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I am an Australian freelance journalist focussing on conflicts, politics, and warzones around the world. I have been working as a journalist for over 5 years, having reported from Australia, Germany, China, Egypt, Palestine, and Ukraine. I am especially interested in the way that new technologies are being used in conflict zones in unexpected and often disturbing ways. During my time working as a journalist, I also co-founded open-source war reporting site Conflict News.
In the current media environment, we are saturated with news about the ongoing controversies of the Trump Administration and its America First foreign policy. Many argue that it is the beginning of the end of the United States as an uncontested world power. But what is the view from the other side of the Pacific? How is China responding to the new and uncertain world being created as America makes itself “great again”?
As the world's pre-eminent rising power, no nation is better positioned than China to fill the world-governance void left by Trump. Indeed, so-far China has been making the most of this opportunity. After responding first with confusion (and perhaps a little fear) to the election of Trump, the Chinese have busied themselves creating the impression that they are a more responsible world power than the US. Touting free trade, globalization, development and environmental action, the country has won itself a fair share of respect.
Of course, China is a very different kind of power from the US. It is both more authoritarian and more inward-looking than America, and a world led by the Chinese is one in which political freedom could no longer be guaranteed on a global scale.
Writing for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos details how China is reacting to the burden (or gift) of world leadership, handed to it — at least in part — by Trump. Through interviews with Chinese intellectuals and politicians, he paints a picture of a country both ready to inherit the world, while at the same time fearful of this responsibility.
But finally, it poses an interesting question: in Making China Great Again, is Xi really all that different from Trump?