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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

China is beset by a trade war, pushback against its global infrastructure plans and allegations of industrial spying. Growth in factory production appears to be at its weakest in 24 years.

Parag Khanna, a Singapore-based global strategist, says that all of this may signal that, after years of forecasts of a Chinese juggernaut, we may have reached what he calls "peak China."

  • The 5G race: The highest-profile current global technological rivalry is in 5G, the coming step change in communications and connectivity. Huawei, the Chinese giant, is ahead both technologically and logistically. But the U.S. is pushing allies hard to block Huawei's system.
  • The U.S. is also pushing against Chinese espionage: In reports and presentations around the world, NSA and military officials are warning of a grave long-term threat by Chinese hacking.
  • Abroad, too, counter-balancing is going on: The EU, Japan and India have all launched cross-regional infrastructure initiatives meant to counter China's massive Belt and Road infrastructure system.

"China is experiencing in just three years of expansionism the kind of pushback it took 300 years to muster against some European empires," Khanna, author of "The Future is Asian," tells Axios.

  • China is fighting it: At a dinner in Washington, D.C., last night, hosted by Arizona State University, Slate and New America, Chen Futao, head of the science and technology section at the Chinese Embassy, argued against decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economies, a much-discussed idea in U.S. foreign policy circles.
  • Chen especially fought accusations that some Chinese students spy for Beijing and that Chinese companies steal technology for their products. "We believe our innovation is a result of our own research, not stealing," Chen said.

Go deeper: China’s formerly white-hot tech sector is in the doldrums

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.