Return of the Dragon: Xi Jinping’s Nationalist Vision & Global Ambitions

by SAM ZENG ’21 Since 2012, Xi Jinping has made explicit his desire to accomplish the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” drawing on popular nationalist sentiment that believes China’s rightful place is being the dominant power in Asia.

by SAM ZENG ‘21

For the majority of its history, China has been an economic and cultural powerhouse, accustomed to a position of preeminence in Asia. With a vast endowment of natural resources, the achievement of innumerous advances in science, technology, and culture, as well as a land empire that stretched over three times the size of the Roman Empire at its peak, Imperial China maintained hegemony over Asia for more than 2,000 years. With this in mind, China’s downfall was, as Harvard political scientist Graham Allison, put it, “a historical anomaly.”[1]The onset of the disastrous Opium Wars with Britain in 1839 marked the beginning of the nation’s “century of humiliation,” and China has spent the better part of the subsequent 180 years in turmoil. From the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the influx of Western and Japanese imperialism to a brutal civil war and a tumultuous period of communist reform, only in the past few decades has China begun to recover a semblance of its past prowess. 

On the heels of a roaring economy, second only to the United States, China is once again flirting with the regional and global eminence that defined its imperial past. While most Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are satisfied with expanding domestic prosperity and, as such, have remained firmly on the sidelines of international affairs, Xi Jinping’s tenure is marked by a shift toward involvement; he wishes to use China’s advancement to project its influence across the globe. By examining Xi’s particular ideology as well as China’s expanded involvement in international organizations, new interest in global economic initiatives, and territorial claims, it is clear that Xi not only wants to restore China to its former prominence in Asia, but to establish China as the premier global superpower.

Since 2012, Xi has made explicit his desire to accomplish the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” drawing on popular nationalist sentiment that believes China’s rightful place is being the dominant power in Asia.[2]Xi has expounded upon this goal by repeatedly proclaiming the slogan of the “Chinese Dream,” a phrase originally referring to dynastic struggle against foreign invaders that was also drawn upon in 20th century Chinese literature to lament China’s “century of humiliation” at the hands of foreign powers.[3]Xi’s pursuit of this national rejuvenation has been laid out in his establishment ofXi Jinping Thought, as well as the CCP’s shift to restoring elements of traditional Chinese society that conjure up the nation’s former greatness. Each CCP leader has developed their own strand of Marxist thought to establish guiding principles and goals for the party and the nation. These include Deng Xiaoping, who focused on economic reform, as well as Hu Jintao, who emphasized social harmony.[4]Xi Jinping Thought’s 14 Principles are centered upon making China a modern power by consolidating the CCP’s control at home, strengthening and “reviving” the military “through science and technology,” and renewing the call for “complete national reunification” of the mainland with Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.[5]The heavily nationalistic sentiment being pushed by Xi is perhaps summed up best in a popular internet phrase in China, “Mao made China stand up, Deng made it rich, and Xi made it strong.”[6]In addition to being enshrined into the CCP constitution, Xi Jinping Thoughthas been institutionalized into the country’s education system, as well as pushed aggressively through the CCP’s regulation of media, placing the nationalist message at the forefront of Chinese society.[7][8]

Apart from the dissemination of his own ideology, Xi promotes traditional Chinese culture, particularly Confucianism, to stir public sentiment towards restoring China to its historical prominence. The revival of traditional Chinese values is a sharp turn from the CCP’s policies during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which involved the destruction of Confucian influence and other remnants of traditional Chinese society.[9]Though Xi is not the first post-Mao CCP leader to co-opt elements of Chinese traditionalism in the political arena, there has been a markedly renewed emphasis on Confucianism and other such historio-cultural elements.[10]For instance, in 2014, the CCP mandated officials nationwide to attend lectures on Confucian and classical Chinese philosophy, and the Ministry of Education finished installing a list of classic Confucian texts for mandatory use across all Chinese primary and secondary schools in 2016.[11]Moreover, scholars have also noted that Xi Jinping made reference to Confucian, Legalist, and other classical Chinese works in more than 70 speeches since taking power.[12]

Through this marked emphasis on classical Chinese philosophy, Xi aims to depict the CCP as the guardian of ancient Chinese values. In a 2014 speech honoring the 2,565th anniversary of the birth of Confucius, Xi proclaimed that “the Chinese Communist Party is the successor to and promoter of fine traditional Chinese culture.”[13]By promoting the revival of traditional cultural elements and conflating their preservation with CCP governance, Xi paints a picture of the CCP’s China as the direct continuation of ancient Chinese civilization. Consequently, Xi is not only presenting a vision of political and national unity under the banner of the CCP in order to restore the glory of Imperial China but also equating opposition to the CCP as opposition to Chinese civilization at large.[14]Linking the CCP with traditional China is an attempt to build not only unity for a national agenda domestically but a pillar of political legitimacy in the eyes foreign nations. By portraying the CCP’s governance as rooted in Chinese civilizational values, Xi is also making the case that China’s political system is therefore a more valid framework for China than is Western liberal democracy.[15]In brief: Xi is trying to convince foreign nations to accept CCP rule and refrain from forcing China to adopt political reforms that are rooted in Western cultural traditions. Xi admitted as much himself in 2014 when he told Antonis Samaris, then Prime Minister of Greece, the following: “Your democracy is ancient Greek and Roman democracy. That is your tradition. We have our own tradition.”[16]

Still, this begs the question: Why are Xi and the CCP suddenly reviving Chinese nationalism and seeking to make China a global power? There is a strong case that appealing to nationalism and restoring China’s historical glory provides the CCP legitimacy. Since the introduction of liberal market reforms over 40 years ago, the CCP has relied on tremendous economic growth and improved standards of living to maintain legitimacy.[17]The CCP’s critical role as the overseers of China’s state capitalism model has been the fundamental reason for why the authoritarian CCP can advocate liberal economic policies while stonewalling liberal political reform. Unfortunately, with GDP growth beginning to slow dramatically and adverse side effects from China’s rapid economic expansion gradually rearing their head, including rising social tensions from widening income inequality and skyrocketing concern about environmental deterioration, Xi must look for new avenues to drum up public tolerance of CCP rule.[18][19][20]Taking a closer look at Xi Jinping’s time in power so far, much of his domestic policy initiatives have been focused on tackling areas to improve the party’s image, from anti-corruption campaigns and intense air quality regulation to expanded social welfare programs.[21][22]These initiatives have been aimed at legitimizing the CCP, particularly in an age where rapid information sharing can lead to widespread public revolt and even revolution. Similarly, Xi Jinping Thoughtultimately proclaims the continuation and strengthening of single-party rule by the CCP as the only way for China to achieve its former greatness. 

For decades, CCP leaders focused on building China’s domestic economic strength, while refraining from conflict with foreign powers as much as possible. This was in line with the foreign policy strategy established by Deng Xiaoping known as taoguangyanghui, “keep a low profile.”[23]In short, China was biding its time, taking a back seat in international institutions such as the United Nations and accepting a temporary American hegemony in global affairs until it could build up its economic, military, and geopolitical capabilities.[24]Deng went as far as to say that China would “never seek hegemony.”[25]Xi’s time in power has been marked by a significant departure from Deng’s passive foreign policy. In an attempt to carry out his nationalist vision, Xi has expanded China’s influence abroad. 

Xi’s efforts to cultivate China’s prestige and demonstrate the CCP’s legitimacy begin with reasserting control over historical territories and expanding China’s regional power projection. These efforts include renewing claims over the disputed territories of historical greater China, such as Taiwan and Xinjiang, as well as aggressive actions in the South China Sea. The ability to maintain dominion over vast territories is an age-old symbol of power, and at the 19th CCP National Congress, Xi declared that the CCP “will never allow anyone… to separate any part of Chinese territory from China.”[26]Xi’s actions have focused on wiping out separatistism in autonomous regions it currently controls as well as reasserting sovereignty over territories it claims for future reunification. 

In Tibet, a historical hotbed for independence movements that the CCP claims has been part of China since the 13th century Yuan Dynasty, Xi has dramatically ramped up security presence, increased police checkpoints and restricted movement, and undertaken several so-called “stability maintenance” measures to crack down on perceived dissent.[27][28]Xinjiang, which has been controlled by China since the 18th century, is home to millions of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. Separatist activity is historically high in Xinjiang; in response, Xi’s CCP has undertaken a massive crackdown that has included severe violations of human rights.[29]These activities include detaining over a million people in camps designed to indoctrinate them in pro-CCP values.[30]

In Hong Kong, where the PRC took over control from the UK 1997, the CCP has encroached upon the promised “one country, two systems” policy, which allows for Hong Kong to maintain its own economic and political systems.[31]In 2014, the CCP published a white paper reasserting CCP authority over Hong Kong that many considered to greatly undermine the region’s autonomy, even floating the idea that the selection of judges in Hong Kong should take into account candidates’ support for the mainland.[32]While the 2014 white paper led to a series of protests known as the “Umbrella Revolution,” no protests came close to the mass unrest that erupted in the wake of a proposed extradition bill, backed by the CCP, that would allow Hong Kong citizens accused of crimes by China to be subject to the mainland’s justice system.[33][34]Though the extradition bill triggered protests, demands for democracy and greater political rights have gradually taken center stage.[35]Xi and the CCP have offered full support for the Hong Kong government, which has arrested activists, and condemned the widespread protests, denouncing them as “foreign forces… planning to wreak havoc in Hong Kong.”[36][37]One CCP State Council office even declared the protests “terrorism.”[38]Xi envisions that unilateral CCP control will make China powerful and harmonious. He is willing to undertake extreme measures to quell unrest, separatism, and dissent.

The boldest of Xi’s territorial claims has been the explicit call to reunify Taiwan with the mainland. Though the CCP has officially aimed to reunite the two nations under “one country, two systems” for decades, previous leaders had largely tabled reunification in favor of focusing on improving economic ties with Taiwan.[39]The reclamation of Taiwan is a cornerstone of Xi’s nationalist vision, and he has declared reunification “an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”[40]Xi has been aggressive on this front, even using military force, including sending a carrier strike group through the Taiwan Strait and declaring that China “make[s] no promise to renounce the use of force” and will “reserve the option to take any necessary means” to secure reunification.[41]Though Taiwan re-elected pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Tsai Ing-wen, the CCP attempted to sway the election through bribery of Taiwanese officials and anti-DPP propaganda.[42]Given that the U.S. has maintained strong relations with Taiwan for over 50 years, China’s willingness to issue threats indicate Xi’s growing confidence in China to assert its will in Asia.

Xi has also led a massive military modernization effort, expanding China’s military reach through aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Significant disparity in military capabilities was a major reason China was overrun by Western and Japanese powers during the “century of humiliation.” Xi’s military buildup ensures that this disparity will never occur again and is centered around designing a force to exploit characteristics of American tactics and technology. These reforms include shifting the focus away from Cold War-era ground forces in favor of joint strike capabilities through the air force and navy and developing counter-US tactics including through stealing classified information on US fighter jets and other technology.[43][44]

In the South China Sea, China claims most of the region as the territorial water of its island province Hainan, a claim considered invalid by other countries and was deemed invalid in a 2016 decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.[45][46]Nonetheless, under Xi, China has pursued aggressive militarization of the South China Sea, including establishing an expansive array of airstrips and military bases on reefs, artificial islands, and natural landforms across the sea.[47]In addition to controlling rights to natural resources such as fish and oil reserves, the military buildup has resulted in a military power base that envelops the countries in the region including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan and is directly tied to Xi’s overarching goal of making China the premier power in Asia.[48][49]The South China Sea was notably the route through which foreign ships invaded China during the “century of humiliation” –– these efforts directly subvert any future attempt to do so again.[50]More than just a defensive measure, the militarization also creates a sphere of influence that directly counters US strike capabilities from bases in the Philippines and Japan. China has already demonstrated its increased leverage in the region. In December of 2019 for instance, China coerced the Philippines into an agreement to give up oil reserves off its coast that had previously been non-negotiable.[51]In any case, Xi’s actions augmented China’s power and limited the US’s ability to curtail Chinese interests in Asia.

Beyond the drive for hegemony in the Asia Pacific, Xi’s push for global power expanded China’s influence in international governing bodies and decision-making processes. With a fragmented European Union and an American President in Donald Trump who has significantly reduced the US’s global leadership, Xi has maneuvered China to fill a widening global power vacuum. Notably, at the 2017 Davos conference, Xi Jinping gave a stunning speech in favor of globalism, calling for international cooperation in trade and climate change among other issues and praising the importance of global institutions, while portraying China as a spearhead for such efforts.[52]Rhetoric aside, Xi’s actions reflect a more assertive China. In the UN for instance, Chinese troops now make up the largest contingent of peacekeeping forces of all Security Council countries while China is the second-largest funder of the peacekeeping budget, increasing its contribution share by approximately 50% in 2019.[53]

Xi has also turned China into arguably the global leader on climate change. Domestically, the Chinese government has poured over $360 billion into renewable energy investments, set forth a plan to peak carbon emissions by 2030, and implemented some of the most aggressive vehicle emissions standards in the world.[54][55]As Ariel Cohen from Forbes notes, China is “currently the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy and the largest investor in green energy projects.”[56]China has coupled such aggressive domestic climate actions by taking on an active leadership position in setting global policy. As an example, the successful ratification of the Paris Climate Accord signed in 2015 was driven largely by China and the US’s acceptance of the pact, using the leverage of the world’s largest two economies to induce other countries to follow. Upon the withdrawal of the US from the pact in 2017, China has taken on a larger role in the agreement, publicly reaffirming its support for the pact, beating its 2020 emissions targets three years in advance, coordinating emissions reduction efforts with France and the EU, as well as pressuring developed countries to “pay their debts” do more for the effort.[57][58][59]

While some of the ways Xi has expanded China’s role in the UN and other institutions seem in line with common international objectives such as combating climate change, Xi is ultimately using China’s newfound leverage to reshape such institutions to further its own national interest and power. Though China has significantly ramped monetary and personnel contribution towards UN peacekeeping, the vast majority of peacekeeping activities that involve Chinese personnel are in countries where China has deep economic interests and significant investments, such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[60]China’s increased activity in the UN since Xi’s rise to power has also included consistently stonewalling efforts to protect human rights, including by pushing an ideology of national sovereignty that would protect China and other regimes that violate human rights from foreign intervention.[61]According to the Brookings Institution, from 2016-2018, China’s activity on the UN’s Human Rights Council has included vigorously pushing amendments that would “weaken international norms to protect civil society,” including two that were introduced by China itself.[62]Amendments included efforts to make human rights advancement secondary to economic development, reduce the power of NGOs while expanding territorial sovereignty, and make it more difficult to pass resolutions that criticize countries for human rights violations.[63]Remarkably, in April 2020, China was also able to secure an appointment to the five-nation Human Rights Council’s consultative board, which would give it tremendous influence in selecting human rights officials in charge of monitoring freedom of speech, treatment of political prisoners, and other human rights issues globally.[64]In addition, though the PRC became a permanent member of the UN Security Council in 1971, it had used its veto power a total of nine times by the time Xi came to power, the lowest usage of any nation with veto rights.[65](By contrast, the US has used it 81 times to date.)[66]Under Xi, China has already used it six times, mostly to veto sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria, including vetoing a resolution providing humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians and another calling for a ceasefire.[67][68][69]As mentioned earlier, the CCP is very concerned that the upheaval against autocracies during the Arab Spring will spread to Beijing and is increasingly seeking to prop up other autocratic regimes such as Syria, lest their downfalls catalyze revolts against the CCP.[70]

Even China’s expanded global leadership on climate change and renewable energy can be seen as a convenient effort to improve the country’s international image and soft power that will translate into increased political power over other issues. First, combating pollution and cleaning up the environment have already been part of the CCP’s strategy to strengthen party approval since Hu Jintao’s time.[71]China’s efforts to invest in renewable energy and heavily regulate its carbon emissions are critical for reducing the rampant air pollution that has been a huge source of angst domestically. Thus, promoting climate and other international environmental initiatives are consistent with the CCP’s self-interest and so taking an international leadership position on the environment is merely an opportune method of gaining political leverage without requiring many concessions. Secondly, as the world increasingly shifts toward a reliance upon renewable energy in the next few decades, China, as the undisputed leader in solar and wind technology will achieve even greater ability to dictate global affairs as countries look to China for investment and development. With the US taking a back seat in these efforts, Xi’s China is determined to fill the leadership void and further its global power. 

China in its historical heyday was the center of global trade along the Silk Road and restoring China to its dominance in the global economy is a key goal of Xi’s national rejuvenation. Beyond greater activity in international institutions, Xi has attempted to reshape the global order through economic initiatives that would increase global dependence on China and extend China’s geopolitical reach. Xi’s most publicized initiative has been the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through which China provides heavy infrastructure investments to developing nations, particularly in Asia and Africa but with European nations, including G7-member Italy, increasingly joining.[72][73]Through the BRI, which since its roll out in 2013 has covered 138 countries and will involve an estimated $26 trillion in investment, China aims to facilitate global economic connectivity that would open more markets for Chinese exports, direct more trade and economic activity through China, and even expand the RMB currency’s international reach to rival that of the dollar.[74]Closely related with the BRI, China has also established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, through which to finance much of these infrastructure projects that would divert partner countries away from the UN-supported Asian Development Bank.[75]Though the investments in highways, roads, ports, and other infrastructure projects are badly needed and welcomed with open arms by many developing countries, the investments are heavily leveraged and considered by many to be a form of “debt-trap diplomacy.”[76]The amount of debt that partner countries, many of which are developing and financially strapped, take on render them subservient to Chinese political demands and interests. Such interests may include unfettered access to the strategic ports that China built, as well as the right to establish military bases in the country, as China has done in Djibouti plans to do across Africa.[77][78]Through the BRI, China is using infrastructure and economic investment to curry favor and garner political control over swaths of countries, similar to the US’s use of the Marshall Plan that cemented America as a dominant global force.[79]If the BRI is ultimately successful, China will have secured a considerable power base and unfettered economic and military access to ports and other strategic locations across much of Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

Xi has also attempted to expand Chinese economic influence by spearheading a number of free trade agreements. China’s rapid rise has been accompanied by a sense of apprehension by nearby countries in the Asia-Pacific. Since 2012, China has pursued several bilateral free trade agreements with countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Australia aimed to both improve relations with neighboring countries as well as shift regional dependence away from the US and towards China.[80]In recent years, as Trump has increasingly pared back US leadership in international trade in Asia, most notably through the withdrawal from the twelve-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement in 2017, China has aimed to take advantage and form their own regional trading bloc in the Asia-Pacific.[81]China has led the formation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a fifteen nation free trade agreement that strengthens China’s economic ties to Vietnam, Singapore, and many other nations in the region that were previously a part of the TPP.[82]Overall, China’s multi-pronged economic initiatives aim to return China to its historic position of commercial dominance. 

Under Xi, China has also sought to take the lead in development and construction of 5g wireless infrastructure globally. The development and implementation of 4g systems around the world was led by US companies and this was not only an economic boon for the US, adding over 2.5 million American jobs, but provided national security advantages as well as civilian and military networks were able to run on American platforms.[83]China is looking to do the same by controlling the global transition towards the faster, more interconnected 5g technologies. This has been done primarily through heavy government support, including over $75 billion in subsidies and cheap loans, for Huawei, the telecommunications giant founded by a retired Chinese military official.[84]The government support Huawei has received has allowed them to use predatory pricing to overtake competitors and win more 5g contracts in Asia, Africa, and Europe than any other company.[85][86]Huawei is intricately linked to the Chinese government and military and if the world’s 5g infrastructure is primarily deployed and managed by Huawei, the CCP will have unfettered access to the sensitive data of civilians and government worldwide.[87]Huawei has already been found to be complicit in espionage activities for host governments and though there is no evidence of any spying for direct CCP purposes, demonstrates the potential intelligence capabilities Huawei provides.[88]According to a  2019 investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Huawei employees have “personally helped African governments spy on their political opponents, including intercepting their encrypted communications and social media, and using cell data to track their whereabouts.”[89]In Uganda for instance, Huawei employees helped government officials hack the communications accounts of an opposition leader, providing information that allowed the officials to crack down on planned demonstrations.[90]Though direct CCP involvement remains unproven, these activities are consistent with China’s aforementioned efforts to prop up authoritarian regimes using its leverage in the UN. Nevertheless, given these capabilities, not only will China’s dominance in 5g infrastructure increase global dependence on China, but China will have achieved a significant strategic and intelligence advantage in geopolitical conflicts. 

What are the implications of a China with superpower ambitions to the existing American order? Many analysts bring up the Thucydides Trap, the concept that a rising power will eventually clash for hegemony with the established power, just as Athenian-Spartan rivalry devolved into war.[91]Others argue that strong, mutual Sino-American economic ties effectively deter any possibility of armed conflict between the two countries.[92]Regardless, while the future is murky, it is eminently clear that Xi Jinping’s China is not only seeking prosperity and power, but bent on shaking off the remaining chains of the “century of humiliation” and returning to the central role in global affairs it occupied in ages past. Will Xi bring about China’s “national rejuvenation” and  keep the CCP in power for another generation? This has yet to be seen but the world should heed the advice of late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew who said regarding Xi, “watch this man.”[93]  


[1]Allison, Graham. “What Xi Jinping Wants.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 31, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/what-china-wants/528561/.

[2]Ibid.

[3]Mitchell, Ryan. “Clearing Up Some Misconceptions About Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream.’” HuffPost. HuffPost, December 7, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/clearing-up-some-misconce_b_8012152.

[4]Jordan, Zoe. “Does Xi Jinping Thought Really Matter?” The Diplomat, December 14, 2017. https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/does-xi-jinping-thought-really-matter/.

[5]“His Own Words: The 14 Principles of ‘Xi Jinping Thought’.” BBC News. BBC, October 24, 2017. https://monitoring.bbc.co.uk/product/c1dmwn4r.

[6]Jordan, Zoe. “Does Xi Jinping Thought Really Matter?” The Diplomat, December 14, 2017. https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/does-xi-jinping-thought-really-matter/.

[7]Chen, Te-Ping. “Reading, Writing and Xi Jinping Thought: China’s Students Learn Leader’s Philosophy.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, March 23, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/reading-writing-and-xi-jinping-thought-chinas-students-learn-leaders-philosophy-1521797406.

[8]Westcott, Ben. “Beijing Calls for Chinese Journalists to ‘Arm Their Minds’ with Xi Jinping Thought.” CNN. Cable News Network, December 17, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/17/asia/china-journalist-code-intl-hnk/index.html.

[9]Jaffe, Gabrielle. “China’s Enthusiastic Re-Embrace of Confucius.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, October 15, 2013. https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/10/chinas-enthusiastic-re-embrace-of-confucius/280326/.

[10]Lin, Delia. “The CCP’s Exploitation of Confucianism and Legalism.” Routledge Handbooks Online. Routledge Handbooks Online, August 18, 2017. https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315543918.ch3.

[11]Ibid.

[12]Ibid.

[13]Kai, Jin. “The Chinese Communist Party’s Confucian Revival.” The Diplomat, September 30, 2014. https://thediplomat.com/2014/09/the-chinese-communist-partys-confucian-revival/.

[14]Ibid.

[15]Lin, Delia. “The CCP’s Exploitation of Confucianism and Legalism.” Routledge Handbooks Online. Routledge Handbooks Online, August 18, 2017. https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315543918.ch3.

[16]Ibid.

[17]Allison, Graham. “What Xi Jinping Wants.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 31, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/what-china-wants/528561/.

[18]Davis, Bob. “China Tries to Shut Rising Income Gap.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, December 11, 2012. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324640104578161493858722884.

[19]Areddy, James T., and Chao Deng. “China’s Slowing Growth Underlines Stress Facing Its Economy in 2020.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, January 17, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-economic-growth-slows-to-6-1-as-trade-and-business-confidence-suffer-11579236022.

[20]Taplin, Nathaniel. “China’s Banks Are Choking on Coal Dust.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, April 9, 2019.https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-banks-are-choking-on-coal-dust-11554833294.

[21]“Social Welfare Priority for China’s Five-Year Plan, Says Communist Party Mouthpiece.” South China Morning Post, October 29, 2015. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1873698/social-welfare-priority-chinas-five-year-plan-says.

[22]Buckley, Chris, and Keith Bradsher. “China Unveils Superagencies to Fight Pollution and Other Threats to Party Rule.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 13, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/world/asia/china-xi-jinping-congress-pollution-corruption.html.

[23]Clover, Charles. “Xi Jinping Signals Departure from Low-Profile Policy.” Subscribe to read | Financial Times. Financial Times, October 20, 2017. https://www.ft.com/content/05cd86a6-b552-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399.

[24]Ibid.

[25]Ching, Frank. “China Should Heed Deng’s Warning.” The Japan Times, December 14, 2011. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2011/12/14/commentary/china-should-heed-dengs-warning/#.Xp6Bs1NKhZ0.

[26]Luo, Wangshu. “Party Will Never Allow Threat to Sovereignty, Xi Pledges.” China Daily, October 18, 2017. https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/19thcpcnationalcongress/2017-10/18/content_33406557.htm.

[27]Sargeant, Gray. “Tibet under Xi Jinping: Five Years of Suffocation.” Free Tibet, November 15, 2017. https://freetibet.org/news-media/na/tibet-under-xi-jinping-five-years-suffocation.

[28]“Relentless: Detention and Prosecution of Tibetans under China’s ‘Stability Maintenance’ Campaign.” Human Rights Watch, June 6, 2017. https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/05/22/relentless/detention-and-prosecution-tibetans-under-chinas-stability-maintenance.

[29]“Why Is There Tension between China and the Uighurs?” BBC News. BBC, September 26, 2014. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-26414014.

[30]Westcott, Ben. “Beijing Won’t Back down despite Xinjiang Revelations.” CNN. Cable News Network, December 2, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/26/asia/china-xinjiang-leaks-analysis-intl-hnk/index.html.

[31]Wong, Alan. “Beijing’s ‘White Paper’ Sets Off a Firestorm in Hong Kong.” The New York Times. The New York Times, June 11, 2014.https://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/beijings-white-paper-sets-off-a-firestorm-in-hong-kong/?mtrref=www.google.com&assetType=PAYWALL.

[32]Ibid.

[33]Wong, Brian, and John Mak. “Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Model Needs Reform.” Time. Time USA, LLC, October 30, 2019. https://time.com/5713715/hong-kong-one-country-two-systems-failure/.

[34]Ibid.

[35]Yap, Chuin-Wei. “Hong Kong Police Arrest Pro-Democracy Activists.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, April 18, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-police-arrest-pro-democracy-activists-11587223545.

[36]Ibid.

[37]Blanchard, Ben. “Chinese Paper Says ‘Foreign Forces’ Using Hong Kong Havoc to Hurt China.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, June 10, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-extradition-march-china-idUSKCN1TA0U4.

[38]“Beijing Says Violent Protests in HK Are ‘Signs of Terrorism’ EJINSIGHT.” EJ INSIGHT, August 13, 2019. https://www.ejinsight.com/eji/article/id/2218679/20190813-beijing-says-violent-protests-in-hk-are-signs-of-terrorism.

[39]“Xi Jinping Says Taiwan ‘Must and Will Be’ Reunited with China.” BBC News. BBC, January 2, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-46733174.

[40]Ibid.

[41]Tenreiro, Daniel. “Taiwan’s Election Rebuked Xi Jinping.” National Review. National Review, January 23, 2020. https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/02/10/taiwans-election-rebuked-xi-jinping/.

[42]Ibid.

[43]Wuthnow, Joel, and Phillip C. Saunders. “Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges.” National Defense University Press, March 21, 2017. https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Publications/Article/1125539/chinese-military-reforms-in-the-age-of-xi-jinping-drivers-challenges-and-implic/.

[44]“China Knows All About the F-35 and F-22 (Thanks to the Data It Stole).” The National Interest. The Center for the National Interest, November 6, 2019. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/china-knows-all-about-f-35-and-f-22-thanks-data-it-stole-61912.

[45]Emmerson, Donald K. “Why Does China Want to Control the South China Sea?” The Diplomat. The Diplomat, May 24, 2016. https://thediplomat.com/2016/05/why-does-china-want-to-control-the-south-china-sea/.

[46]“China’s Claims in South China Sea Are Invalid, Tribunal Rules, in Victory for the Philippines.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2016. https://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-south-china-sea-ruling-20160712-snap-story.html.

[47]Geaney, David. “China’s Island Fortifications Are a Challenge to International Norms.” Defense News, April 14, 2020. https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2020/04/17/chinas-island-fortifications-are-a-challenge-to-international-norms/.

[48]“Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea | Global Conflict Tracker.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://www.cfr.org/interactive/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/territorial-disputes-south-china-sea.

[49]Liu, Zhen. “Here’s What’s behind the ‘Nine-Dash Line’ That Sparked the South China Sea Conflict.” Business Insider. Business Insider, July 11, 2016. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-nine-dash-line-at-the-heart-of-the-south-china-sea-conflict-2016-7.

[50] Emmerson, Donald K. “Why Does China Want to Control the South China Sea?” The Diplomat. The Diplomat, May 24, 2016. https://thediplomat.com/2016/05/why-does-china-want-to-control-the-south-china-sea/.

[51]Slav, Irina. “China And The Philippines Finally Agree To Cooperate In The South China Sea.” OilPrice.com, December 17, 2019. https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/China-And-The-Philippines-Finally-Agree-To-Cooperate-In-The-South-China-Sea.html.

[52]Chiu, Dominic. “The East Is Green: China’s Global Leadership in Renewable Energy.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. Accessed April 15, 2020. https://www.csis.org/east-green-chinas-global-leadership-renewable-energy.

[53]He, Yin. “China Takes the Lead in UN Peacekeeping.” China takes the lead in UN peacekeeping – Opinion – Chinadaily.com.cn, September 26, 2019. https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201909/26/WS5d8bfa01a310cf3e3556d7f3.html.

[54]Chiu, Dominic. “The East Is Green: China’s Global Leadership in Renewable Energy.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. Accessed April 15, 2020. https://www.csis.org/east-green-chinas-global-leadership-renewable-energy.

[55]Huang, Echo. “China Paralyzed Its Auto Market by Fast-Tracking Stricter Car Pollution Rules.” Quartz. Quartz, July 4, 2019. https://qz.com/1657862/chinas-new-emission-standard-has-paralyzed-the-auto-market/.

[56]Cohen, Ariel. “U.S. Withdraws From Paris Accord, Ceding Leadership To China.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, November 7, 2019.https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2019/11/07/us-withdraws-from-paris-accord-ceding-leadership-to-china/#5b3fd90073c1.

[57]  Ibid.

[58]Harvey, Fiona, and Ben Doherty. “China Demands Developed Countries ‘Pay Their Debts’ on Climate Change.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, December 13, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/13/china-demands-developed-countries-pay-their-debts-on-climate-change.

[59]UNFCCC, March 28, 2018. https://unfccc.int/news/china-meets-2020-carbon-target-three-years-ahead-of-schedule.

[60]“What Motivates Chinese Peacekeeping?” Council on Foreign Relations, January 7, 2020. https://www.cfr.org/blog/what-motivates-chinese-peacekeeping.

[61]Piccone, Ted. “China’s Long Game on Human Rights at the United Nations.” Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2018.

[62]Ibid.

[63]Ibid.

[64]Fleetwood, Shawn. “UN Discredits Itself By Awarding China Seat On Its ‘Human Rights Council’.” The Federalist, April 7, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/04/07/united-nations-discredits-itself-by-awarding-china-a-seat-on-its-human-rights-council/.

[65]“Security Council – Veto List.” United Nations, United Nations, 20 Dec. 2019, research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick.

[66]Ibid.

[67]“Syria War: Russia and China Veto Sanctions.” BBC News, BBC, 28 Feb. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39116854.

[68]“Russia, China Veto UN Resolution Calling for Ceasefire in Syria.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 19 Sept. 2019, www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/russia-china-veto-resolution-calling-truce-idlib-190919163754250.html.

[69]Nichols, Michelle. “Russia, Backed by China, Casts 14th U.N. Veto on Syria to Block Cross-Border Aid.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 20 Dec. 2019, www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-un/russia-backed-by-china-casts-14th-u-n-veto-on-syria-to-block-cross-border-aid-idUSKBN1YO23V.

[70]Pei, Minxin. “Why Beijing Votes With Moscow.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Feb. 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/opinion/why-beijing-votes-with-moscow.html.

[71]“Hu Jintao Advocates ‘Conservation Culture’ for 1st Time.” China Daily, October 15, 2007. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-10/15/content_6176565.htm.

[72]Perlez, Jane, and Yufan Huang. “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.” The New York Times. The New York Times, May 13, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/business/china-railway-one-belt-one-road-1-trillion-plan.html.

[73]Ellyatt, Holly. “Is Italy Playing with Fire When It Comes to China?” CNBC. CNBC, March 28, 2019. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/27/italys-joins-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative.html.

[74]China Power Team. “How will the Belt and Road Initiative advance China’s interests?” China Power. May 8, 2017. Updated October 18, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2020. https://chinapower.csis.org/china-belt-and-road-initiative/.

[75]“China Led AIIB Could Overtake ADB as Major Financier of Infra Projects:Experts.” The Economic Times. Economic Times, June 13, 2019. https://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/finance/china-led-aiib-could-overtake-adb-as-major-financier-of-infra-projectsexperts/articleshow/69773549.cms.

[76]“China’s Debt-Trap Diplomacy.” National Review. National Review, July 3, 2018. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/china-belt-and-road-initiative-debt-trap-diplomacy/.

[77]Ibid.

[78]Chandran, Nyshka. “China Says It Will Increase Its Military Presence in Africa.” CNBC. CNBC, June 27, 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/27/china-increases-defence-ties-with-africa.html.

[79]Perlez, Jane, and Yufan Huang. “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.” The New York Times. The New York Times, May 13, 2017. 

[80]Song, Guoyou, and Wen Jin Yuan. “China’s Free Trade Agreement Strategies.” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2012.

[81]“Rejoin the TPP.” National Review, April 19, 2018. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/trans-pacific-partnership-rejoin/.

[82]Ibid.

[83]The Importance of 5G. The Senate Republican Policy Committee, June 27, 2019. https://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/the-importance-of-5g.

[84]Yap, Chuin-Wei. “State Support Helped Fuel Huawei’s Global Rise.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, December 25, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/state-support-helped-fuel-huaweis-global-rise-11577280736.

[85]Ibid.

[86]Bicheno, Scott. “Huawei Is Still the Leader on 5G Commercial Contracts.” Telecoms.com. https://telecoms.com/, February 20, 2020. https://telecoms.com/502562/huawei-is-still-the-leader-on-5g-commercial-contracts/.

[87]The Importance of 5G. The Senate Republican Policy Committee, June 27, 2019. https://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/the-importance-of-5g.

[88]Parkinson, Joe, Nicholas Bariyo, and Josh Chin. “Huawei Technicians Helped African Governments Spy on Political Opponents.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, August 15, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/huawei-technicians-helped-african-governments-spy-on-political-opponents-11565793017.

[89]Ibid.

[90]Ibid.

[91]Allison, Graham. “The Thucydides Trap.” Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy, April 12, 2019. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/09/the-thucydides-trap/.

[92]Thornton, Susan A. “Prospects for Co-Evolution in Sino-American Relations.” Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture on Sino-American Relations May 15, 2019. https://www.ncuscr.org/event/barnett-oksenberg-lecture-sino-american-relations/2019/transcript.

[93]Allison, Graham. “What Xi Jinping Wants.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 31, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/what-china-wants/528561/.

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