As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary this week, an analyst warns of the “immense danger” of Beijing’s increasing aggression on the global stage.
Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director of the Asia Society’s Center for US-China Relations, said China’s aggression – coupled with the rise of its military – could lead to a “military accident, even a military clash.”
“If this happens, this could mean the end of China’s dream, it could end the global market system, it could be the overturning of many, many things as we know it today,” Schell told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday .
“And that’s why this is such an immense danger that China’s wolf warrior diplomacy – its aggressiveness aimed at doing what it wants regardless of what others think – is such a danger,” he added.
Red flags fly outside the Great Hall of the People as the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) opens in Beijing, China on May 22, 2020.
You Yang | China Intelligence Service | Getty Images
China flexed its geopolitical muscles last year as much of the world struggled with the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, its relations with several countries have deteriorated.
Among other things, China imposed trade sanctions on Australia, had a military clash with India along the two countries’ common border, and has effectively taken control of parts of the disputed South China Sea, where China and several Southeast Asian countries have overlapping territorial claims.
Chinese diplomats overseas have also become more aggressive towards other countries, both in person and on Twitter – a platform banned on the mainland. Some analysts have referred to the approach to nationalist Chinese action films of a similar name as “wolf warrior diplomacy”.
“I find it an amazing fact that as China is becoming more successful, wealthy and powerful, it has managed to alienate one country after another,” said Schell.
Domestic support for the CCP
China is also exerting international pressure. The US under President Joe Biden is keen to rally its allies to expose China’s alleged human rights violations and non-market economy practices.
In March, the US and its allies – including the European Union, the UK and Canada – imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations against ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang region. Beijing responded with its own sanctions.
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The US and UK are among the countries that have spoken out against China’s increased influence over Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned under Chinese rule in 1997.
But that pressure has not undermined internal support for the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute at the Wilson Center for China and the United States.
Daly said Monday that the Chinese government and its people largely measure their country “on its own history and experiences” and are less interested in comparing themselves to the rest of the world.
“So as long as most Chinese people see their standard of living, technological well-being, health outcomes and educational outcomes improving, they tend to support the Chinese government,” he told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia.
“And criticism from outside China, including criticism of Hong Kong and Xinjiang, is widely viewed as attacks on China designed to hold China down.”