Why China Needs to Manage Expectations

Beijing has let the gap between the myth and the reality of its power grow too wide.

|July 3, 2018

By George Friedman

The Americans behold China’s military and technological achievements and are afraid. Japan is in awe, the Europeans are regretful. That’s the message in recent Chinese media headlines – and it’s wrong, according to the People’s Daily, a Communist Party of China mouthpiece. In the first story in a three-part series, the People’s Daily warns the Chinese public that “[a]rrogance won’t make a country powerful.” In a separate story on Monday, the official newspaper of the Chinese army printed an editorial that said the People’s Liberation Army had “peace disease” that could undermine its ability to wage war. Both stories were subsequently referenced in the English-language South China Morning Post, ensuring that they would reach the English-speaking world.

China, as all countries do, has been emphasizing its achievements and celebrating its future. These two articles break the pattern and thus need to be taken seriously. They are not the rand

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