There’s no disputing that China’s star has risen dramatically in the 21st century. It’s become a global economic juggernaut creating enormous wealth for many while also modernizing cities and infrastructure. Such rapid development has also brought commensurate problems: choking traffic jams, toxic smog, unscrupulous business practices, corruption, etc.
China’s newfound economic clout has brought with it a new assertiveness on the world stage: claiming territory in the South China Sea and unnerving traditional rivals like Vietnam and Japan; acquiring massive parcels of land in Africa and South America, then developing and exploiting the mineral wealth and other natural resources or establishing huge agricultural plantations.
It seems clear that this ‘new’ China has a long-term sense of itself as an enduring global entity. The inherent paradox of market economics under centralized government control has propelled China into a new era of prosperity and confidence. There is much to suggest it has a very coherent view of its future.