Under President Xi Jinping, the ruling Communist Party of China seems to regard North Korea rather than Singapore as its political model. But amid the fanfare of the CPC’s 100th anniversary on July 1, the more immediate question is whether the party can sustain the nationalism and strong economic growth that are essential to its legitimacy.
In this Big Picture, Minxin Pei of Claremont McKenna College highlights the poor longevity record of other dictatorial parties in modern times, and warns that the CPC’s current milestone may be its last if Xi’s neo-Maoist revival proves to be the wrong strategy. Likewise, Northwestern University’s Nancy Qian says China’s relatively low per capita GDP means that the government must significantly boost the incomes of hundreds of millions of impoverished citizens in order to maintain popular support.
Meanwhile, Brahma Chellaney of the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research shows how China’s power over Asia’s water map, and its addiction to grandiose construction projects like the Three Gorges Dam, has led to enormous social and environmental costs, as well as political friction with neighboring countries.
As for China’s wider international relations, Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, sees an increasingly dangerous trend in the communist regime’s one-way approach to other sovereign states. And with the United States and China seemingly entering into a new cold war, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer argues that a world facing the threat of climate change cannot afford another clash of mutually exclusive systems.