Hybrid CoE Trend Report 5: Trends in China’s Power Politics

The future direction of China, under the increased economic and institutional pressure both domestically and internationally, means that the use of hybrid threats in its modes of power projection are likely to intensify. This Hybrid CoE Trend Report looks at China’s strategic emergence in global affairs by highlighting three interrelated trends which inform the rationale and main determinants of China’s conduct of hybrid threat activity and strategic policy. The Trend Report underlines that:

1) China increasingly asserts its power in areas not strictly economic through a spillover effect;

2)Economic statecraft is the primary practice through which China seeks to advance its strategic interests and

3) Regime preservation remains the chief purpose of Chinese geostrategic statecraft.

China is seeking great power status and it is significantly expanding its global influence. The outbreak of the COVID-19 has underlined the country’s centrality in globalized economic and trade relationships. In this context China will continue to use hybrid threats as force multipliers and coercion tactics to compensate for difficulties the country has been facing as well as to balance under-performing policies and strategies. China deploys a combination of means to secure its influence and control over critical sources of economic growth. The use of ambiguous and ubiquitous modes of operation by China to create confusion to obfuscate meaningful responses will continue to structure the country’s pattern of projection of power.

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Trend Report

An outcome of the meetings of Hybrid CoE expert pools, composed of top-ranking experts from different Hybrid CoE Participating States. Highlights trends and theme clusters related to hybrid threats, provides multiple perspectives on current security challenges and generates academic discourse on the topic. Aims to distinguish between what constitutes a threat, what appears to be a threat but is not necessarily one, and what has the potential to become one.

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