Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 May 2021
The afterword focuses on the surprising connections of a century of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) history to larger global developments outside of China, considering the potential future development of the Party, either towards more democratisation and power sharing, increasing focus on domestic challenges, or a new Marxist-Leninist world order with Beijing at it’s ideological center. The fate of international socialism is contrasted with the purges of both Stalin and Mao, which are shown to have led directly to the Sino-Soviet conflict from the late 1950s on. The lasting significance of the collapse of the Soviet Union for the CCP provides context for the increasingly close relationship between Xi and Putin, who share a mutual concern over Muslim separatism and demographic shifts within their countries. Connections are drawn between the more positive impacts of the Non-Aligned Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the Belt and Road initiative, and darker history of global Maoism in Peru and Cambodia, with the latter spurring modernization following a successful Vietnamese intervention. The CCP’s long-standing difficulty of separating Party from ethnicity, particularly in its Southeast Asian allies, is contrasted with inspiration drawn from Japan and Korea in the post-Mao era and the legacy of falling regulation in global trade over the subsequent three decades. The afterword concludes with an exploration of the gradual end of China’s “peaceful rise” during the Xi era, touching on the daunting problems of a declining workforce, environmental degradation, and continuing wide income gaps which face the country’s leaders today, while also praising its pragmatic macroeconomic policies, impressive technological development, and openness to trade relative to the increasingly divided, insular, and unstable US under Trump.