Opening Up Without Reform: China’s Economic Strategy in the Age of Hyper-Globalization


Yuhao Wang

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Abstract: In the last decade, President Xi Jinping’s rule has propelled China’s political economy forward with a mix of modernization and reform. Xi has sought to centralize and state-orient the system more than reformists anticipated, resulting in a global response due to China’s economic and security weight. This has caused international discomfort and criticism, something China must take into account.

The thesis aims to explain why China’s reputation has declined despite its economic success and globalization. The author argues that China’s government felt less pressure to pursue further ownership reform due to the benefits of globalization in the 2000s. As a result, the state sector became an effective tool in achieving the strategic goals of the party-state. This led to concerns about China’s growing power in economic statecraft, contributing to a less stable economy and a more antagonistic global climate. The thesis covers the interplay between China’s political economy and international relations in the 21st century.

The purpose of this thesis is to provide a nuanced understanding of the decision-making processes of Chinese leaders and companies, the chain effect of China’s rise, and the domestic responses to these impacts in the U.S. To conduct the analysis, the author employed mixed methods, including a case study on semiconductor SOEs, quantitative empirical studies on the consequences of China’s international trade and investment, and natural language processing to study changes in the topics and attitudes towards China among American legislators and businesses.

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