CHINA. Over the last decade China’s policy of hushed economic expansion, accompanied by increasing Chinese emigration leading to the formation of numerous overseas communities concentrated in various parts of the world, has made recurrent headlines. The Chinese impending “threat” and overtake of world power has become a hot issue for debates.
First, it is important to emphasize that Beijing in the last 3-4 decades has practised so-called “market socialism”, which partly involves the fusion of capitalism with communism, this policy has marked the surge of China in the present-day paradigm of international relations. While the Chinese “miracle” is still under broad academic scrutiny, every commoner can understand the Chinese superiority in its source of cheap labour for the rest of world.
Second, the rapid economic and technological development of Beijing is a matter of fact. However, to maintain its high economic growth and to keep its population satisfied, the state needs more and more resources. For that reason, China searches ways to secure its energetic and food security. In this regard, in its search for cheap raw materials China moved to African, Central Asian, and Latin America states. These main targets were in dire need of investment, loans and high-tech and other well-qualified specialists, which China could provide. In exchange, China ensures interrupted delivery of raw materials and natural resources, which, in turn, reflect positively on national industry and secure social stability while securing employment of the population.
The example of Chinese “presence” in Africa is widely discussed, particularly by European observers. They almost unanimously claim Beijing’s cautious, well clandestine and very different from the Western approach in dealing with African states. China allegedly avoids the mistakes committed by the European powers as rulers in the colonial and post-colonial past. Nonetheless, while it may seem that China is lavish in unbound loans and investments under very low interest rates, it has, in fact, the African states on its financial hook and pursues mostly self-interest.
A similar picture can be observed in Latin America where the main bogeyman in the eyes of majority of local population is the US. China on the contrary appears as an acceptable and respectful partner that establishes solid strategic partnerships within the region. Thus, such multi-continental well-planned policy eventually turns into goodwill with the receiving countries and therefore greater international political weight of Beijing.
The phenomenon of “close partnership and trust attitude” is explained by the fact that the Chinese authorities have the tendency not to be selective with partners to cooperate with. International norms are not necessarily obeyed and the nature of regimes in the countries it deals with is ignored. The aspects of human rights violations or oppression of the population in those states does not hamper Chinese plans.
However, Beijing’s deals are not limited to economics; the state also actively develops cooperation in the areas of education and culture with foreign partners, which is nonetheless mainly perceived, to be a platform ensuring the versatility of “cooperation” and extension of its influence.
Another above-mentioned aspect of Chinese forthcoming possible hegemony is the overseas ethnic Chinese population, which is publicly considered as one of the pillars and potential conductors of Chinese colonisation by the local population in many developed countries. It is noteworthy however that the relationship between the Chinese minorities abroad and Beijing is not always good.
Though granted all the “pro-imperial” elements of China and its potential to be regarded as a powerful economic dragon flurrying the entire world with its intentions of economic conquest, it is worth to mention that Beijing has to face serious challenges to succeed in realizing its global leadership ambition. While acknowledging its booming economy and international potential, it is also necessary to perceive the national level. We should note the inequality between the rural and urban population and the suffocating class divisions. Moreover, the lack of continued increase in productivity pushes China back to the rank of third world countries. In this context, the ramping poverty may provoke heavy social uprisings and Chinese tenure over the world might still be political fiction.