There are contradictions between China’s overt national confidence, its growing domestic repression, and its paranoia, both internal and external. Perhaps there is an understanding that, despite China’s impressive rise, time actually may not be on its side
The problem posed by the rise of China has been a prominent theme in Australian national security considerations for over a decade. The sheer scale and multi-dimensional nature of the challenges posed by China, however, are more often commented upon than explained. The China debate in Australia often tends towards simplification or euphemism, with China’s supposed ascent to regional dominance viewed by many as inevitable. Not only does such a view potentially overstate the extent of China’s national prowess, it also presumes a linear inevitability to China’s progress towards superpower status. It is important not to seek out some semi-mythical middle ground of non-illuminating diplomatic nuance, but rather to identify the underlying nature of the China problem and the challenges posed by it.