Departures Podcast with Joanna Chiu, author of ‘China Unbound: A New World Disorder’

In early December, the administration of US President Joe Biden convened a mostly virtual democracy summit, in which some of the world’s largest economies were invited to participate and provide a clear framing of the agenda – and a clear poke in the eye of China and Russia.

In response, Chinese state media trolled Biden with Harry Potter jokes about the fallibility of democracy as a system, and then went back to their regular efforts to redefine international norms and present its top-down authoritarian system as not just legitimate but ideologically superior to liberal multiparty democracies.

This week we’re very excited to have Toronto Star reporter Joanna Chiu join the podcast to discuss her book, “China Unbound: A New World Disorder,” which presents eight different case studies of recent tensions and conflicts Western countries have had with China’s rise which help illustrate this fundamental question of how Beijing is reacting to a series of challenges.

Chiu’s book examines Canada’s infamously naive experience with China and the arrest of the “two Michaels,” but also looks at the encroachment on Hong Kong, the persecution of underground churches, Australia’s economic dependence, and the vast expansion of China’s surveillance police state.

Taken altogether, we can see China’s drive toward authoritarianism as being shaped from the distrust of past colonial experiences, but the new world order they are creating – with little effective resistance – leaves many questions open.