I've seen a number of articles online pretty much claiming it is -- on the verge of economic collapse and/or popular uprising. But until Friday, those articles tended to come from neoconservative or neoconservative-adjacent sources. Then Nathan Barton at The Price of Liberty weighed in:
If you believe that China is a financial and economic juggernaut destined to pass the U.S. in total output and eventually rule the world, it’s time to put those ideas aside. ... China is entering the greatest demographic collapse in the history of the world since Noah’s Flood .... China’s current official population is about 1.4 billion, but that number will decline to perhaps 800 million by the year 2090. ... China’s environment is trashed; its rivers are poisoned. Its food production is crashing (even as the sources of imports of food are seeing declining production). While it imprisons millions of its subjects in their own apartments and barracks in its major cities, it’s pursuing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Tibet and Xinjiang. The bizarre revival of Communism of Xi Jinping is rapidly destroying every trace of capitalism might have emerged in the decades since Deng Xiaoping’s reorientation of the Chinese economy in 1979 – and even the "state capitalism" is fallng apart, dissolved by corruption, micromanagement, confidence artists, and a medical tyranny as the frosting on the poisoned cake.
Which, Nathan reasons, "leads to the conclusion that China desperately needs a massive confrontation with Taiwan and the West, to attempt to distract and paper over the yawning cracks in economy, society, and government."
As for my own opinion, it's that the US regime is hoping to bait the Beijing regime into its own "Afghanistan" in Taiwan, for a number of reasons.
First, the Chinese regime continues to advance toward floating a viable blue water navy. In 20-30 years, they might be competitive with the US on the high seas. At the moment, though, they probably aren't. They don't have a lot of troop transports and amphibious craft for transporting large combat forces across the Taiwan Strait ... yet. Their aircraft carrier program is just getting started. From my limited research, their anti-ship missile systems seem to be unreliable. So if there's going to be a war in which the US Navy engages the People's Liberation Army on the seas some time, it may be "the earlier the better from a purely military standpoint."
Secondly, with a long-term occupation project going in Taiwan, the US regime may expect that it can sanction the Beijing regime's "Belt and Road" initiative out of viability, and also (especially if it's sinking Chinese ships) reduce Chinese influence in and trade with e.g. Africa. Lots of resources, especially the "rare earths" used in modern electronics, are coming out of Africa, and DC would presumably like to monopolize those resources.
Speaking of resources and modern electronics, I can't help but notice that even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was jetting off to Taiwan -- the world's foremost source of computer chips -- Congress was passing a massive corporate welfare bill to, among other things, "bring chip manufacture home to America." A China-Taiwan war would certainly promote protectionist policies in two ways: 1) bombed-out competitors aren't competing anymore, and 2) the prospect of those competitors getting bombed out creates a useful "national security concern" regarding the availability of their products.
If Nathan is correct -- that is, if the Chinese Communist Party is looking down from the same ledge after 73 years of rule that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fell off of after about the same amount of time -- I suspect that the CCP regime might, at some point, give in to the temptation to "take the bait" the US regime is waving under its nose, in an effort to remain in power by using a war to "unify" and "discipline" its population.