In recent years, as leading authoritarian countries such as China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela have become emboldened within the global arena, challenging the liberal international political order, the advanced democracies have retreated rather than responding to this threat.
Although China has achieved extraordinary economic success without the CCP regime loosening its authoritarian grip, can the country continue its growth without political reform?
Chinese authorities are wielding facial-recognition software, big-data analytics, and other digital technologies to control China’s citizens by monitoring and assessing their activities, both online and off.
Taking advantage of broad global respect for regionalism, authoritarian regimes are using their own regional organizations to bolster fellow autocracies. These groupings offer a mechanism for lending legitimacy, redistributing resources, and insulating members from democratic influences.
Australia has been an early target of China’s efforts to buy influence and suppress critical voices, but it has begun mounting a serious defense.
China has emerged as a key player in development assistance, challenging the mainstream development community’s emphasis on good governance.
It has long been hoped that China would be integrated into the liberal world order. That particular “China dream” has ended, however, as Beijing seeks to reshape the world order, with itself at the center.
After Mao, Deng Xiaoping tried to institutionalize collective leadership, but this did not stop Xi Jinping from grasping all the levers of power.
Despite current trends, Chinese thinkers friendly to human rights and liberal democracy have left behind a treasury of thought from which their country may one day draw new inspiration.