China's "Peaceful Rise" to Great-Power Status

Shanghai's financial district piercing the cloud cover, Shanghai, China, 2015. Aly Song / Reuters


China's rapid development has attracted worldwide attention in recent years. The implications of various aspects of China's rise, from its expanding influence and military muscle to its growing demand for energy supplies, are being heatedly debated in the international community as well as within China. Correctly understanding China's achievements and its path toward greater development is thus crucial.

Since starting to open up and reform its economy in 1978, China has averaged 9.4 percent annual GDP growth, one of the highest growth rates in the world. In 1978, it accounted for less than one percent of the world economy, and its total foreign trade was worth $20.6 billion. Today, it accounts for four percent of the world economy and has foreign trade worth $851 billion -- the third-largest national total in the world. China has also attracted hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment and more than a trillion dollars

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