On September 5th the World Affairs Council of Charlotte welcomed Richard McGregor, Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, for a thought-provoking dialogue regarding the current political relationship between the United States and China and the transformational nature of Chinese internal politics.

In his opening remarks, McGregor looked to clear up some common misconceptions on China’s political system and its economy. He noted that “China is not a communist country, but it has a communist government, which essentially governs from behind the scene.” In China today, individuals have the right to work where they choose, deposit their funds in a bank of their selection, and purchase modern luxuries where as a truly communist country would make these freedoms unimaginable. Even though the core of the communist economic system has changed dramatically, the central Chinese government has been careful to control the nature of politics in-country through its control on personnel, propaganda and the People’s Liberation Army. This brings back the point that China isn’t really a true communist country, but rather a nation governed by an administration that prefers communist ideology.

China has seen drastic changes over the years, and as always with change there can be speed bumps along the way. It is currently facing the threat of their own financial crisis, taking away the confidence they once had in their economy. While China continues to move away from communist-like tendencies every day, McGregor cautions that change must be gradual as to not cause a catastrophic global impact.

With the U.S. heavily invested in China’s economy and China using U.S. troops as security, these two world powers are unarguably tied together.  China seeks to become more independent from the U.S. by strengthening their military and defense. With U.S. and China relations having a history of political discord, McGregor believes that there will be an inevitable clash between these two powers with time telling who comes out on top.

Summary by Michael Mendoza, UNC Charlotte (WAC Charlotte Intern – Fall 2013)