Razumkov Centre: PRC’s Great Game for Global Leadership: Historical Roots, Modern Tools, Future Consequences

2023-04-01 | Expert publications, Geopolitical analysis

By Volodymyr Omelchenko.

A historical excursion into the foundations of China’s foreign policy

In order to understand the modern foreign policy of the PRC, one should know the values that formed the current elite of that country. When analyzing the politics of current China, one should not rely on the assumptions that the roots of the current Chinese state go back into centuries and have something in common with Confucianism, Taoism, or the Qin and Han dynasties. The modern Communist Chinese state has no more in common with ancient China than Italy has with the Roman Empire or France with Gaul. At the same time, the Chinese people did preserve traditional national values that have been formed over many centuries.

The use of the figurative name of the Heavenly Empire for China does not seem appropriate, because it is about a country seemingly standing above all others, whose leaders possess some special wisdom that is inaccessible to mere mortals. In reality, the ideological foundations of the PRC rest on the dogmas of Marxism-Leninism, and the state system of communist China was established in 1949 on the principles of the Stalinist USSR.

The only clear difference between the Chinese political and economic model and classical Stalinism was the concept of Deng Xiaoping. It was formed in the 1980s on the principles of a market economy and transition from the personality cult of Mao Zedong to collective leadership with permanent rotation of the top state leaders. However, the main home and foreign policy goals, based on communist ideals, remained unchanged.

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