China’s Grand Strategy: What to Know About Xi’s Global Ambitions

China’s Grand Strategy: What to Know About Xi’s Global Ambitions

Deep Dives: China 2023 Program

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM ET

Under the rule of President Xi Jinping, China has become a 21st century power, and a formidable competitor to the United States. Having consolidated greater power in his person than any other leader since Mao and abetted by a loyal cadre that make up China’s top leadership, Xi’s global ambitions for China has led him to abandon decades of Chinese restraint in favor of a muscular approach designed to restore China’s historical status as a leading power. Join us for the final webinar in our Deep Dives: China 2023 program with Professor Susan Shirk, Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego, and the author of Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise on Wednesday, June 28 from 12 PM to 1:15 PM EST where she will discuss the connection between Chinese domestic politics and foreign policy and how China’s leadership and political system shape them, the implications of China’s “Global Security Initiative,” and what China’s global strategy under Xi will be.

COULDN’T ATTEND OUR EVENT? Don’t worry. You can watch it below



Susan Shirk

Susan Shirk is a Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego. Shirk is the author of China: Fragile Superpower, and The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China. From 1997-2000, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia.
About Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise

WINNER OF THE 2023 LIONEL GELBER PRIZE for the best English-language book on international affairs.

From one of the world’s most respected experts on Chinese politics, OVERREACH is a devastatingly lucid portrait of how China went from fragile superpower to global heavyweight.

Overreach is a masterful analysis of the leading contemporary challenge in geopolitics by a long-time close observer of China.” – Lionel Gelber Prize Jury

“Shirk draws on her rare combination of scholarly expertise and deep experience in U.S. foreign policy to offer a magisterial account of the excess of ambition in Beijing.” – Yuen Yuen Ang, Foreign Affairs

“An authoritative account of how China is seeking to become the world’s dominant power.” – Kirkus Reviews

For three decades after Mao’s death in 1976, China’s leaders adopted a restrained approach to foreign policy. To facilitate the country’s inexorable economic ascendence, and to prevent a backlash, they reassured the outside world of China’s peaceful intentions.

Then, as Susan Shirk shows in this illuminating, sobering, and utterly persuasive new book, something changed. China went from fragile superpower to global heavyweight, muscling its way around the South China Sea, punishing countries that disagree with China, intimidating Taiwan, tightening its grip on Hong Kong, and openly challenging the United States for preeminence not just economically and technologically but militarily. China began to overreach.

Combining her decades of research and experience, Shirk, author of the hugely influential China: Fragile Superpower, argues that we are now fully embroiled in a new cold war.

Prying open the “black box” of China’s political system, Shirk shows the shift toward confrontation began in the mid-2000s under the mild-mannered Hu Jintao. As China’s economy boomed, especially after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Hu and the other leaders lost restraint, abetting aggression toward the outside world and unchecked domestic social control. When Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he capitalized on widespread official corruption and open splits in the leadership to make the case for more concentrated power at the top.

In the decade following, and to the present day, Xi has accumulated greater power than any leader since Mao. Those who implement Xi’s directives compete to outdo one another in fervor, provoking an even greater global backlash and stoking jingoism within China on a scale not seen since the Cultural Revolution.

Shirk’s extensive interviews and meticulous analysis reveal the dynamics driving overreach. To counter it, she argues, the worst mistake the rest of the world, and the United States in particular, can make is to overreact. Understanding the domestic roots of China’s actions will enable us to avoid the mistakes that could lead to war.








Photo Credit: THOMAS PETER | Credit: REUTERS

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