China’s diplomacy and several countries’ push for strategic autonomy reflect a changing world. The US’ relentless pursuit of unipolar hegemony risks creating a new era of global conflict and instability not seen since the Cold War.
An ill-timed relaxation could trigger a recession, mass deaths and set back gains in poverty, healthcare and education. Add to the considerations youth demands for freedoms, China’s easing is necessarily slow and measured.
Viewed through a narrow anti-China lens, Hong Kong’s rights are being taken away by an autocratic ruler. But there is another version of events, in which Hongkongers continue to enjoy relative freedom while welcoming the return of peace and stability.
China has made enormous progress in the past four decades, but the leadership also knows the job is far from done. Long-term goals executed across multiple generations have led China into an era of moderate prosperity, something the US system cannot match.
The Chinese dream, belt and road, Taiwan policy and vaccine diplomacy all seek to preserve harmony, a key notion in the I Ching. The US would do well to realise China’s rise necessitates an accommodating shift, not a breakdown, in the global balance.