The Future of China (II)

26 Apr

The potentially greatest power of the world – China, has many opportunities within itself, to expand or to collapse. The new leader, Mr Xi Jingping calls himself a man with a dream, a China dream, to be precise. He has indicated in several speeches that he wants to reinstate the former glory of China in its rightful and deserving place on the world platform. It is an ambitious plan for China, but one that deserves an applaud. His current position entitles his decision to change the lives of hundreds of millions. He can shape history, easily, in this authoritarian state.

Xi seems to be walking in the footsteps of Deng, of being a reformer and positively encouraging the prospering of the economy as evident by his first trip to Shenzhen, termed to be the ‘Special Economic Zone. On a closer look, he wants to be the ‘man of the people,’ visiting poor villages and people. Next, he visited numerous high-profile military units. Perhaps his message is simple, to gather the allegiance of the armed forces so as to reign in peace as the next leader. If we were to analyse deeper, it is not hard to see from these political visits, that he has certain concerns (dreams) for the future of China.

At the top of the priority list,  China would obviously want to be the next global power. But to do that, one has to know the problems China is currently facing and coming up with solutions to tackle such problems. It is stated, First there’s the fact that, ‘China must reform the way its economy is developing to make growth more sustainable, more equitable, less damaging to the environment.’ China’s new generation of leaders are aware of its problems and defects it is facing. Writer Gao Yu stated Xi Jinping ‘knows exactly where the party’s critical mistakes are.’ Perhaps so.

She furthers,’there is the “wealth gap” that has opened up in China. The benefits of reform have basically been taken by government officials. Money has flowed to them and to the rich, not into protecting our environment, or into social security, medical insurance or education.’

Moreover, “The whole world sees how corrupt our government officials are and how angry our people are. In their hearts people no longer believe in the legality of the party’s rule. That is the most important thing that Xi has to solve.” Gao adds.

With these problems identified and acknowledged by this new generation of leadership, the next question will be whether any actions will be done to solve them. This is a crucial question to discuss even before we can embark to discuss on China’s future. The future is not ours to behold, but is ours to make. May this reformer brings to China more prosperity, growth and benefits to the people. It might be not an easy task dealing with the corruption, inequalities, widening wealth gaps, unemployment, democracy deficit, human rights problems, environment pollution, etc and the list goes on and on. For now, it is better to stop dreaming and let us witness a change, a revolution.


D. Grammaticas, ‘China’s new President Xi Jinping: A Man with a Dream’

Wang Lixiong, ‘On China’s Future,’17th April 2013,


One Response to “The Future of China (II)”

  1. gs15g10 May 5, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Mr Xi Jingping’s ambition to restore China’s previous glory is certainly present in the majority of his speeches.
    This rests with the idea of “tianxia” which translates to all under heaven – this is the idea that China is one of the oldest civilisations in the world and was once the centre of the earth!
    This therefore spurs Chinese nationalism and gives Chinese people a sense of superiority. “Tianxia” therefore encourages the spread of Chinese culture, language and values as they are thought to be superior.
    Despite China’s domestic problems that you have highlighted, the Chinese government is investing a lot of money into its soft power where it can spread these values, history and traditions through education, literature art and film. The most prominent examples are the Confucius institutions around the world and the numerous scholarships China is providing to foreign students to study in China.
    Shaun Breslin has argued that rather than the rise of China, China’s accession on at the global level should actually be called the “re-emergence of China” back to the centre stage!
    However despite the vast amounts of money being channelled into increasing China’s soft power, it is still clearly lagging behind the US and is along way off challenging the global hegemon in terms of soft power. Ikenberry states that the Western order, led by the US is rooted deep and therefore is hard to overturn but easy to join. Thus how far China will be able to return to the centre stage is questionable as it seems that the current Western order, of which China is integrated into, will remain for many years to come.
    Besides, as you have mentioned in your article, before China can even think about challenging the Western order it will need to address the many domestic issues that it is facing currently.

    Ikenberry, G. (2008), ‘The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal Systems Survive?,’ in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 23-37.
    Breslin, S. (2010), ‘China’s Emerging Global Role: Dissatisfied Great Power,’ Politics, Vol. 30, Supplement S1, pp. 52-62.
    Callahan, W. (2008), ‘Chinese Visions of World Order: Post-hegemonic or a New Hegemony?,’ International Studies Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 749-761

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