China and Global Political Economy

China’s influence in international affairs has greatly increased and it has played a major role in influencing policies especially in Africa and Asia. In recent times china has been asked to make political decisions and stop diplomatic and economic ties with countries that are seen by the west as human rights violators e.g. N. Korea, Iran, Sudan and Zimbabwe. China on the other hand has relented as these countries offer markets for its products and more importantly they are a source of raw materials for the countries expanding economy.

In the recently completed climatic change talks in Copenhagen, China had an agenda to force the developed countries cut their gas emissions and also assist the developing countries adapt to the effects of global warming. When accused of being a leading polluter, China said the policies would heavily impact on its economy. Though no concrete solution was achieved by the Copenhagen talks, China emerged as an influential force when bargaining important global issues.

The row between China and US over Taiwan is another case of China’s importance in global issues. China’s does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty and the recent sale of arms by the U.S have created strained relationship between the two countries. China’s recent entry to Africa has also caused ripples over the globe. The west fears that Chinese entry would reduce their dominance in the continent and affect the supply of raw materials to their industries from the continent. China has remained an important trading partner with Zimbabwe and Sudan despite of calls for sanctions and this has caused strained relationship with the west.

Chinas military might, large free market, labor, foreign policy and advanced technologies have been cited as the factors that have contributed to its increased global influence. Some scholars have labeled China as an emerging superpower. Actions like space race and possession of nuclear bombs have been seen as an indicator that China has a role to play in international affairs including security, economy and politics.


Development versus democracy

China is a communist nation and has not had any democratic elections. Despite of all this, China has recorded the highest consistent growth index raising a question of whether democracy is the real engine of development. The role of the communist party in shaping China and strengthening its economy has been a subject of study for many scholars. Are the accusations by the West of corruption among its governing officials just a mere plot by the west to taint China’s image as an emerging global power.


Though China has signed numerous treaties with countries, questions still arise as to whether this really translates to political power over these nations. Arguments say that these are just done for economic gain alone. Many say that there are many social and economic differences between China and other countries especially Africa and thus it will take time for China to assert its influence. The opening up policy adopted by China is seen as one way, for its benefit alone and many countries are reluctant to open up to the Asian giant. In the recent agreements between Africa and china, no common stand was taken and hence this cannot automatically refer to china’s influence in Africa. Bilateral agreements alone do not translate to influence and in the African context other factor such as colonial ties influence their policies


Though China has been stated as a great beneficiary of globalization, there is no proper analysis done on the impact globalization in the average Chinese people.

It has been stated that globalization is a rich get richer affair as the poor continue to languish in poverty. It has resulted in economic imbalance and the closure of small industries as big multi-national companies invade developing countries. Chinese companies are increasingly winning tenders in Africa and this is seen as a strategy to increase the continents dependence on China

Loss of sovereignty

Developing countries fear that the concept of globalization is just a form of neo-colonialism and it is meant to plunder their resources and loosen the grip on them. Globalization is accused of loss of economic security and sovereignty and that they risked economic breakdown in case of a world economic crisis.

In summary China is an important global engine and that its influence is crucial in shaping future world policies. China is a great beneficiary of globalization and it is no wonder that it continues to emphasize on integration of world economies and creation of a free market.


China is destined to continue benefiting from globalization as more markets and new opportunities open up especially in developing countries. However, China is set to meet resistance from the Western countries which will be trying to retain their dominance and presence in the developing countries. It will also have to do more to improve its image on governance as today it is still being viewed as a communist dictatorial government.