In an article dated 3 December 2020, leading FT writer, Philip Stephens, asserts that “President Xi Jinping wants China to rule the world”. He is wrong. Let me explain why.
China was the Sick Man of Asia following its Century of Humiliation at the hands of the major foreign powers who sliced up China and took a share of the spoils – the British dominant in Opium trade.
China has bounced back. It has taken control of what it lost – independence, territorial integrity and prosperity. Its remarkable growth has shakened the world and the assumption is that China wants to do what the US has done for years – to control the world.
China has a different goal. Its aim remains Prosperity and Stability. It has taken 500m out of poverty and created a burgeoning middle class whose consumer interests does much to sustain the world economy. China succeeds if the rest of the world prospers – that is the meaning of China’s “win-win” ambition. Nothing to do with imperial domination or a world power grab. China is a new challenge for the West and the West’s aggressive response will strengthen, not weaken, China. Failing powers never know how to leave the stage gracefully.