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Zócalo Public Square
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Is China Prepared to Lead the Global Economy?

A Zócalo/UCLA Anderson Event
Moderated by Julie Makinen, former Beijing Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times
As America retreats from global leadership—blowing up trade agreements, questioning longstanding security alliances, dropping out of the Paris climate accord—China is stepping into the void. In purchasing-power terms, the Chinese economy already is larger than its U.S. counterpart. And Xi Jinping’s regime is building China-led global institutions, expanding his nation’s infrastructure investments deep into the developing world, and defending trade agreements and globalization in the face of Trumpian protectionism. Yet for all its advances, China remains a developing country itself, with one of the world’s most repressive governments. Is China rich enough to be the global economic top dog? Is it trusted enough to lead Asian markets that have been unnerved by recent Chinese military adventurism in the Himalayas and the South China Sea? And does China possess sufficient rule of law and the institutional accountability to command the respect of the international financial order? UCLA Anderson economist Jerry Nickelsburg, biotech executive Yiwen Li, UCLA Anderson business administration scholar Christopher S. Tang, and UC San Diego political economist Ruixue Jia visit Zócalo to examine when, if ever, China may assume global economic leadership.