‘The pandemic will change the world much like the fall of the Soviet Union did.’
New Delhi: Among the leading global experts on China, Gordon G. Chang first came into prominence in 2001 with his book, The Coming Collapse of China. His prediction was that the Chinese economy would implode latest by 2017 and that the collapse of the economy would be followed by that of the Chinese Communist Party. This decline would be initiated by serial bank failures. Although this doomsday prediction has not happened, it is a reality that China’s hitherto sizzling rate of economic growth has sharply slowed down since 2017, long before Wuhan began to reel under the novel coronavirus pandemic towards the close of 2019. The Chinese economy will see growth rates in 2020 even less than what was witnessed during the turbulent period when Mao Zedong was the ruler of the People’s Republic of China.
Gordon Chang believes that when the dust settles post the Covid-19 outbreak, the course of history will be changed totally and one of the fallouts of that will be the end of China’s upward geopolitical trajectory. Chang, while speaking to The Sunday Guardian, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has “accelerated the widening division between the China led alliance on the one side and the rest of the world on the other”.
“The pandemic will change the world much like the fall of the Soviet Union did. The collapse of Soviet communism ended the Cold War. This pandemic will end the post-Cold War period, a period of peace, prosperity, and globalization,” Chang said.
According to him, China was going to suffer massively at the international level post the Covid-19 breakout.
“Prior to the virus, the general narrative was that China would dominate the international system. In that unusually benign period, Beijing was able to make steady gains. Just about everyone extrapolated and believed China’s ‘rise’ would continue indefinitely. The coronavirus pandemic is an event that changes the course of history because it will end China’s upward trajectory. The pandemic is one event that history will remember”, Chang predicted.
The world as it stands now, as per Chang, was going to be divided into two parts, as a fallout of this event.
“The world, pre-pandemic, was already beginning to cleave between a China-Russia-Iran-North Korea (and a few other states) partnering on one side and everyone else on the other side. The pandemic accelerates this division. Why will this division continue? Because the world will soon learn two things: the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan and Xi Jinping recklessly or maliciously spread the virus beyond China’s borders. For weeks, Chinese officials maintained in public that the novel coronavirus was not transmissible human-to-human when they knew it was. At the same time, they pressured countries not to impose travel restrictions on arrivals from China. These actions, recklessly or deliberately, turned an epidemic that could have been contained within China into a global pandemic. When this becomes evident around the world, countries will turn against China and its friends, while India, with so many built-in-advantages will prosper.”