When most people look at China’s course over the last decade or so, they are struck by four things. First is dramatic economic growth. Second is a huge increase in military power. Yet another is an ever more prominent role in diplomacy and international organizations. And fourth is the continuation, unmodified, of the Communist Party dictatorship.
These four characteristics add up not simply to China, but to the cliche “a rising China.” I do not have time today to qualify that phrase, though I would like to. Thus, had I time I would say something about the hidden weaknesses of China’s current economic growth: its reliance on foreign rather than domestic entrepreneurs and markets, and on cheap labor rather than skills and creativity; its domination by the government rather than society; and the corruption and growing inequality associated with it.