Till a few months back, China’s rise was taken as a given. It still is in many ways. China is a rising economic and political power and it’s pointless to talk about preventing that from happening. But how China rises can certainly be managed so that it causes least disruption in the global order.
The disorder ushered in by Covid-19 has underlined to the world the costs of giving China a free pass. And in response, the world has galvanised. Pushback against China has been manifesting itself in multiple ways. In particular, regional players have been pursuing more coordinated actions so as to create a more stable balance of power.
This pushback has also emerged in the context of the BRI, the signature vanity project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This week saw the federal government of Australia using new powers to cancel two deals made between the state of Victoria and China related to the BRI.
While Canberra argued that the move was essential to protect Australia’s national interest, Beijing made it clear that the action by Canberra was “bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself”.
A new front has been added to an already strained Australia-China relationship ever since Australia demanded an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
At the other end of the spectrum, China was targeted in a different way when a bomb explosion at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, ended up killing five people and wounding several others.