It of course isn’t a “gift” and it isn’t really new either.
We refer to China as the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, because though there are rivals for the title no other country can compare to China on the scale of crony capitalism and corruption. Indeed, crony capitalism, state capitalism, is the system that drives the Beast of the East. (But also it must be noted leaves it vulnerable. Centralization often has a very heavy price.)
At the top the Communist Party holds all the power. It can make friends rich and it can (and often does) lock away its critics in dungeons. Like the gods sitting on Mount Olympus issuing favors and wrath to the mortals below, so too do the cronies in Beijing influence the Chinese politico-economic universe. And they are looking to extend their crony universe, as Martin Hala an academic in The Czech Republic reports.
(From The Guardian)
The scrapping of limits on Xi Jinping’s presidential term last month drew attention to the profound changes the Chinese leader has imposed on his country’s political system. But the significance of this move is global – and it concerns Europe in many ways. China has identified a “window of historic opportunity” for itself across the world. To make the best of this, so its logic goes, the country must be united and disciplined under a strong leader and supreme commander. Xi has been compared with Mao Zedong in that he’s created an entirely leader-centric political system – but to think this has consequences only for China risks missing the wider picture.
In my country, the Czech Republic, we’ve seen up close how China intends to expand its reach. Central Europe is very much part of China’s ambition to “move to the centre of the world stage” – the expression used by Xi during last year’s Communist party congress. The basic tool China relies on is the Belt and Road initiative, a trade and infrastructure project spanning Asia and Europe which encapsulates the regime’s overarching foreign policy goals, in what Xi has dubbed the “new era”.
“New Era” huh? Boy, that doesn’t sound so good coming from these guys. That is for sure.