Home Global China How China Exports Authoritarianism: Foreign Affairs

How China Exports Authoritarianism: Foreign Affairs

How China Exports Authoritarianism: Foreign Affairs

In a speech to senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared that China must do more to share the “story” of the party’s success with the rest of the world. In order to enhance the international influence of both the country and the party, Xi effectively asserted, Chinese officials should extol the virtues of China’s model of authoritarian governance abroad.

Although some analysts continue to argue that China does not pose an ideological threat to prevailing democratic norms and that the CCP does not export its ideology, it is clear that the CCP has embarked on a drive to promote its style of authoritarianism to illiberal actors around the world. Its goal is not to spread Marxism or to undermine individual democracies but rather to achieve political and economic preeminence, and its efforts to that effect—spreading propaganda, expanding information operations, consolidating economic influence, and meddling in foreign political systems—are hollowing out democratic institutions and norms within and between countries.

To respond to Beijing’s ideological challenge, advocates of democracy must have a better understanding of what China aims to achieve by exporting its political model and how its actions are weakening democracy globally. Only then can they effectively design policies that will reinvigorate democracy at home and abroad while selectively seeking to counter Beijing’s promotion of authoritarian governance.

Read the full story.

CHARLES EDEL is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and a Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He previously served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and is a co-author of The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order.

DAVID O. SHULLMAN is Director of the China Global Hub at the Atlantic Council. He served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia on the National Intelligence Council from 2016 to 2018.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here