China’s ‘New Era’ Changes the Game for Global Actors

Featured & Cover China’s ‘New Era’ Changes the Game for Global Actors

The Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis has published China’s ‘New Era’ Changes the Game for Global Actors. Authored by Senior Fellow on Chinese Economy Diana Choyleva, the paper is the second in a two part series exploring how Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision for a “new era,” as decreed at the 19th Party Congress in 2017, has changed incentives for key groups in China and beyond.

According to the report, Deng Xiaoping believed in a low-profile “hide and bide” strategy for China, but Xi has coined a new doctrine for Chinese foreign policy: “dare to fight.”

“China’s economy is now the largest in the world by some measures, which has emboldened Beijing to become more assertive in challenging U.S. ‘hegemony’ in Asia and around the world,” writes Choyleva. “China has called into question the validity of the U.S.-led global order, undermining U.S. credibility where it can and offering alternatives to the international order on its own terms.”

As China has sought to reshape the international order, they have stepped up their diplomatic outreach to the Global South: “China strives to be an ‘ideologically-neutral trading partner,’ in contrast with the United States, which has historically been vocal and interventionist in support of human rights and freedom of speech.”

The most prominent shift has been China’s embrace of Russia. “The more China challenges the West and rallies the Global South with its confrontational stance and economic support, the more authoritarian regimes will be emboldened to pursue their idiosyncratic policy goals,” writes Choyleva.

The report notes that the West has rebuilt strategic alliances, such as the Quad, in response to China’s “bumptious” behavior. Furthermore, “the rapid evolution of China’s military and Xi’s aggressive assertion of its sovereignty claims over Taiwan and the South China Sea, where it has ramped up gray-zone activity over the past few years, have prompted the U.S. military to redouble its efforts to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific and invest heavily in changing its way of war, adopting a more dispersed and resilient form of power projection.”

As both China and the United States pour money and resources into achieving independent technological dominance, multinational companies have struggled to understand how economic decoupling might work in practice. “As China and the United States rewrite the rules of their economic and financial engagement and global conflicts mushroom, companies with operations that straddle the two worlds will find it hard to avoid picking a side,” writes Choyleva.

Both countries recognize that decoupling in today’s highly interconnected world will be costly, but are working hard to reduce their interdependence and turn the global system in their favor. “The global economy is becoming less efficient and less productive as national security is prized over economic gains,” Choyleva concludes.

Read the full report here. Members of the media interested in connecting with Choyleva should email [email protected].

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