China is capitalist during the Cold War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by TheOpossum, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. TheOpossum Well-Known Member

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    In an alternate timeline, say the Nationalists win the Chinese Civil War, China becomes capitalist instead of communist and allies with the US instead of the USSR during the Cold War. How would society and culture be like? How would the Korean and Vietnam war take place with a US aligned anti-communist China? Are there any other butterflies that take place? Bonus if you can make all of East and Southeast Asia free of communism and socialism.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  2. GauchoBadger Gang Weeder (in a society)

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    China trudging through the Cold War as a flawed capitalist democracy rather than a "socialist-and-then-not" one-party dictatorship would produce all sorts of interesting and possibly unpredictable results.
    A one-child policy could possibly not be implemented, thus, Chinese demographic growth might not be slowed, and demographic transition could be reached earlier.
    Whether Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms could be laid out in a more democratic environment is, imo, difficult, as the populace would instead prefer more labour rights and preservation of China's supposed "national integrity" against foreign businesses, so the Special Economic Zones would develop much differently from OTL, if they even were to exist. Han Chinese settlement in Tibet and Xinjiang could actually result in a worse-off situation for the local minorities if statutes of autonomy are not implemented and these areas remain as regular provinces.
    Nevertheless, China would still rise to a position of significant power ITTL, and would not accept a subordinate status in relations with other global powers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  3. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    The conflicts in Korea and Indochina would look very different with China on the West's side, that's for sure.
     
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  4. FesteringSpore NoobMaster69 Kicked

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    Jiang Jieshi/Chiang Kai-Shek would have supported the anticommunist movements in Vietnam, so all of former French Indochina would have remained democratic. Bão Đại would probably still be overthrown though.
     
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  5. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    Not necessarily. The Nationalists have multiple points where friction can happen with the US, and while it's more likely for Nationalist China to be more friendly to the US than the Soviets, it's not for sure and it's not going to remain static for the next 60/70 years. I'd expect a major policy goal for Nationalist China would be to be recognized as the premier power in East Asia. So extending Chinese domination in Indochina, Japan and Korea will be major goals, though not nearly as major as kicking European imperialists out of China itself (which in TTL will include Mongolia, unlike the ChiComs of OTL who grudgingly recognized Mongolian independence to secure Soviet support).

    EDIT: I was wrong when I wrote the above - the KMT recognized Mongolian independence (they later withdrew their recognition since the Soviets broke that treaty by supporting the ChiComs in the last stages of the civil war).

    As such, I'd expect Nationalist China to be a complex actor whose own interests would become relevant earlier in TTL's Cold War. And, again, also inclined to friendliness to the US. Just not so much so as Taiwan was/is.

    As for Indochina. The weakness of the non-Communist factions is going to make things difficult even if China, France and the US are working together in suppressing the Communists. For my part, I think things could get very unpredictable there. Also, without the scare of losing China, likely no Korean war, the US is likely to be much more hands-off in Vietnam. So quite possibly the French are forced out earlier and Vietnam's long war is against the Chinese.

    I very much doubt that Korea happens like it did in OTL without Communist China. Stalin basically started the ball rolling by telling Kim "OK, you can have your war if you can convince Mao to back you", in this scenario, no Mao, so no Korean war until the Soviets are ready to intervene more themselves, which may never come.

    fasquardon
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  6. FesteringSpore NoobMaster69 Kicked

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    oh no

    chinese domination 2.0
     
  7. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    Much better for the Chinese than the Soviets, Americans, Japanese or British dominating things.

    fasquardon
     
  8. David T Well-Known Member

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    The notion that a GMD China is going to be an ally of the US is by no means self-evident. Chiang tried to get along with the USSR as well as the US as long as he could. He only gave up when it was apparent that the Soviets were committed to a CCP victory. It seems to me perfectly plausible that a victorious Chiang Kai-shek would try to play the US and USSR off against each other in the hope of getting aid from both sides (as India did).
     
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  9. FesteringSpore NoobMaster69 Kicked

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    ah, but we vietnamese have hated the chinese for four thousand years. And there's not mentioning the thousand year domination by China where they tried to turn us into Chinese, but failed.

    Chinese domination is truly a big gay.
     
  10. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

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    Would be interesting seeing a capitalist China as head of a genuinely impartial / centrist to right leaning analogue of the Non-Aligned Movement (called Neutral Alliance or something).
     
  11. ShadowSpeaker Well-Known Member

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    The KMT will turn out to be a mix of authoritarianism and democracy. They may be similar to PRI Mexico (except more competent) or Sanacja Poland. From a political standpoint, KMT China will be more autocratic than post war Japan but more democratic than Marcos, Suharto, Park, and Rhee. KMT China will not be a military junta or even resemble Thailand (I've seen these claims bandied about sometimes). Sure, Chiang had a military background and some of the second sino Japanese vets may go into politics but the majority of China's legislative assembly did not have an army background or heavy involvement.

    The KMT can do what Deng did but they will need to do land reform all over China and have other countries open their markets for cheap Chinese exports. It is important to remember that Japan industrialized before world war 2, where markets were much more protectionist. Post war markets were also protectionist while exceptions were made for a few countries. The KMT can do better than the CCP in the 50s, 60s, and 70s (without resorting to hardcore export reliant growth ) so when 1980 rolls around, China will be more developed. Perhaps then, some manufacturing can start in the interior since the coast will be too developed and expensive. I posted on a KMT China. Feel free to check my post out.

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...oreign-relations-society-and-politics.462002/
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  12. alex costa Just an average Portuguese guy

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    I think the Republic of China had Chiang won the Civil War would have stayed neutral like many other users already said. They would probably get along well with both nations. However there will be some key butterflies. For exemple I don't see any of Indochina going Communist in TTL. So very likely there won't be a Vietnam War or if it still happens it will probably not envolve the US. Like wise no Khmer Rouge which means no Pol Pot (Thank Heaven).

    Korea is more intriguing. Would the Soviets and the US actually work towards establishing an independent unified Korea due to the presence of neighbouring China being neutral?

    I think Korea would probably be united in TTL, but likely would follow China's course of neutrality and trading with both sides.

    And what about Japan? That is the one I am intrigued because I feel the US really helped Japan recover faster due to the threat of a Communist China. With China being under the Nationalists in TTL and not totally antagonistic to the US, would they still push to recover Japan as fast as they did?
     
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  13. ShadowSpeaker Well-Known Member

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    They may be no Korean war. OTL Stalin told Kim to attack the South because Mao would back him up. Without Mao and the CCP in China, Stalin will tell Kim to stay put. The US will still help Japan since they were occupying the Island while China was fighting her civil war. The US planned to have Japan and China form an economic pendant or community with Japan being the producer and China being the market, with demand stimulated by US investment. This was the plan of Roosevelt's and Truman's advisers. The post war plan for China and Japan as a pendant was mentioned by Yanis Varoufakis.
     
  14. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Chiang had ambition, I imagine he'd prop up that Vietnamese KMT spin off in Vietnam and engage in other such actions to carve out a Chinese sphere of influence in Asia.
     
  15. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    Land reform is going to be difficult for the Nationalists and even if they do it, it's easy to imagine ways they could get it wrong.

    But I tend to think that the Nationalists would grit their teeth and institute adequate land reforms by the end of the 50s. It's not a sure thing though, given the importance of the landlords as supporters of the KMT. Depending on how things develop, it could be postponed or done in shoddy way.

    Also, the technology transfer from the Soviet Union to Communist China in the 50s and 60s was the largest single transfer of knowledge into China in its history and the ChiComs were able to negotiate bargain basement prices for Soviet technical help. After WW2, the US was in no mood to give China massive aid and the Soviet Union isn't going to be morally blackmailed into helping this KMT China.

    Also, China is not Taiwan. Even if the KMT wants to do what it did in OTL's Taiwan in China, in many cases it won't be able to do those things as early as they were in OTL Taiwan.

    A KMT China isn't going to be a rose garden, though at least there'll be no Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution.

    So I think the odds are that KMT China will be stronger than OTL's ComChina between 1955 and 1980, but I don't think it will be MUCH stronger like a Taiwan with 1.5 billion people would be.

    After 1980 when Deng's policies started bearing fruit for OTL's ComChina, it's hard to say where TTL's KMT China would be in comparison. Many important butterflies would have flapped their wings since the PoD.

    fasquardon
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  16. ShadowSpeaker Well-Known Member

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    The KMT can use the threat of communist ideology to do land reform to solidify their position in China and stamp out Communist influence in the rural areas. They can make landowners shareholders in mixed owned enterprises. Using communism as a threat can help get landowners in line. Chen Cheng did land reform in Hubei province using the shareholder model. Furthermore, Chiang knew land reform was a pressing issue.

    In regards to the US, they were definitely pissed off at the level of corruption within the KMT during the wartime. What they witnessed was true but the context was missing. The KMT, under Chiang, lacked cohesion since they were made up of loose warlord factions. Chiang and the central government lost a lot of their best troops during the early years of the conflict with Japan and had to rely on more warlord forces. Serious reform by the KMT central government under a shaky foundation was deemed too risky for Chiang as he was fighting the CCP and Japan. In a post war scenario without Japan and a defeated CCP, Chiang will have much more room to maneuver and fight corruption. Chiang was no Marcos. He was flawed and made mistakes but he was not corrupt. His family and cronies in the KMT were corrupt. The worst he could do for China was to let them continue to get away with their bad behavior. Chiang will for sure go hard on corruption after the dust settles in a KMT victorious China. I believe he can get some results and regain some goodwill from the US government. Post war China was trending towards unification so whether KMT or CCP takes power, China will be united. The only warlords with real power in a post war KMT China were the Ma clique and those guys were loyal to Chiang. Chiang will centralize payroll to bring control of the army back to the central government and consolidate control over China and rebuild basic institutions.

    In regards to tech transfers, a KMT China can make Japan do it in exchange for investment privileges. This will be reparation for Japan's firebombing of China. China may also get some from Europe to make up for the concessions and European damages to China. In OTL, Soviet transfers did not last long because of Mao's ego. A KMT China will retain more human capital talent. Although the talent is outnumbered by the uneducated masses, KMT China will have a better foundation for development. The KMT can also make use of educated Chinese diaspora all over as well as the business networks in South East Asia. Most importantly, the KMT have Taiwan. Taiwan, a former colony of Japan, will have some extra human capital with knowledge of Japanese economic technocracy. Perhaps a few Taiwanese economists and advisors can be brought over to help China develop.

    A KMT China will not be like OTL Taiwan or South Korea and not even close to OTL Japan. My estimates are as follows:

    Best case scenario - Turkey, Poland, Mexico
    Worst case scenario - Philippines (if Chiang pulls a Marcos, which he likely won't unless structural factors screw him)

    In regards to KMT China being like India, I'm not so sure. India is way more diverse than China. I could see a KMT China bring more emphasis to regional Chinese languages (eg. Cantonese) in daily life and even cinema (TVB in Canton, Shaw Brothers in Shanghai). I could also see more regionalism and localism in KMT Chinese politics. However, India had British influenced foundations and institutions to build their democratic system. KMT China will use a flawed 5 yuan system where the electoral process would be legit but opposition parties would be curtailed until later pressure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  17. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    So how would that go? Kim sits with his thumb up his ass and takes what land he has in the North? Does the US still goad the UN into helping the South? (The story I heard about that, and I am unsure as to its truth, was that the US delegate deliberately enraged the Soviet delegate so much that the Soviet stormed out of the room. When he did so, the US called the room into voting procedure, shutting out the Soviet, who would have vetoed the resolution, and got it passed. Still may have happened here.)
     
  18. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Why would they? The north isn't invading.
     
  19. Marc reformed polymath... Donor

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    Large chunks of Northern and Western China end up as Peoples Republics.
    Manchuria is one obvious example.
     
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  20. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    What exactly would they be selling? I know they have loads to sell of course, I am just thinkingnof what they would export to rebuild their land and invest in heavy industry. Hopefully not the 'take all the food and sell it' approach, though to be 'fair' apparently the Chinese Communists in charge might have genuinely thought their were hoarders and sabotauers because lot local party officials giving harvest sizes far higher than what they really had. I am thinking shipbuilding would be a high priority for the Natoinalists. Sure, you can have people cook fom across the world to get to you. With all the free trade agreements though they could no longer keep everyone in one easily taxed port. May be better for them to try and reach what Chinese communities survived in Malaysia, Cambodia, and other places, and to weave everything together. I imagine the Chinese won't be too supportive of the French but might not go out of their way to deal with them, as they already traded northern Indochina to the French in order to get all the ports the French had in China back.