China’s Plans to Win Control of the Global Order: The Chinese Communist Party leadership believe they are in the midst of an ‘intense, ideological struggle’ for survival and that to win they must defeat the West.
The People’s Republic of China now commands the world’s largest population, its second-largest economy, and a military-industrial complex and high technology sector second only to America’s. Behind this great mass of men and material stands Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Xi, supported by the class of Chinese communists who rule along with him, believe it is their role to guide China—and the rest of the world—into a new age. China’s military expansion, massive economic investment in controlling global trade routes, and escalating information operations all point to a struggle for dominance that puts it in direct conflict with the West.
In their internal speeches and planning documents, China’s communist party leaders describe their perceptions of this struggle quite openly: As Beijing sees it, China’s success depends on discrediting the tenets of liberal capitalism so that notions like individual freedom and constitutional democracy come to be seen as the relics of an obsolete system. To understand how China’s leaders intend to accomplish this and fully appreciate their designs for the future, we must first come to terms with how they understand themselves.
“The very purpose of the [Chinese Communist] Party in leading the people in revolution and development,” Xi Jinping explained to an audience of party cadres in 2012, “is to make the people prosperous, the country strong, and rejuvenate the Chinese nation.” This “rejuvenation” of the Chinese people, which might also be translated as their “revival” or “restoration,” reflects a specific understanding of Chinese history and China’s proper place in world affairs. Chinese of all political persuasions are acutely aware that China was once the standard setter in advanced civilization, the center point around which the economies and cultures of much of the Earth revolved. For many Chinese nationalists, the last two centuries have been a painful aberration from this natural order. The party labels the years that China was exploited by imperialists and divided by warlords “the century of humiliation,” a century that ended only when they took control. The century that followed—which comes to its end 29 years from now, in 2049—is different. This will be the century that makes China great again.
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