Navigating Geopolitical Risk and China Challenges – GRI Summit 2023
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Margaret McCuaig-Johnston from the China Strategic Risks Institute reviewed the political, geopolitical, humanitarian and business conditions in China and other countries under its influence. She painted a picture of a regime growing steadily more ambitious, bold and dangerous in its international stance.
McCuaig-Johnston spoke about human rights abuses, including forced labour, unlawful arrests, and millions of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Christians imprisoned or held in indoctrination camps. She also commented on the Belt and Road Initiative, which was originally intended as China’s strategy to invest in the developing world. However, concerns have arisen because this has turned a number of countries in Africa, Asia and South America into deeply-indebted vassal states.
Turning to economic concerns, McCuaig-Johnston described a Chinese economy in decline, with GDP and consumer demand falling, high debt and high youth unemployment. She said continued failure to maintain economic stability could weaken the regime’s hold on power.
McCuaig-Johnston strongly suggested that Canadian businesses and investors consider decoupling from China. She spoke about current Canadian business and research partnerships with China being a “one-way street”, with party officials interfering with business decisions, forcing foreigners to share information with the Chinese military, and even “disappearing” foreign CEOs. She said the situation will only get worse as Xi Jinping prepares to annex Taiwan in advance of a party leadership review in 2028.
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