One country being the world’s superpower should terrify everyone. The United States has used and abused that status - arbitrarily imposing their will upon independent countries without consequence - for years. Why bring the United States’ imperialism up in an article about the “Rise of China”? Because the U.S.A. is a great example of a world superpower that has no issue coming up with excuses to involve themselves in the affairs of countries across the world. When one country feels that they are superior, the rights of other people or countries cease to be a concern. The idea that a country has the power, or authority, to be the world’s “police force” is concerning to say the least. It is safe to make the assumption that China, as a superpower, would go down the extreme imperialistic road that the United States has over the past 150 years.
There is though a single benefit to China’s imminent rise - the threat of another superpower challenging the hold that the United States currently exerts on geopolitics. Even though China has not yet made their motives clear, the United States is increasing their military presence in the Pacific in response to the potential Chinese threat. The United States is worried, with good reason, about China’s efforts to improve their military power. This display of military force is not just a precautionary or reactionary measure, but it is also to reassure their allies that they will have the support of the United States military if conflict arises.
Aside from military considerations, China has the potential to be a strong contender with the U.S. economy. Though they do not currently have the ability to dwarf the United States economically, it is plausible that China will eventually be able to surpass them. The United States is aware of this, and feels threatened. They are currently in the midst of a trade war with China that has been going on for approximately nine months. The US has imposed tariffs on Chinese imports (which range from ten to twenty-five percent) while China imposed a twenty-five percent tariff on products imported from the U.S. in retaliation. President Trump stated “We’re not talking about removing them. We’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal, China lives by it.”
Like the United States, China has made attempts at imperialism with their goal of spreading authoritarian governance across Asia.
They have made it quite clear that they see Taiwan as a “breakaway province” and not so subtly threatened the use of force to achieve enforce their agenda. Taiwan has repeatedly pushed back against Chinese governance, insisting that they will not accept the “one country, two systems” concept that was proposed. Under the proposed arrangement Taiwan would be allowed to have its own governing system, while still being a part of China. The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, has rejected this “kind and generous” offer. She has stood firm on this issue and insists that the Chinese government should “respect the insistence of 23 million people on freedom and democracy, and must use peaceful, on parity means to handle our differences."
Another prominent example of China’s foreign interference is Tibet. China claims that Tibet is a part of “The People’s Republic of China,” while Tibet maintains that it is an independent country. The peaceful Buddhist people of Tibet simply wish to live their lives free from foreign influence. Sadly, China won’t release its hold, continuing to interfere in their way of life. China kidnapped the Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and his family in 1995 when he was six years old. They then claimed to have found the “real” Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, who is known to Tibetans as the “Panchen Zuma” or “false Panchen.” Gyaltsen Norbu is the child of two members of the CCP and also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He was selected so that they could control of the next Dalai Lama and ensure that Tibet “remains a part of China” (That statement is in quotations as I consider Tibet to be its own country and am disgusted by the actions taken by the Chinese government). The Chinese government stated that any future Dalai Lama not designated by China would be an illegal imposter.
It’s no surprise that the country that fails to recognize the importance of religious freedom also ignores basic individual freedoms. I am, of course, referring to the “social credit” system that China has now implemented. Privacy is nonexistent; the government knows everything about you. Where you eat, where you shop, who you’re friends with, your financial information, your health, your social media profiles - this information is all gathered and compiled by both private and government agencies, along with surveillance taken by approximately two hundred million cameras. Having a “low social credit score” can literally prevent you from leaving the country. Not only will it turn you into a hostage, it can also prevent you from purchasing a home. The government can force you into homelessness if they don’t like you, or, what you choose to do with your life.
The policies of the Chinese government imposed upon their citizens, Tibet, and Taiwan are reprehensible. They have proven time and time again that they do not care about the rights of the people, but rather their own selfish, and statist, gain. This is common in communist or socialist countries where the “greater good” becomes more important than individual freedom. Fortunately, without a third world war, the likelihood of China becoming the world’s sole superpower is slim-to-none. The United States has too much geopolitical prestige to be completely toppled as a superpower and unfortunately (as much as I hate to admit it) the U.S. is probably the best country to prevent the spread of communism. I would prefer a world in which no country holds dominion over another, however the unfortunate truth of the matter is that the presence of world superpowers is not likely to change in the near future.
If we are not careful, the United States may very well end up in the same boat as China.