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The Global Impact of China

The People’s Republic of China, established on the 1st of October, 1949, has been through multiple phases. From being treated as a third-world country gaining both pity and contempt by the West, to being admired as an economic powerhouse, it's safe to say that China’s growth has been substantial. After China began trading with the west after its inclusion in the World Trade Organisation, many nations expected China to loosen its ties with Chinese Socialism and begin adopting a system with more capitalist and western political ideals. However, China defied these expectations, following its system of a state-controlled economy. It proved to be fruitful, as China’s response to the Economic Crisis of 2008 was one without questioning, and one which got them through it with relative ease.

The Belt & Road Initiative

More than 130 countries , comprising over 60% of the world’s population are part of China’s vast & landscape infrastructure project. The initiative comprises off 2 parts ; the 1st on land and 2nd the marine silk road. The land project spans over Asia, Africa & Europe. With 6 corridors to and from China. These corridors include oil Pipelines from the Caspian Sea to China, fiber optic networks and trading highways to and from Pakistan, a high speed railway network in south east Asia and a railroad connecting China and London.

The Marine Silk Road spans over the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and to Africa and Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.This belt is designed to make maritime trade with China easy and efficient with China securing multiple trading routes, thus reducing its dependency on one. A line of naval trading ports that China controls in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Djibouti allow it to secure trading routes and guard that militarily. These ports are called the ‘string of pearls’ and allow China to have multiple trading routes and influence in foreign nations.

Western democratic nations have spoken against the Belt and Road Initiative for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the People’s Republic of China has made deals regarding this infrastructure-trading project with military regimes, dictator controlled nations and authoritarian nations. Secondly, China has made deals with nations in conflict, like Yemen, Afghanistan and Ukraine as well as securing deals with economically failing states who have next to no chance of repaying their debt to China. Due to this, the BRI has been referred to as a risk to the financial world. Debt could lead to failure, inflation, subsistence crises and cause whole governments to topple. However, the largest drawback for western nations is China’s underlying strategic gain. With China gaining multiple allies and securing strategic bases throughout Asia, Africa & Europe, some western nations feel their grip on international influence is loosening and consequently, a democratic global world becomes less and less likely.

The African Situation

In the last 40 years, China has deeply invested into Africa. What were once dependent nations filled with poverty are now growing into independent nations with a more sufficing economy ; albeit aligned economically with China. The People’s Republic of China is developing hundreds of infrastructural development projects. These include high-speed railway networks, Dams, energy production, etc. Why is China doing this ?

China has made the shift from a developing nation to a developed one, and with that, meant an economy with significantly lower growth potential. While the world is dependent on China for its manufacturing Labour, Chinese citizens have now become economically advanced, thus moving out from labour positions. This leads to the unfamiliar Crises of the world’s most populous state in search of labour.

Africa has become that answer to this problem. With Africa being significantly underdeveloped and barely close to its actual potential, China saw it as the ideal place to invest. Chinese private and public companies have settled into Africa and african labour provides a low-cost reply to low-skill requirements. China proclaims this as a ‘win-win’ ; it gets the labour at low-cost and African nations economically flourishing as well as job opportunities significantly increasing.

Why is the West so disturbed by these actions ?

There are many reasons why western nations are sceptical of China’s rapid growth and global impact. Many of China’s initiatives present in nations ruled by dictators, military officials, authoritarian regimes, etc, all against the democratic outreach the west proclaims. The west is scared that these nations will become successful and independent, which will undermine the success of democracy in those nations. Additionally, the west also feels that its influence is slowly diminishing with China now in great relations with African nations and countries all over Asia and Europe. Evidently, they are worried.

However, for the rest of the world, China’s investments and projects provide economic and social benefit. They are bringing back joy in backward areas and creating thriving communities with an involved youth. China really is becoming a global empire.

Conclusion : The Chinese Legacy

China’s rapid growth, its eliminiation of absolute poverty, compounding standards of intrest have defied all western expectations. After the collapse of The USSR many thought China would follow in its path ending the final major socialist power, contrary to all of these notions and expectations China showed the world that socialism does work not only on small scales but on large scales, that a one party system can show a huge amount of economical growth. Defying all common norms China went from a backwater feudal country which was plundered, pillaged and pushed around to a global superpower eyeing the United States’ spot as a world superpower.

~ Nehal Singhal


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