Communist and post-Communist oppression China | 29 February 2024

China: Navigating uncharted waters

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As the world enters 2024 with several unresolved and even escalating conflicts, China is navigating uncharted waters as well.

World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller comments: “The emphasis here is on the term ‘navigating’. Observers are divided where the journey may lead to. While some say that China is on its way to introduce a new world order with its flurry of initiatives and setting of new standards (ChinaFile, 7 December 2023), others are less convinced. The Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and, most recently, the Global Civilization Initiative do find an interested international audience, but it remains to be seen if other countries are paying more than mere lip service, especially when funds do not flow as plentifully as they used to. At the same time, it may be too early to talk about ‘the end of China’s period of strategic opportunity’ (National Bureau of Asian Research, 19 December 2023). One thing should be kept in mind: Ultimately, the main goal for the Communist Party is to stay in power in China for a second century.”

Thomas Muller concludes: “It is more than an interesting side-note that one long term observer of China has explored another weak area by writing in a recently published book that China’s much discussed model of surveillance cannot be easily exported (Foreign Affairs, 6 January 2024). While the technical equipment exists and is being exported in growing quantity and quality, successful surveillance still needs a strong investment in terms of human manpower. Not many of the target countries seem to be able or willing to make this investment. While this should not discount the risks of technical surveillance, it may give some balance in perspective.”


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