Weekly Stories of Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party, and the Road to Becoming a Global Superpower
Jiang was at his desk that afternoon when Unirule’s landlord arrived, accompanied by a property manager and a team of construction workers carrying power tools, a welding torch, and a reinforced metal door. Security doors aren’t uncommon in Chinese residential buildings, and at first Jiang wasn’t particularly alarmed. Then something astonishing happened: The workers began welding the door across the entrance to Unirule’s office, sealing Jiang and several colleagues inside. He protested and took photos, but the workers refused to stop. Not knowing what else to do, Jiang called the police. Soon, officers arrived and persuaded the building caretaker to let the Unirule staffers out. When they returned the next day to collect their belongings, the metal door was secured in place again.
May 11th 2019
Although some observers argue that the U.S. and its allies have little choice but to stand aside as the Chinese juggernaut advances, the fact is that Washington and its friends still control a clear preponderance of global power. If they can get their act together, they ought to be able to protect their interests and defend the international system that has benefitted them all so enormously for the indefinite future.
The U.S. and its partners can still highlight the authoritarian, brutal aspects of Chinese rule; they can publicly expose and constrain Chinese efforts to distort democratic debate within their own societies; they can, in many cases, provide moral and material support to democratic actors in countries where democratic governance is either in danger or struggling to take hold.
June 13th 2018
It was only natural for Chinese leaders to begin wondering how well existing international institutions served Beijing's interests, and whether they might do better by striking out on their own.
So what does this mean for U.S. interests and the international system? In some ways, it is hard to argue with the more forward-leaning approach China is taking. These initiatives all respond to real needs -- the enormous infrastructure gap Asia faces, for instance, or the need to more tightly interlink the countries and economies that populate the Eurasian landmass. What’s more, the U.S. has been urging China to take a stronger leadership role in the international system for decades.
The trouble is that, just as U.S. officials have slowly become more concerned about how China will use its growing power, it may not like the particular ways in which Chinese institutional leadership is exercised.
June 12th 2018
It will be decades, at earliest, before China can even come close to equaling the global military reach of the U.S. But Beijing is moving, clearly and deliberately, in that direction.
From an American perspective, this trend is troubling for what it says about China’s long-range ambitions. It shows that, at a time when U.S.-China relations are becoming increasingly antagonistic, Beijing is already looking ahead to a period when it will compete with America not just regionally but globally as well.
The silver lining is that China may be getting ahead of itself. Its efforts to develop a larger overseas footprint -- particularly to secure access to ports and other facilities -- have created greater international suspicion of its motives and designs. That, in turn, will probably lead to more international resistance to China’s strategic rise.
June 11th 2018
As a spate of recent reports makes clear, China is waging a concerted campaign to mute international criticism of its politics and policies, and to render countries from the Asia-Pacific to Europe more receptive to Chinese influence. Because democratic societies are naturally resistant to such efforts when undertaken by a brutal, authoritarian regime, Beijing is using an array of tactics to manipulate open debate in these countries.
These tactics have included efforts to buy influence through political contributions and other payoffs in Australia and New Zealand, and the use of front organizations, propaganda organs and other mechanisms to shape public debate in ways that suit Beijing’s interests.
Beijing has also bullied foreign news organizations that report unfavorably on China, and sought to compromise academic discourse by giving preferential treatment to friendly scholars and using donations and other forms of economic largesse to shape the agendas of foreign universities and think tanks.
June 10th 2018
After almost five years of dredging and fortifying reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands, lying between the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” reported the officer, Philip Davidson, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to lead America’s armed forces in the Pacific.
May 10th 2018
More than five years into President Xi Jinping’s rule, the more insidious implications of his authoritarian revival are coming into focus. One casualty is investigative journalism. Having suffered a decline as rapid as their rise, muckraking journalists feel lost. And these sentiments are widespread, felt beyond the world of journalism. State oppression has decimated civil society and negated years of social progress, casting a pall on the public mood.
April 27th 2018
On Sunday, China moved to end a two-term limit on the Presidency, confirming long-standing rumors and clearing the way for Xi to rule the country for as long as he, and his peers, can abide. The end of Presidential term limits risks closing a period in Chinese history, from 2004 to today, when the orderly, institutionalized transfer of power set it apart from other authoritarian states.
February 26th 2018
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