The 2007-8 global financial crisis and the waves of mass rebellions in Eastern Europe and the Arab world around the same time marked a major turning point in China’s strategies of development and domination. While the drastic shrinkage in foreign demand spelled the end of China’s export-led high growth era, presenting a crisis of accumulation, global popular revolts that toppled or destabilized autocratic regimes raised the spectre of a potential crisis of governance. The Chinese Communist regime responded with two grand projects—global expansion (officially labelled »Going Out, Belt and Road Initiative, Made in China 2025, China Dream«) and digital authoritarianism (platform economy and rule by high-tech surveillance). Ching Kwan Lee analyses the practices of these elite strategies and assesses their effectiveness for maintaining economic growth and political control amidst a “new cold war” and a global pandemic.
Chair: Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Trier