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Will China's rise as a global superpower be peaceful? Show more Show less
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China will surpass the United States economically and is making huge military and technological progress. Will China's rise to global superpower status be peaceful? Or will China's rise not be peaceful due to its authoritarianism and territorial disputes?

Yes, China's rise will be peaceful Show more Show less

China has far to much to lose from conflict with the West, particularly direct military engagement with the USA.
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China benefits from the rules-based system

China has become one of the largest beneficiaries of the international rules based system and would therefore have little interest in seeing it upended.
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The Argument

Over the last thirty years China has successfully integrated itself into the international rules based system, including taking up its seat at the World Trade Organisation, playing a constructive role in the G20, a lead member of the BRICS, and increasingly building up a group of supportive countries within the United Nations. Aside from these pre-existing multinational institutions, China has also created the Belts and Road Initiative to drive infrastructure investment with international partners across the world and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to offer loans to developing countries. It's clear from these developments that China has become one of the largest beneficiaries of the international rules based system and would therefore have little interest in seeing it upended.

Counter arguments

China continues to be controlled by the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party, which suppresses the press and is increasingly cracking down on dissidents within the mainland, including imprisoning one million Uighurs in detention camps. Western hopes that economic liberalisation within China would lead to democratic liberalisation have proven to be false. Nowhere is this more evident than in the presidency of Xi Jinping, who in 2018 made himself ruler for life and regularly purges political opposition. The authoritarian nature of China makes conflict between itself and the US increasingly likely particularly as China attempts to reshape the world in its image.

Premises

[P1] China benefits from the current international system. [P2] Therefore, they have an interest in ensuring it doesn't change.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This does not mean conflict is unlikely.

References

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    This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 09:47 UTC

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