How China Loses cover

Many fear that China’s economic clout, tech innovations, and military power will allow it to remake the world in its own authoritarian image. But despite all these strengths, a future with China in charge is far from certain. Rich and poor, big and small, countries around the world are recognizing that engaging China produces new strategic vulnerabilities to their independence and competitiveness.

How China Loses tells the story of China’s struggles to overcome new risks and endure the global backlash against its assertive reach. Combining on-the-ground reportage with incisive analysis, Luke Patey argues that China’s predatory economic agenda, headstrong diplomacy, and military expansion undermine its global ambitions to dominate the global economy and world affairs. In travels to Africa, Latin America, East Asia and Europe, his encounters with activists, business managers, diplomats, and thinkers reveal the challenges threatening to ground China’s rising power.

At a time when views are fixated on the strategic competition between China and the United States, Patey’s work shows how the rest of the world will shape the twenty-first century in pushing back against China’s overreach and domineering behavior.


“A fascinating analysis of how China, under Xi Jinping, has turned into its own worst enemy. This is essential reading for those wishing to understand the boomerang effect from Xi’s overreach.”
Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research
“Timely and important, this is, in a way, a book about what not to do for a nation to manage its hard power in foreign affairs. Today we are fixated with trade wars and geopolitical conflicts between China and the US, but this book tells us that there is another wave of conflicts emerging from the horizon–those between China and countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a sobering read and it should be recommended to all those who are students of China and of world affairs.”
Yasheng Huang, Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
“How does the growing rivalry between the US and China play out in the rest of the world? Patey has traveled to Africa, Latin America, and Europe to ask both Chinese and locals about the ups and downs of their evolving relationship. He offers a detailed and compelling ground-eye view of the complications China faces as it takes on its new and global role. This is invaluable reading for anyone trying to understand China’s power projection–where it succeeds and how it falls short.”
Lucy Hornby, China Correspondent, Financial Times
“In this COVID-and-after era, there is a pressing need for informed correctives to the propaganda of Chinese triumphalism or the illusion that America can somehow lead the global order back to business as usual. Patey’s How China Loses is the kind of intellectual medicine the world requires a comprehensive account of Beijing’s overreach, and how middle powers in Europe and elsewhere can push back to find a settling point.”
Rory Medcalf, Professor, National Security College, Australian National University, and author of Indo-Pacific Empire
“Citing the diplomatic and international relations experiences of several nations in their engagement with China, Patey argues importantly why and how they should push back against ways in which China is trying to reshape the world.”
George Magnus, Associate, Oxford University China Centre; Research Associate, SOAS London; and author of Red Flags: Why Xi's China is in Jeopardy
“These valuable books focus on the many forms of resistance that China is encountering as its influence expands.”
Foreign Affairs, Read full review here