Already the world's most populous nation, China also has foreign financial reserves that dwarf those of other nations. Chinese financial reserves now exceed $1.2 trillion! Most of these reserves are composed of United States government bonds and other U.S. securities.
Here in the world's most populous nation, events are building which will have a dramatic effect on our lives. But for now, things are calm on the surface. My wife and I have found the people here to be very pleasant and extremely polite. The Chinese leadership is going all out to make the 2008 Olympic Games here a resounding success. The official policy now is for China to wage a "smile diplomacy" campaign. Therefore, as long as you do not in any way oppose the ruling elite, everyone is very polite and there are smiles everywhere.
However, the smog here is almost unbearable—and it is even worse in Shanghai. Anyone not accustomed to high levels of pollution should not drink untreated water in Beijing. Tourists should not eat uncooked fruits and vegetables here. Below my hotel window, as I write this, the automobile traffic has slowed down to a crawl even in the middle of the day. Massive traffic congestion is the rule all over Beijing and Shanghai, as we have experienced throughout our six-day visit to China.
But these people are tough. Talking with some western engineers here in our hotel, we found that many Chinese work as many as 15 hours per day, sometimes six days a week. We have heard the jackhammers pounding away, and have seen the work sites lit up even until nearly midnight.
There is no doubt about it—China is rising.
Already the world's most populous nation, China also has foreign financial reserves that dwarf those of other nations. Chinese financial reserves now exceed $1.2 trillion! Most of these reserves are composed of United States government bonds and other U.S. securities. So, although little is usually said about it in the U.S. media, China will have increasing influence and even power over the financial destinies of every man, woman and child in America! For if China decides to "pull the plug" and sell large amounts of U.S. Treasury notes, a massive flight from dollar-related assets would quickly occur. With each passing year, as long as most people in the U.S. continue to live far beyond their means, China will increasingly have control over America's economic future. Think about it!
The Eternal God says, "The borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).
Since most people in the U.S. no longer truly believe and practice what the Bible teaches, should we just forget God's financial warning? No! Nor should we forget this inspired warning He gave to the ancestors of the American and other British-descended nations, which in principle applies equally to us today: "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you" (Deuteronomy 28:43–45).
The Chinese, meanwhile, are quietly but vigorously using many of their resources to develop one of the most powerful military forces in human history. With the world's largest standing army—now estimated at about 2.5 million active personnel—China is continually increasing its military budget. In late February, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney expressed grave concern about China's military buildup. The Chinese military budget has been growing at double-digit rates for years, with an 18 percent rise planned for 2007. As the well-respected Economist magazine reported earlier this year, "The People's Liberation Army is coy in the extreme about its capabilities and intentions, but in January a missile had been sent into space to destroy an old weather satellite. 'China's military policies,' Mr. Cheney said, 'were at odds with the country's stated peaceful aims'—suggesting perhaps that he did not really believe in those aims" (March 31, 2007).
The U.S. is in a weakened condition, especially as a result of its tremendous losses of money, military equipment and manpower in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. So it is in a poor position to challenge China militarily—or in any other way—in Southeast Asia. If China did decide to "reclaim" Taiwan, what could the U.S. possibly do? It is time for America to face the facts. The U.S., as a nation, is declining economically, militarily and as a moral power in the world. But China is moving ahead!
However, in spite of its growing economic and military power, China is beset with enormous problems. Although the huge building booms in Beijing, Shanghai and a few other major cities employ millions of workers, additional hundreds of millions of Chinese people in the countryside are being left far behind. They often lack sufficient food and pure water to make life merely bearable. In recent years, there have been thousands of protests and riots in the smaller cities and villages all across China. This represents a monumental problem for China's political elite. With the Olympic Games coming soon, and their desire to show off their nation, China's leaders do not want any kind of mini-insurrection to get underway.
Could this happen amid so much Chinese prosperity? There are, in fact, "two Chinas." Foreign tourists and business people usually see only the glitzy wealth and material progress obvious in the major cities. Meanwhile, in China's hinterlands, hundreds of reports indicate a growing restlessness among the masses. So will there be some type of political upheaval that will set back China's push to become the truly major world power?
Will the growing power of a united Europe—led by a resurgent Germany—swiftly move that continent to the front in the race for superpower status? Most longtime readers of Tomorrow's World know the answer. But this does not change the fact that China's economic and political influence is increasing, and that America's truly monumental debt to other nations—especially China—will set the stage for the Eternal God to "break" the pride of power America has enjoyed for so long (Leviticus 26:19).
Even so, we should realize that both the U.S. and China lack a genuine awareness of the Creator of the universe. Regarding the Chinese, the Economist magazine recently reported, "A constant theme heard from thoughtful Chinese is that China's rise lacks a moral underpinning, and that a moral vacuum lies at the heart of Chinese life. The Dalai Lama puts the blame on the Communist Party's 'radical atheism' and predicts that 'sooner or later, a spiritual or moral culture will have to come to fill an internal emptiness; externally, there will have to be rule of law, democracy, freedom of the press" (ibid.).
Regarding the U.S., most of you reading this magazine are all too aware of the truly tragic state of America's morals. Television screens across the U.S. continue to be saturated with illicit sex. Violence, drug use and extreme misuse of alcohol are on the increase. Increasingly, Americans are allowing their legislators and judges to "put God out of the public square." For the U.S.—as for any nation that does not return to its senses and truly begin to "seek" the God of the Bible—the wave of the future is downward.
Those of you who have studied Bible prophecy know that the Eternal God shows how the American and other British-descended peoples, who were given the "birthright" promises made to Abraham, will continue to see their tremendous material blessings removed, step by step, unless they truly repent and come back to our Creator and His righteous ways.
The rise of China and its awesome economic, political and military power will certainly play a major part in humbling the American and other British-descended peoples. We all need to think of the "Big Picture" as we watch world events and see the purpose of Almighty God being worked out. Remember, after describing the final events of this age, Jesus said: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).