According to the National Power Index, China is ranked second to the United States. China is expected to remain in this position through at least the next ten years. I agree with this assessment. China is still growing rapidly in population, and the government cannot provide a consistent adequate standard of living for its population. The populace, dissatisfied with the standard of living in China, will continue to prevent the country from gaining more power globally. Although China is a strong military power, alliances are not secure enough to allow the country to attain the position of the world's strongest military.
People believe that because China has emerged at the forefront of global industry and holds a considerable amount of foreign debt that it is very powerful. The fact of the matter, however, is that China needs other countries as much as they need it. Without support of western business, China's economy would crash, and in a military struggle, most Western nations would likely align against it. From that perpsective, China actually has very little global power.
At this point in history, the United States is still the world's most powerful country. The U.S. dollar is the world's most desired currency, and the U.S. has the strongest, best trained military forces in the world. The U.S. also has abundant natural resources and a democratic system of government.
China is the strongest country in the world because it has one of the top economies in the world. It also holds control over other nations because it holds the debt of many other countries as well. Countries that have sold their debt to China are essentially long-term economic slaves to China.