Chapter 6

The Dawn of China's Century?

In the past few years, a number of new phrases have emerged describing China's increasing influence in the world: “Dawn of a New Dynasty,” “Flagship,” “Superpower.” Once an isolated socialist economy, China is becoming increasingly integrated into global affairs and well recognized for its importance on the world stage in matters ranging from the geopolitical to economic, social, and cultural. In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and subsequently socialist economies in the former Soviet Union and East Europe tumbled, Marxists bestowed their hope on China to keep the socialist dream alive. However, China had already taken its own route, which it rather ambiguously described as the path to a socialist market economy—essentially, a market economy under an authoritarian political regime. Despite its apparent flaws, this model saved China from falling into the economic turmoil that Russia and the other former socialist countries in Europe suffered in the “shock treatment” of suddenly changing from centrally planned economies to free market economies. Thirty years of rapid economic development under this socialist market economy lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty; they were not about to put it in jeopardy. Its development and achievements not only benefited China but also contributed to the well-being of the world, particularly through its massive labor-intensive manufacturing capacity, which is becoming an invaluable part of the worldwide ...

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