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“we do have something that the world needs. Food. China cannot feed itself anymore,”

If they return to a pure communist based system they don’t need to sell their goods. As long as they have the natural resources to support the population and don’t need to import many essential goods, they can support themselves in a self-sustaining society. China can trade for resources with excesses of their own or engage in territorial expansion to acquire additional resources. Adding additional human resources or losing a portion of the population would have little impact on the ruling party. I’m pretty certain China still has slave labor made up of criminals & dissidents. Adding or subtracting to those numbers could be managed just like any other resource.

When we think within our own sphere of normalcy the limitations of our own mores prevents us from seeing all possibilities.