China’s march toward global supremacy continues – its focus is expanding, its methods are deepening and its goals are clear – laid out in plain text by the ruling party themselves.
A new report by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies outlines just how China harnesses the productivity, resources and innovations of other countries for their own gain.
Emily de la Bruyere, senior fellow at the foundation and an author of the report, explained that Beijing sees Europe as the “battlefield for what they diagnose to be a third world war.”
“China sees Germany as the linchpin in that battle,” she said. “If China can win Germany, it can win Europe. It can win the world.”
“China 2025” is a national plan by the Chinese Communist Party to capture modern networks, technical standards and technology platforms that will form the foundation of the 21st century global economy. To do so in time, it must harvest it from elsewhere.
President Xi Jinping announced that the plan is part of a series of 10-year goals that will end with full consolidation in 2049 – the centenary of the People’s Republic of China.
According to de la Bruyere, it is Germany that Beijing believes will provide many of the advanced technologies it needs to achieve this goal while offering less resistance than the U.S.
“China sees Germany as a target aligned with its approach. They diagnose that in Germany's pragmatic approach to global affairs,” she said. “Beijing can leverage its market and economic incentives to ensure that Germany falls in line.”
China uses its investments in infrastructure, ports and logistics to harvest analytics - collating the most definitive map of global trade and giving it a key competitive edge.
There is a military component as well – China takes civilian resources and repurposes them for military gain, buying companies whose technology can then be converted to, among other things, weapons or advance nuclear technology.
Of equal concern is China’s apparent manipulation of international bodies -- the World Trade Organization, for example, is widely said to benefit China’s interests over others, while the United Nations, which has just elected China to the International Court of Human Rights, is rendered toothless by Chinese vetoes.
The report does suggest ways to counter the growing Chinese threat. One is to breathe new life into NATO and to repurpose it to counter China rather than Russia.
China has been quietly pursuing its strategic plan for decades, largely unchecked, and it appears the West is waking up.
President Trump has made it clear that he recognizes the threat posed by China - and has taken key steps to counter intellectual property theft and trade deficits.