Last updated on 25 September 2017
The Chinese Century (simplified Chinese: 中国世纪; traditional Chinese: 中國世紀; pinyin: Zhōngguó Shìjì) is a neologism suggesting that the 21st century will be geopolitically dominated by the People's Republic of China, similar to how "the American Century" refers to the 20th century and "Pax Britannica" ("British Peace") refers to the 19th. The phrase is used particularly in the assertion that the economy of China could overtake the economy of the United States as the largest national economy in the world, a position it held from 1500 to 1830 A.D.
China created Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as alternative to NATO and created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank as both alternatives to World Bank and International Monetary Fund. China further created One Belt, One Road policy initiative with future investments of almost $1 trillion for push to take a bigger role in global affairs.
Moreover, China plans to use Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as counter to Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Debates and Factors
On 2011, Michael Beckley, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, in his journal China's Century? Why America's Edge Will Endure rejects the idea that:
- the United States is in decline relative to China and;
- the hegemonic burdens the United States bears to sustain globalized, unipolar system contributes to its decline.
Alternatively, Beckley argues the United States’ power is durable and unipolarity and globalization are the main reasons why. He contends: "The United States derives competitive advantages from its preponderant position, and globalization allows it to exploit these advantages, attracting economic activity and manipulating the international system to its benefit."
Beckley believes that if the United States really was in terminal decline, that it would adopt neomercantilist economic policies and disengage from military commitments in Asia. "If however, the United States is not in decline, and if globalization and hegemony are the main reasons why, then the United States should do the opposite: it should contain China’s growth by maintaining a liberal international economic policy, and it should subdue China’s ambitions by sustaining a robust political and military presence in Asia." Beckley believes that the United States benefits from being an extant hegemon—the US did not overturn the international order to its benefit in 1990, but rather, the existing order collapsed around it.
Scholars that are skeptical of the US' maintaining unipolarity include Robert Pape, who has calculated that "one of the largest relative declines in modern history" stems from "the spread of technology to the rest of the world". Similarly, Fareed Zakaria writes, "The unipolar order of the last two decades is waning not because of Iraq but because of the broader diffusion of power across the world."
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