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China as an emerging superpower

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Title: China as an emerging superpower  
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China as an emerging superpower

People's Republic of China

The Chinese Century (simplified Chinese: 中国世纪; traditional Chinese: 中國世紀; pinyin: Zhōngguó Shìjì) is a neologism suggesting the possibility that the 21st century will be dominated by the People's Republic of China, similarly to how "the American Century" refers to the 20th century and "the British Century" refers to the 19th century.[1] The phrase is used particularly in the assertion that the economy of China will overtake the economy of the United States as the largest national economy in the world,[2] a position it held in parts of the 17th Century.[3]


Michael Beckley, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, rejects the idea that:

  • the United States is in decline relative to China and;
  • the hegemonic burdens the United States bears to sustain globalized, unipolar system contributes to its decline.

Alternatively, Beckley argues the United States’ power is durable and unipolarity and globalization are the main reasons why. He contends: "The United States derives competitive advantages from its preponderant position, and globalization allows it to exploit these advantages, attracting economic activity and manipulating the international system to its benefit."[4]

Beckley believes that if the United States really was in terminal decline, that it would adopt neomercantilist economic policies and disengage from military commitments in Asia. "If however, the United States is not in decline, and if globalization and hegemony are the main reasons why, then the United States should do the opposite: it should contain China’s growth by maintaining a liberal international economic policy, and it should subdue China’s ambitions by sustaining a robust political and military presence in Asia."[4] Beckley believes that the United States benefits from being an extant hegemon—the US did not overturn the international order to its benefit in 1990, but rather, the existing order collapsed around it.

Scholars that are skeptical of the US' maintaining unipolarity include Robert Pape, who has calculated that "one of the largest relative declines in modern history" stems from "the spread of technology to the rest of the world."[5] Similarly, Fareed Zakaria writes, "The unipolar order of the last two decades is waning not because of Iraq but because of the broader diffusion of power across the world."[6] This is known as the "diffusive effect," or the tendency for ideas to trickle down from established to peripheral areas, empowering the latter.

See also


  1. ^ Rees-Mogg, William (3 January 2005). "This is the Chinese century". London:  
  2. ^ Elliott, Michael (2007-01-22). "China Takes On the World".  
  3. ^ Dahlman, Carl J; Aubert, Jean-Eric. China and the Knowledge Economy: Seizing the 21st Century. WBI Development Studies. World Bank Publications. Accessed 30 January 2008.
  4. ^ a b Beckley, Michael (Winter 2011–2012). "China's Century? Why America's Edge Will Endure". International Security 36 (3): pp. 41–78, p. 42.  
  5. ^ Pape, Robert (January–February 2009). "Empire Falls". The National Interest: p. 26. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Zakaria, Fareed (2009). The Post-American World. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 43.  

Books and Further reading

  • Fishman, Ted (2006) China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World. Scribner ISBN 9780743257350.
  • Jacques, Martin (2012) When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Penguin Books ISBN 9780143118008.
  • Overholt, William (1994) The Rise of China: How Economic Reform is Creating a New Superpower. W. W. Norton & Company ISBN 9780393312454.
  • Peerenboom, Randall (2008) China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest?. Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199226122.
  • Schell, Orville (2014) Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century. Random House Trade Paperbacks ISBN 9780812976250.
  • Shambaugh, David (2014) China Goes Global: The Partial Power. Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199361038.
  • Womack, Brantly (2010) China's Rise in Historical Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ISBN 9780742567221.
  • Yueh, Linda (2013) China's Growth: The Making of an Economic Superpower. Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199205783.

External links

  • Fengbo Zhang: Speech at "Future China Global Forum 2010": China Rising with the Reform and Open Policy
  • The Chinese Century: The Rising Chinese Economy and Its Impact on the Global Economy, the Balance of Power, and Your Job
  • China's Century: The Awakening of the Next Economic Powerhouse
  • When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World
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