CHINA – China in 2021: agenda setting, anniversaries, and potential for conflict (MERICS)

Where does China stand at the end of 2020?

China has emerged from the Covid-19 crisis stronger and more assertive. While countries worldwide are sliding into recession, the People’s Republic has bounced back to moderate economic growth. In November, exports increased by a record-breaking 21 percent year-on-year. This shows that global demand for products ‘Made in China’ even increased during the crisis. On the political stage, life moving back towards normal after the Covid-19 crisis seems to have encouraged state and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to once again become assertive. For instance, China recently declared it had reached its goal of overcoming “extreme poverty.” Abroad, China is presenting itself as a cooperative partner in the fight against Covid-19 – although in the diplomatic arena it has started to show its teeth in countering criticism of its Hong Kong policy or in its dealings with Australia.