Analyst: 9 predictions for China in 2019

Jin Yu-sen sets out 9 predictions for what is to be an important year for China

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China's People's Liberation Army

China's People's Liberation Army (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — 2019 marks several milestones for China, namely the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the 40th year of official relations with the U.S., and the 30th anniversary of the Tian’anmen Square massacre.

As such, political analyst Jin Yu-sen (金雨森) had made numerous predictions as to what the year holds for China and what the world can expect from the Chinese state. The following nine predictions are summations of those originally printed in WatChinese magazine (看雜誌) and republished by United Daily News:

  1. The U.S.-China trade war will escalate to include technological, cyber, and physical warfare. Trade conflict, approved by both U.S. parties, will continue to be a key mandate of Donald Trump’s presidency, and signs of technological warfare have already begun to appear, with the U.S. Defense Authorization Act that prevents officials using components and services from Chinese firms such as Huawei signed into law last year. China continues to step up its cyberwarfare capabilities, committing cyber crimes against various rival governments, and amp up its military capabilities, particularly in the face of the unrelenting Taiwanese independence movement.

  2. The Belt and Road initiative will keep hitting road blocks. States will no longer tolerate China’s one party dictatorship and the government will continue facing allegations of “new colonialism” as it encourages more low and medium income countries to fall into debt traps. Along with the U.S., certain E.U. countries, Japan and India have already implemented stricter administrative measures on Chinese investment, trade and technological exchanges (one can look to Huawei as an example—multiple countries have now banned use of its products and services).

  3. China’s economy will continue to slow down. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered China’s projected growth rate for 2019 from 6.4 to 6.2 percent. Beijing has responded by pushing its guo jin min tui (國進民退) policies, state-owned industry groups have gobbled up struggling private enterprises, and for those that have not been nationalized, it is predicted 2019 will bring a new wave of bankruptcies.

  4. China will face a financial crisis. Chinese real estate is in bubble territority as economic decline has also caused a slow down in real estate investment meaning developers have entered the peak period of debt repayment. Most Chinese cannot afford housing and developer debt stands at 3.85 trillion RMB. National debt is set to break 300 percent of GDP in 2019 and more companies are predicted to default, causing a domino effect.

  5. China is to become a high-tech police state. The social credit system, first outlined in 2014, has been trialed in several cities, and measures are expected to be implemented in most cities across the country by the end of 2019. Face-recognition technology and other oppressive measures, similar to those currently in use in Xinjiang, will be implemented nationwide.

  6. There will be a large number of protests within Chinese society. Unfair economic distribution, unemployment and increasing oppressive measures from the government are likely to cause outcry. The 2018 faulty vaccine incident aroused violent protests from the parents of victims demonstrating citizens are not afraid to express their discontent when it comes to serious issues.

  7. There are likely to be animal and human food and disease crises. As the African swine fever virus continues to spread across China, this could create a shortage in pork produce. China additionally confirmed the first ever human case of the H7N4 strain of bird flu in 2018.

  8. Taiwan will become a target upon which China exerts its anger for its diminished influence in the international arena. China will continue to infiltrate the social, cultural, economic and diplomatic realms of Taiwanese society to intimidate its government and citizens and arouse patriotism among its own citizens. The CCP will continue to meddle in the 2020 Taiwan presidential elections, as it did with the 2018 nine-in-one elections.

  9. Xi Jinping will be forced to choose reform. The pressures listed above mean China will face an economic and social crisis if it does not open up to the global market and adhere to international market and trade norms.