Debating China’s rise

Debating China’s rise

Edited versions of the best debates from the 2018 ChinaPower conference, which discussed how China is using its power on the world stage.

Explosive claims of ‘Chinese spy’ seem more fiction than fact
At a time when China is being systematically portrayed as a bogeyman trying to take over Australia’s political system, the emergence in October of a self-proclaimed Chinese spy claiming to have a trove of insider secrets to spill about China’s intelligence operations should have been a dream come true for Canberra’s top spooks. But instead of putting Wang Liqiang in a secure location for a thorough debriefing which could take months, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation apparently took a back seat and allowed some enthusiastic journalists to lead the investigation on what has been billed as the most significant spy defection since 1954, when a Russian KGB officer sought politica
Can China control the South China Sea?
The South China Sea is a vast, resource-rich body of water that is made up of over 250 islands, reefs and shoals. China claims about 90% of the contested waters, arguing it has historical rights in the region thanks to its “nine-dash line.” Other Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, have competing claims in the area. Even though the US has no territorial claims in the South China Sea, it sees the waters of as an area of strategic interest, since they are a crucial trade route. Chinese dominance in the seas will threaten America’s position in Asia. In past years, China has become increasingly assertive over the South China Sea, building artificial islands
Will China be the leader of the coming AI revolution?
Can China dominate the global race for dominance in artificial intelligence? It’s already made its first move. In 2017, Beijing published a development plan, laying out three steps for China to become a world leader in AI by 2030. Progress is being made. In 2017, China’s AI industry grew by 67%. More patents and research papers originated from China than the US. More money is being poured into AI investment, too. About 48% of total equity funding for AI startups comes from China, while the US funded 38% of these companies. But China’s technological ambitions have led to an international backlash, especially from the US. Washington accuses China of stealing American technology to boost its ow
Is China’s industrial program a threat?
The “Made in China 2025” policy is at the heart of Beijing’s efforts to transform China into an advanced manufacturing leader. The ambitious plan was introduced in 2015 to facilitate the development of 10 key industries, including robotics, new energy vehicles and artificial intelligence. The goal is to replace high-tech imports with locally made products, and to build national champions able to rival tech giants in the West. The program is now a flashpoint in the US-China trade war. The Trump administration has accused China of stealing American technologies and trade secrets in order to further its industrial policies. Amid ongoing trade negotiations with Washington, Beijing has downplayed
Is China trying to remake the world in its own image?
At a key Communist Party congress in 2017, Chinese leader Xi Jinping proudly announced that China’s model was one to be emulated. The political model that has led to China’s stunning development, Xi said, offers a “new option” to countires that want to develop while also preserving their independence. Xi didn’t detail what this Chinese option entails, but he said it offers a “Chinese approach” to solving problems. Xi didn’t take a jab at Western democracy as something inferior to the Chinese approach he was promoting. The only time Xi explicitly referred to the West was when he mentioned Western medicine. But Xi’s advocacy of a Chinese model, along with China’s growing economic and political
Has US engagement with China failed?
For the past five decades, the US approach to China has centered on engagement. Hoping that economic and political integration would foster liberal reforms in China, Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in the 1970s and welcomed it into the global system. As a part of that engagement, America cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan, accepted the People’s Republic as a member of the United Nations, and started trading with China. While this policy of engagement has been credited with maintaining peace and facilitating economic growth in both countries, it is increasingly under attack from American politicians who regard China as a threat. Critics say the cooperative approach h