Can the Chinese Communist Party Continue Its Dominant Role?
Economic development of any state is mostly affected by its political situation, so it means that international relations between different countries are not the same. The issue of globalization has also enhanced the dependence of states on the international market. It can even force the countries that have been in the state of war and conflict to cooperate in order to have mutual benefits. East Asia region has experienced the history of rivalry among states, but being motivated by the national interest of separate states, it tries to work as a regional block in most of the interactions, with an aim of promoting development in the region. The researcher conducts a library research in order to discuss international relations in the East Asia region. The study involves the explanation of the global political economy theories in the area, the results of the relative decline of Japan, international relations theory, future of the Chinese Communist Party, and the effect of the increased development of cooperation.
Keywords: Economy, East Asia
Can the Chinese Communist Party Continue Its Dominant Role in Chinese Society, or Will Economic Reform and Development Lead to Political Change As Well?
In the recent decades, East Asia has been a case study for most researchers, as they tried to analyze its economic and political relations at the international arena. Most of the states in the region have a history of wars and conflicts, but despite of their past differences, the global market has provided them with an important reason for cooperation. After the Second World War, the states have relied on their political leadership in order to attain development, and it has resulted in the fact that some countries in the region transformed to the most developed countries in the world. China is the dominant country in the block and its economy is competing with the United States. Moreover, Japan is also among the leading economies of the world. The countries in the region have sought to embrace cooperation due to this development with an aim to gain the advantage over the other states of the area. It happens so because no state wants to ignore the global changes and tries to avoid getting into economic crisis, as Japan did during the Asian financial downturn. Cooperation provides monetary support and security that an individual state cannot attain on its own. This research aims at determining the facts that make the Chinese Communist Party dominant in the Chinese society now and in future.
China as a Mercantilist State
The fact that China is a mercantilist state is a great indication of the fact that the autocracy most likely will preserve its dominance in the region. China is a state, in which economy is a tool for the political advancement, and therefore its public will is aimed at attaining the political prestige in the international arena (Jackson & Sorensen, 2016). There is a belief that the global market is an arena, on which one state loses if the other one wins, so China would prefer to have a powerful strategy that can prove the capability of the state to become prosperous by emerging as a dominant force in the region.
The Chinese people realize that the relative economic gain and disruption in the leadership role ultimately affects the economic growth, and it might be the time when they face difficulties and hardships that they may be not able to solve quickly. If their economy retrogresses, it means that they have a lower accumulation of wealth, compared to their neighbors, so that the rest of the foreign states may impose a military threat to China (Jackson & Sorensen, 2016). The Chinese would be likely to advance the defensive form of mercantilism, which seeks to protect its national issues regardless of what the other states may claim about their economic advancement. For instance, the latest economic growth in China has been on the slowdown since 2011, since the country experienced the inefficiency of structure and the destruction of competition, so that the growth rate has fallen from 10.6% in 2010 to 6.7% in 2016 (Pei, 2016). The country is also heavily influenced by the debt, and the there is an opinion that the situation will get worse. The public still feels that the country will be again on the upward trend under the same system, which they had been using over the years, since it had already done it before, when the state recovered from the Asian economic crisis of the 1970s (Pei, 2016). Due these reasons, the Chinese would not like to be compelled by the outside forces to abandon the system, which has helped them to ascend to the top of the world economy at the most challenging times.
High Living Standards in China
Since the 1970s the Chinese Communist Party has been in a position to make the lives of its citizens better (Pei, 2016). The regime has strengthened the society in many ways and the Chinese people understand it better than anyone else. Various capabilities such as human capital, access to information, moral authority, and the private wealth have been improved. Moreover, judging from schooling that is an indicator of the income per capita the change in China seems to be promising, despite of all the features of the current regime. For instance, one of the key indicators that determine a democratic country is the number of schooling years for an adult.
In China average adults at the age of 25 and older have gone to a school, which is a great success, comparing to many other countries in the world (Pei, 2016). Currently, the income per capita in China is very high and it has been ranked the third in the world. In means that the living conditions of the Chinese residents are good, comparing to many democratic countries, which means that the regime has been successful and it would be a great risk to adopt a new system that may not be consistent in the long run. The autocrats have failed to deliver the appropriate living standards to people, since they are often corrupted, so that that they never attain a high-level income. The only autocrats that have managed to achieve the high-income level are the oil producing countries. Therefore, China is in a position to overcome the difficulties, which means that the system is good for the country and it should be expected that the Chinese Communist Party will still have its dominance in the Chinese society (Pei, 2016).It is now clear that the lack of pro-democratic social forces is a sign of contentment among the Chinese people and it is observed that the situation of loyalty to their one-party state will continue during the next decades, as long as citizens feel that they have good living standards. It involves the access to essential amenities as well as the creation of employment that will keep the population productive.
China’s Rise Has Played a Significant Role in Increased Regional Trade
In the recent years, China has been playing a crucial part in the economy of the East Asia region, and it means that most of the states in the region should be willing to help China in preserving its one-party system, so as to safeguard their own national interests too (Jonathan, 2016). The East Asian countries are proud of the economic progress observed in the region and they have embraced regional integration in order to protect the commercial cooperation, in which China plays a key role in almost all sectors. As far as trade is concerned, it has been proved that the intraregional trade accounted for approximately 1/2 of the revenues in 2009 compared to 1/3 in 1979 (Jonathan, 2016). Such significant improvement in the intraregional trade has appeared because of the active involvement of China. Moreover, due to the high bargaining power of the region, the Foreign Direct Investment has improved from 20% in the year 1980 to 60% in 2005 (Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a situation, in which an individual opts to invest directly in another country in the form of a business establishment or by acquiring a business asset, so due to the high risk involved, the security of the region is vital.
Therefore, it is true that China, by providing safety in the area, has contributed to the increased FDI as well. China has been a protector of peace in the region, and it has led to positive results in the recent years, given that there has been no manifestation of the severe intrastate military violence since the year 1988, with the exception of the border clashes that have been observed between Cambodia and Thailand. The reason behind this relative peaceful situation is the economic prosperity in the region, because each state has been in a position to acquire military capabilities, and, thus, they fear that an act of aggression towards another country may have a negative impact on its economic growth. China, being called the fastest growing economy in the 1980s and the second largest economy in the world in 2010, has been at the fore front to ensure that it preserves its upward trajectory in the economic development, and this is possible only if the region is a “haven” of peace (Jonathan, 2016). Therefore, it is due to the major role played by China in the regional integration that the regional states follow it in the attainment of stability. It means that the current regime will remain the same.
Despite being a leader in the economic sphere, China has also managed to provide a good example to the rest of the regional states by being calm at times when aggression is possible. Its relations with Taiwan has been strained for a long time due to the claim that Taiwan is a part of China, but instead of starting a war, it has decided to be cooperative with Taiwan and to wait until the solution of the problem will be peaceful (Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). It is a good sign of stability due to the fact that the leadership will not be stabilized anyway, so citizens will at least get the benefits that come with economic growth. Moreover, the regime has realized that if it waged war on Taiwan, which could not militarily compete with China, the United States would seek to join the war in order to rescue Taiwan.
In this case America would be presented with an opportunity to attack China with the aim of destabilizing it, so that it would suffer economically and stop being a threat (Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). If the situation was to develop into a war, the autocratic regime in China would be threatened, and the population would be able to start a revolution and as a result make the state worse than it was before. Due to these reasons, China was patient with the situation in Taiwan, knowing very well that Taiwan was experiencing a significant economic growth. Moreover, instead of acting independently, they can trade as partners and help each other develop economically or they might even merge and form an economic power that would be greater than the United States (Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). If it happens, the population will receive benefits, and that is why people still have confidence in the current regime, and it would be difficult to transform it during the next decades.
Xi Jinping Performance
The performance of the current administration will also determine the fate of the Chinese Community Party (CCP) in the long run. The government of Xi Jinping has been focused on the promotion of moral ethics among the staff by initiating an anticorruption campaign that so far has put in jail about two hundred senior government officials and approximately two thousand junior public servants in order to achieve the aim of making the government offices free of corruption ( Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). This is a significant step and if it is followed to the end with the same speed and motivation, then it will bring benefits to the public and it would mean that the credibility of the state would be proved once more, so that the dominance of the Chinese Communist Party will be even greater than before.
The Xi Jinping’s regime has also made some ambitious promises to the masses such as, for example, the rejuvenation of the economy. Therefore, if is attained during the next five or seven years, then the public will be motivated to continue their support of the CCP (Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). It has happened in the past and can occur again in future, but even if it does not happen, the economy of China is still one of the most productive in the world, and, therefore, it will still provide the public with the decent living conditions. Furthermore, the change of the leadership style and the concentration of the power at the top means that there will be fewer internal conflicts, since it will make the secretary general responsible for making decisions in case of tension, thus, maintaining the unity of the party(Goldstein & Mansfield, 2012). The informal rules that stipulate the retirement from the leadership position is also an important aspect that ensures a smooth transition of power and, thus, prosperity in the party during the following years.
In conclusion, the Chinese Communist Party is expected to retain its dominant role in the Chinese society due to a couple of reasons. Being a mercantilist state, China has always worked to ensure that it serves the interest of the other states, so as to gain prestige and to spread the power. Since this is the theory that has enabled the country to achieve much economic growth over the years, the public will still have faith in it regardless of the current economic decline. China has one of the highest living standards, and it means that the public would not want to experiment with the other types of the rule. Moreover, the rise of China as a dominant economic power and a leader in the regional integration is an indication that its stability is crucial for the entire region, so that the other states will help to ensure that China remains in the leadership position, which has been very effective in uniting the region. In addition, the way of handling the Taiwan situation is a great decision for the population of China, since regardless of the fact whether it unifies with Taiwan economically or not, diplomatic methods help to avoid the risk of war. Finally, the continuity of the CCP dominance will be determined by Xi Jinping performance, because the delivery of his promises will improve the credibility of the system, while failures may have adverse consequences. However, due to the fact the other regimes have managed to improve the economy, this one is also likely to achieve the goal of economic development.