At the end of 2012, a new General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, later President of the Republic, Xi Jinping, came into office in Beijing — marking a turning point in China’s economic strategy from reforms initiated in the late 1970s and early 1980s by Deng Xiaoping, 30 years ago. Their doctrine was one of “hiding brightness, nourishing obscurity”; or in other words, one that allowed China to “[keep] a low profile while developing power”. The new leader’s strategy seems to represent a break from three decades of reform.
One of the most striking illustrations of this new policy is the launch of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, combining two orientations – the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” initiated in Kazakhstan on September 7, 2013 by President Xi during a State visit, and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” launched in Indonesia on October 3, 2013, also by President Xi.
The formal objective of what has become the central element of Chinese diplomacy is to achieve a more egalitarian, inclusive and prosperous global economy, but through the adoption of an alternative method to the development and integration models run by the United States and their European allies since 1945. From an economic standpoint, this new model, which is still in its gestation period, rests on an advanced form of State capitalism. From a political standpoint, it represents an autocracy considered benevolent in regard to the well-being of the people. It is based on a solidly anchored belief shared by the majority of past and present leaders that economic development is the key to stability and social peace. And the foundation of this economic development relies on infrastructure.
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