Changing China

Giant on the move

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China is powerful. Now what?


What exactly is China’s grand strategy? Diplomats, academics and, yes, journalists have spent countless hours, pulled out innumerable hairs and spilled endless ink trying to figure out where the fast-rising power is headed and what it will want when it gets there.

But China itself sometimes seems much less sure of its political and economic goals than outside experts believe. Great power can breed great uncertainty about what to do. A vivid illustration of that came in a speech on Friday by Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s central bank governor.

Zhou noted that China had a seat at the high table at the G20 crisis summit in London in April, was winning more voting rights at the International Monetary Fund and would help draw up new international financial guidelines.

“But we are confronting a challenge,” Zhou said. “You are better represented, your voice is louder and you have more speaking rights, but have you really thought about what you want, about what affects China and the world in China’s eyes, about what is important?”