Mareike Ohlberg joins the Democracy Paradox to explain the Global Influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This is the 24th episode of the Democracy Paradox podcast and the third part of “Liberalism, Capitalism, Communism” about the Global Ascendance of China.
Mareike Ohlberg on China
Last October Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey shook the sports world with a tweet. It said, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Pretty simple. Not controversial…. at least, in the United States. But China was offended. They cut off all economic ties with the Rockets and demanded an apology from the National Basketball Association. And they got one.
China uses its economic clout to shape the public discourse in business, academia, politics, and even sports. Its authoritarian impulse has no boundaries. Even citizens of liberal democracies are subject to its influence.
“Liberalism, Capitalism, Communism” is a three part episode arc that describes the global ascendance of China. The third part explores how the Communist Party of China extends its influence beyond its borders in a conversation with Mareike Ohlberg, a Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. She recently authored the book Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World with Clive Hamilton. They write in the opening lines of the first chapter, “The Chinese Communist Party is determined to transform the international order, to shape the world in its own image, without a shot being fired.”
Global Influence of the CCP
China is imagined as a powerful, authoritarian state. Francis Fukuyama has described it as a strong state with weak rule of law. I disagree. China is a weak state with a strong party. The press describes Xi Jinping as the President of China, but his real power comes from his role as the Chairman of the Communist Party. The power of the CCP is neither subtle nor indirect. For example, the military is not a part of the government. It is a branch of the CCP.
China’s global ascendance is the ascendance of China’s Communist Party. It does not matter whether the CCP is committed to Marxism or Communism. The reality is it has always been authoritarian. It has never supported neither liberalism nor democracy.
Recently, The Economist observed, “The achievement of the Trump administration was to recognize the authoritarian threat from China. The task of the Biden administration will be to work out what to do about it.” A bipartisan consensus has emerged in the US that China represents a threat to America. Something must be done. We just need to figure out what that “something” is.
Listen at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you find your podcasts. You can find Mareike Ohlberg and Clive Hamilton’s Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World at Amazon or your local library. The introduction and outro feature the music of Apes of the State. Find their music on Spotify or Bandcamp