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Will China's rise as a global superpower be peaceful?
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China is still an authoritarian state

The authoritarian nature of China is in direct opposition to Western democracies and their values around human rights, making conflict between the two increasingly likely.
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The Argument

China continues to be controlled by the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party, which suppresses the press and is increasingly cracking down on dissidents within the mainland, including imprisoning one million Uighurs in detention camps. Western hopes that economic liberalisation within China would lead to democratic liberalisation have proven to be false. Nowhere is this more evident than in the presidency of Xi Jinping, who in 2018 made himself ruler for life and regularly purges political opposition. The authoritarian nature of China makes conflict between itself and the US increasingly likely particularly as China attempts to reshape the world in its image.

Counter arguments

Over the last thirty years China has successfully integrated itself into the international rules based system, including taking up its seat at the World Trade Organisation, playing a constructive role in the G20, a lead member of the BRICS, and increasingly building up a group of supportive countries within the United Nations. Aside from these pre-existing multinational institutions, China has also created the Belts and Road Initiative to drive infrastructure investment with international partners across the world and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to offer loans to developing countries. It's clear from these developments that China has become one of the largest beneficiaries of the international rules based system and would therefore have little interest in seeing it upended.


[P1] China's authoritarian political system is in direct opposition to the US's democratic system. [P2] Therefore, conflict between the two is inevitable.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] It is in China's interest to ensure conflict doesn't happen.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 07:18 UTC

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