I think they're trying to pick up some of the balls America is dropping in the region. China was also involved in some diplomacy talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan recently and if I remember right, after the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal went under, China has been trying to position itself to be even more of an economic influence. They're also setting some of their own environmental targets 1 2 and I read an article recently that their capital punishment rate has been dropping steadily since the early 2000s. If I remember right, after decades their poverty levels are still dropping and their literacy levels are still rising (though the whole education in China seems to be a bit of a mixed bag) and I think those are good things.
The Western Media likes to poo-poo China a lot and to be fair they do have a lot of problems they need to work through 1 2. But so do we. So does a lot of Europe. So does pretty much every country except for Free Magical Unicorn Economic Social Equality Land. In general, countries need to dial back the dickish behavior a bit. I think what I'm trying to say though, is that as a country I think they realize this is their time to take advantage of a changing world but I also see signs that they also realize they need to step up and be more conscientious of the amount of power and responsibility they wield. I'm concerned but also hopeful.
Edit: Added some Wikipedia links.
Edit 2: Added some recent news stories to illustrate what I'm seeing.