2020 - REVISED REPORT - CHINA AND THE GLOBAL LIBERAL ORDER

Lord JOPLING (United Kingdom)

14 October 2020

The contemporary global liberal order, established in the aftermath of World War II, and the values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and rule of law that underpin it have formed the foundation of the Alliance since its creation. Using its expanding military capabilities, economic power and political influence as both a means and a justification, China is increasingly questioning this order and its liberal principles.

This draft report discusses China’s incremental inclusion into the global liberal order and the multilateral institutions that form its basis, and analyses Beijing’s attempts to create alternative structures. It provides an overview of China’s political system and foreign policy and examines Beijing’s lack of compliance with fundamental liberal values and international human rights standards. Finally, it highlights efforts made by China to promote and export its authoritarian governance model beyond its borders and offers an initial analysis of how the Chinese authorities are bolstering these efforts in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. 

This draft report concludes that Beijing’s attempts to undermine the global liberal order pose a threat to the common values that define the Alliance. It argues that, in response to this threat, Allies must reaffirm their unity and resist those actions undertaken by China at home and abroad that are unacceptable, while at the same time keeping the door open for a frank but constructive dialogue with this rapidly rising power.