China is in trouble. It seems that "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (full control of the population while leaders grab as much as they can before the next show trial crackdown on corruption) isn't going exactly as five-year planned.
To beat the US and be biggest, fastest, best and most impressive, the central government were for the last two decades concentrating on building un-needed infrastructure while tightening the grip on civil liberties as they became more technologically savvy - that is to say, as the US invented more tech stuff that they could steal copy.
They have thousands of miles of new highways with hardly any cars, thousands of new tower blocks that no one lives in, hundreds if not thousands of new airports and enormous railway stations that fewer and fewer can afford or are allowed to travel from because of the social credit score system - and now this: they don't have enough people.
Yes, the one thing that catapulted the Middle Kingdom into the moneybags stratosphere 30 years ago was an endless supply of cheap labour. Millions and millions of young people left the countryside to go and work in factories in Guangdong and the eastern provinces, leaving grandparents and aunties to look after the children.
Did I say children? I meant child. As early as 1957 Mao had been grumbling about people producing too many children, not long after telling them to have as many as possible. So in normal central planning fashion and seemingly without a thought for the consequences, by 1970 it was decided that couples should be strongly encouraged to have only one child.
By 1979 'encouraged' had become 'enforced'. An orgy of abortions and sterilisations, voluntary and not, ensued. Long story short, 37 years later the one child policy was considered a roaring success with an estimated 400 million children hindered from being born, one way or another.
Great! But ... hang on. How about the endless supply of cheap labour? Sorry, should have thought of that before you killed it off! Now China is suddenly the fastest 'greying' country in the world, where the responsibility for one set of parents and two sets of grandparents rests on just one person. A shortage of people to produce stuff in the "world's factory" combined with foreign businesses pulling out of a country where freedoms were rapidly diminishing even before covid, and government coffers empty from endless projects that never paid off, is now sending China's economy into a dangerous downward spiral.
Talking of children, in this week's edition of CantoNews from Exile ah-Hei has some good news! Better than the future of China, that's for damn sure.
But while the Mandohooligans are pricing themselves out of the market, as it were, the people of Hong Kong keep plodding on. As the social experimenters mentioned above keep tightening the noose around the formerly free city, many of its residents are leaving. I tell you, every country in the world could do worse than importing a few thousand of these hardworking, enterprising people who never ask for handouts.
Help them and the Cantonese culture to live on by Learning Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian!
Today's Cantonese: 有咗 Yau tsou - "Have-d" or "there is-ed" To be up the duff.