China Economic Rise: China was one of the most remarkable powers until its downfall in the mid-1900s. However, with the aid of its new government, the Republic of China is hitting its all-time highs in many aspects.
China has seen the most exponential growth of all states. The rise began about 20 years ago. However, with Xi Jinping’s presidency in 2013, he has helped further prosper the nation.
China, coming from a state with high poverty levels where citizens living in poverty were almost nonexistent, has risen frighteningly rapidly. This rise begs the question of what its current effect is and the effect it would have on the world
China vs. United States
The economic rise of China has brought a lot of uncertainty and a power shift. Other big nations are trying to respond to the rapid shift, predominantly the U.S. and Chinese neighbors.
From a realist point of view, Mearsheimer believes that this rapid rise is “likely to lead to an intensified security competition between China and the United States, with considerable potential for war” (Mearsheimer, 2010).
His theory on this topic also states that “the mightiest states attempt to organize hegemony in their region of the world while making sure that no opponent great power dominates another region” (Mersheimer, 2004).
Many international states are interdependent on China due to its role within the trade market, with China becoming the dominant player in the world economy.
China is attempting to overtake Asia, something the U.S. has done with the West previously. China is expanding its power beyond Asia now, and its influence can be felt internationally as well, and that influence is only growing.
In response, “the United States can be expected to go to great lengths to contain China and eventually weaken it to the position where it is no longer capable of ruling the roost in Asia” (Mersheimer, 2004). Realists believe that as China grows in power, other powerful states will attempt to halt that growth to maintain their titles as mightiest states, especially the U.S.
China is big on using its soft power and, despite the way other states see the Chinese government, China tries to maintain its image as a peaceful, non-threatening state. Under Xi Jinping, China has yet to do anything violent towards international institutions, but it has been building its military power bit by bit.
Their military presence has expanded to the point where other international players cannot ignore it. However, that power has yet to be widely used as “continued U.S. presence in the Western Pacific can reinforce the natural balancing reactions of regional states and help to shape the environment in a way that encourages responsible Chinese behavior” (Nye, 2015).
Because the U.S. maintains ties with China and because the two countries are economically interdependent, liberals argue that the U.S. is not attempting to contain China for these reasons. It could be stated that shaping the environment for Chinese decisions’ is a more accurate description than containment for American strategy “(Nye, 2015).
China cares significantly about its reputation, so liberalists deem it unlikely that the state would want to make reckless decisions to maintain positive international relation.
However, China is not a state known for its transparency, which brings many worries as it never knows what China is planning. China’s military presence has been proliferating, and the Chinese government frequently avoids or straight-up denies their testing and the expansion of their military.
China has recently tested a hypersonic weapon system. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mr. Zhao Lijian said the August test was “a spacecraft, not a missile.” (Marquardt & Liebermann, 2021). China has also begun to surpass all the other great military superpowers, and that also adds a layer to the threat the secrecy of the state poses. That cloudiness extends to other aspects of the Chinese government, which brings more worry.
Liberalists may argue that China’s Economic Rise being non-transparent should not pose much of a threat considering how China has constantly reassured that their rise “will not come at the cost of any other country, will not stand in the way of any other country, nor pose a threat to any other country” (Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, 2006).
However, realists do not buy those claims and would argue that there would be no reason not to be clear with their actions if there was no malicious intent.
China has been pushing to set up new military bases worldwide, and it has not gone unnoticed internationally. “Across the Indian Ocean, where India has held sway, China now commands or helps manage , airfields, military bases, ports or observation stations, along the coasts of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives all the way to Djibouti and Kenya” (Lian, 2020).
Due to China’s focus on soft emitting power, its growing military presence has gone unnoticed for quite a while. However, their ambitions are now known, despite trying to hide them actively.
Chinese neighbours feel especially threatened because “Southeast and East Asian nations are investing more money on defense, and are under pressure to choose a side—either China or the U.S.” (Mersheimer, 2020).
The rise of the Republic of China can no longer be called peaceful as international states have begun to feel threatened and are responding with hostility and cautiousness towards China.
As Xi Jinping has stated repeatedly, China’s rise to power does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. With the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China has been trying to use the pandemic to its advantage, twisting the truth and hiding information to try to maintain its power.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, “China sent faulty COVID-19 supplies to the world, then it tried to create a new narrative on the origins of the coronavirus, blaming everyone but themselves” (Sharma, 2020).
China is well known for its opaque coronavirus infarction numbers, and that is all to keep the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on their economy to a minimum. However, those attempts seem not to be very successful, and China has further driven other states to be cautious of China.
Xi Jinping “wanted to turn a crisis into an opportunity and amass power and influence in the world, but the Chinese president’s thirst for power is only creating more trouble for China” (Sharma, 2020).
Realists see China as a state with the concrete goal of gaining the most power among all states, and Xi Jinping’s recent actions make realists and liberalists alike consider China a power-hungry threat, leading to a surge of dismay towards China.
With China’s intentions becoming more apparent, liberalists are not keen on supporting China’s rise anymore, and the last hopes of their rise being peaceful are almost demolished due to China’s actions and the international response.
As seen previously with China, soft power can be just as mighty as hard power, if not more so. China is an expert in using soft power to exercise its international influence and broadcast it. Even without the newly created threat of Chinese military development, China was already threatened through their soft power.
The Chinese app Tiktok has become a national security threat to non-Chinese states. Since China adopted the National Intelligence Law in June 2017, all Chinese nationals and companies have been under a legal obligation to help the government gather intelligence.
The law allows China’s intelligence services to insert their people and devices or to requisition facilities in any premise, anywhere, for that purpose (“(Lian, Y.-zheng, 2020). The law allows for the data collected by TikTok to be handed over to the Chinese government, and that data is as personal as your messages and photos.
China’s technological advancement is creating a threat of its own. In addition to wanting to be highly advanced in their military department, China also stated how they are planning on making significant technological advances.
However, as China’s economic rise and political power has grown, so have many of its technological ambitions and achievements (Chhabra et al., 2020). There is a technological race between the U.S. and China. They are both trying to come out on top in all technical aspects and on top in many aspects.
However, the U.S. is encouraged to continue competing with China on technological advancements and discouraged from trying to halt them since “investment in long-term research and technology development will have large spillover effects for the economy, companies, creating new industries, and jobs, just as we saw with the space race in an earlier generation” (Brown et al., 2020).
China’s rise is menacing to all international actors, but the worldwide contribution of China is outstanding, and the achievements are staggering.
The rise of China has been a prevalent topic for the past 20 years, and it can be felt throughout all of the world affairs. For ages to come, China has become one of the major powers, and its footprint will remain for ages to come. Even so, China’s image seems to be diminishing.
The Chinese government has been making many mistakes recently and garnering a lot of opposition, which could lead to their future downfall. Many states are joining in against China, and the numbers are increasing. Internationally, there is no trust in the Chinese government, closely monitoring Chinese citizens.
There is much distrust between China and other states, which has already begun to lead to hostility and fear towards China, which could be felt at the international level. Previously, it was pondered if China’s rise would be peaceful and, with their rise coming to a possible end, it can be seen that China’s rise brought a threat to security and competition within major actor states.
Despite not starting WWIII, China’s rise brought fear and competition, and it cannot be called peaceful.