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The miracle of modern China was built on global connections, a belief that sending young people, companies and future leaders to soak up the outside world was the route from impoverishment to power. Now, emboldened by its transformation, the country is shunning the influences and ideas that nourished its rise.

The country’s most dominant leader in decades, Xi Jinping, seems intent on redefining China’s relationship with the world, recasting the meeting of minds and cultures as a zero-sum clash.

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