China’s authoritarian leaders fear that free Chinese people would oust them from power, as free people have done throughout the world.
One way Chinese leaders manage the threat to their rule is by provoking crises abroad and appealing to their people’s nationalism. The result is a vicious cycle of repression and potential instability that makes the world a more dangerous place.
Another way China’s leaders manage the threat to their rule is by creating an Orwellian surveillance state: Xi has concentrated unprecedented power in his own hands, using facial recognition and big-data technologies to monitor huge masses of people. For the same reason, his government now strives for world leadership in 5G networking and artificial intelligence.
China’s leaders primarily seek not the betterment of their people but the preservation of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule.
For them, politics outweighs all other considerations. Many Americans have a hard time grasping this reality because it’s not how we think about our own country. Our Declaration of Independence says that the government’s highest aim is to secure the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Politics in the United States serves, and is subordinate to, freedom, including economic freedom. In China, it’s the other way around. Economics serves politics, and the political goal is to strengthen the government’s power at home and abroad.
Source: Nikki Haley’s Vision for How to Win Against China