China Won 2020
After a rocky start, China has clearly ended 2020 on a high note, having brought the pandemic under control and strengthened its position both in Asia and on the global stage. Though the world has been spared another four years of Donald Trump, America and its allies will have their work cut out for them.
BERLIN – In future history books, 2020 will be known as the year of the great COVID-19 pandemic, and rightly so. But it will also be remembered as the year when US President Donald Trump’s vile tenure was brought to an end. Both episodes are closely connected and will leave lasting traces, partly because they unfolded during a broader global transition from the US-dominated twentieth century to a Chinese-dominated twenty-first century.
Against this backdrop, 2020 proved to be a highly successful year for China. To be sure, things didn’t look that way at its start, when a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was rampaging through the metropolis of Wuhan. Serious failures by Chinese authorities permitted that outbreak to grow into a pandemic that has now killed almost 1.5 million people and brought the global economy to a standstill. Earlier in the year, it looked as though China’s central leadership was facing a deep crisis of confidence. Coming on the back of a trade war with the United States, COVID-19 momentarily brought the country to its knees.
Since then, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s forceful suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong has further increased Western distrust. The administrative clampdown under a draconian new national-security law ends the era of “one country, two systems,” and raises grave questions about the future of Taiwan.