Global Futures Series: China Edition - Virtual Attendee Registration

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Register here to virtually attend the Global Futures: China Edition event, featuring speaker Gordon Chang, on 17 June 2021.

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The link for the virtual broadcast will be emailed separately, a few days prior to the event.

Nature of the Chinese Regime

Communist Party rule has changed dramatically under Xi Jinping, who took power at the end of 2012. Gone is consensus-style management. Gone are live-and-let-live politics. As observers have said, China is now back to political struggles of the I-live-you-die era of Mao Zedong. Now, Xi rules by himself, making China even less predictable. And he has accentuated the repressive policies of his predecessors, moving China away from authoritarianism and toward totalitarianism. The regime is semi-totalitarian these days with, among other things, its social credit system, surveillance mechanisms, and “Great Firewall.” Most notably, Xi has been the driving force behind the genocide against the Uighurs and other minorities, and now he is waging a struggle against all faith. The Chinese system is malicious. We can see this in the regime’s criminal activities and in its handling of the coronavirus.

Foreign Policy

The Communist Party’s foreign policy has always been tightly bound to domestic political intrigue, and that is even more true under Xi. The “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, therefore, tells us something is wrong in Beijing. China is intensifying its efforts to break apart neighbors, from India to Nepal to the Philippines to Japan, and Beijing is determined to annex Taiwan within five years. Chinese forces are also challenging the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force in the global commons.

Aggressive Chinese actions have forced America and China’s neighbors to work closer than before. Most notably, the Quad—Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.—has taken shape and begun to operationalize itself. Moreover, European nations are now patrolling Asian waters. Similarly, countries—especially America, India, and Japan—are working more closely with Taiwan to counter Beijing’s annexation threats. Xi, ominously, is talking about China’s right to rule tianxia, “All under Heaven. China is not competing with the United States in the existing Westphalian international system; it wants to rule the world. China’s space officials even floated the idea that the moon and Mars will one day be part of the People’s Republic. China once talked about spanning the world with its Belt & Road infrastructure, but that grand effort seems to have stalled in recent years as countries defaulted on their loans to Beijing. China cannot afford all its geopolitical ambitions, and America can make it even more costly for the Chinese to collect on Belt & Road debt. The No. 1 goal of Communist Party foreign policy is keeping the Communist Party in power. That means the U.S. cannot maintain cooperative relations with that ruling organization. Chinese leaders do not think they can co-exist with America due to America’s enormous inspirational impact on the Chinese people.

China’s Vulnerabilities

Beijing may be moving so aggressively because its leaders know that an overstretched China faces critical vulnerabilities. Its economy is not nearly as productive as reported, its environment is degraded, it is increasingly unable to feed itself. The Chinese people are restive, something we see in Hong Kong. And if this were not bad enough, China is on track to experience history’s sharpest population decline in the absence of war and disease. That country is now more than four times more populous than America; by the end of this century America could have more people than China. Meanwhile, China has made some impressive advances in technology, but the Communist Party’s complete demand for obedience will mean it will not be able to out-innovate creative Americans in the long run. America can slow China’s efforts by cutting off tech cooperation and by mobilizing resources at home like the Chinese do. China’s closing window means that the 2020s are, as some have said, the “Decade of Concern.” Beijing will soon realize—if it has not already—that it is “now or never.”

Audience Questions

===========About Gordon Chang=========

Mr. Chang lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for almost two decades, most recently in Shanghai, as counsel to an American law firm, and earlier in Hong Kong as partner in an international law firm. His writings on China and North Korea have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, International Herald Tribune, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, and Barron's. He is a columnist at The Daily Beast. Mr. Chang has given briefings at the National Intelligence Council, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and the Pentagon. He has also spoken before various industry and investor groups. He has appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Mr. Chang has served two terms as a trustee of Cornell University.

Mr. Chang is the author of multiple books including The Great U.S.-China Tech War, Losing South Korea, Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World, and The Coming Collapse of China. He is an expert on China, Asia, nuclear proliferation, and the relationship between China and the U.S. As an established columnist, historian, professor, and commentator, Chang will share relevant insight into China's S&T strategies and the implications those may have to the U.S.

Mr. Chang will be presenting live, in-person, from Doolittle's Auditorium.

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Organizer Doolittle Institute

Organizer of Global Futures Series: China Edition - Virtual Attendee Registration

The Doolittle Institute, an AFRL Innovation Institute, supports the Air Force Research Labs Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW) by working to license and commercialize AFRL/RW technologies in the private sector, enable rapid technology delivery to the warfighter, identify and foster new R&D partnerships and develop AFRL’s current and future workforce. The Doolittle Institute is a member of the Defensewerx Family.

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