How China's 'Big Cycle' Of History Is Repeating Itself With A Stormy Future Ahead

The "Big Cycle" in history refers to the rise and fall of empires and nations, which are influenced by various economic, political, and technological factors. China has recently entered a new phase in its Big Cycle, characterized by declining economic growth, increased authoritarianism, and heightened tensions with the West. This phase coincides with the rise of Xi Jinping, who has implemented radical reforms to reclaim China's former glory. While some view Xi as a strong leader who is tackling urgent issues, others perceive him as a threatening figure who suppresses dissent and curtails freedoms.

This article aims to discuss the Big Cycle theory and how it applies to modern China. The aftermath of World War II witnessed the convergence of five big forces: a debt bust, a civil war, an international great power conflict, natural disasters, and big technological changes. From 1949 to 1978, China experienced a post-war consolidation under Mao Zedong, marked by economic stagnation, political oppression, and isolationism. However, the era of Deng Xiaoshiang, from 1978 to 2012, brought significant economic growth, opening up, and moderation in leadership.

The current phase of China's Big Cycle, which began around 2012, is characterized by rising authoritarianism and nationalism, economic downturn, and heightened great power conflicts. The convergence of these forces has led to a "100-year big storm" threatening China's economic, political, and social stability. To understand the current picture in China and predict future trends, we need to consider these five big forces: economic performance, internal order, world order, acts of nature, and technology.

Xi's leadership in China today faces numerous challenges, including an economic downturn, increased authoritarianism, and tensions with the West. Understanding these challenges and their historical context can provide insights into China's future trajectory and how it will impact the world. While the West has enjoyed economic prosperity and technological advancements, China's recent rise and fall remind us that history often repeats itself, and the current global order may be due to change.

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