bowl of soup? As far as I can tell, the Covid pandemic is a mixture of Western greed coupled with Chinese ingenuity. Dr. Fauci knows Gain of Function research is prohibitively expensive in America. With good reason, mind you. That stuff is dangerous! It’s far more dangerous than nuclear research, to put it mildly. A Western lab must meet very strict safety standards and is therefore impossibly expensive. Why bother with that? Simply farm it out to China. They don’t have safety regulations and it’s cheap. What could go wrong?

China couldn’t believe its luck. The West wants us to perform top-secret western DNA research??? Of course we can do that! Don’t worry about the costs. We’ll pay you, if you want. Just come! That they didn’t say, but believe me: Chinese know all there is about wooing the gullible, bribing and corruption. Imagine highly secret nuclear research farmed out the same way. Anyone coming up with that idea would serve a life sentence in Leavenworth. Dr. Faust Fauci should be there. Forever. Given the damage this man caused, I think solitary confinement in Colorado is more appropriate.

Because it did go wrong. The first case happened in or close to the lab in Wuhan, and from there someone traveled to Italy. There is a direct train connection to the airport and flight to Milan. The virus first spread to Milan outside of Wuhan. What a remarkable coincidence.

After that everything went to hell in a hand basket. The economy shut down. Had to shut down. For political reasons China refuses Western vaccines. Their own vaccine Sinopharm is the least effective on the market and doesn’t work on the Omicron variant. For political reasons the Chinese government refused to act, so the virus could spread worldwide. Not the first time we’ve gotten such a gift from China. SARS also originated in China.

As both the world and the Chinese economies contracted, a new crisis begin. Evergrande, the biggest Chinese real estate company, went bankrupt. Lots of other real estate companies followed. I just read the biggest (state-owned) shipyard also declared bankruptcy. Believe it or not, not only Western companies are leaving China. So are Chinese companies.

More bad news

That’s not all the bad news; there is plenty more. Did you know China build the largest high-speed rail network in the world? In less than ten years they build more high speed tracks than the rest of the world combined. At the time, a clever idea. The economy of China was contracting. The government invested in a high-speed network, to create jobs and boost the economy. It worked; the first few lines were a huge success. However… enough is enough, unless you’re a nymphomaniac. The first lines were between large cities and filled a need. After that they kept on building. Now the remotest parts of China are connected by high speed trains. Which run on schedule. With almost no passengers. Several times every day. High speed rail is very expensive to build, very expensive to maintain and can only carry passengers. It can’t carry freight. The rail network already operated with severe losses before the Covid pandemic. Now it runs into billions of dollars per year in debt.

That high-speed rail network is part of the Belt and Road initiative, colloquially known as the belt and rob initiative. It is an initiative to set up a huge new infrastructure of roads, rail roads, ports, airfields and more to connect China with Asia, Africa and Europe. In a nutshell they woo other nations to buy very expensive Chinese infrastructure that benefits China and the leaders who are bribed to sign up for it. The countries borrow money at extortionate rates from Chinese banks. If they can’t pay back, China takes over the infrastructure. Which is happening right now, because of the Covid crisis. Those countries were already poor to begin with. That creates a new problem for China: in the end they are forced to pay for everything themselves, and end up with ports and railways that nobody uses. In Thailand we say: som naam na! (Serves you right!)

While we are slowly recovering from the pandemic, China is smack in the middle of it. Shanghai is under a total lockdown, and nearly starving. Not because there isn’t any food, but because nobody is allowed to get it. The lockdown is absolute. Perpetrators are arrested and sent to camps. Covid concentration camps if they test positive, prison if negative. Right now the same restrictions will be applied to Beijing. Shanghai is already on the brink of revolting. Not because they want to, but because they have little choice; either die trying to find something to eat, or starve.

A crisis is an opportunity

In February Putin invaded Ukraine. China knew well in advance about his plans. They liked it, and supported him, provided he didn’t invade during the Olympics. The idea was brilliant, from the Chinese point of view. Putin invades Ukraine, takes it over quickly and the West will accept the fait accompli. We can do the same with Taiwan. After all, there is a geriatric moron in the White House and spineless politicians in Brussels and Berlin.

There was only one problem. It didn’t work out that way. Yes, Harris & Biden are Dumb & Dumber, but for once the West responded quickly, resolutely and unanimously. The invasion of Ukraine is not the easy takeover Putin and Xi expected. Far from it. Ukrainians fight for every yard furiously. It’s unlikely Putin can win this war. It will almost certainly drag on for months, if not years.

The opportunity becomes a crisis

For Xi it is a lot worse than for Putin. Russia is moderately hard-hit by sanctions, but will survive. China isn’t hit (yet) by sanctions. However, the same sanctions that are merely inconvenient for Russia are deadly for China. Russia is a food and oil exporter. China imports just about everything. Partly for consumption, partly for production. During the Covid crisis they hit Australia with their own sanctions (refusing to buy Aussie wheat and coal) which hit China itself far harder than Australia.

An alliance with Russia would be a true death sentence for China — which is already dying. Not only that, due to the war, imports from Russia have decreased, not increased. The reason is pretty obvious: the transport network works on full capacity, but it now needs to supply troops in Ukraine as well. Plus that all the extremely valuable foreign companies and engineers are leaving Russia. That means less oil for China, not more oil. As it is, China is already struggling with partial blackouts in a third of the country. The richest third, to be exact. The other two thirds barely have electricity to begin with.

The sanctions will cripple Russia. It will take some time, though. Russia is to a large extent self-sufficient. The same sanctions would have an immediate effect in China. I have no idea how to implement those sanctions without directly and seriously endangering the lives of many hundreds of millions Chinese. If China were to be hit by this type of sanctions, expect many millions to die within three or four months.

Then there is the Three Gorges Dam. The biggest power-generating dam in the world. It was build to withstand a 1 in 10,000-year flood. However, this is China. Less than ten years after it went into operation it barely survived two floods! The dam is still functioning, but structurally weakened. That was before the Covid crisis. A collapse would flush out the most productive areas of China into the sea, literally. Imagine a wall of water with a height of 100 meters running towards the sea, 1200 km away. It will be there in about 10 hours.

The real crisis

What will happen is anyone’s guess. It’s to early to say. Logic says that Taiwan is safe. Conquering the island with its strategic integrated circuit factories destroyed would be an inhumane waste of men. Rest assured that Taiwan is prepared; they have been expecting it for 76 years. Those factories won’t survive the initial landings. I’m pretty sure all have been booby trapped for as long as they have been there. If Dumb & Dumber don’t respond fast, they’ll be tied in straight jackets while the Pentagon takes action. Taiwan is that vital for the Western world.

Prepare for the worst

Taiwan is not Ukraine. But Xi is very much like Putin. Both are autocrats (polite for ‘dictators’) who don’t give a hoot about loss of life, as long as it isn’t theirs. Xi knows his economy is going down the drain. Xi knows his demographics are deadly. Xi knows he doesn’t have a hope in hell of beating the US army. He might be desperate enough to think, ah well. We’re going down anyway. Might as well be glorious.

There is something else, too

I noticed something interesting recently. Russian and Chinese foreign policies remain exactly the same over time. Russian czars, Chinese emperors, party leaders and now presidents all act the same. Mass deportations, genocides, rape, scorched-earth politics: all of that was done by every leader of Russia and China. Russia is highly aggressive, China exactly the same. China has border conflicts with all of its neighbors, including Russia.

In China we see a dynastic pattern. Something causes hardship for the people. The emperor becomes hugely unpopular. At the same time (important!) outside circumstances force the people into real hardship. That might be additional floods, famine, barbarian invasions or whatever. The emperor is powerless to change the crisis. Revolts force him out. China splinters. A period of warring states follows the dynasty. A new dynasty will emerge. The new emperor will unify the empire, his successors will gradually become less popular and more self centered. Until again outside circumstances combine with economic and/or political hardship. Rinse and repeat. This pattern happens over and over in China, even before unification. We’re about to see the latest version of it.

In both Russia and China a change of leadership did not change policy. Only the leadership changed. Both nations always have been autocratic. Some rulers were benevolent, most were not. Communism in both countries was not a sweeping change of history, just a change of leadership.

Both leaders want to be known to history as ‘the Great’. Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Putin the Great and Xi the Great. Leaders who single-handedly changed their country from rags to riches despite insurmountable odds. For a while, it seemed they were on the right track to do that. At this very moment both Putin and Xi know the game is over. What they will do is anyone’s guess. I have no idea. But it won’t be good.

To finish this lengthy essay, China as we know it will no longer exist in 2030. Hopefully, it will descend into internal turmoil. Perhaps revolts will break out first in Beijing, then Shanghai followed by Hong Kong. Chinese are not members of the CCP because they are devoted communists. The same thing happened in East Germany. The Stasi miscalculated the loyalty of party members. The only reason why people joined the party was to get a job. As soon as China begins to fall apart, that will happen there, too.

That is the most optimistic scenario I can think of. Anything else is Armageddon, with one silver lining. China has just enough nukes to prevent a nuclear attack. Russia has +6000 of those horrors.

Sieg Heil 齊格黑爾

What worries me most of all is what Xi’s only option is. Ultra-nationalism combined with blatant racism, making Hitler look like a beginner. Xi is not going to give up power, that much is certain. The only way open for him is going ultra-ultra-nationalist. China is in a very good position for that. About 95% of the total population is Han-Chinese. It’s very easy to make them feel special or on a mission. They already are; it isn’t exactly fun being a Tibetan or Uighur at the moment. Organ harvesting is not a conspiracy or a myth but a fact in China. Concentration camps won’t have to be built, merely expanded. Going ultra-nationalist will make the people accept terrible hardships. It always does.

— H. Numan

13 thoughts on “Red Dragon, Dead Dragon

  1. What you described sounds very similar to America. Quite possibly the only reason that we are not as far down the road as China is the presence of Christians who are allowed to openly participate in society, for now. As of Xi Jiping, he is a slave to the party bosses who replaced the former premier in the wake of the collapse of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which also hurt Southern California real estate rather badly. Xi can, and most likely will, be replaced soon, as will Putin. Both of them have had their day in the sun, and now the sun is setting on them. Yes, China is a demographic disaster area but for one way out of it, “Do your patriotic duty, man and woman!!” “Get pregnant, bear children, and raise them up for the glory of the State!!” I’m certain that the Chinese are able to Han-dle it.

  2. Some good points about China, but the comparison with Russia is completely misguided. Sadly, the writer seems to take his “knowledge” of the Ukraine situation from CNN and their ilk.
    Some food for thought in re Chinese demographics, but since the writer is so blatantly and embarrassingly ignorant about Ukraine but yet touts strong opinions, that degrades his credibility imho.

    • I’m sorry to spoil your fun, but I try to base my articles on FACTS. Not on opinions or feelings. Of course, you are free to support Putin and his gangs of rapists and looters as much as you want. That’s the beauty of democracy – which Russia doesn’t have. Being Dutch, we had before 1940 some people like you. They supported Germany. Two groups, actually. One did it because they really liked it. The other group followed orders from Moscow.

      In which camp are you?

      • What kind of a culture is it today – to accuse everyone that disagrees with me on “Ukraine” is a “Putin supporter” and “just the kind of guy who would collaborate with the Nazis”? H. Numan – that kind of accusative reaction really degrades your credibility, imho.

  3. Why do Chinese males from 2015, 55-59 and younger start to outnumber females of the same age? Whatever is the cause, they were born 1956-1960, long before the 1980 one child policy?

    In the graph, because it is so close to the 40 million line, you can clearly see that there are more males. Same is true for the 45-59 and 40-44 cohorts which are close to the 60 million line. Likely true for others who were born before 1980, just they don’t have an easy reference line to judge with.

    And not being Chinese, I can’t judge your reason for dismissing going to war. Right now, 2022, they have a large quantity of 25-35 year olds, with millions of excess men. Seems like the opportunity to use it in war is passing them by.

    The nobody to support them problem happens to a lot of them war or no war.

    • They don’t. Nowhere in any demographic outnumber older men women of the same age. Women have one big problem, that is childbirth. If they survive that (normally they do), they live to a ripe old age, surpassing men.

      So you must be seeing things that aren’t there.

      I failed. I tried to keep a very dry, complicated topic (demographics) as light weight and easy to understand as possible. Apparently I made it too difficult. Please tell me to what level I have to dumb it down, so you can understand it. Kindergarten? Or that’s not possible because you support Putin and his looters?

      I fear both.

      • If your graph falsely depicts the numbers, then of course I am reading it wrong.

        If it correctly depicts the numbers, well you are the one presenting these numbers, and the 2015 graph clearly shows more men than women in many age groups. I just asked why.

        Why don’t you dumb it down to my Ph.D. in Physics? I actually helped a professor digitize a published curve so that he could estimate information the author would not tell him. That isn’t needed here. Whenever a histogram comes close to a reference line you can easily compare how close the red and blue curves are to the specific reference line.

        If the graph is wrong, fix the graph. Don’t smear the person asking about it.

        I personally do have to dumb down explanations. Worse, years of training and experience often leave me seeing obvious details that need lengthy explanations for other people to see. But I gave clear explanation of how specific cohorts could be seen to have more males than females.

        I also have enough experience to know that you should never trust your graphics code to correctly show your data. At least not until you have carefully validated it.

        But I didn’t assume your graph was wrong. Nor that you were wrong to say the one child policy had an effect. That neutral policy forces a cultural choice. My guess, left out of my comment, was that something else enabled that cultural choice prior to 1980, but the 1980 policy amplified the effect. I wouldn’t be surprised to find something like legal abortions enabling the choice and then the one child policy forcing the choice. But that is all guess work based on your graph.

        Avoiding prejudicing your answer, I simply asked why, assuming the graph represents the data.

        But since you respond with gratuitous smears and unjustified accusations, I know now not to trust anything you say or present.

        • The feelings are mutual. Your argument from authority (assuming you have a degree) are noted. “I am a perfessor, therefor I am right.”

          I doubt that you have a degree, given your nitpicking on what you long before university should have learned. What I wrote is high school level.

          All the best.

  4. It is possible that a brutal dictatorship like Russia can sometimes be correct in using military force for the legitimate defense of its borders and native Russians living in disputed territories.

    Ukraine, it appears, has been a corrupt pawn for corrupt NATO leaders for quite some time.

    Their suicidal refusal to adopt a neutral stance is not valiant – it is genocidal to their own people.

    • One of the reasons why Russia is losing the war is corruption on a level barely imaginable. Care to comment on that?

      Perhaps you can compare the corruption of NATO against that of Russia.

    • The Russians don’t care how many they lose, they will throw people at the problem until the opponents run out of bodies.

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