How will Chinese domestic politics evolve in the year of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 100th anniversary? Which issues are keeping Beijing up at night, and which new trends will define Sino-European relations going forward? To shed some light on these issues, MERICS conducted a survey of some 170 European China experts and roughly 1,000 members of the wider international public in December and early January. The results will be presented today at the online MERICS China Forecast 2021 event in Berlin and discussed by leading China specialists from Europe and the United States, including Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China from the University of Oxford, Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service, Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament, Professor Kristin Shi-Kupfer from the University of Trier, and Brookings Senior Fellow Arthur R. Kroeber.
Technological self-reliance and socio-economic stability dominate Chinese domestic politics
Internal priorities and a geopolitical landscape marked by continued Sino-American competition will affect Chinese domestic and economic policies in 2021. Respondents say no doubts remain about Xi Jinping’s grip on power. More than 80 per cent of all respondents expect him to continue to strengthen his position - interestingly, since the audience at last year’s MERICS Forecast event in January evaluated the coronavirus outbreak as a great risk to Xi’s legitimacy. After last year’s intensified crackdown in Hong Kong and new revelations about re-education camps in Xinjiang, respondents worry that Taiwan might be the next flashpoint. Almost 40 percent of the European China experts regard tensions surrounding Taiwan as the next trouble spot.