European View

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 95–105 | Cite as

Where is China heading? An analysis of China’s foreign policy and how it affects the Western world

  • Martin H. HeinemeyerEmail author


China’s growing international importance puzzles not only political scientists but also journalists, politicians and others. Apparently, it is possible that an autocratic regime which has opened itself only on the economic level can still survive. The new foreign policy of China affects the liberal democratic Western world in several ways. China, with impressive economic growth, questions the US dollar as a stable reserve currency and increases its military power. It establishes Confucius Institutes to promote its culture and it allocates more development aid than the World Bank. This article looks at these developments from a critical perspective and reveals that China’s strategy faces serious problems: lack of human rights, religious freedom, demographic renewal and protection of intellectual property. It concludes that the current Chinese reality of authoritarian capitalism is neither holistic nor sustainable and that development in China takes place only with enormous social and economic costs. It argues that although China claims to be a new global actor, it cannot (yet) fulfil this role in a multipolar world order.


China’s new foreign policy Economic growth Reserve currency Cultural influence China’s development policy in Africa 


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Copyright information

© Centre for European Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Institute for Asian StudiesBrusselsBelgium

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