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Chinese leader Xi Jinping stated that “China has a good chance of doubling the size of its economy by 2035.”
“China’s gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed the 100 trillion yuan (about $15.42 trillion) threshold in 2020,” according to data released by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This growth drives China’s five-year plan, where a number of key targets were outlined to become the world’s largest economic power.
According to Tsinghua University Political Science Professor Yang Xuedong, “When we talk about the 14th Five-Year Plan, we should not only emphasize its effect on domestic development. There is also significant work at the global level. China’s economy is the engine of the world economy.”
The Asian country’s economy grew by 3% in dollar terms during 2020. Action by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to suppress its coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 helped industrial production recover rapidly in the middle of the year, “boosting real estate development and other economic activities.”
CCP maneuvering with COVID-19
The advantage China gained by underreporting the virus that caused the West’s delayed response was critical in planning toward 2035.
COVID-19 is also an opportunity for Chinese technological entrepreneurship. In addition to vaccines and their diplomatic payoffs, digital platforms developed in China or abroad, but with Chinese ties, are enjoying exponential success during the course of the pandemic, as is the case with Zoom, Alipay and China’s home address companies.
The dominance of the 5G network has given China the ability to generate solutions and new technological components for the post-coronavirus market despite the fact that American sanctions have hit giants such as Huawei or ZTE hard.
On the other hand, the CCP has covered its lack of high-tech expertise and know-how with fraud and intellectual property theft done for decades from the United States, Europe and Asian countries. This allows China to be a powerhouse of innovations in different fields. One of them is artificial intelligence, the future of telecommunications.
Democracy and freedom play an important role
Human rights violations by the CCP have gained momentum thanks to technological access by the citizenry. The protests in Hong Kong, which have not ceased since 2019, had a profound impact on neighboring countries, causing China to tighten its restrictions on them.
Former President Donald Trump made key decisions to confront the CCP threat and gave shelter to victims of the Communist regime. Such actions gave oxygen to the American presence in Asia and have influenced foreign investments in China and Hong Kong.
The Trump and Joe Biden administrations’ bid to reduce U.S. dependence on China have taken shape with sanctions in defense of human rights and national security.
Now Chinese technological growth is suffering a setback as it lacks the supplies needed to continue its development. Japanese, Taiwanese and South Korean companies have limited their supplies to Chinese companies.
Exceptions to the democratic rule
With the Belt and Road initiative and vaccine diplomacy, China has succeeded in getting Western democracies to bow to the Communist regime. In addition, the trade agreement with the European Union (EU) has drawn a line as to how far European legal systems can go when it comes to safeguarding human rights in China.
Countries in Africa and Latin America have benefited from credits granted by the Chinese regime for the construction of infrastructure with a view to participate in China’s ambitious Belt and Road plan.
By mapping out a new “Silk Road”, the Chinese market hopes to connect with the entire world through infrastructure and heavy investment in mining and oil extraction. Ports, railways, highways and investments in mining and oil are being put in place by the CCP to strengthen its connectivity with allied countries.
Furthermore, Tesla’s gigantic investment in China has shown that despite American sanctions, businessmen in the West are dismissing the danger of the CCP and are going for the low cost of Chinese industry. According to reports from Beijing, the sale of European and American vehicles had a strong growth during 2020 thanks to the containment of the pandemic there.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán