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The Rise of Chinese Neo-Imperialism

  • Richard E.
  • Feb, 2020
  • 146
  • World News

In recent world history, there has been “colonialism” and then what was termed “neo-colonialism,” which was first coined by the Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah.

The first stage of colonialism was based more on the establishment of colonies which was to be for the economic benefit of the colonial power. The colonies would supply the colonial power with the raw materials which were used to manufacture those goods which were then sold to the colonies, creating a dependency between both the colonial power and the colonies themselves.

In contrast to colonialism, neo-colonialism was characterized by the use of economic and cultural relationships between former colonial powers without the use of blunt military force.

The second stage of neo-colonialism began at the end of World War Two, with the rise of the economic, political and military dominance of the United States. From 1945 to 2003 (the beginning of the Iraqi War) the United States was the preponderant economic, political and military power of the world. Medhi Ben Barka characterized the United States as the premier neo-colonial power, as it was the primer capitalist power in the world after World War Two. Medhi Ben Barka disappeared in October 1959, and it was later established that he had been murdered by Moroccan and French intelligence agents and his body disposed of.

The terms “colonialism” and “neo-colonialism” can both be grouped together under the concept of “imperialism.” Imperialism is generally accepted to be from the 3rd century BC to the mid-1800s. The term “neo-imperialism” is described from the mid-1800s to the end of World War Two.

The United States prior to the start of World War Two had been a rabid anti-colonial power; yet practiced colonialism in its control of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. With the end of neo-colonialism, or the first stage of imperialism at the end of World War Two, the United States, as discussed above, emerged as the dominant force in world politics and practiced a form of neo-imperialism through the use of politics, economics and military power. This dominance has waned largely as a result of its disastrous involvement in the Iraqi War which began in 2003.

Power Abhors a Vacuum

A new type of neo-imperialism is beginning to emerge with the rise of China, and at the same time, the rise of sovereign wealth funds as U.S. power wanes.

With the economic and political power of the United States waning throughout the world, coupled with the rise of China as the world’s manufacturing factory along with a new source of economic power with the rise of sovereign wealth funds, a new form of neo-imperialism appears to be dawning on the world political scene. This article will discuss the Chinese use of its newfound economic power, coupled with the use of Chinese sovereign wealth funds to describe the Chinese “rising imperialism.”


With the economic reforms in China beginning in 1978 championed by Deng Xiaoping and his reformist allies after the ouster of the Gang of Four, China’s economy began to dramatically expand. Prior to these reforms, the Chinese economy was closed to the outside world and dominated by state-owned enterprises and central planning. Up to 1973, the Chinese average GDP was 2.9%. Since the reforms began, the average GDP rate has been 9.5%, but recently growth has slowed to an average of 6% a year.

The reforms of 1978 began with the de-collectivization of agriculture, and permission being granted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for individual businesses to emerge without control of the CCP. It should be noted that this freedom has recently been restricted by the Xi Jinping regime. By placing CCP cells in privately owned businesses and the passage of the 2017 Chinese National Intelligence Law, the current CCP regime has the authority and the right to have Chinese private companies assist the Chinese intelligence services in collecting intelligence in any country these businesses have offices in, as well as obtaining western technology that is vital to the Chinese military.

While the growth of the Chinese economy has been stunningly successful, a closer look at the dismal state of the Chinese economy before the economic reforms began, can shed some light as to the dramatic increase of wealth in China. The majority of Chinese economic growth can be explained by the absolute poverty of China prior to the reforms in 1978. There was a tremendous vacuum for growth, and the reforms faced little resistance by the CCP.

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