China’s Today in the Geopolitical Arena
Marlond M. Antunez. Author and Consultant. Email: email@example.com
“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” This phrase attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte reflects the deep understanding of a civilization that, at that moment, did not realize that it would become the great nation they are today. It should not be surprising that China now rules the world as a superpower; they are meant to be. The surprise, contrary, arises in how the US has become a superpower and held this status for the last eight decades with their confrontation policies.
China stayed in the shadows for millenniums and suffered uncountable wars, starvation, and discrimination, and today, it ascends to the same level as the big players in the world’s geopolitical arena. However, a question arises: What makes a not-so-far farmer country with the highest poverty ratio become a superpower that, in three decades, rescued over seven hundred million citizens out of poverty? It has been read correctly; China has created a middle class representing the EU and Russian populations combined in three thirty years.
In this dissertation, the author will argue that China’s geopolitical position results from a combination of historical factors, economic reforms, spiritual path and global integration. The historical roots and main events that shaped the Chinese mind will be explored; their political configuration, Chinese capitalism, and their social behavior will be explained; and at last, a conclusion is drafted with a big question: Has China achieved its expansion peak, or we should expect for more?
Keywords: China, Geopolitics, Capitalism, Confucianism
In the late 20th century, China was often perceived as a poor and backward country with low-quality products, cheap labor, and low levels of education. Phrases like: Chinese people work for a plate of rice, or Chinese products are useless, use once and throw away, were common in the conversations. These stereotypes, spread loudly by people who traveled and did business in China during this period, were not far from the truth. Before the economic reform of 1978, China was a predominantly agrarian society, where the population used to live under a feudal system, transformed after into a collective farming system, and a profound demonization for intellectuals (Mahbubani, 2022). Mistakes taken by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao’s leadership led to several disastrous policies and events, such as the “Great Leap Forward,” the “Cultural Revolution,” and the “Gang of Four,” which tarnished China’s reputation worldwide.
However, during the same period, those who continued to do business and often traveled to China probably faced the “Chinese miracle”, an unprecedentedly growing nation that, like a giant magnet, attracted trillions (USD) of investments from several nations in the world, including the US and Europe as leading investors (SantanderTrade, 2023). China became the “Factory of the World”, starting a migrant wave from the poor villages in the countryside to the shiny cities of the coast where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local government investment were focused. It is known that labor conditions in China during the 1980s and ’90s were far from modern standards, where gender inequalities, labor risk and management despotism often exploited workers. However, these conditions improved at the beginning of the new millennium with new socioeconomic reforms and labor rules in the so-called “harmonious society” promoted by former president Hu Jintao (SCMP-Graphics, 2019).
China’s economic boom was a remarkable phenomenon that astonished the world. In the last 20-year period (2002-2022), China’s GDP grew by an average of 8%, with double-digit growth rates from 2005 to 2010. China’s exports of goods increased from 762 billion to 3.59 trillion US dollars, while its imports rose from 660 billion to 2.72 trillion US dollars (UNCTAD-Stats, 2023). China also made significant progress in its infrastructure development, expanding its highways to 170,000 kilometers, its high-speed railways to 40,000 kilometers, its civil airports fully operational by 2021 to 248 (Statista, 2023); and holding six out of the top ten biggest ports in the world, excluding Hong Kong (WSC Data, 2019). The numbers do not stop only in economics and infrastructure; as per a World Bank report published in 2022, China rescued 750 million people from extreme poverty, a fantastic ratio of 19 million people annually. Et al.(O. Wang & Leng, 2019), and a Boston Consulting Group report published in 2023, predict that the Chinese middle-class population will increase by 80 million during the actual decade (C. Chen et al., 2023).
China today has achieved the status of a developed country through its economic growth and integration policies. It still attracts the most FDI globally, reaching 189 billion US dollars in 2022 (UNCTAD-Stats, 2023). The main factors that draw investors to China are its skilled and affordable workforce, the big and dynamic consumer market, the advanced infrastructure, and the stable political system (SCMP-Graphics, 2019; et al.Lee & Duhalde, 2018). China’s labor force is also improving its education and qualifications, as many Chinese students pursue higher education abroad. According to the latest statistics before the pandemic, China sent 703.5 thousand students overseas in 2019 (PressRelease, 2020), more than any other country worldwide. Some academic programs offer better facilities and more international exposure in foreign institutions, which appeal to many Chinese scholars. Having an overseas education is seen as an advantage in China’s job market, as it implies having a global perspective and better language skills. The government also supports this trend and encourages the returnees to contribute their knowledge and experience to China’s development.
The previous paragraphs intend to introduce the reader to the understating of China’s economic and social rise and how it became the second most powerful nation in the world in just four decades. This growth follows specific steps designed by Deng Xiaoping, considered the architect of modern China, whose legacy still influences the country’s economic policies. Whether this was a master plan accurately executed by successive Chinese leaders is uncertain, but what is clear is the fact that China is a significant force in the geopolitical arena today. In the following chapters, we will explore the key factors shaping the current Chinese geopolitical situation and argue that China’s superpower status today is not a coincidence but rather a result of a deliberate or unintended strategy to accomplish its aspirations.
A country made of war.
To write a summary about China’s history, it is an ancient civilization that emerged out of war. Despite its rich culture, with roots in spirituality and rituals, it also has a dark side, comparable to Europe’s medieval period. China’s culture and traditions are diverse and complex, reflecting its vast territory and long history. Some of the most notable aspects of Chinese culture, such as Confucianism, calligraphy, painting, poetry, martial arts, tea culture, and festivals, contrast with continuous wars, which resulted in different shifts of power and endurance of the most savage invasions. From the three kingdoms to the Chinese dynasties, it gained influence and prestige until becoming one of the most prominent nations from the 15th to the 18th century. However, China remained an enigma to the world due to its policy of isolation and no trade with foreigners at its peak during the last Qing dynasty.
From proud to shame
The Qing dynasty, which lasted from the middle of the 17th to early 20th century, was the final imperial dynasty of China. It kept some elements of the previous Ming dynasty as a strong central government but faced the challenge of ruling a multi-ethnic empire. The Qing dynasty brought peace and prosperity to the people; however, it returned to its isolationist policies and refused to trade with foreigners directly. It is important to recall that foreigners were allowed to trade directly with locals under the Mongol regime. After the Ming dynasty conquered the territory, this trade practice was banished. Under the Qing dynasty, China could produce everything it consumed and trade only with nearby countries, who re-sell after other countries alongside the trading paths. China exported goods, such as silk, cotton, and tea, and received silver and copper coins in return; they did not import. This commercial behavior made China rich, powerful, and respected by other nations. The Qing dynasty restricted foreign trade to two points of contact: Beijing in the north, through the Silk Road, connected China with Central Asia and the Middle East, and Guangzhou (Canton) in the south, open to maritime traffic with European merchants and missionaries.
During the 19th century, things started to change, and a new colonial superpower “the British” started to raise its influence in Asia with a non-friendly diplomacy of “taking by force”. British did not accept the Chinese way of doing business; all the tea and silk were sold against currency, and Chinese merchants did not buy anything from the British. Nevertheless, let us see this situation from the British perspective, too. In the 19th century, the British were at the peak of the Industrial Revolution. They produced more than could be sold locally, and the main task of the British merchants was to generate trade with other countries or, say, between their colonies. When they arrived in a nation that only sells and not buys, this behavior must not last for long, and this lack of interest from the Chinese in acquiring Western products was the spark for the first Opium War. The Opium War was lost by China, which was not prepared to fight against the modern weapons of the British navy. It was a collective shame for Chinese people; they lost ancient territories (Hong Kong) and were forced to open more ports to trade, accepting the incursion of Western people into their land. Then, a second Opium War finally ruined China, driving Chinese people into a profound sense of shame, depression, and loss of hope, sparking the desire for change.
From shame to destruction
Centuries of peace show that the country was unprepared to face the new modern era, and a radical transformation is necessary to adapt and survive in the changing times. Japan’s successful modernization and Westernization inspired Chinese intellectuals; however, they also recognized the limitations of the imperial system, which failed to protect China’s sovereignty and interests. A call for political and social reforms was needed, and at the beginning of the 20th century, China extinguished two millennia of imperial rule in exchange for a republic. China was reborn as a democratic country under a parliamentarian formula, led by Sun Yat-Sen as provisional president and still considered the “father of the nation”. As commonly happens in history, democracy does not last long. General Yuan Shikai, a former general of the Qing army, elected as the second president of the young Republic of China, betrayed the republican ideals and attempted to revive the monarchy by declaring himself emperor, abdicating one year later against violent movements trying to restore the democratic status quo. After those events, the national identity of China was shattered by decades of civil war, in which former compatriots turned against each other while, at the same time, facing a brutal invasion from Japan prior to World War II. The world was immersed in two global conflicts, and China’s dilemma became primarily ignored and this period resulted in widespread famine, violence, and genocide, marking one of the darkest periods in modern Chinese history.
From destruction to hope
The emergence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can be understood in parallelism with Newton’s third law, which states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Initially, the CCP was a political movement that advocated for a different ideology from the dominant one. Later, it became a military force that defended the people from the violence of the private armies and the foreign invasion of Japan. As a Marxist ideology, CCP’s rise drew on the masses, especially the farmers, the oppressed, and the underdogs, and it is essential to recall that China still had a deep rural background at the time. The success of the CCP was not by the imposition of its ideology by force but rather by convincing the people that they could resist the violence and expel the foreign invaders. The CCP, like other parties, initially cooperated with the nationalists to resist Japan’s invasion of China and pursued a democratic path. However, the ideological differences between the two sides, the people’s support in favor of the CCP, and some failures of the nationalists led to the division of China and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, while the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan. The CCP became the sole ruling party, arguing that China needed a solid political structure to protect the nation, supported by most Chinese people who, by their cultural behavior, trusted that only a powerful leader could safeguard and care for its people.
From hope to destiny
Using the main characteristics of the Chinese, that is, the non-direct confrontation, the CCP shifted the way in which a communist party must rule the country. The so-called “Maoism” has roots in Marx and absorbs some characteristics of Leninism, adapted then to the Chinese reality. The path was not immune to human endeavor’s inherent flaws and limitations. The “Great Leap Forward” resulted in a massive famine that claimed the lives of millions of people. The “Cultural Revolution” unleashed a wave of violence and repression that targeted thousands of people, among intellectual, artist, and bourgeois classes. However, a clear long-term orientation must guide the leaders’ minds because since the beginning of China as a nation, leaders have looked to establish a world’s presence again. After Mao’s death (1976), Deng Xiaoping assumed the government and opened the country to the world as a refreshed version, but with the same goal of restoring China’s status as a significant global power. Xiaoping’s famous quote, “It does not matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice” reflects his pragmatic approach to governance. He advocated for China’s economic growth and development, not bound by old policies that might hinder progress. Deng Xiaoping’s China relied on two main pillars: investment and infrastructure. He invited foreign countries to invest in China, which had the largest supply of a necessary resource, “low-cost labor”; in return, China built infrastructure to facilitate trade and commerce flow.
The Chinese Capitalism
A possible way to characterize China’s economic model today is to say that it is a sort of ‘Friedman with the “invisible hand” of Keynes’. During Mao’s era, the Chinese government dominated all aspects of the economic life. The private sector was almost non-existent, the country relied heavily on agricultural and mining sectors, and the government regulated every aspect of the economy. Deng Xiaoping cited as the architect of modern China, embraced capitalism without relinquishing the control of the government over the economy. In the last two decades of the 20th century, China flourished on the wave of capitalism, opened the market to foreign investment, allowed the private sector to own businesses, and engaged in negotiations with the world. At the same time, the government embarked on an ambitious challenge to build all the infrastructure the country needed to compete with the developed world and exercised strict control over the currency exchange to boost the economy. From constructing the first motorway in 1988 to the massive Belt & Road Initiative in 2013, China leaped from a farming country to being the #1 country in infrastructure investments (2021), a leap made in just 45 years.
The Chinese economic model is a hybrid between capitalism and socialism. Far from the discussion about its effectiveness, some indicators say the economy is in good shape: 765 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty, becoming the world’s largest economy (by purchasing power parity) and the second-largest economy (in terms of US dollar); and reached the most significant middle-class population. In the following sections, we will analyze some factors of China’s economic success.
Sell everything, buy little.
Chinese history and culture have influenced its business practices for centuries. China used to be an isolated country with no contact with foreigners. A forced openness happened during the Mongol Empire’s rule in the late medieval period; however, after the Ming dynasty regained the “middle kingdom” sovereignty, the foreign trade policy returned to extreme seclusion. Chinese merchants continued to export their products with neighbors in exchange for cash, and few or nothing was purchased back. As was written in the previous chapter, this trading behavior harmed the main business partner of China in the first half of the 19th century. Great Britain was the world’s leading nation in the 19th century, at the peak of the Industrial Revolution, and immersed in new ideals of free market, competitiveness, and international trade brought by Smith and Ricardo. A nation that was not open to the free market was something that the British could not tolerate (Keller & Shiue, 2023).
It is not difficult to find similarities in today’s time and create some parallelism. Modern 21st-century China emerged as the world’s main supplier of manufactured products, producing everything from small appliances to advanced technology. China has become a massive factory, investing billions of USD in infrastructure and leading the transportation sector. Its currency is strong enough to be included in the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US dollar and the Euro. China has trade agreements with most of the world countries and today is the principal investor in several regions, such as Africa and Latin America. This economic behavior has affected the US, China’s primary business partner in the 21st century. The US is the first economic superpower in the world, based on the principles of free market, competitiveness, and democratic capitalism. A socialist nation that trades with the world, offering high-quality products and low international prices, is something that the US cannot accept. Just as the British launched a military war in the 19th century, the US initiated the Sino-U.S. trade war in January 2018 (Ti et al., 2021).
Saving for tomorrow
According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, China has a high score on Motivation towards Achievement and Success (MAS) and Long-Term Orientation (LTO), reflecting its interest in pursuing personal goals and planning for the future. The previous sentence means that Chinese people tend to view their projects, businesses, and relationships as long-term investments that require dedication and perseverance. For example, in Chinese society, mainly due to the gender imbalance, there are more men born per woman, and it is common for young couples to marry after the man has bought a house for them to live in (Wei, 2010). Buying a house is a sign of personal success and a long-term commitment (5-8 years minimum), which requires the prospective husband to save money. Saving money is a way of achieving success for the Chinese mind, which applies to individuals, companies, and the government (Wei, 2010). China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world, worth US$ 3.1 trillion as of December 2022; this amount is 50% more than the combined reserves of Japan and Switzerland, ranked second and third with US$ 1.1 trillion and US$ 809 billion, respectively (Zhang & Hall, 2023).
A society concerned about the future will be better prepared to face challenges. Several studies analyze the saving behavior of Chinese; it is not the aim of this article to review them. On the contrary, we want to highlight that one factor contributing to China’s economic growth is the high savings rate of its people. In 2019, China had a savings rate of 44.9%, which ranked 10th in the world and was well above the global average (Jahn, 2021).
The influence of Confucianism
Confucianism is a long-standing and influential ideology that has shaped the Chinese civilization for millenniums. It is a system of doctrines that are transmitted from generation to generation. This doctrinal system may need clarification about a kind of religious practice, mainly because its practice is embedded in a spiritual connotation but, in the strict sense, differs from organized religions. Confucianism has no divine origin; it draws on the ancient Zhou culture and institutions that Confucius (551-479 BCE) admired and promoted as the ideal model for a moral and harmonious society. Confucius was a philosopher and educator who dedicated his life to teaching and spreading his moral code throughout the kingdom, gaining followers and disciples who continued his legacy (Haibo, 2020).
As a school of thought, Confucianism became one of the dominant ideologies in Chinese history, influencing its culture, politics, education, and social relations. Confucianism is more than a philosophy; it is a set of norms guiding Chinese behavior. It is a system of beliefs that advocates good conduct, loyalty, obedience, respect, and ethical attitude. Confucianism also has a spiritual dimension, emphasizing cultivating one’s inner nature and harmony with the natural order. Confucianism is deeply embedded in the way of living of several Asian cultures, especially Chinese, where it came from.
For a Western mind, it may need to be clarified how this ideology works, but for a Chinese, it means everything; it is the balance center and what identifies the genuinely Chinese. Confucianism is everywhere in Chinese daily life (S. Chen et al., 2020; et al.M. Chen et al., 2021), from how the parents raise their children to how politicians rule the country, from how to prepare tea ceremonies to how to decorate the home. Confucianism advocates for wisdom that drives a profound respect for elders. Elders have a special place in Chinese society because they have the “wisdom” of surviving the age of time. When talking to an elder, it feels the eagerness to teach something, to advise something, always words of kindness and recommendations. The political class, the communist party, has plenty of Confucianism influence; the Politburo, for instance, the advisory board of 25 senior politicians presided by the General Secretary of the CCP, are compound by the elders, most graduated, most prominent life dedicated to the political service. The average age of the Politburo is 65 years old today (SCMP Graphics & SCMP China desk, 2023).
In the past four decades, China has undergone rapid economic and social changes that have exposed its people to Western values and lifestyles. Since the opening of China’s market in the 1980s, Western consumerism and individualism have challenged Chinese society’s traditional Maoist collectivism and simplicity. Francois Billou called this phenomenon the ‘Individualization of Chinese Society’ as a new framework for understanding the modern Chinese lifestyle, with plenty of new choices and opportunities. However, Billou, as well as Prof Bell from the University of Hong Kong, agree that Confucianism is making a comeback in China to reconnect with its cultural roots and project its identity to the world in a new position (Billioud, 2021; Lo, 2023).
This chapter does not attempt to cover all the philosophical aspects of Confucianism and its influence on the country’s fate. Rather, it highlights how Confucianism has persisted in Chinese society through generations, even when it seemed to conflict with modern life shaped by Western cultures. Several scholars agree that the recent events of the 21st century, such as the terrorist attacks of 2001, the wars against terrorism, theocracies, and other political regimes, the 2007-2008 crisis of capitalism, and the global climate change, have prompted Chinese people to re-evaluate their values and return to Confucianism roots. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021, when the Chinese government demonstrated a strong commitment to protect its population.
China’s geopolitical role is a topic of great interest and debate among various actors, from ordinary citizens to state officials. China’s aspirations and strategies are often met with curiosity and concern, as they have implications for the global order and stability. This chapter will attempt to understand China’s geopolitical position and prospects.
The classical perspective
In order to introduce the reader to the concept and in line with the classic view about Geopolitics, where several definitions have been drawn according to different authors, namely Ratzel, Kjellen, and Mahan, it is possible to assemble an unpretentious definition: Geopolitics is how the geography influences political decisions of a country, both internal and externally. Based on this view, some scholars have developed different theories to explain the geopolitical behavior of countries. For instance, Mahan’s theory of the sea argues that countries surrounded by the sea tend to emphasize their maritime interests and protect themselves with a powerful navy; some examples are Great Britain, Japan, Australia, and the US with two extensive shores facing different oceans. Mackinder’s theory of the land suggests that countries with flat and open terrain have an advantage in expanding and defending their territory and dominating target neighbors; examples are France, Germany, and Poland. These and other theories help to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different geographical settings and their political implications.
Following this classic view, China’s geographical features pose significant challenges for its geopolitical interests (McColl, n.d.). Only 10% of its land is arable, located in the eastern third of the country, where 90% of its population lives along the southeast coast. The remaining two-thirds of the country consists of arid deserts, towering mountains on the west, and rugged hills and valleys in the north. These areas are generally unsuitable for intensive agriculture and population, “too high, cold, and dry”. Figuratively, China is comparable to a landlocked country, is surrounded by fourteen countries from north to west, and faces more than twenty by adding maritime neighbors across the sea. Despite its long coastline, China has only one east-west corridor accessible to the outside world, and it is constrained by the presence of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines sea safeguarded by the US Navy based in Guam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
China’s defense and expansion is a complex challenge that requires a deep understanding of its geographical position. Only one classic theory may probably not shed light on it. China has developed a commercial and military maritime force to enhance its trade and trace a defensive line in its most critical area, where most of its population lives. The free pass along the East and South China Sea heading to Malacca Strait is paramount for the economic interest of China; whichever conflict here could jeopardize the stability of global trade. Simultaneously, China needs a strong land force and reliable infrastructure to reach its far western and northern regions. A simple analysis may not reveal why the Tibet and Xinjiang regions are relevant; conversely, geopolitically speaking, losing those ancient regions could compromise the country’s future. The Tibet plateau is the source of the three major Chinese rivers (Yellow, Yangtze, and Pearl River); losing control of this area may compromise the supply of electricity, water, and food. Xinjiang region is a natural barrier and water resource with natural dams alongside the mountain chain. There is a particular interest in the Xinjiang desert area, where there is a potential supply of renewable energy.
The prospective “superpower.”
What could define a superpower? One criterion is the GDP; nevertheless, politically, a superpower also needs to have the support and influence of its people. China still has a large labor force but faces the challenges of an ageing population (ChinaPowerTeam, 2023). According to the UN projections, China’s population will decrease by half in 2100, but it will still be the second largest in the world, after India. China aims to reach the same levels of education development as the US and Europe by 2050 (ChinaPowerTeam, 2021). President Xi Jinping said in a parliamentary speech: “When education in a country thrives, the country will thrive, and strong education makes a strong nation”. The empowerment of the people is part of the government’s political agenda, which can be seen in the achievements made by China (Hua, 2023).
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Chinese inventors submitted 1.58 million patent applications in 2022, surpassing the US, which filed 505 thousand (WIPO-Data, 2023). Likewise, in the 2022 Summer Olympics, China showed remarkable progress in its athletic performance, ranking second in the number of medals, only behind the US and ahead of Russia (ChinaPowerTeam, 2018). Three decades ago, China barely won a dozen medals. Although the number of medals per capita is still low for China, the rapid improvement in such a short period is impressive. China now wins medals in categories dominated by the US and Russia, such as diving and gymnastics. Furthermore, China has become a new contender in the space race, preparing astronauts and producing rockets, fields that some decades ago were under the supremacy of the US and Russia.
Under the influence of their cultural roots, China has demonstrated skills in using soft power. As this article has explained, Chinese people tend to avoid confrontation. By employing soft power, China can increase its influence and respect in the international arena. China has become a significant project builder and investor in underdeveloped countries. Countries with low GDP welcome China’s investment as an opportunity to modernize their infrastructure and economy. China has invested heavily in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America’s transportation, energy, food and agriculture sectors. By being a leading investor in strategic infrastructure such as ports and airports or vital services such as electricity distribution networks, China can subtly shape the decisions of the host countries.
Finally, one factor contributing to China’s rise as a superpower is its shift in focus to lead the technology sector. China has already built the necessary infrastructure for its development, such as high-speed rail networks, airports, ports, and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). There is no central city in China that is not connected by a high-speed train; hundreds of airports connect the whole country, and six out of the ten biggest ports in the world transfer manufactured goods to global trade. Now, China is advancing in the high-tech fields: battery production, electric transportation, communication, and electronic interface. According to a report by Wired UK, Shenzhen is the world’s first city to realize the full electrification of its public transportation (Ralston, 2020). The next goal is likely to be dominating the microprocessor industry (C.-J. Wang, 2022). In 2015, China government launched the “Made in China 2025” initiative (EditorialTeam, 2015), a ten-year strategy plan to upgrade its manufacturing capabilities to high-tech products. According to the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), China could achieve a self-sufficiency ratio of 75% by 2030 (McBride & Chatzky, 2019).
Throughout human history, there have been several examples of how power and influence have shifted among different civilizations. Power has been transferred and contested from Persians to Greeks, Carthaginians to Romans, and Byzantines to Ottomans. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, European kingdoms were the leading powers in the modern era, competing among themselves. These kingdoms were driven by naval expansion and later by the Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, the power shifted to the US, where naval and industrial superiority made a difference, but not only; also, a new sense of freedom based on “capitalism” conquered the world and gave the US the status of a model society. The question that arises now is, why is it impossible for a new power shift to happen in the 21st century? A shift not driven by any naval supremacy, freedom, or industrial factors but by a new form of “soft power” propelled by the dominance of technology and adopting a new lifestyle where people will still have control of their financial freedom, “capitalism”; however, under the surveillance of the government that will take control of the market and care for the people “socialism”.
This article does not aim to compare or contrast political views, benefits, or drawbacks, nor to provide insights on economic models or ideologies. Instead, this article intends to describe the path that, in our view, China has followed, which has led it to its current position. We believe that past actions have shaped modern China and offer a plausible explanation for its success on the global stage. It is not unreasonable to assume that China, as a prosperous country and the second global economy, with its renewed values and a new model of economy and governance, can begin to influence the world in the opposite direction (from East to West).
Yet, the history of modern China is still being written…
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