Trump's election has China's former critics looking to it to defend globalization – willingly or not

Just months ago, world leaders were fretting over the threat posed by an increasingly assertive China.

The country’s government oversaw the worst crackdown on dissent in nearly three decades. The Chinese built, then militarized, islands in disputed waters of the South China Sea. They tightened controls over the Internet, freezing out foreign firms while allowing their domestic competitors to prosper. 

Then the United States elected Donald Trump as president.

Now some of those same countries are looking to Beijing to defend international cooperation on matters as diverse as trade and climate change, propelling China to new heights on the world stage.

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