Between 2003 and 2004 a new political generation came to power in China, centered on the binomial Hu Jintao (head of the Communist Party and President of the People’s Republic) and Wen Jiabao (prime minister). The new leadership, committed to planning the spectacular economic growth of the country, simultaneously strengthened the role of China on the international level by strengthening diplomatic action in geographical areas that are central to strategic interests and national security (Africa, Europe, Latin America and Central Asia). Inside, despite some slight signs of change, political life still appears marked by the strict control of the state over the media, by the lack of respect for human rights,During the first decade of the 21st century., periodically the delicate issue of non-Han ethnic minorities also re-emerges: in August 2008, a few months before the start of the Beijing Olympic Games, the protest was rekindled in Tibet, where the massive anti-Chinese demonstrations in the streets of Lhasa were severely repressed by the police. Equally problematic is the situation of the Turkish-speaking populations based on the western margins of China, in Xinjiang, where, in the summer of 2009, the protests of the Muslim Uighur minority were crushed.
Faced with a substantial immobility in political life, the turning point of capitalism imposed by Deng Xiaoping at the end of 1978, based on the double policy of opening to the outside and the transition to the market economy, has resulted in a thirty years spectacular economic results, improving the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people. This has been possible in the international context of globalization. The decisive moment was China’s entry into the World trade organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001 and its integration into the international trading system. In fact, from that moment on, the country’s speed of growth experienced an unprecedented acceleration. During the first decade of the 21st century. China maintained double-digit GDP growth, even when the economies of the United States and European countries entered a recession in 2009-2010. Between 2001 and 2011 it managed to overtake Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, ranking as the second largest economy in the world in terms of income after the United States. Thanks to an export growth rate that has reached 20%, it has become the first exporter country in the world. Its ability to attract capital is also impressive: inflows of investment went from $ 40 billion in 2001 to $ 106 billion in 2011, making China the second favorite destination for capital worldwide, right after the states. United.
The role of China in the world economic crisis. – According to GETZIPCODES.ORG, the process of expansion of the Chinese economy has undergone a turning point following the economic and financial crisis that started in the United States in 2007-2008 and subsequently extended to all the more industrialized economies. The ‘deflation’ of the financial bubble and the downsizing of the debt economy of the industrialized countries have in turn translated into a decline in world demand for exports from China and the consequent slowdown in growth rates, which have nevertheless still remained high. (10.4% in 2010, 9.3% in 2011). In order to replace the decline in foreign demand with an increase in investments and domestic consumption, the Chinese government launched a set of incentive measures in 2009-2010 aimed at supporting domestic consumption and investments. in particular in the sectors of infrastructures, social housing, transport and ecology. However, the credit expansion resulted in sustained price growth, especially in the real estate market, followed at the end of 2011 by a fairly pronounced collapse in prices which, fearing the threat of the emergence of a speculative bubble, it was only possible to stem thanks to the intervention of the banking system, still subject to state control. In any case, the outcome of the attempt to transform China from an economy based mainly on the growth of exports to an economy supported also by internal consumption is anything but obvious. Firstly, there is the awareness that in the short term Chinese domestic consumption will not be able to replace that of industrialized countries (internal consumption of China represent 30% of GDP compared to 71% of the USA). In addition, China continues to maintain significant inhomogeneities within it: at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. the income per capita it is still a fifteenth of that of the United States, and the imbalances between the developed coastal areas and the hinterland of the countryside still remain very significant. Finally, a third source of uncertainty is connected to the need for China to support the United States’ exit from the crisis in order to be able to overcome it in turn. It is no coincidence that China and the United States have been defined as chain-gang economies, that is, two economies that tend to be chained to each other (the definition comes from the political scientist Walden Bello), since if on the one hand Chinese growth depends on the increase in consumption of the American middle class, on the other hand the growth of American consumption it depends on Chinese investments in Treasury bonds. China has an interest in continuing to finance the US deficit, also because by asking for dollars its value is kept high, avoiding losses for Chinese bonds denominated in the US currency. The other side of the coin is the undervaluation of the Chinese currency which, while being beneficial for Chinese exports, could threaten the sustainability of the US financial deficit vis-à-vis China itself.