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Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe? Analytical Essay


The rise of China has become one of the most important phenomena taking place in the world. Policy makers and international relations scholars have come up with numerous debates due to the rise of China. The history of the Chinese government stretches over years, but it is not short of powerful dynasties.

Most countries perceived the Chinese government as a great power in the 1940s. This perception was because of the efforts that were coming from United States, which was meant to enhance the status of China as a great power.

This was done in order for China to counterbalance other countries, which had great power like the Japanese government (Blankert, p. 50). This paper focuses on the aspect of the rise of China and whether it is a threat to European countries.

Perceptions concerning China’s rise

China’s rise has raised concerns among many policy makers. This is because of the various threats that have emerged from this aspect. Such threats have been identified as China’s economic threat, military threat, energy threat, and civilization threat among others.

The perception of China being a threat has existed for some time now. For example, in 1949, the United States perceived china as a great enemy. The fact that China’s economy is opening up to the outside world can be regarded as a threat or an opportunity.

China should not be underestimated at any point because it has large reserves for foreign exchange and surpluses in trade. Its increased capability to manufacture various products enabled the country to be ranked among the leading countries in the world economy (Xing, p.59).

As pointed out by Lardy, China’s current market not only presents great opportunities for most of the businesses in Europe, but also the United States (para. 7). This is because the large business opportunities in China outweigh the loss of most jobs from Europe and the US.

This has made Europe have a lot fear because this means that they will experience job drain to China. The rapidly expanding economic growth and large involvement in global trade have made China rise economically. This has also been contributed to by direct investments inflows from foreign countries.

The European economy has come up with policies that try to react to China’s rise due to the fear they hold against China. Europe’s fear stems from the realization that Europe is in the midst of banking and sovereign debt crisis. The assertions in Europe by some policymakers over the European relations China have raised some questions.

This is because of the approach used by the European countries to emphasize on conditionality and encouragement of quality governance. Again, it is because of the approach of the Chinese to put emphasis on investment in infrastructure.

The Chinese analysts noted that the real source of economic threat was the Europeans. This is because the Europeans were still in fear of the developments realized by the Chinese government both economically and in military dimension. Cooney and Yoichir believed that China was too weak to threaten the western power (p. 16).

However, according to other policy makers, China is associated with numerous threats. China is said to be a threat to America and Japan, which serves as an affirmation to China’s national identity. In this case, the Chinese views the rise of China as a result of a pursuit of China’s rejuvenation.

This rejuvenation is the psychological power which was embodied in the concept of China’s rise. This is reflected in the strong belief of the Chinese that the rise of China is meant to restore the lost status rather than gaining any new prospects.

Therefore, the rise of China as viewed by Chinese is meant to restore fairness instead of taking advantage of other countries. This explains why the Chinese people are yearning for increased advancement of their economy, which is too weak for China to go back to its position (Cooney and Yoichir, p. 58).

China’s Economic Prospects

China’s gross domestic product had grown higher than in the past years when the country’s economic reform program was officially launched. China has had the fastest long term rate of growth as compared to countries worldwide.

Therefore, this has elicited a lot of fear in the neighboring countries like Japan, the US, and Europe. This has made the country expand and maintain its growth even in times of global recession. For example, in the year 2002, the expansion of Chinese economy was ten times higher than that of Japan.

This made China be ranked third in the world economy. Again, the external trade in China has also expanded more than its economy has expanded. This has been reflected in the country’s openness. For example, in the year 1977, China contributed to 0.6 percent of the overall world trade, which ranked it the seven largest in the global economy.

China’s trade performance had been very strong for quite some time since 1980s until 2001 when it shrank and began again to recover in 2002. Another factor that contributes to China’s rise is the inflows of foreign direct investment.

This signaled China’s intention to open its economic sector after emerging the best in a joint venture law that triggered the creation of special economic zones. China’s economy continues to create a surprise to the neighboring countries.

This is because even when the global inflows continue to decline to low levels, the inflows to China continue to increase at a high rate. This has made China’s economy pose a threat to its neighbors. Although this can be a great threat to its neighbors, it is fair to say that its improved economic performance is not a clear guarantee of its success (Lardy, para. 8).

Europeans view on China’s rise

The rise of China leaves most of the countries with a great opportunity that is not limited to its economic coverage area. Some countries like the United States have resorted to frequent use of military solutions because of the slow process of diplomacy. China’s rise is aimed at power restoration and hence stability of the whole region.

Some manufacturers and labor unions blame the factory jobs lost in European countries to the rapidly rising bilateral trade deficit that the European countries have with the Chinese government. The European governments continue to wonder what negative consequences that the rise of China will have on them.

This means that the Europeans have the fear that China’s economic development will threaten their security. This has made the European countries consider China as a strategic threat. Some of the economists resolve that Europe should make an agreement on the sale of products within their territories.

They should limit sale of any product that is of low standard. They should also increase job opportunities in their home country and stop Chinese from exploiting cheap currency (Cooney and Yoichir, p. 19).

With its present rate of rising gross domestic product, china would soon go beyond Europe as it has happened with Japan. This is because the Chinese government acquires resources from various regions in the globe so as to increase the investments on infrastructure.

It is also working on its currency as it targets the European currency, which is its strength. Some other scholars have resolved that they do not see China as a great threat to the European economy. This is because Europe can also form its own foreign policies and a good relationship with China.

This can work out well and be beneficial if its structures are well galvanized. On the other hand, Europeans have reason to say that China is a threat to global stability more than the United States and other countries like Iran. This threat is not only viewed from the economic point of view, but from the military perspective.

The Chinese government has been developing high-tech weaponry that threatens the Europeans. Their main objective in this is to project power at a given time (Lardy, para. 13).

Again, China’s adequate labor and the absence of restraints in the environmental and the social sector mean that the country can threaten the whole world. These unfair acts are diminishing most of jobs in the entire world. Also, its demand, which has remained unsatisfied, has raised oil and mineral prices in the world.

Another threat is the fact that China makes use of its economic power to hook up other countries. Its high investments have secured unhealthy acts across most countries in Africa. This has given it the power to make use of other countries’ economic resources and cause exploitation to their efforts.

This has further been a great threat to Europe because China has engaged in colonization of some European countries. This has been witnessed where China has taken control of companies from the Portuguese. They have also taken the Greek ports and other opportunities because of the high economic power.

In addition, China has hindered the spread of democratic values by the Europeans. On the same note, China’s economic progress undermines the European aspirations. This has seen China become an inspiration to other countries (Shi, p. 213).

The rise of China has presented threats and opportunities not only for Europe, but also to the general global economy. The fact that it has an expanding trade has made it an engine of growth. This is because of the large amounts of capital goods that are imported and equipment used in the industry’s processing units.

China has also become an important market for most of the Europeans firms giving European a great challenge. Again, it has been found to be a challenge to most of the countries producing manufactured goods that require a lot of labor.

Such countries have started to invest directly in China resulting to unemployment in the home countries. On the other hand, China is determined to be among the leading global economic powers, and this will make restore its international pride. This is likely to be a threat than an opportunity to the Europeans.

Despite many uncertainties brought about by the neighboring countries, the Chinese still believe that they will realize their great power dream. If the rise of China is taken as the country’s restoration, then China will reject the threat theory by Europeans and refer to it as western prejudice.

It still appears that the Chinese are still confident of casting themselves as having responsible, great power (Hauser, p. 66). This is what helps China to be in a position of addressing other continents’ concerns as pertains to its rise. Again, from the European perspective, it is clear that the European countries will only accept the China’s economic growth and its rise so as to avoid seeing it as a threat to their economies.

This will change the European perception towards China’s rise in an effort to reap some benefits from this move. This is only possible if the two players are ready to form strong economic ties (Schmitt, p.104).


The Europeans should see China’s rise as playing a very significant role in the world by recovering the economy. Therefore, they should allow China to take some roles in world affairs. This will contribute to a great advancement in science and technology in the world. Therefore, the rise of China can be heralded as having made positive contributions to the world.

Although China is causing displacement of production in the European market, the challenge is not great. As has been discussed, there is no doubt that China’s rise has led to loss of job opportunities. This has forced the European economy to adjust to this aspect.

Therefore, the rise of China can be viewed with mixed signals. It can be seen as a threat, as well an opportunity. However, the Europeans should take it as an opportunity so as to turn around and reap benefits that can be drawn from this phenomenon.

Works Cited

Blankert, Jan W. China Rising: Will the West Be Able to Cope: The Real Long-Term Challenge of the Rise of China. Singapore: World Scientific, 2009. Print.

Cooney, Kevin and Sato Yoichiro. The rise of China and international security: America and Asia respond. New York: Routeledge pub. 2009. Print.

Hauser, Gunther. China: The Rising Power. Frankfurt, M: Lang, 2009. Print.

Lardy, Nicholas. The Economic Rise of China: Threat or Opportunity? 2003. Web.

Schmitt, Gary J. The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition. New York: Encounter Books, 2009. Print.

Shi, Wei. Intellectual Property in Global Trading System: Eu-China Perspective. Berlin: Springer Berlin, 2008. Print.

Xing, Li. The Rise of China and the Capitalist World Order. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Pub. Co. 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 30). Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-the-rise-of-china-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-europe/

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"Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe?" IvyPanda, 30 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/is-the-rise-of-china-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-europe/.

1. IvyPanda. "Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe?" December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-the-rise-of-china-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-europe/.


IvyPanda. "Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe?" December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-the-rise-of-china-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-europe/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe?" December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-the-rise-of-china-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-europe/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Is the Rise of China a Threat or an Opportunity for Europe'. 30 December.

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