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June 1, 2023

The Trouble with China’s Global Civilization Initiative (on The Diplomat)

US Army War College

R. Evan Ellis

History is marked by the recurring tragedy of publics rallying around leaders with attractive-sounding rhetoric, from new constitutions to government-led development and social justice, to prosperity through privatization. Whether on the right or the left, the most consistent outcome is to empower and benefit the elites selling the concept.

China’s new Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), announced by Xi Jinping in his March 15 keynote speech to the Chinese Communist Party High-Level Dialogue with World Political Parties, fits neatly into the global tradition of leaders selling attractive-sounding concepts whose practical implications ultimately benefit them.

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