Does China deserve a G2 status?The Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1 celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was founded by 13 members hoisting a red flag at the Shanghai French Concession in July 1921. The CPC now commands 92 million members and the world’s second largest economy. After waging a revolution and civil war, the CPC has never changed the party name and has transformed a semi-colony into one of the world’s two economic powers. No party in the world history would match the achievements.
Despite its stupefying façade, the CPC’s standing draws growing concerns from the international society. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has removed the three-term presidential term cap aimed at replacing the leader every 10 years to ensure his lengthy and stringent rule. In the meantime, bribery has become a new norm to receive any permit. Any anti-party comments on Weibo and other local social media are immediately removed, and the writers receive visits from intelligence officers.
Chinese intelligence authorities are suspected of spying on not just people in the mainland but outside the country through tech. Torture, forced labor, and other brutalities are reported from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. After the enforcement of the draconian National Security Law, dissidents have been arrested and assertive newspapers shut down in Hong Kong. Press freedom and democracy have been seriously undermined despite Beijing’s promise to ensure the autonomy of Hong Kong for 50 years.
Beijing has been criticized for its aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomacy to help promote its expansionist policy. South Korea had to endure economic retaliation for installing the U.S. Thaad antimissile system. It has been pressured against joining the U.S.-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which includes Australia, Japan and India. China sends naval patrol ships as close as 40 kilometers (25 miles) off Baengyeong Island off Incheon as if to wield power over the West Sea. Its revisionist view on history glorifies the Chinese intervention in the Korean War as a “crucial turning point of the revival of the Chinese race.” Few among 14 countries sharing the borders with China maintain good relations with China.
According to a Pew Research Center survey of adults across 14 developed countries, including South Korea and Britain, last year, more than half the respondents said they hate China. China will lose favor with the global society further if it keeps up its domineering ways and infringes on rights.
Beijing must pay heed to the international calls for universal and engaging approaches befitting its colossal size. Otherwise, the dream of becoming a superpower beyond the G2 can never be achieved.