Population Decline, Demographics and the Foreign Policy Implications for Novorussia and Greater China
A lot has already been written about demographic developments, most prominently by Gunnar Heinsohn and others about the population explosion, excess population and overpopulation of young men, youth buldge and their extremist political implications, especially Islamism, jihadism, terrorism, wars of conquest, resource conflicts and wars. The implication of what declining populations and birth rates in industrialized countries could have for foreign policy was less considered. Most of the time it has been assumed that declining populations would cause states to focus more on their internal demographic problems and have to focus more on pension systems, welfare systems, care systems and related issues, i.e. more inward-looking and self-centered and less expansive with an aging society. With the war in Ukraine, however, another development is now considered possible, as an article in the Frankfurter Rundschau puts it:
„Russia’s population is shrinking: a reason for war for Putin?“
Latest theory: Putin’s Novorussia and his Ukraine war also serve to counteract the Russian population decline through incorporation and conquest of new Slavic/Russian populations, or what in his mind he thinks a Slavic or Russian population is. Not entirely to be dismissed out of hand. Whereby Novorussia with the Ukraine and Belarus, perhaps also the Russian-born parts of the Baltic States and Transnistria and the Eurasian Union should then be the core and the means to achieve the end – the ousting of the USA from Europe (and by means of China from the Infopacific) – to achieve a multipolar new world order. Would such a nationalistic and ethnic blood-tie view of a Greater China be conceivable with all the foreign Chinese abroad in Asia? Could China in the future, when it becomes more powerful militarily, perhaps “help” so-called oppressed ethnic Chinese “brothers and sisters and compatriots” abroad to protect them and respond to their “call for help”, like the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan or Putin in Ukraine? Maybe also by means of Right to protect/ R2P? There are certainly differences and this cannot be transferred so easily, but it cannot be completely ruled out either. At least the population decline and the falling birth rates, as well as the generational effects in China are also observed with panic. If the trend stays the same, some experts even expect the Chinese population to halve from the current 1.2 billion to 750 million in 2050. The Global Times, People’s Daily and the CP China regularly issue warnings, the CP China tries to counteract these trends, especially since the one-child policy has now been abolished, non-medical abortions have been banned, economic incentives for more births are to be set, the price-gougers of expensive private education offers and horrendous real estate prices and apartment rents are being controlled which was also a reason for the CCP’s crackdown on Evergrand and other companies. Another article from Foreign Policy about China’s Generation Z is interesting.
How censorship, nationalism, and wealth have shaped young Chinese.
Interesting article on the difference between the Chinese millennials, who still had access to the international internet and western social media before it was shut down by the Chinese firewall, and the upcoming Gen Z, the 九零后 and 零零后。Whose traits are said to be : Nationalism, denouncers , informers and spies, feminism with Chinese characteristics, boy-gay affinity and „lying flat“. What comes as next generation? From the point of view of the CCP, Gen Z unfortunately shows many so-called decadence, weakening and softening tendencies, especially a refusal of the will to achieve ambitious goals and counteracting traditional Chinese and Confucian values. Since the CCP has fairly sealed off the country and its media, with the exception of some censored Western films, books, and music groups, it will be difficult to denounce these tendencies as harmful Western influence and lifestyle, since these prosperity phenomena tend to be homegrown and are born out of their own Chinese social conditions. It is quite possible that the CP China wants to educate the next generation as part of a turning point of history (Zeitenwende) and a „protracted war“ for a coming world power, since such „rag pacifism“ (Lumpenpazifismus) and such softening tendencies will be fought hard in order to generate a new type of fighter and warrior who does not tolerate „lying flat“. So let’s wait and see what comes after Gen Z. But it’s not always a recipe for success. Because Erdogan also wanted to create a „new religious generation“ for his neo-Ottoman Empire in Turkey, but so far this effort has not been particularly successful.
Sinology professor van Ess also commented:
“Mao thought so. As many Chinese as possible. This led to a demographic catastrophe. impoverishment of large parts of the population. Now they have the opposite, as do all developed countries, except for those with mass immigration (USA, now Germany, where the trend is reversed, but as in the USA, not in the non-immigrant population. In which the decrease in the birth rate is even bigger or the same as in Russia. There are two models in the world, with Korea and Japan approaching it more like the Eastern Europeans: no immigration, so that the national character is not changed. In Ukraine, of course, the population is declining just like in Russia, probably even more so, what the Frankfurter Rundschau says is probably only half true.“
Will that also become a discussion in China? China as an immigration country with a Statue of Liberty or maybe a Statue of Stability and Development in Shanghai, Canton or Hong Kong? Hardly conceivable. Maybe some labor migration against a possible shortage of skilled workers, but in a homeopathic dose, maybe also based on a contract worker system like in the GDR or former socialist countries and more like Japan and Korea with the ideal of ethnic homogeneity or hegemony of the Hanchinese.