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2014年7月1日星期二

梁京:世界变得危险起来(附沈大伟:中国是纸老虎还是狮子王?The Illusion of Chinese Power)

沈大卫(David Shambaugh
回顾过了一半的2014,总的感觉是,这个世界正以令人不安的速度变的危险起来。最近一个令人不安的重大事件,就是伊拉克ISIS恐怖组织,几乎不费吹灰之力就摧毁了美国花费数年时间和巨大代价在伊拉克实现的基本秩序。美国人训练且装备精良的数万政府军被仅有几千人的恐怖分子摧枯拉朽,不战而溃。ISIS不仅连克重镇,而且已兵临巴格达城下。

这样的发展让许多人深感意外,加上年初以来爆发的一系列重大国际危机,让人不得不对21世纪人类的前景,有了非常不祥的预感。我们会不会像百年前那样,正在走向又一场大规模的全球冲突?

支持这种悲观心态的理由半年来确实增加了不少。两次世界大战都发生在大规模金融危机之后,而我们今天也正处在2008年那场金融灾难的后果之中。尽管人类在应对金融危机方面有了百年前不能比的知识和手段,但仍然改变不了危机加剧社会分化的基本逻辑。乌克兰危机的爆发,显然与此有很大关系。很多青年人支持加入欧盟,一个重要的动机就是希望进入西欧发达国家的就业市场。而欧盟对乌克兰则有点半心半意,因为他们自己的失业问题也很严重。

西方国家在繁荣时代成长起来的一代政治领袖,像当年世界大战前的西方领袖一样,不仅缺乏远见,而且很难有足够的政治本钱超脱国内政治争斗的纠缠,对爆发重大国际冲突做出防患于未然的棘手选择。美国为伊拉克战争付出的代价,有人估计超过两万亿美元。如果事前对这个代价的预判只有一万亿美元,恐怕做出的选择也会大不一样。

发达民主国家的短见和机会主义,鼓励了竞争对手的冒险和机会主义。普京和习近平对美国和其他西方发达国家的"变脸",很难不让人做出这样的解释。不过,很多人相信,普京和习近平不会做出当年德国和日本那样愚蠢的选择,因此,今天世界面临的风险与上个世纪不可比。普京和习近平不过是想趁美国和西方的危机给他们一点教训,捞一点实惠。

普京和习近平确实不会也不可能像当年德日那样去争霸权,但这并不等于他们不会做出误判,从而让这个世界陷入大麻烦,因为今天对世界秩序的挑战,和百年前不一样了。由于相互依存程度大大提高,像ISIS这样的组织,只需几万人,就有可能给世界带来数以千亿、万亿美元的损失,让数以百万计人口流离失所。

看来,21世纪人类面临的最大威胁,不像过去那样是新霸权的崛起,而是出现太多失败国家,以致美国和西方力不从心,导致大乱。因此,习近平最近叫板美国维护国际秩序是"单一文明一统天下",并非负责态度。

中国在两重意义上可以成为21世纪全球秩序的威胁。第一,不积极补台支持一个公正的全球秩序,而是搭便车,甚至不惜以拆台来削弱头号竞争对手美国。第二,陷入内乱,自己也加入失败国家的行列,成为全球不稳定的一大来源。这正是许多国家担心的,习近平的言行不仅不能消除这种担心,反而不断增加这种担心,这是世界变危险的一个重要因素。

美国对中国这种态度的失望是可想而知的。在美国看来,中国是国际秩序稳定的最大受益者,因此,中国的理性选择不应是拆台而是补台,更何况中国并不像自己想像的那么强大。美国知名中国问题专家沈大伟最近发表的文章就表明了这一点。文章批评中国在重大国际危机上的搭车态度,更直言不讳中国会成为21世纪的纸老虎。


http://www.guancha.cn/ShenDaWei/2014_06_27_241471.shtml
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-illusion-chinese-power-10739 

当然,美国对中国的不满更明显的表现,就是把中国驻美大使馆的地址改成刘晓波1号。这表明,美国的一些政客对中国当局的反感已经达到了什么程度。

两国之间这种煽情和口水战的升级说明什么呢?我认为说明两边的当权者都做出了某种非常悲观的判断,那就是中美之间的某种摊牌已经不可避免,不存在什么刺激与否的问题。正是在发表沈大伟文章的《国家利益》杂志上,同期还发表的另一篇文章的题目就是"历史的警告:美中开战可能性极大"。不管双方对对方是否有重大误判,有一点是不容否认的,那就是这个世界因这样的判断已经变的更危险了。

http://news.ifeng.com/a/20140630/40952957_0.shtml 

——RFA

【附录】

沈大伟:中国是纸老虎还是狮子王?


 【中国正在崛起,并有成为"世界第一"的气势。但在美国学者沈大伟看来,中国依旧缺乏高质量的实力,缺乏实际影响力,可能是一只21世纪的纸老虎。他同时也提到,再过10年或20年,中国的全球地位或许在个方面都会大幅提高,可能会在于美国类似的全球基础上进行运转,我们也期待着那一天的到来。原文发表于6月25日美国《国家利益》网站,观察者网特此转发,以供读者参考。】
沈大伟
沈大伟:提到当今中国时,也需持有一些清醒和质疑的态度。
中国能力并不非常强大
目前,普遍的观点认为中国的主宰地位是无可阻挡的,世界必须适应这个亚洲巨人作为一个——可能已是——全球性大国的事实。十年来,"中国崛起"的预言已小有规模,所有人都描绘了一幅中国成为21世纪主宰者的图景。这种看法可以理解,而且普遍存在——但却是错误的。
记得不久前,在20世纪80年代,类似的预言也曾出现过,即日本将成为"世界第一",加入大国精英俱乐部——但不久后日本陷入30年的停滞期,而且它一个(经济上的)单向度强国,并不具备大国特质所需的较为广泛的基础。因此,当提到当今中国时,持有一些清醒和质疑的态度是可取的。
的确,中国是世界上最重要的正在崛起的大国——远远超过印度、巴西和南非的能力——在某些领域它已超过俄罗斯、日本、英国、德国和法国等其他"中等强国"的能力。
但能力并不是衡量国家实力和国际实力的唯一标准——也不是最重要的标准。历代社会科学家已确定一个更重要的实力指标,那就是影响力——驾驭局势和左右其他国家行动的能力。
当然,各国利用自身实力去影响其他国家实力的行为和事态发展有各种方式:吸引、说服、拉拢、强迫、报偿、诱导、威胁或动用武力。
当我们关注当今中国在世界舞台上的存在和行为时,我们需要超越其表面上令人印象深刻的能力看问题,并提出质疑:中国真的正在影响其他国家的行动和各领域国际事务的发展趋势么?简要的回答是:就算真的有,也并不多。可以作出这样的结论,即中国在极少的——如果真的有的话——领域,能够真正对其他国家构成影响、设立全球标准和左右全球趋势。而且中国也没有尽力参与解决全球问题。中国是一个被动大国,它的反应表现是当爆发国际危机时回避挑战并躲藏起来。正在持续的乌克兰危机和叙利亚危机就是近来北京被动反应的绝好例子。
此外,当仔细衡量中国的能力时,它们并不非常强大。很多指标仅是在数量上令人印象深刻,但在质量上并非如此。缺少高质量的实力,让中国缺乏实际影响力。中国有一句谚语:外硬内软。如果在很多令人印象深刻的数据表面下进行挖掘,你会发现其普遍存在的一些弱点、阻碍发展的重要因素以及成为一个全球性大国的不牢固的根基。中国可能是一只21世纪的纸老虎。
五个方面审视中国实力
这可以从以下五个方面进行剖析:中国的国际外交、军事能力、文化存在、经济实力和国内因素,则五个方面决定了中国的全球地位。让我们逐一进行审视。
从形式上看,中国外交的确已走向全球。尽管与国际社会融为一体且北京采取积极的外交政策,但在外交活动领域,中国仅是一个不完全大国,这是显而易见的。一方面,他表现出一个世界主要大国的特征。它是联合国安理会的常任理事国、20国集团及其他全球重要机构的成员,以及所有重大国际峰会的参与者。另一方面,中国官员在这些场合和大量全球挑战问题上仍表现得非常消极和被动。中国并不是领导者。它未能重塑国际外交,推动其他国家的政策,促成国际共识、组建联盟并解决问题。
中国军事能力是其作为一个不完全大国的另一方面:它是一个日渐强大的区域性大国,而绝非一个全球性大国。中国尚不具备向亚洲邻国以外的地区投放军力的能力,即便在亚洲地区,其军力投放能力仍非常有限。目前,根本无法确定中国能否在周边500海里内(如在东中国海和南中国海的争端中)投放军力,以及能否在冲突中坚持足够长的时间而获胜。自1979年以来中国没有打过仗,现在中国的军队还未经受国战争的考验。
从硬实力转向软实力,中国作为一个全球文化大国崛起效果如何?并不好。没有其他社会接受中国文化的暗示,也没有其他国家想要模仿中国的政治体制,其经济体制在其他地方也无法复制。尽管自2008年以来中国政府投入巨大努力和资源,试图打造自己的软实力并改善自己的国际形象,但中国在国际上的声誉仍是毁誉参半。
中国作为一个经济强国情况又如何?这是大家希望中国成为一个全球性大国和领导者的一个方面——但中国的影响力比预想的要弱。就像其他方面一样,它在数量上令人印象深刻,但在质量上很弱。中国是世界最大的贸易国,但其出口的通常是低端消费品;其产品的国际认知度极低;它仅有一小部分跨国公司在海外成功运营。
衡量中国国内实力的其他标准还显示其在全球排名并不高且不够正面。2014年,美国自由之家就各国新闻自由的程度进行排名,中国在197个国家中排名183位。世界银行的全球治理指标一直对中国在政治稳定与控制腐败、政府效率、管理质量、法治程度和问责方面的评级偏低。
这是当今中国的概貌。再过10年或20年,中国的全球地位或许在个方面都会大幅提高,可能会在于美国类似的全球基础上进行运转,但就目前而言,中国充其量只是一个不完全的全球性大国。

The Illusion of Chinese Power

June 25, 2014
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM has it that the China juggernaut is unstoppable and that the world must adjust to the reality of the Asian giant as a—perhaps the—major global power. A mini-industry of "China rise" prognosticators has emerged over the past decade, all painting a picture of a twenty-first-century world in which China is a dominant actor. This belief is understandable and widespread—but wrong.
Recall that not so long ago, in the 1980s, similar forecasts were made about Japan being "number one" and joining the elite club of great powers—before it sank into a three-decade stagnation and was shown to be a single-dimensional power (economic) that did not have a broader foundation of national attributes to fall back on. Before that it was the Soviet Union that was said to be a global superpower (an assumption over which the Cold War was waged for a half century), only for it to collapse almost overnight in 1991. The postmortem on the USSR similarly revealed that it had been a largely single-dimensional power (military) that had atrophied from within for decades. In the wake of the Cold War, some pundits posited that the expanded and strengthened European Union would emerge as a new global power and pole in the international system—only for the EU to prove itself impotent and incompetent on a range of global challenges. Europe too was exposed as a single-dimensional power (economic). So, when it comes to China today, a little sobriety and skepticism are justified.
Certainly China is the world's most important rising power—far exceeding the capacities of India, Brazil and South Africa—and in some categories it has already surpassed the capabilities of other "middle powers" like Russia, Japan, Britain, Germany and France. By many measures, China is now the world's undisputed second leading power after the United States, and in some categories it has already overtaken America. China possesses many of the trappings of a global power: the world's largest population, a large continental land mass, the world's second-largest economy, the world's largest foreign-exchange reserves, the world's second-largest military budget and largest standing armed forces, a manned space program, an aircraft carrier, the world's largest museum, the world's largest hydroelectric dam, the world's largest national expressway network and the world's best high-speed rail system. China is the world's leading trading nation, the world's largest consumer of energy, the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitter, the world's second-largest recipient and third-largest originator of foreign direct investment, and the world's largest producer of many goods.
Capabilities, however, are but one measure of national and international power—and not the most important one. Generations of social scientists have determined that a more significant indicator of power is influence—the ability to shape events and the actions of others. As the late political scientist Robert Dahl famously observed: "A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do." Capabilities that are not converted into actions toward achieving certain ends are not worth much. Their existence may have an impressive or deterrent effect, but it is the ability to influence the action of another or the outcome of an event that matters. There are, of course, various means by which nations use their capabilities to influence the actions of others and the course of events: attraction, persuasion, co-optation, coercion, remuneration, inducement, or the threat or use of force. Power and its exercise are therefore intrinsically relational: the use of these and other instruments toward others in order to influence a situation to one's own benefit.
When we look at China's presence and behavior on the world stage today, we need to look beyond its superficially impressive capabilities and ask: Is China actually influencing the actions of others and the trajectory of international affairs in various domains? The short answer is: not very much, if at all. In very few—if any—domains can it be concluded that China is truly influencing others, setting global standards or shaping global trends. Nor is it trying to solve global problems. China is a passive power, whose reflex is to shy away from challenges and hide when international crises erupt. The ongoing crises in Ukraine and Syria are only the most recent examples of Beijing's passivity.
Moreover, when China's capabilities are carefully examined, they are not so strong. Many indicators are quantitatively impressive, but they are not qualitatively so. It is the lack of qualitative power that translates into China's lack of real influence. The Chinese have the proverb wai ying, nei ruan: strong on the outside, soft on the inside. This is an apt characterization of China today. Scratch beneath the surface of the many impressive statistics about China and you discover pervasive weaknesses, important impediments and a soft foundation on which to become a global power. China may be a twenty-first-century paper tiger.

THIS CAN be seen in five broad areas: China's international diplomacy, military capabilities, cultural presence, economic power and the domestic elements that underpin China's global posture. Let's examine each in turn.
In formal respects, China's diplomacy has truly gone global. Over the past forty years China has traveled a path from a nation isolated from the international community to one integrated into it. Today, Beijing enjoys diplomatic relations with 175 countries, is a member of more than 150 international organizations and is party to more than three hundred multilateral treaties. It receives far more visiting foreign dignitaries every year than any other nation, and its own leaders travel the world regularly.
Despite this integration into the international community and Beijing's active diplomacy, the diplomatic sphere is a realm where China's position as a partial power is apparent. On the one hand, it enjoys the symbols of being a major world power. It's a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the G-20 and other key global bodies, and a participant in all major international summits. On the other hand, Chinese officials still remain remarkably reactive and passive in these venues and on many global challenges. China does not lead. It does not shape international diplomacy, drive other nations' policies, forge global consensus, put together coalitions or solve problems. Beijing is not actively involved in trying to solve any major global problem; rather, it is a passive and often-reluctant participant in multilateral efforts organized by others (usually the United States).
Being a global power requires getting in the middle of disputes, bringing parties together, forging coalitions and consensus, and—yes—using pressure when necessary. Beijing prefers to sit on the sidelines and simply call for nations to solve their problems through "peaceful means" and to find "win-win solutions." Such hollow invocations are hardly conducive to problem solving. Beijing also has a complete allergy to coercive measures and only goes along with UN Security Council sanctions when it is clear that not doing so would leave Beijing isolated and negatively impact China's international image. This is not the behavior of a global leader.
Instead, Beijing's high-level diplomacy is really a kind of theatrical show, more symbolism than substance. It is intended primarily to enhance the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) legitimacy among domestic audiences by showing Chinese leaders hobnobbing with the world's elite, while signaling to the international community that the country has returned to great-power status after several centuries of impotence. As such, the Chinese government goes to extraordinary lengths to meticulously stage-manage its leaders' interactions with their foreign counterparts. Substantively, though, Chinese diplomacy remains remarkably risk-averse and guided by narrow national interests. Beijing usually takes a lowest-common-denominator approach, adopting the safest and least controversial position and waiting to see the positions of other governments before revealing its own.
The notable exception to this general passivity concerns China's own neuralgic and narrowly defined interests: Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, human rights and its contested territorial claims. On these issues Beijing is hypervigilant and diplomatically forceful, but its attempts to defend these interests are often clumsy and wind up being counterproductive to its image and its goals. Other than protecting these narrow national interests, though, Chinese diplomacy remains extremely passive for a state of its size and importance.
When it comes to global governance, which entails contributing to the common good proportionate to a nation's aggregate capabilities, Beijing's behavior generally parallels the passivity and narrow-mindedness of the rest of its diplomacy. China does contribute to various aspects of global governance: UN peacekeeping operations, antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, counterterrorism measures in Central Asia, overseas development assistance, nonproliferation of nuclear materials, public health, disaster relief and combating international crime. In these areas Beijing deserves credit. However, China could and should do much more; it still "punches well below its weight" by not contributing proportionately to its size, wealth or potential influence. The world should expect and demand more from China.
Why is China's global-governance diplomacy so constrained? There are three main reasons. First, there exists deep skepticism inside of China about the liberal premises and basic concept of global governance, seeing it as the latest "trap" laid by the West (primarily the United States) to "bleed" China by getting it involved in crises and places where it does not have a direct national interest—thus diverting its resources and restraining its rise. Second, Chinese citizens would criticize the government for allocating resources abroad when poverty and other pressing challenges still exist at home. And third, China has a kind of "transactional" approach to expending effort, especially when it involves money. This grows out of Chinese commercial culture but extends into many other realms of Chinese behavior. The Chinese want to know exactly what they will get back from a certain investment and when. Thus, the whole premise of philanthropy and contributing selflessly to common public goods is alien to the thinking of many Chinese.
As a result, in the realm of diplomacy—bilateral, multilateral and global governance—Beijing still demonstrates a distinct passivity and reluctance to get involved. It is far from being the "responsible stakeholder" that Robert Zoellick called for in 2005. Chinese diplomacy remains narrowly self-interested, and Beijing's involvement in global governance is minimalist and tactical, not normative or strategic. The real business of Chinese diplomacy is, in fact, business. Examine the composition of the Chinese president's or premier's delegations abroad and one finds large numbers of corporate CEOs—in search of energy supplies, natural resources, trade and investment opportunities. Such mercantilist diplomacy does not earn Beijing international respect—and is, in fact, beginning to generate increasing criticisms and blowback around the world (most notably in Africa and Latin America).
CHINA'S MILITARY capabilities are another area where it is a partial power: increasingly a regional power, but by no means a global power. China is not able to project power outside of its Asian neighborhood (other than through its intercontinental ballistic missiles, space program and cyberwarfare capacities), and even within Asia its power-projection capacities remain limited (although growing). It is not at all certain that China could project military power on its periphery out to five hundred nautical miles (such as in its East or South China Sea disputes) and sustain it long enough to prevail in a conflict. Its military forces are not battle-tested, having not fought a war since 1979.
To be sure, China's military modernization has been advancing steadily for twenty-five years. It now has the world's second-largest military budget ($131.6 billion in the 2014 official budget), largest standing armed forces, scores of new advanced weapons, a navy that is sailing further and further out into the western Pacific Ocean and occasionally into the Indian Ocean, and a modest aircraft carrier. So China's military is no pushover. It is certainly capable of defending its homeland, and could likely now wage a successful conflict over Taiwan (absent a fast and full American intervention). China is also perceived to be a regional military power in Asia and thus is altering the balance of power in the region, but Chinese military forces still possess no conventional global power-projection capabilities. China has no bases abroad, no long-range logistics or communications lines, and rudimentary global satellite coverage. The navy is still primarily a coastal littoral force, the air force has no long-range strike ability or proven stealth capacity, and the ground forces are not configured for rapid deployment.
Moreover, strategically, China can be described as a "lonely power"—lacking close friends and possessing no allies. Even in China's closest relationship (with Russia), elements of distrust and historical suspicions percolate beneath the surface of seemingly harmonious state-to-state relations. Not a single other nation looks to Beijing for its security and protection (except perhaps Pakistan)—thus demonstrating a distinct lack of strategic influence as a major power. Quite to the contrary, other countries in Asia are seeking to bolster their defense ties with the United States and improve their coordination with each other—precisely because of the uncertainty and possible threat they perceive from China.

TURNING FROM hard power to soft power, how does China stack up as a global cultural power? Not well. No other societies are taking their cultural cues from China, no other countries are seeking to copy the Chinese political system, and its economic system is not replicable elsewhere. Despite the enormous efforts and resources the Chinese government has poured into trying to build its soft power and improve its international image since 2008, China continues to have a mixed-to-negative global reputation. Surveys of public opinion reveal that everywhere in the world perceptions of China are mixed, declining and increasingly fraught with problems.
China is not a magnet for others to emulate—culturally, socially, economically or politically. The problem for China in all four realms is that it is sui generis. China lacks universal appeal beyond its borders or ethnic Chinese communities. Largely because of China's cultural, economic, social and political uniqueness, its global soft-power appeal remains weak to nonexistent.
China's cultural products—art, film, literature, music, education—are still relatively unknown outside of China and do not set global cultural trends. As admirable as China's economic development is, it is the product of a unique combination of features that cannot be replicated in other countries (competitive economies of scale, Soviet-style state planning, individual entrepreneurship, a large and disciplined workforce, a large research-and-development establishment and massive foreign investment). Even if a "China model" exists (which is debatable), it is not exportable, as this combination of growth factors exists nowhere else. China's political system is similarly an eclectic amalgam of Leninist Communism, Asian authoritarianism, Confucian traditionalism and a strong internal-security state. Its distinctiveness cannot be replicated—there are no other states trying to do so, nor does one find foreigners seeking political asylum or citizenship in the PRC.

WHAT ABOUT China's economic power? This is the one area where one would expect China to be a global power and trendsetter—yet China's impact is much more shallow than anticipated. As in other areas, it is quantitatively impressive but qualitatively weak. China is the world's largest trading nation, but its exports are generally low-end consumer goods; its products have poor international brand recognition; only a handful of its multinational corporations are operating successfully abroad; the total stock of its overseas direct investment (ODI) ranks only seventeenth internationally; and China's overseas aid programs are a fraction of the size of those of the United States, European Union, Japan or the World Bank.
When evaluated qualitatively instead of quantitatively, China's global economic profile is not very impressive. It remains a processing-and-assembly economy—not a creative and inventive one. Most of the goods that are assembled or produced in China for export are intellectually created elsewhere. China's rampant theft of intellectual property and its government programs to spur "indigenous innovation" (which pour billions into domestic research and development every year) are clear admissions of its failure to create. This may, and likely will, change over time—but to date China is not setting global standards in hardly any technology or product line (or in the natural sciences, medical sciences, social sciences or humanities). Similarly, China only has two universities in the top hundred worldwide, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013–2014.
If China is to spur innovation, it will, of course, have to invest more in research-and-development funding. According to the National Science Foundation, in 2009 China spent only 1.7 percent of its GDP on research and development, compared with 2.9 percent in the United States, 2.8 percent in Germany and over 3.3 percent in Japan. The "research intensity" of China's research-and-development spending does not even rank it in the top twenty nations globally, as an estimated 80 percent is spent on product development and only 5 percent on basic research. China's lack of Nobel Prizes is also a telling indication. Between 1949 and 2010, 584 Nobel Prizes were awarded. Ethnic Chinese won ten of these (eight in the sciences), but eight of the ten worked outside of China. The two exceptions were the Liu Xiaobo's 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and Mo Yan's 2011 prize for literature. Citations in professional journals are another indicator. In the world's most cited articles (across all academic disciplines), Chinese scholars account for only 4 percent—whereas Americans account for 49 percent.
As a result of China's chronic "innovation deficit," the nation is now mired in the infamous "middle-income trap." The only way out of the trap is through innovation—as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan previously proved. And this requires much more than government investment in research and development—it requires an educational system premised on critical thinking and freedom of exploration. This, in turn, requires a political system that is relatively open and democratic and does not permit censorship or "no-go zones" in research. Students and intellectuals must be rewarded—not persecuted or penalized—for challenging conventional wisdom and making mistakes. Until this occurs, China will be forever caught in the middle-income trap—assembling and producing but not creating and inventing.
Seen in this light, China's trade juggernaut is much weaker than it appears on the surface. Similar weaknesses are evident in China's ODI. Despite the high government priority for Chinese firms to "go out" into the world, so far China's foreign investment remains quite small. As noted above, its total stock of ODI barely places China in the top twenty globally, although its annual outflows are growing rapidly and now rank third in the world ($88.2 billion in 2012). Yet this remains only one-fourth of American ODI in the same year.
More significantly, as in other areas of China's global profile, one needs to delve beyond the quantitative statistics to ask qualitative questions: Where does it go, and is it real investment? The overseas destinations and composition of Chinese ODI have been shifting rapidly since 2011, but a large percentage remains portfolio funds flowing into locales like the British Virgin Islands and Grand Cayman Islands (which ranked as the second and third leading recipient destinations in 2011). Thus, some of this is not foreign investment per se—it is really money being parked abroad in safe havens. This is not only true for China's government and companies, but also for individual assets. The 2014 annual Blue Book on Chinese International Migration, compiled by the Center for China & Globalization, recently reported that since 1990 a total of 9.3 million Chinese had emigrated abroad, taking 2.8 trillion renminbi ($46 billion in U.S. dollars) with them. This is not a new development, but has been a growing trend over the past decade. When a nation's economic elites leave in such large numbers and are so anxious to secure their personal financial savings abroad, it speaks volumes about their (lack of) confidence in their own domestic political and economic systems.
Recently, though, China's ODI profile and geographic footprint have been changing. China is ramping up its investments and purchases across Asia, Latin America, Europe and the United States. Chinese buyers are snatching up all kinds of assets—residential and commercial properties, factories, industrial parks, research-and-development facilities, farms, forests, mines, oil and gas fields, and various other resources. Chinese corporations are aggressively merging with or acquiring foreign companies. Individual Chinese have also been buying large amounts of valuable art on the international auction market. Thus, the profile of Chinese outbound investment is rapidly changing, but its impact remains uncertain.
What about Chinese multinational corporations? How competitive are they abroad? As in other categories, there is much more weakness than strength. On the surface, judging from the Fortune Global 500 rankings, Chinese companies now rank second only to American multinationals. But these rankings are calculated on the basis of total revenue and profit—not where a company makes its money. When examining the Chinese companies on the 2013 list, it is quickly apparent that relatively few even operate abroad and only a handful earn more than half their revenues overseas. So these are not truly multinationalcorporations, but rather domestic corporate actors.
Many firms may aspire to go global, but thus far those that have tried have not fared particularly well. There have been more failures than success stories among aspiring Chinese multinationals. Chinese mergers and acquisitions often have stumbled because China's corporate leaders did not do their due diligence beforehand or because of the clash of corporate cultures. By all accounts, the major weakness of Chinese multinationals is human resources—particularly management. There are precious few multilingual and multicultural managers, and Chinese companies do not generally hire foreigners with such skills for upper-level management (Huawei and Haier are exceptions to the rule). Chinese companies and their management have frequently displayed an inability to escape their own national corporate culture and business practices. Because of their preference for hierarchy and clearly defined workplace roles, Chinese tend not to adapt well to "flatter" management structures that prize decentralization and individual initiative. These proclivities have resulted in repeated culture clashes in Chinese mergers with Western companies. Chinese companies have also demonstrated difficulties adapting to foreign legal, regulatory, tax and political environments. Transparency and corporate governance are not attributes normally associated with Chinese companies—whose decision-making processes are usually opaque, business practices are frequently corrupt and accounting procedures are often fraudulent. Many Chinese companies have been found to have filed fraudulent information with securities regulators in the United States prior to their IPOs.
The lack of Chinese corporate competitiveness is also evident when it comes to international brands. Only a handful of Chinese companies have been able to establish a brand presence abroad: Tsingtao beer, Haier white goods, Huawei telecoms, Air China, Geely automobiles and a handful of others. But not a single Chinese company ranks among the Business Week/Interbrand Top 100 global brands.

OTHER MEASURES of China's domestic capacities also do not indicate very high or positive global rankings. In 2014, Freedom House ranked China as tied for 183rd out of 197 countries for freedom of the press. Since 2002, the World Bank's composite Worldwide Governance Indicators have consistently ranked China in the thirtieth percentile for political stability and control of corruption, fiftieth percentile for government effectiveness, fortieth percentile for regulatory quality and rule of law, and below the tenth percentile for accountability. The World Economic Forum ranked China only twenty-ninth globally on its composite Global Competitiveness Index in 2013, along with sixty-eighth for corruption and fifty-fourth for business ethics. Transparency International ranked China even lower (eightieth) in its 2013 international corruption index. In virtually all these estimates and categories, China has deteriorated over the past decade. By these and other measures, it is clear that China's global presence and reputation is mixed at best. In many categories China finds itself clustered together with the least well-performing and least respected countries in the world.
The 2013 United Nations Human Development Report further illustrates that despite the considerable and admirable socioeconomic progress China has made since the 1980s, the nation remains very much a developing country. The PRC ranks 101st in the overall index, out of 187 countries surveyed. The average per capita income is now nearly $8,000 in purchasing-power-parity terms, yet 13.1 percent of the population still lives on under $1.25 per day. In life expectancy, infant mortality, health-care provision, educational quality and inequality, China still lags well behind industrialized nations. Its environmental contamination and pollution are the worst in the world and are contributing to rapidly rising cancer rates. Despite recent government efforts to expand primary and catastrophic health-care delivery and insurance, most Chinese still face great uncertainties when illness strikes. Its Gini coefficient (which measures income inequality, with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing perfect inequality) is now nearly 0.5, among the highest in the world. China's primary and secondary schools are producing world-class test results, but the university system still lags well behind global leaders.
These observations are not meant to belittle China's miraculous developmental accomplishments over the past three decades, but they are simply further reminders that China is nowhere near the top of the global tables in many categories of development.

THIS IS a snapshot of China today. Ten or twenty years from now China's global position may well improve in all of these categories and it may be operating on a global basis similar to the United States', but for now China is a partial global power at best. Yet one should not simply assume that China's growth trajectory will continue unabated. It could, but there are also two other possibilities—stagnation and retrogression.
Many China watchers are coming to the conclusion that the country is reaching a tipping point on multiple fronts. Aggregate growth is leveling off (owing to rising costs of production and declining comparative advantages) and the government is struggling to maintain the 7 percent annual growth rates deemed necessary to maintain reasonably full employment, absorb new entrants into the workforce and sustain social stability. Try as it may, the government has been unable to accomplish its announced shift from an export- and investment-driven economy to one based on increased domestic consumption and an innovative "knowledge economy." Production is not appreciably moving up the value chain and technological ladder, and the grip of the middle-income trap is setting in (and could become an indefinite condition). Local debt is soaring and many subnational governmental authorities teeter on the brink of insolvency. Social inequalities are getting increasingly acute, corruption is rampant in both state and society, frustrations abound in every social sector, the rich are fleeing the country in increasing numbers, the middle class is stagnating, and the political system remains ossified and repressive. Meanwhile, the country is not undertaking the political and legal reforms needed to spur the next phase of growth because they would directly impinge on the monopoly power of the CCP.
Several Sinologists now argue that the CCP itself is the principal impediment to future growth and development in China. The party is an increasingly insecure, sclerotic and fragile institution that has become paralyzed since 2008. Part of the reason for the paralysis was the leadership transition in 2012 and the factional struggle leading up to it (including the Bo Xilai affair), but it also had to do with the growing unrest around the country (particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang). There have been other contributing factors to the party's retrenchment and repression over the past five years, including fears generated by the Arab Spring, but we have not seen forward movement in political reform since the leadership transition and Xi Jinping's consolidation of power. To the contrary, the political crackdown has intensified since Xi took office. Even the vaunted Third Plenum of November 2013, which was heralded as a reformist breakthrough, has so far proved to be more hype than progress.
This is the dangerous cocktail that many China watchers see gripping the country today. It is a sobering and daunting set of challenges for the people and government of China to tackle. Thus, observers should not blindly assume that China's future will exhibit the dynamism of the past thirty years, or that its path to global-power status will necessarily continue.

David Shambaugh is a professor of political science and international affairs and director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is also a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is China Goes Global: The Partial Power (Oxford University Press, 2013). 
Image: Patrick Denker. CC BY 2.0.

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