Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Great Hall of the People on Monday. Xi said that Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang described their talks with Secretary Blinken as candid and in-depth. Also Read: Blinken to meet Xi, State Department says, in bid to ease US-China tensions "The Chinese side has made its position clear, and the two sides have agreed to follow through on the common understandings President Biden and I reached in Bali," said Xi, adding that the two sides also made progress and reached agreement on some specific issues. Also Read: Blinken opens second day of talks in Beijing on mission to ease soaring US-China tensions State-to-state interactions should always be based on mutual respect and sincerity, said Xi. "I hope that Secretary Blinken, through this visit, could make positive contributions to stabilizing China-U.S. relations." Also Read: Blinken opens second day of talks in Beijing on mission to ease soaring US-China tensions
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week highlighted China’s aspirations for a greater role on the world stage. But they also revealed the perils of global diplomacy: Hours after Friday's announcement of the trip, an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin on war crimes charges, taking at least some wind out of the sails of China's big reveal. The flurry of developments — which followed China's brokering of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations and its release of what it calls a “peace plan” for Ukraine — came as the Biden administration watches warily Beijing's moves to assert itself more forcefully in international affairs. U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he believes the decision by the International Criminal Court in The Hague to charge Putin was “justified.” Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for his Delaware home, he said Putin “clearly committed war crimes.” While the U.S. does not recognize the court, Biden said it “makes a very strong point” to call out the Russian leader for his actions in ordering the invasion of Ukraine. Other U.S. officials privately expressed satisfaction that an international body had agreed with Washington’s assessment that Russia has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Also read: International court issues an arrest warrant for Putin Asked about the Xi-Putin meeting, Biden said, “Well, we’ll see when that meeting takes place.” The Biden administration believes China's desire to be seen as a broker for peace between Russia and Ukraine may be viewed more critically now that Putin is officially a war crime suspect, according to two U.S. officials. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the matter publicly, said the administration hopes the warrants will help mobilize heretofore neutral countries to weigh in on the conflict. A look at the Xi-Putin meeting and how it may be affected by the warrant. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF XI MEETING WITH PUTIN? The visit to Russia will be Xi's first foreign trip since being elected to an unprecedented third term as China's president. It comes as Beijing and Moscow have intensified ties in steps that began shortly before Russia's invasion of Ukraine with a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing during last year's Winter Olympics at which they declared a “no limits” partnership. Since then, China has repeatedly sided with Russia in blocking international action against Moscow for the Ukraine conflict and, U.S. officials say, is considering supplying Russia with weapons to support the war. But it has also tried to cast itself in a more neutral role, offering a peace plan that was essentially ignored. The meeting in Moscow is likely to see the two sides recommit to their partnership, which both see as critical to countering what they consider undue and undeserved influence exerted by the U.S. and its Western allies. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ICC ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR PUTIN? In the immediate term, the ICC's warrant for Putin and one of his aides is unlikely to have a major impact on the meeting or China's position toward Russia. Neither China nor Russia — nor the United States or Ukraine — has ratified the ICC's founding treaty. The U.S., beginning with the Clinton administration, has refused to join the court, fearing that its broad mandate could result in the prosecution of American troops or officials. That means that none of the four countries formally recognizes the court's jurisdiction or is bound by its orders, although Ukraine has consented to allowing some ICC probes of crimes on its territory and the U.S. has cooperated with ICC investigations. In addition, it is highly unlikely that Putin would travel to a country that would be bound by obligations to the ICC. If he did, it is questionable whether that country would actually arrest him. There is precedent for those previously indicted, notably former Sudanese President Omar Bashir, to have visited ICC members without being detained. However, the stain of the arrest warrant could well work against China and Russia in the court of public opinion and Putin's international status may take a hit unless the charges are withdrawn or he is acquitted. WHAT IS THE VIEW FROM WASHINGTON? U.S. officials have not minced words when it comes to Xi's planned visit to Moscow. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s push for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine a “ratification of Russian conquest” and warned that Russians could use a cease-fire to regroup their positions “so that they can restart attacks on Ukraine at a time of their choosing.” “We do not believe that this is a step towards a just, durable peace,” he said. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan this week called on Xi to also speak with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian leader has also expressed interest in talks with Xi. WHAT IS THE VIEW FROM KYIV? Speaking before the ICC warrant was unveiled, Ukrainian analysts cautioned against falling into a potential trap ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting. “We need to be aware that such peace talks are a trap for Ukraine and its diplomatic corps,” said Yurii Poita, who heads the Asia section at the Kyiv-based New Geopolitics Research Network. “Under such conditions, these peace talks won’t be directed toward peace,” said Nataliia Butyrska, a Ukrainian analyst on politics related to Eastern Asia. She said the visit reflects not so much China's desire for peace but its desire to play a major role in whatever post-conflict settlement may be reached. “China does not clearly distinguish between who is the aggressor and who is the victim. And when a country begins its peacekeeping activities or at least seeks to help the parties, not distinguishing this will affect objectivity,” Butyrska said. “From my perspective, China seeks to freeze the conflict.” WHAT IS THE VIEW FROM MOSCOW? Even if China stops short of providing military assistance to Russia as the U.S. and its allies fear, Moscow sees Xi's visit as a powerful signal of Chinese backing that challenges Western efforts to isolate Russia and deal crippling blows to its economy. Kremlin spokesman Yuri Ushakov noted that Putin and Xi have “very special friendly and trusting personal ties” and hailed Beijing’s peace plan. “We highly appreciate the restrained, well-balanced position of the Chinese leadership on this issue,” Ushakov said. Observers say that despite China’s posturing as a mediator, its refusal to condemn the Russian action leaves no doubt about where Beijing’s sympathy lies. “The Chinese peace plan is a fig leaf to push back against some Western criticism on support for Russia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The optics that it creates is that China has a peace plan, both parties of war endorsed it and were ready to explore the opportunities and then it was killed by the hostile West.” WHAT IS THE VIEW FROM BEIJING? Chinese officials have been boasting about their new-found clout in the international arena as their country's foreign policy has become increasingly assertive under Xi. In announcing the Xi visit, China's foreign ministry said Beijing's ties with Moscow are a significant world force. “As the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an important power, the significance and influence of China-Russia relations go far beyond the bilateral scope,” it said. It called the visit “a journey of friendship, further deepening mutual trust and understanding between China and Russia, and consolidating the political foundation and public opinion foundation of friendship between the two peoples for generations.” ___
Barely a month after granting himself new powers as China’s potential leader for life, Xi Jinping is facing a wave of public anger of the kind not seen for decades, sparked by his draconian “zero COVID” program that will soon enter its fourth year. Demonstrators poured into the streets over the weekend in numerous cities including Shanghai and Beijing, chanting slogans and confronting police. A number of university campuses also experienced protests. Such widespread demonstrations are unprecedented since the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that was crushed with deadly force by the army. Most people in the weekend protests focused their anger on rigid pandemic lockdowns, a form of virtual house arrest that can last for months and has been criticized as neither scientific nor effective. But some also shouted for the downfall of Xi and of the Communist Party that has ruled China with an iron fist for 73 years, criticism that is deemed seditious and punishable by years in prison. Protesters expressed frustration over a system that is neither performing as promised or responding to their concerns. So far, the response from the authorities has been muted. Some police in Shanghai used pepper spray to drive away demonstrators, and some protesters were detained and driven away in a bus. However, China's vast internal security apparatus is famed for identifying people it considers troublemakers and carting them off from their homes when few are watching. Police in Shanghai also beat, kicked and handcuffed a BBC journalist who was filming the protests. Authorities said they arrested him for his own good “in case he caught COVID from the crowd," the BBC said in a statement. “We do not consider this a credible explanation," it said. The possibility of further protests is unclear, and government censors have been scrubbing the internet of videos and messages supporting the demonstrations. Read: China crowds angered by Covid curbs openly urge Xi to resign The central government, meanwhile, reiterated its stance that anti-coronavirus measures should be “targeted and precise" and cause the least possible disruption to people's lives. That doesn't appear, however, to be reflected at the local level. Cadres are threatened with losing their jobs or suffering other punishments if outbreaks occur in their jurisdictions, prompting them to adopt the most radical options. Xi's unelected government doesn't seem to be overly concerned with the hardships brought by the policy. This spring, millions of Shanghai residents were placed under a strict lockdown that resulted in food shortages, restricted access to medical care, and harsh economic pain. Nevertheless, in October, the city's most powerful official, a longtime Xi loyalist, was appointed to the Communist Party's No. 2 position. The party has long imposed oppressive surveillance and travel restrictions on those least able to oppose them, particularly Tibetans and members of Muslim minority groups such as Uyghurs, more than 1 million of whom have been detained in camps where they are forced to renounce their traditional culture and religion and swear fealty to Xi. But this weekend's protests included many members of the educated urban middle class from the majority Han ethnic group. That's exactly the demographic the party relies on to sustain an unwritten post-1989 agreement in which the public accepted autocratic rule and a lack of civil liberties in exchange for improvements in quality of life. But now the party's implementation of its “zero COVID" policy shows it is reinforcing its control at the expense of the economy, meaning that the old arrangement has ended, said Hung Ho-fung of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “The whole situation is reflecting that the party and the people are trying to seek a new equilibrium, and there will be some instability in the process,” he said. To develop into something on the scale of the 1989 protests would require clear divisions within the leadership that could be leveraged for change, Hung said. Xi all but eliminated such threats at an October party congress, when he gave himself a new term and packed the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee with loyalists, sending two potential rivals into retirement. “Without the clear signal of party leader divisions ... I would expect this kind of protest might not last very long,” Hung said. It's “unimaginable” that Xi would back down, and the party is experienced in handling protests, Hung said. Read: Protests over China's COVID controls spread across country With its “zero COVID” policy, imposed shortly after the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, China is now the only major country still trying to stop all transmission of the virus rather than learning to live with it. That has kept China’s infection numbers lower than those the United States and other major countries, but public acceptance of the restrictions has worn thin. People who are quarantined at home in some areas say they lack food and medicine. The ruling party faced public anger following the deaths of two children whose parents said anti-virus controls hampered their efforts to get medical help. And the case numbers continue to rise, jumping in the past week from less than 30,000 per day to 40,273 on Monday. While China initially had a strong vaccination program, that has lost momentum since the summer. The current protests erupted after a fire on Thursday killed at least 10 people in an apartment building in the city of Urumqi in the northwest, where some residents have been locked in their homes for four months. That prompted an outpouring of angry questions online about whether firefighters or people trying to escape were blocked by locked doors or other pandemic restrictions. China has persevered with the policy despite criticism from the normally supportive head of the World Health Organization, who called it unsustainable. Beijing dismissed his remarks as irresponsible. And on Sunday, White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said measures such as shutdowns are only intended to be temporary. “It seems that in China it was just a very, very strict extraordinary lockdown, where you lock people in the house, but without any seemingly end game to it,” Fauci said on NBC's Meet the Press. Yet Xi, an ardent nationalist, has politicized the issue to the point that exiting the “zero COVID” policy could be seen as a loss to his reputation and authority. “Zero COVID” was “supposed to demonstrate the superiority of the ‘Chinese model,' but ended up demonstrating the risk that when authoritarian regimes make mistakes, those mistakes can be colossal," said Andrew Nathan, a Chinese politics specialist at Columbia University who edited The Tiananmen Papers, an insider account of the government's response to the 1989 protests. Read: Biden says he and Xi have a “responsibility” to show US, China can “manage differences” “But I think the regime has backed itself into a corner and has no way to yield. It has lots of force, and if necessary, it will use it," Nathan said. “If it could hold onto power in the face of the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989, it can do so again now."
President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened their first in-person meeting Monday since the U.S. president took office nearly two years ago, amid increasing economic and security tensions between the two superpowers as they compete for global influence. Xi and Biden greeted each other with a handshake at a luxury resort hotel in Indonesia, where they are attending the Group of 20 summit of large economies. As they began their conversation, Biden said he and Xi have a “responsibility” to show that their nations can “manage our differences” and identify areas of mutual cooperation. Xi added that he hoped the pair would “elevate the relationship” and that he was prepared to have a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” with Biden. Both men entered the highly anticipated meeting with bolstered political standing at home. Democrats triumphantly held onto control of the U.S. Senate, with a chance to boost their ranks by one in a runoff election in Georgia next month, while Xi was awarded a third five-year term in October by the Communist Party’s national congress, a break with tradition. “We have very little misunderstanding,” Biden told reporters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Sunday, where he participated in a gathering of southeast Asian nations before leaving for Indonesia. “We just got to figure out where the red lines are and ... what are the most important things to each of us going into the next two years.” Biden added: “His circumstance has changed, to state the obvious, at home.” The president said of his own situation: “I know I’m coming in stronger.” White House aides have repeatedly sought to play down any notion of conflict between the two nations and have emphasized that they believe the two countries can work in tandem on shared challenges such as climate change and health security. But relations between the U.S. and China have grown more strained under successive American administrations, as economic, trade, human rights and security differences have come to the fore. Read: Biden, Xi coming into highly anticipated meeting with bolstered political standing at home As president, Biden has repeatedly taken China to task for human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities, crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan and differences over Russia’s prosecution of its war against Ukraine. Chinese officials have largely refrained from public criticism of Russia’s war, although Beijing has avoided direct support such as supplying arms. Taiwan has emerged as one of the most contentious issues between Washington and Beijing. Multiple times in his presidency, Biden has said the U.S. would defend the island — which China has eyed for eventual unification — in case of a Beijing-led invasion. But administration officials have stressed each time that the U.S.’s “One China” policy has not changed. That policy recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defense ties with Taipei, and its posture of “strategic ambiguity” over whether whether it would respond militarily if the were island attacked. Tensions flared even higher when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan in August, prompting China to retaliate with military drills and the firing of ballistic missiles into nearby waters. The Biden administration also blocked exports of advanced computer chips to China last month — a national security move that bolsters U.S. competition against Beijing. Chinese officials quickly condemned the restrictions. And though the two men have held five phone or video calls during Biden’s presidency, White House officials say those encounters are no substitute for Biden being able to meet and size up Xi in person. That task is all the more important after Xi strengthened his grip on power through the party congress, as lower-level Chinese officials have been unable or unwilling to speak for their leader. Asked about the anticipated meeting, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said last week at a news briefing that China was looking for “win-win cooperation with the U.S.” while reiterating Beijing’s concerns about the U.S. stance on Taiwan. Read: Biden-Xi meeting: US trying to understand where China really stands “The U.S. needs to stop obscuring, hollowing out and distorting the One China principle, abide by the basic norms in international relations, including respecting other countries’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs,” he said. Xi has stayed close to home throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, where he has enforced a “zero-COVID” policy that has resulted in mass lockdowns that have roiled the global supply chains. He made his first trip outside China since start of the pandemic in September with a stop in Kazakhstan and then onto Uzbekistan to take part in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Putin and other leaders of the Central Asian security group. White House officials and their Chinese counterparts have spent weeks negotiating out all of the details of the meeting, which is taking place at Xi’s hotel with translators providing simultaneous interpretation through headsets. U.S. officials were eager to see how Xi approaches the Biden sit-down after consolidating his position as the unquestioned leader of the state, saying they would wait to assess whether that made him more or less likely to seek out areas of cooperation with the U.S. Biden and Xi each brought small delegations into the discussion, with U.S. officials expecting that Xi would bring newly-elevated government officials to the sit-down and expressing hope that it could lead to more substantive engagements down the line. Before meeting with Xi, Biden first held a sit-down with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is hosting the G-20 summit, to announce a range of new development initiatives for the archipelago nation, including investments in climate, security, and education. Many of Biden’s conversations and engagements during his three-country tour — which took him to Egypt and Cambodia before he landed on the island of Bali on Sunday — were, by design, preparing him for his meeting with Xi and sending a signal that the U.S. would compete in areas where Xi has also worked to expand his country’s influence. Read: Biden to meet China's Xi on Monday for Taiwan, Russia talks In Phnom Penh, Biden sought to assert U.S. influence and commitment in a region where China has also been making inroads and where many nations feel allied with Beijing. He also sought input on what he should raise with Xi in conversations with leaders from Japan, South Korea and Australia. The two men have a history that dates to Biden’s time as vice president, when he embarked on a get-to-know-you mission with Xi, then China’s vice president, in travels that brought Xi to Washington and Biden through travels on the Tibetan plateau. The U.S. president has emphasized that he knows Xi well and he wants to use this in-person meeting to better understand where the two men stand. Biden was fond of tucking references to his conversations with Xi into his travels around the U.S. ahead of the midterm elections, using the Chinese leader’s preference for autocratic governance to make his own case to voters why democracy should prevail. The president’s view was somewhat validated on the global stage, as White House aides said several world leaders approached Biden during his time in Cambodia — where he was meeting with Asian allies to reassure them of the U.S. commitment to the region in the face of China’s assertive actions — to tell him they watched the outcome of the midterm elections closely and that the results were a triumph for democracy. U.S. officials said no joint communique was expected after the meeting with Xi and downplayed expectations for policy breakthroughs. The White House said Biden planned to hold a press after his meeting with Xi.
There won’t be concessions from the U.S. side. No real deliverables, which is government-speak for specific achievements. Don’t expect a cheery joint statement, either. During President Joe Biden’s highly anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the leaders will be circling each other to game out how to manage a relationship that the U.S. has determined poses the biggest economic and military threat. At the same time, U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed that they see the two countries’ interactions as one of competition — and that they want to avoid conflict. Here’s a look at what each side is hoping to achieve out of the leaders' first in-person encounter as presidents, to be held on the island of Bali in Indonesia: FOR THE UNITED STATES Essentially, Biden and other U.S. officials are trying to understand where Xi really stands. In a news conference shortly before leaving Washington, Biden said he wanted to “lay out … what each of our red lines are, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States.” Read more: Biden to meet China's Xi on Monday for Taiwan, Russia talks That mission has become all the more imperative since the conclusion of the Community Party congress in Beijing, during which Xi secured a norm-breaking third term as leader, empowering him even further. It’s a goal that will be much more readily achieved in person, White House officials say, despite Biden and Xi’s five video or phone calls during the U.S. president’s term. Biden told reporters on Sunday that he's “always had straightforward discussions” with Xi, and that has prevented either of them from “miscalculations” of their intentions. “I know him well, he knows me,” Biden said. “We've just got to figure out where the red lines are and what are the most important things to each of us, going into the next two years.” The U.S. president will want to send a message to Xi on White House concerns about China’s economic practices. Taiwan is sure to come up, and Biden will want to emphasize to Xi that the U.S. will stand ready to defend the self-governing island should it come under attack by China. Biden also will seek to make clear his concerns about Beijing’s human rights practices, as he has in their previous interactions. Read more: Xi, Biden exchanging views on China-U.S. ties, issues of common concern Biden will also use the meeting to press for a more aggressive posture from Xi on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese leader has largely refrained from public criticism of Vladimir Putin’s actions while declining to actively aid Moscow by supplying arms. “We believe that, of course, every country in the world should do more to prevail upon Russia, especially those who have relationships with Russia, to end this war and leave Ukraine,” said U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Finally, U.S. officials say they’re eager to see where the two superpowers could actually collaborate. Though there are numerous areas in which Biden and Xi won’t see eye to eye, the White House has listed several issues where they conceivably could, including health, counternarcotics and climate change. FOR CHINA Xi has yet to give a wish list for talks with Biden, but Beijing wants U.S. action on trade and Taiwan. Perhaps most importantly, the Group of 20 gathering in Bali and the meeting with Biden give China's most powerful leader in decades a stage to promote his country's image as a global player and himself as a history-making figure who is restoring its rightful role as an economic and political force. China pursues “increasingly assertive foreign and security policies aimed at changing the international status quo,” Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister who is president of the Asia Society, wrote in Foreign Affairs. That has strained relations with Washington, Europe and China's Asian neighbors, but Xi is unfazed and looks set to be more ambitious abroad. The meeting is “an important event of China’s head-of-state diplomacy toward the Asia Pacific,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian. He said Xi will “deliver an important speech” on economic growth. Read more: Biden, Xi talk more than 2 hours at time of US-China tension Zhao called on the Biden administration to “stop politicizing” trade and embrace Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, the self-ruled island democracy that split with the mainland in 1949 and never has been part of the People's Republic of China. Beijing wants Washington to lift tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2019 and to pull back on increasing restrictions on Chinese access to processor chips and other U.S. technology. Biden has left most of those in place and added curbs on access to technology that American officials say can be used in weapons development. “The United States needs to stop politicizing, weaponizing and ideologizing trade issues,” Zhao said. Xi’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate the elected government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen by flying fighter planes near the island and firing missiles into the sea. Beijing broke off talks with Washington on security, climate cooperation and other issues after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August in a show of support for its government. “The United States needs to stop obscuring, hollowing out and distorting the ‘one-China principle,’” said Zhao, referring to Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is obligated to join the mainland under Communist Party leadership. Another goal for Xi: Don’t get COVID-19. The G-20 will be only Xi's second foreign trip in 2 1/2 years while his government enforces a severe “Zero COVID” strategy that shut down cities and kept most visitors out of China. Xi broke that moratorium by attending a September summit with Putin and Central Asian leaders. But he skipped a dinner and photo session where Putin and others wore no masks.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of ruling Awami League, on Sunday congratulated Chinese president Xi Jinping on his reelection as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. “Your reelection is undoubtedly a fitting recognition of the trust and confidence reposed on you for your able leadership, achievements, and vision by the people of China and the CPC,” the prime minister said in a congratulatory letter to President Xi. “I also convey my sincere congratulations on the successful conclusion of the 20th Congress of the CPC,” she said. Hasina stated that Bangladesh observed with great admiration the realization of the First Centenary goal of the CPC- building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020- as set when President Xi first took over the position of the CPC's General Secretary in 2012. “We commend your resolve and guidance in taking China on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects through innovation, economic policies, people-centered development philosophy, and multi-sectoral reforms,” she wrote. She continued: “We welcome your endeavors to build a community of shared futures and appreciate your continued support of the socioeconomic development aspirations of developing countries. I believe you will contribute further to maintaining peace and stability across the globe in this challenging time.” Read: PM Hasina greets new UK Tory leader Lizz Truss PM Hasina recalled Xi's historic visit to Bangladesh in October 2016. She stated that the visit was marked by the transformation of bilateral relations between the two friendly countries into a 'Strategic Partnership of Cooperation.' She also recalled her visit to China in 2019, when she had a very productive meeting with the Chinese President. Hasina looked forward to working in close cooperation with the Chinese President to enhance the bilateral engagements further, strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and peoples, and promote peace and stability in the region and the world. She wished Xi Jinping continued success and good health in the coming days.
President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades, increased his dominance when he was named Sunday to another term as head of the ruling Communist Party in a break with tradition and promoted allies who support his vision of tighter control over society and the struggling economy. Xi, who took power in 2012, was awarded a third five-year term as general secretary, discarding a party custom under which his predecessor left after 10 years. The 69-year-old leader is expected by some to try to stay in power for life. On Saturday, Xi’s predecessor, 79-year-old Hu Jintao, abruptly left a meeting of the party Central Committee with an aide holding his arm. That prompted questions about whether Xi was flexing his powers by expelling other leaders. The official Xinhua News Agency later reported Hu was in poor health and needed to rest. The party also named a seven-member Standing Committee, its inner circle of power, dominated by Xi allies after Premier Li Keqiang, the No. 2 leader and an advocate of market-style reform and private enterprise, was dropped from the leadership Saturday. That was despite Li being a year younger than the party’s informal retirement age of 68. Xi and other Standing Committee members appeared for the first time as a group before reporters Sunday in the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China’s ceremonial legislature in central Beijing. The No. 2 leader was Li Qiang, a former Shanghai party secretary who is no relation to Li Keqiang. The holder of that post has since the 1990s served as premier, the top economic official. Zhao Leji, a member of the previous committee, was promoted to No. 3, which puts him in line to head the legislature. Those government posts are to be assigned when the legislature meets next year. Leadership changes were announced as the party wrapped up a twice-a-decade congress that was closely watched for signs of initiatives to reverse an economic slump or changes in a severe “zero-COVID” strategy that has shut down cities and disrupted business. Officials disappointed investors and the Chinese public by announcing no changes. The lineup appeared to reflect what some commentators called “Maximum Xi,” valuing loyalty over ability. Some new leaders lack national-level experience as vice premier or Cabinet minister that typically is seen as a requirement for the post. Li Qiang’s promotion appeared to support that analysis because it puts him in line to be premier with no background in national government. Li Qiang is seen as close to Xi after the two worked together in Zhejiang province in the southeast in the early 2000s. Li Keqiang was sidelined over the past decade by Xi, who put himself in charge of policymaking bodies. Li Keqiang was excluded Saturday from the list of the party’s new 205-member Central Committee, from which the Standing Committee is picked. Read: China’s Communist Party capable of new, greater miracles: Xi Jinping Another leader who left the Standing Committee was Wang Yang, a reform advocate suggested by some as a possible premier. Wang, 67, is below retirement age. Other new Standing Committee members include Cai Qi, the Beijing party secretary, and Ding Xuexiang, a career party manager who is regarded as Xi’s “alter ego” or chief of staff. Wang Huning, the party’s chief of ideology, stayed on the committee. The No. 7 member is Li Xi, the party secretary since 2017 of Guangdong province in the southeast, the center of China’s export-oriented manufacturing industry. None of the members is a woman or ethnic minority. The Central Committee includes 11 women, or about 5% of the total. Party plans call for creating a prosperous society by mid-century and restoring China to its historic role as a political, economic and cultural leader. Those ambitions face challenges from security-related curbs on access to Western technology, an aging workforce and tension with Washington, Europe and Asian neighbors over trade, security, human rights and territorial disputes. Xi has called for the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and a revival of the party’s “original mission” as social, economic and culture leader in a throwback to what he sees as a golden age after it took power in 1949. During the congress, Xi called for faster military development, more technology self-reliance and defense of China’s interests abroad, which raises the likelihood of further conflict. The party has tightened control over entrepreneurs who generate jobs and wealth, prompting warnings that rolling back market-oriented reforms will weigh on economic growth that sank to 2.2% in the first half of this year, less than half the official 5.5% target. Under a revived 1950s propaganda slogan, “common prosperity,” Xi is pressing entrepreneurs to help narrow China’s wealth gap by raising wages and paying for rural job creation and other initiatives. Xi, in a report to the congress, called last week for “regulating the mechanism of wealth accumulation,” suggesting entrepreneurs might face still more political pressure, but gave no details. “I would worry if I were a very wealthy individual in China,” said economist Alicia Garcia Herrero of Natixis. In his report, Xi stressed the importance of national security and control over China’s supplies of food, energy and industrial goods. Xi said the party would build “self-reliance and strength” in technology. He gave no indication of possible changes in policies that prompted then-President Donald Trump to launch a tariff war with Beijing in 2018 over its technology ambitions. An “important guideline” from the congress is the “doubling down on the state’s role and the greater focus on national security,” said Garcia Herrero and Gary Ng of Natixis in a report. The party has poured money into nurturing Chinese creators of renewable energy, electric car, computer chip, aerospace and other technologies. Other governments complain Beijing improperly subsidizes and shields its suppliers from competition. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has kept punitive tariff hikes on Chinese goods and this month increased restrictions on China’s access to U.S. chip technology. The party has tightened control over private sector leaders including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group by launching anti-monopoly and data security crackdowns. Under political pressure, they are diverting billions of dollars into chip development and other party initiatives. Their share prices on foreign exchanges have plunged due to uncertainty about their future. Read: China moves to solidify Xi's dominance in leadership shuffle The party will “step up its industrial policy” to close the “wide gap” between what Chinese tech suppliers can make and what is needed by smartphone, computer and other manufacturers, said Garcia Herrero and Ng. Xi gave no indication Beijing will change its “zero-COVID” strategy despite public frustration with repeated city closures that has boiled over into protests in Shanghai and other areas. Xi’s priorities of security and self-sufficiency will “drag on China’s productivity growth,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, Sheana Yue and Mark Williams of Capital Economics in a report. “His determination to stay in power makes a course correction unlikely.” The central bank governor, Yi Gang, and bank regulator, Guo Shuqing, also were missing from Saturday’s Central Committee list, indicating they will retire next year, as expected. Xi suspended retirement rules to keep Gen. Zhang Youxia, 72, on the Central Committee. That allows Zhang, a veteran of China’s 1979 war with Vietnam, to stay as Xi’s deputy chairman on the commission that controls the party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army. The party elite agreed in the 1990s to limit the general secretary to two five-year terms in hopes of avoiding a repeat of power struggles in previous decades. That leader also becomes chairman of the military commission and takes the ceremonial title of president. Xi has directed an anti-corruption crackdown that snared thousands of officials including a retired Standing Committee member and deputy Cabinet ministers. That broke up party factions and weakened potential challengers. Xi is on track to become the first leader in a generation to pick his own successor but has yet to indicate possible candidates or when he might step down. Hu Jintao and his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, both were picked in the 1980s by then-supreme leader Deng Xiaoping. Xi had the ruling party remove the two-term limit for president from China’s constitution in 2018. Chinese officials said the change would allow Xi to stay if needed to complete reforms. Ahead of the congress, banners criticizing Xi and “zero COVID” were hung from an elevated roadway over a major Beijing thoroughfare in a rare protest. Photos of the event were deleted from social media. The popular WeChat messaging app shut down accounts that forwarded them. Xi’s government also faces criticism over mass detentions and other abuses against mostly Muslim ethnic groups and the jailing of government critics.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) is fully confident and capable of creating new and even greater miracles on the new journey of the new era, Xi Jinping said as the 20th CPC National Congress came to a conclusion Saturday. The CPC congress has realized its goals of unifying thinking, fortifying confidence, charting the course and boosting morale, Xi told 2,338 delegates and specially invited delegates present at the closing session of the weeklong congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. "This has been a congress of holding our banner high, pooling our strength, and promoting solidarity and dedication." At the closing session presided over by Xi, the congress elected a new CPC Central Committee, with 205 members and 171 alternate members, and a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) consisting of 133 members. The congress passed a resolution on the report of the 19th CPC Central Committee, a resolution on the work report of the 19th CCDI, and a resolution on an amendment to the CPC Constitution. Read:China moves to solidify Xi's dominance in leadership shuffle The congress noted that the establishment of Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has set the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on "an irreversible historical course." The report of the 19th CPC Central Committee charts the course and establishes a guide to action for the new journey for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for realizing the Second Centenary Goal, Xi said. Hailing the report "a guiding Marxist document," Xi said it is a political declaration and a program of action for the CPC to rally and lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in securing new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CCDI work report underscores the significance of using the Party's own transformation to steer social transformation, and declares the Party's firm resolve to keep improving conduct, promoting integrity and fighting corruption with sober-minded determination to make this an unceasing endeavor, Xi said. On the revised CPC Constitution, which came into effect as of the date of adoption, Xi said it encapsulates the theoretical, practical and institutional innovations made by the Party. The revised CPC Constitution sets out clear requirements for upholding and strengthening the Party's overall leadership, promoting the Party's full and rigorous self-governance, continuing and improving Party building, and advancing the Party's self-reform, he said. The new developments in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era since the 19th CPC National Congress have been incorporated into the Party Constitution. Advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization has been designated as the central task of the Party on the new journey of the new era at the 20th CPC National Congress. This central task has been included in the revised Party Constitution. Also added to the Party Constitution are statements on gradually realizing the goal of common prosperity for all, pursuing high-quality development, developing a broader, fuller and more robust whole-process people's democracy, elevating the people's armed forces to world-class standards, resolutely implementing the policy of One Country, Two Systems, and resolutely opposing and deterring separatists seeking "Taiwan independence." Holding dear humanity's shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom was also included in the Party Constitution. On the newly elected CPC Central Committee, Xi said it is a broadly representative and well-structured body with highly qualified members who meet the standards for Central Committee membership, match the expectations of ordinary officials and the general public, and reflect the realities of the Party's leadership teams and contingent of officials. The new CPC Central Committee will definitely be capable of shouldering the historic mission of rallying and leading the whole Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and in advancing national rejuvenation on all fronts, he said. "We believe that all the decisions and plans set out at the congress and all its outcomes will play a significant role in guiding and underpinning our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects, advance national rejuvenation on all fronts, and secure new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics," Xi said. Xi called on the delegates to firmly keep in mind the Party's original aspiration and founding mission and the country's most fundamental interests, and firmly keep in mind that "this country is its people; the people are the country." During the congress, the central committees of other political parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce as well as public figures from all ethnic groups and all sectors in China offered their congratulations, as did members of the public through various means. Political parties and organizations in many countries around the world also sent congratulatory messages. "The presidium of the congress wishes to express its heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them," Xi said. Read: China’s Communist Party congress pledges continuity, not change Having come through a century of great endeavor, the Party is once again embarking on a new journey on which it will face new tests, Xi noted. "We are fully confident and capable of creating new and even greater miracles on the new journey of the new era -- miracles that will amaze the world." Xi urged all Party members to stay closely rallied around the CPC Central Committee and hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. "We must remain confident in our history, exhibit greater historical initiative, and have the courage to fight and the mettle to win," he said. Xi called on the Party to stay focused, determinedly forge ahead, and unite and lead all Chinese people in striving to fulfill the goals and tasks set out at the 20th CPC National Congress.
Xi Jinping said on Sunday (October 16, 2022) that the Communist Party of China (CPC) will implement its overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and unswervingly advance the cause of national reunification. "Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese," said Xi at the opening session of the 20th CPC National Congress. "We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. This is directed solely at interference by outside forces and the few separatists seeking 'Taiwan independence' and their separatist activities; it is by no means targeted at our Taiwan compatriots," he said. Read China’s Communist Party conference starts: Xi expected to receive a third term Xi said that the wheels of history are rolling on toward China's reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. "Complete reunification of our country must be realized, and it can, without doubt, be realized!" "We will encourage people on both sides of the Strait to work together to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds," Xi said. "We will encourage people on both sides of the Strait to work together to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds," he said. "We have always shown respect and care for our Taiwan compatriots and worked to deliver benefits to them. We will continue to promote economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Strait," Xi Jinping said at 20th CPC National Congress regarding the resolvation of the Taiwan question. Read US would defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion: Biden
Twice every decade delegates from every nook and corner of country representing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) gather in Beijing’s ‘Great Hall of the People’ not only to choose their leaders, but also their policies. This year two and a half thousand such persons, selected by the membership of the CCP currently numbering nearly a hundred million, will gather in Beijing for this purpose. The 16th of October (today) has been selected as the date for the 20th National Congress. While announcing the schedule last August, the official Xinhua news agency described it as “new journey to build a modern socialist country in an all-round way and marching towards the goal of a second century of struggle”. To many such language may appear characteristically platitudinous. But to any serious student of China’s politics, each expression should be read as what it really is, packed with meaning. For instance, “a new journey” signals a deviation from the past which was marked by nearly untrammeled continuity of Deng Xiaoping’s pro-market policies; “a modern socialist country” implies a return to socialist values, but within a contemporary paradigm; “all round way” means the upcoming initiatives will be comprehensive; and “the goal of a second century of struggle” puts paid to any idea of the perception of a China pampered into passivity by domestic prosperity. So, while appearing to be circumlocutory and rambling the language of the Xinhua announcement was in reality terse and laconic. It was of a kind that would have done ancient Sparta proud. Mastering the substance and style of China’s messaging is in itself an art of politics the world is beginning to recognize, and take deep interest in. Read:China’s Communist Party conference starts: Xi expected to receive a third term For a variety of reasons there are many who would see these times as some of the more challenging for China in recent history. First there is the issue of Covid, which had its origin in that country, and the manner in which the authorities have chosen to address it, that is the ‘zero covid policy’. While it may have yielded desired results, the price is high. Local government budgets have come under enormous, and at times unsustainable, strain. There is a modicum of risk that it may provoke social discontent, and there already have been some evidence of it in some cities, including Shanghai. Second is the state of the economy, in which some sectors appear beleaguered. An example is the real state, which comprises 29 per cent of the GDP, and which is obviously struggling. Around US $ 1 trillion has been lost to value of companies due to consumer-tech crackdown, resulting in investor nervousness. The many wealthy beneficiaries of liberalism are now unsurprisingly weary of the policy of ‘common prosperity’ and allied redistribution. Read 'Taiwan question must be resolved by the Chinese': Xi says at 20th CPC Congress The third is an external reason, having to do with the Ukraine War. Many were questioning the wisdom of the proximity to Russia, whose plans seemed to be going awry. Indeed, President Vladimir Putin’s plans seem to be unravelling in the battlefield, and there is no telling what he might do if pushed back really hard against the wall! The above provide sufficient grist to the rumor mill. A story went around both in foreign mainstream and social media that a power struggle was on-going in China, and that a coup d’etat was on the cards. The rumour gained strength as Xi was indeed away from public view for a few days. But then he made an appearance to prove that the news of his political demise was most assuredly premature. On the contrary what is about to happen in the imminent National Congress is a massive endorsement of his policies. At a pre-session event, a senior functionary announced that the nation was looking to being led by “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era”. Xi’s grip over state power seems unshakeable. Read China says Ukraine crisis has sounded alarm for humanity This has come about due to a number of clear achievements that can be credited to Xi. At the very outset he set for himself the target of lifting 100 million people out of poverty by 2021, and he succeeded in doing it. He went after corruption in a ruthless manner and did not spare friend or foe. He prioritized tackling severe air and water pollution which were the result of decades of unfettered development. His ‘three antis’ notched up notable successes: ‘anti-poverty’, ‘anti-corruption’, and ‘anti-pollution’. He sought to discipline China’s behemoth bureaucracy and better equip it to focus on the new policy-guidelines. He modernized the military, making it leaner and more agile. He used skill and authority, often adroitly combined, to discourage opponents, or even eliminate them from the political arena. In the end it is now all but certain that the National Congress will give him what he seeks, a third extension in office, unprecedented in recent Chinese history. But the Chairman alone does not the Party make. To facilitate governance there is the Central Committee that the National Congress elects, which comprises around 370 members. At its top is the 25-member Politburo, at whose apex are 7 of them, called the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). It is the SC that is at the pinnacle of power. In many parts of the world, age for politicians is just a number, but in China it is very often a tool for weeding out inconvenient ones. This is achieved through the so-called principle of “7 Up and 8 -Down”, a rule that has never been codified, but is universally respected. It runs as follows: at the start of a National Congress, officials who are aged less than 67 can be promoted, while those who are 68 or above are expected to be retired. This time we are likely to see some exceptions. There are at least two to whom the age- bar will not apply. Xi himself, and possibly the competent trade czar, Liu He. Premier Li Keqiang, who has not reached 68, will remain in the Standing Committee, but may leave Premiership next year to become head of Parliament. The number ‘7’ for the PSC membership is not sacrosanct. It can be altered in response to perceived needs. There is already some talk of the possible addition of an Army General this time round. Could it signal a preparatory step towards possible conflict on Taiwan? Read: China's Xi expected to get third five-year term Most certainly, Xi will emerge stronger with his endorsement for the third term after the 20th Congress. He will then be the President of the State, General Secretary of the Party, and the Chief of the armed Forces. The moniker “Chairman of Everything” is undoubtedly an exaggeration, but it is also suggestive. It is possible, though not necessarily probable, that such consolidation of power will allow him the confidence required to be more accommodative towards perceived adversaries, like India and the United States; or the scope to rein in the protagonists in the Ukraine War from plunging the world into a nuclear Armageddon; or the wherewithal to urge calm upon North Korea, restraining it from the relentless, and dangerous, pursuit of missile testing. But for this he will require a degree of international empathy for him that would have to be sufficiently encouraging. He is likely to continue his domestic course-correction to curb the excesses of the post-Deng Xiaoping’s policies that have widened the rich-poor gulf. Through the “dual circulation” strategy attempts will be made to stimulate domestic economy and try reducing external dependence. Growth will be adjusted downwards in favor of redistribution, and the creation of more equitable society. To achieve those goals a more powerful State is likely. Read China looks to learn from Russian failures in Ukraine But Xi Jinping will need to be careful as so as not to take control to the point of snuffing out initiative. The challenge will be to find the appropriate equilibrium if his Zhang Guomeng or ‘China dream’ is to find fruition, and he is to leave behind a worthwhile historical legacy. Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury is the Honorary Fellow at the Institute of South Asia Studies, NUS. He is a former Foreign Advisor (Foreign Minister) of Bangladesh and President & Distinguished Fellow of Cosmos Foundation. The views addressed in the article are his own. He can be reached at: isasiac @nus.edu.sg