On February 16, we published the new edition of our MERICS China Security and Risk Tracker. Every quarter, our experts analyze the latest developments in China and in global affairs and their implications for governments and corporates in Europe. On February 17, we invited MERICS Members and key stakeholders for an off-the-record briefing and discussion of recent events and the outlook for 2022.
It will be a complicated year for the Chinese Communist Party. The party will be focused on domestic issues and internal political jockeying, and will want to prevent any major instability from disrupting its plans for the upcoming 20th Party Congress. This will reduce opportunities for meaningful exchanges with foreign counterparts. The “dynamic zero-Covid” strategy is also likely to keep the country’s borders closed. The resulting measures and lockdowns may disrupt supply chains and trigger social tensions, especially as more COVID outbreaks seem inevitable after the Olympics.
The international environment also poses major challenges for China. Despite signs of growing Sino-Russian convergence, the crisis in Ukraine could put Beijing in an uncomfortable position, given its reluctance to damage its relationship with its closest partner and its simultaneous unwillingness to legitimize or encourage military interventionism.
Relations with the EU and the US will continue to deteriorate in 2022. Economic coercion against Lithuania is catalyzing European measures to protect the bloc’s economic security. Technological competition with the US will become one of the core elements of the Sino-American relationship, as China works to reduce its dependence on foreign technologies and supply chains.
All of these issues will shape China’s behavior throughout this highly sensitive year, and they create clear risks for foreign actors with a presence in or close relations with China.
Francesca Ghiretti, Analyst EU-China Relations
Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, Head of Program Science, Technology and Innovation
Helena Legarda, Lead Analyst Foreign Relations
Bernhard Bartsch, Director External Relations at MERICS
This event was for MERICS Members and key stakeholders in a confidential setting and by personal invitation only.