China's economy is seriously ill. It was a surprise for many people. Not for me.
The fact that China is not going anywhere from liberalization and the need for non-management policy is well understood. For many, the scale of the disaster was unclear. It became clear to me after my trip to China with a delegation of RJC a few years ago.
We visited Beijing, Harbin, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The first strong impression of the cities in China (except Hong Kong) — each of them has a very unhealthy smell. China is a country of an accomplished environmental disaster.
Harbin is a strange place. Before visiting it we were in Beijing, and it is a real China. There are other relief, other rivers, you can’t confuse it with anything. And Harbin is a continuation of Siberia, so it was not accidentally Russia wanted to snip off the region, calling it "Zheltorossiya". The country was like trying to take its natural space — an endless plain, wide lazy rivers, taiga, open and poorly populated areas. Songhua is exactly the same as all the Siberian rivers. And rivers in China are quite different.
The Chinese don’t like to live in the north. Therefore Harbin is "not so big", only about 10 million. On the day of our departure, we were taken through some new, unfamiliar area.
It looked weird: a huge city of 40-storey buildings for 2 million people.
However, there was something you wouldn’t notice. Well! It was empty — completely finished houses, built long time ago, with all infrastructure — shops, parking lots, kindergartens and... no people.
Later we were told this rationale is as follows: construction company, the owner of which is, for example, a son of the first secretary of the city committee, gets billions of public loans at a very low interest. Builds, rents out and... does not sell. The Chinese have neither the money nor the desire to go to the north. All these years a giant bubble of the Chinese GDP was growing. It will burst. But that would not be helpful to anybody.
GDP of the Soviet Union was the same, but there were no empty houses. There was another thing — different plants producing an endless process equipment were driven a plan; supply agents, who were able to snatch the "funds", rushed about the country. In the places where people were able to do it well, they did not have indoor space to store countless huge boxes of priceless "deficit". It was rusting in the factory yard for decades, at the time when the less fortunate enterprises could not "beat out" anything for decades. All that dead weight hung on the balance of the plants and safely gone for scrap in 90th.
Countless millions of coats with astrakhan collar, designed to meet the "aesthetic needs of the population", fed the hugest population of moths in the history.
Humanity stumped by a putrescent smell have not seen such a large number of rotten vegetables at the warehouses.
The "best" years, GDP of the USSR "has reached" 40% of the US GDP. Some still believe it.
And they are searching, searching, searching for the damned conspirators who destroyed a "superpower".
They really want to go back to the days when our greatness allowed us all to rot in such Homeric scale.
But now China will beat these records.
It is China’s time.