Oct. 12 (The Diplomat/ by Kerry Brown): China could yet become a superpower. But a surging economy can’t mask social strains that only political reform can address.
According to its official budget, China spent about $80 billion on defence in 2009. But more remarkably, it spent almost as much—$75 billion—on internal security. Keeping the lid on Xinjiang and Tibet has clearly required massive amounts of central government cash, as has policing China’s restless provinces and dealing with public unrest.
China looks strong from the outside, but internally there’s a potentially devastating minefield of environmental problems, inequality, ethnic tensions and social imbalances.