China is now peaking in its power and is soon to decline, and that makes it especially dangerous, according to Tufts associate professor Michael Beckley, co-author of a new book, Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, with John Hopkins University’s Hal Brands:
- The first reason is that China is in the midst of an economic slowdown—its economic growth rate dropped from 2010 to 2019 by more than 50%. That was even before COVID and its zero-COVID policies, which have dragged down the economy even further.
- The second main factor is strategic encirclement. China is starting to face anti-China alignments at various points around Asia and even in Europe. Anti-China sentiment around the world has skyrocketed to levels we haven’t seen since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
- Third, the tailwinds that propelled China’s rise over the past 30 years are quickly becoming headwinds pushing it back down.
China is going from demographic dividend to disaster in a single generation, Beckley tells Tufts Now’s Taylor McNeil: in the 2000s, China had 10 workers to support every elderly retiree—most countries don’t even have five workers per retiree—but by the late 2030s that ratio will collapse to just two workers per retiree, as China loses more than 80 million young workers, taxpayers, and consumers while gaining more than 130 million senior citizens. RTWT