Has China’s power peaked?

Michael Beckley of Tufts University argues yes. Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group argues no.

Here is an excerpt from Beckley’s closing statement arguing that China’s power HAS peaked:

“Ian and I have been walking out all kinds of statistics and facts. But I think folks listening at home could actually just trust their gut on a lot of this and honestly ask themselves, does China seem like a country headed in a happy direction? Would you be willing to invest more of your life savings in Chinese stocks and real estate right now? Or if your kids came home today and said they were going to move to China indefinitely, would you be really excited about that prospect? If Xi Jinping was your dictator for life and you had no chance to vote him out, would you feel good about that?

“In international surveys, when these kinds of questions are asked, people are increasingly answering no. I think that just reflects what we can all see, whether it’s in newspaper headlines about the problems in China’s economy or the photos of overrun hospitals, the ghost cities, these mortgage boycotts, reports about the Chinese government setting up this massive surveillance and repression system to deal with people in a world where it can no longer just buy them off with rapid growth. So these and many other data points add up to a basic fact that the rise of China that we’ve gotten so used to over the last 40 years is coming to an end.”

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Here is an excerpt from Bremmer’s closing statement arguing that China’s power HAS NOT peaked:

“I get this question “Would you be excited if you found out your kids would be going to China?” a lot. And the answer is no, of course. But we’ve been asking those questions for decades now. And the answer is no different. This is not a new debate. Nick Kristof in New York Times, “CHINA: The End of the Golden Road” back in ’91. Jack Goldstone, ’95: “The coming Chinese collapse.” The cover story in The Economist in 1998: “The Coming Collapse of China.” Bill Helton, “Will China implode?” back in 2009. Dan Blumenthal, “China’s Great Stagnation” in 2016.

“Could Mike be right this time? I guess it’s possible, right? Look, it’s an attractive thing to argue because, politically, we don’t like them. We worry about a world where the Chinese would actually take over. So we want China’s power to have already peaked. And I’m gonna give Michael some points here, I don’t think there’s going to be a “Chinese century.” We’re already a quarter of the way in, and it don’t look like that’s happening… But what we’re debating today is whether China’s power has peaked, and I don’t think you want to make that bet.”