A growing China, economically and militarily, means a more assertive China, especially in its immediate vicinity of influence in the far east.
As the new Chinese CCP leadership takes the stage, it will not hesitate to exercise its political and military muscles , both to demonstrate to the outside world and internally, that they mean business. The “don’t mess with me” attitude is important to the new leadership, that people take them seriously.
Internationally, the recent designation of an “air defense zone” for foreign aircrafts, can be seen as an aggressive gesture toward what Beijing may deem as threatening neighbors, particularly towards Japan, due to Beijing’s territorial dispute with the island nation. Although such a designation has met with only ridicules and even outright contempts by its neighbors, as they ignored Beijing’s warnings.
Domestically, I do not expect a loosening of political control. On the contrary, the Xi leadership will continue the policies and practices of the previous Hu generation of leadership, if not in an even more aggressive manner. Mr. Xi will not allow the CCP to fall from power during his tenure as Chinese president.
These international and domestic measures of assertiveness, not only shows a growing confidence of Beijing, it also demonstrates its sense of insecurity. Such a sense of insecurity and resulting aggressiveness internationally and domestically, does not sit well with Beijing’s neighbors, nor the reform-minded intellectuals in China. Beijing has to be careful, for its aggressiveness may not pay off, but may backfire. A generation of Chinese political leadership rules for about 10 years. It is unlikely that these policies and practices would change course during this 10-year period. We can only wait and observe, how these policies may potentially impact Beijing’s ability to rule.