mandag 20. september 2021

Will China’s President Xi’s big bet pay off?

Chinese President Xi Jinping is making the most audacious geopolitical bet of the 21st century. A head-spinning series of seemingly disparate moves over recent months add up to nothing less than a generational wager that Xi can produce the world’s dominant power for the foreseeable future by doubling down on his state-controlled economy, party-disciplined society, nationalistic propaganda, and far-reaching global influence campaigns.

With each week, Xi raises the stakes further, from narrowing seemingly mundane personal freedoms like karaoke bars or a teenager’s permitted time for online gaming to three hours weekly to the multimillion U.S. dollar investor hit from his increased controls on China’s biggest technology companies and their foreign listings.

It is only in the context of Xi’s increased repressions at home and expanded ambitions abroad that one can fully understand Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision this week to enter a new defense pact, which he called “a forever agreement,” with the United States and the United Kingdom.