Danger of collapse ruled out despite warning

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 1995, 12:00am

CHINA will not be in imminent danger of collapse after Mr Deng's death despite warnings to the contrary, according to a report from international political and security consultancy Control Risks.

Foreign business inside China should expect 'business much as usual' and major turmoil is unlikely to follow.

The assessment in a report 'China: risks and opportunities' contrasts with a study released by the Pentagon earlier this year which said that 'China is up for grabs once Deng passes away' and calculated the chances of a Soviet-style breakup at around 50 per cent.

Author of the report Jake Stratton believes parallels with the former Soviet Union are misleading. 'Ethnically, China is much more homogeneous than the Soviet Union,' he said. 'More than 90 per cent of the population is Han Chinese, and the Mandarin dialect is used in official circles nationwide.

'China is not a collection of disparate countries as the Soviet Union was. It has a history of territorial integration, and even regional prejudices have been largely broken down by the communications revolution.' He points out that no political fragmentation could take place without a corresponding breakup of the Army, which he rates as highly unlikely.

'Any disintegration would have to begin economically with self-sufficient regions demanding secession from Beijing,' he says.

'But China's seven military regions are so arranged that none coincides with potential economic enclaves. Economic and military regionalism will therefore probably cancel each other out.' The report also denies risks of popular unrest following Mr Deng's death.