Commentary | 16 May 2012

Harsh light shines on the state of China leadership

For at least a decade, think tanks and chanceries have echoed with tales of China's rise.

The narrative is familiar. China has remade its economy and is now eating the US's lunch. The country is growing rapidly, laying roads and high-speed rail at a frenetic pace. The Chinese authorities sit atop a hoard of foreign exchange reserves that would make Croesus envious.

For at least a decade, think tanks and chanceries have echoed with tales of China's rise.

The narrative is familiar. China has remade its economy and is now eating the US's lunch. The country is growing rapidly, laying roads and high-speed rail at a frenetic pace. The Chinese authorities sit atop a hoard of foreign exchange reserves that would make Croesus envious.

Key Findings

  • China is clearly a global player, and it will remain so.
  • China's challenges in the areas of corruption, governance and human rights have the potential to check its rise.
  • Bo and Chen affairs tell us much about modern China. They should also inform our calculations about China's power.