A silly webzine posts some serious news:
A new study released Monday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that more than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age are likely to find themselves unable to find women to marry come 2020. The reason? There just aren’t enough females to go around, because Chinese mothers often abort their baby girls.
This raises a question what do you do with 24 million excess New Socialist Men?
I was going to suggest that Democratic party should import ‘em all as a last-ditch effort to avoid getting clobbered in the 2010 midterms, but even that might not work — these poor bastards have probably already had more Marxism and central economic planning than they’d be willing to vote for.
Unfortunately, the most likely end for these millions of surplus males is as fodder in a war. It’s the traditional way for totalitarian thugocracies to deal with this sort of problem, and China’s got no shortage of targets. The Sino-Indian war of 1962 did not actually resolve the disputes over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, the ensuing diplomacy has been inconclusive and tensions are increasing. The Ussuri River dispute with the Russians has been resolved, on paper, but it is unlikely the Chinese have forgotten that they have historical claims to oil-rich Sakhalin Island. And then of course there is always Taiwan.
The effects of the Great Recession we’re now undergoing amplify the likelihood of war. The export-led Chinese economy is vulnerable to demand fluctuations in its major trade partners, especially the U.S., and is already being pretty seriously hammered by the collapse in world trade volumes. It’s hard to tell just how seriously because Chinese statistics are notoriously opaque and subject to political manipulation, but you know the numbers can’t be good when Chinese government spokesmen start muttering that Peking may stop buying Treasury bonds.
If the U.S. slides into a double-dip recession, it is entirely possible the Chinese economy could crash with it, creating a pressing need for just the sort of distraction a war of conquest provides. Under that scenario, the war could begin as soon as 2011. Even if the U.S. recovers, it’s hard to see how the war can be delayed beyond 2020 or so without creating an unacceptable risk to internal stability. The longer Peking waits, the more likely it is that those excess males will start some serious aggro inside Chinese borders.
The only good news is that the Chinese military is basically incapable of operating anywhere it can’t walk to. They have negligible airlift capability. All their sealift capability is short-range, designed for a surge invasion of Taiwan and probably not adequate even for that. The Chinese Navy’s survival odds against American air and submarine assets would be grim. And the roads crossing China’s borders are inadequate for large troop movements (one reason the Sino-Indian war fizzled out is that it was a logistical nightmare for both sides).
Nevertheless, some major war within the next ten years seems almost certain. Because even if the Chinese government were composed of angels, I don”t think there’s any historical instance of coping with an excess of unmarriageable males that large without a war.