The history of China repeats itself time and again. Long periods of division lead to unity, while long periods of unity eventually lead to division.
Therefore, it can be easily foreseen and predicted that in the post-communist era, a united and constitutional democracy in Greater China is highly unlikely. A sundering of China is more realistic.
There are three prospects for China’s future:
Prospect 1: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will insist on continuing its rule, despite the inevitability of its decline.
Prospect 2: The CCP will face increasing difficulties with ruling China due to intra-party tussles, and political purges within the ruling clique, that may force it to accept various internal and external pressures to make structural change. This would also threaten the CCP regime. Chinese leader Xi Jinping, however, has already explicitly ruled out any meaningful political reform.
Prospect 3: The blundering CCP will collapse overnight like the former Soviet Union, and the ethnic minority regions and Taiwan take advantage of the situation to assert their complete independence from Greater China. Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s proposed “Seven-Block Theory” (1999) will come to fruition, dividing the country into seven autonomous regions: Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, South China, North China, and Northeast China.
I believe this last prospect is the most likely.
In 1923, the British government proposed an “international condominium of China,” essentially a coalition of nations coming together to govern Greater China.
A year later, Chinese statesman Zheng Xiaoxu—now denounced by the CCP—proposed the “Three ‘Gong’ Theory” for China.
First Gonghe, the Republic; followed by Gongchan, Communism; and finally Gongguan, Condominium.
He wrote the following prophecy: “The Qing Dynasty fell to the Republic, the Republic of China (1912–1949) fell to Communism, and finally Communism will fall to the Condominium.”
The first two prophecies have already been fulfilled. Will the third prophecy be fulfilled? Does the “Three ‘Gong’ Theory” imply a certain logic with regularity? It is perceivable that China is now moving in this direction.
What the CCP calls the “Five Poisons”—groups that the Party perceives as threats to its power—have been and continue to be a loose political coalition with a common enemy and different goals.
China’s democracy movement, the independence of Taiwan, the free Tibet movement, the Uyghur people, and Falun Gong adherents have cooperated in the past, but are bedfellows with different dreams.
When the common enemy disappears, these groups will also part ways.
To sum up, the post-CCP era will likely see great upheaval. The chance is very slim for Greater China to rebuild a united and constitutional democracy with all ethnic minorities remaining as before.
That is likely the tough and harsh reality the majority of Chinese will face when the CCP is no more.
The CCP has been given a golden opportunity to choose the best way for China and the Chinese people. However, no CCP leader to date has had the insight and sense of historical responsibility to the nation to guide such a decision.
Chinese people should hope for the best, but at the same time prepare for the worst.
Australia-based Dr. Chin Jin is the global chair of the Federation for a Democratic China. The group advocates for the democratization of China through opposition to the Communist Party and support for human rights. It was founded following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.