tirsdag 26. oktober 2021

How China’s past shapes Xi's thinking - and his view of the world

Heightened tensions with Taiwan have focused attention on China, with many wondering where President Xi Jinping sees his country on the world stage. Perhaps the past can provide some clues, writes Rana Mitter, a history professor at Oxford University. China is now a global power, something scarcely imaginable just a few decades ago.

Its power sometimes stems from cooperation with the wider world, such as signing up to the Paris climate agreement. Or sometimes it means competition with it, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, a network of construction projects in more than 60 countries which has brought investment to many parts of the world deprived of western loans.

Yet there is also a highly confrontational tone to much of China's global rhetoric. Beijing condemns the US for seeking to "contain" China through the new AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) submarine pact, warns the UK that there would be "consequences" for granting residence in Britain to Hong Kongers leaving their city because of the harsh National Security Law, and told the island of Taiwan that it should prepare to be unified with the mainland.