Xi Jingping Wins Third Term Amid Deteriorating US-China Relations

Chinese language President Xi Jinping has begun a historic third time period, cementing his place because the nation’s strongest chief since Mao Zedong. The Chinese language Communist Social gathering confirmed Xi’s third five-year time period at a celebration congress in Beijing this week, elevating extra Xi allies to high roles and demoting some who have been seen as potential rivals. Underneath Xi, China has taken a a lot stronger function in financial administration, in addition to a “zero COVID” coverage that has imposed extreme restrictions in an effort to regulate outbreaks through the pandemic. He has additionally overseen a rising surveillance state to silence dissent and goal ethnic minorities together with Uyghurs. “Previously 10 years since Xi got here to energy, the horrendous human rights violations Xi Jinping dedicated was simply hanging. And now he’s going to have one other 5 years at the very least,” says Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. We additionally communicate with Johns Hopkins College professor Ho-fung Hung, who says characterizing the U.S.-China rivalry as a “new Chilly Warfare” is deceptive, saying the international locations are as a substitute engaged in an “inter-capitalist competitors” over financial dominance inside China and elsewhere on the planet.

This can be a rush transcript. Copy might not be in its last kind.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, the Warfare and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We start at the moment’s present China the place Xi Jinping has begun a historic third time period as head of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering. The choice came visiting the weekend through the Social gathering’s congress which is held each 5 years. There was additionally a significant shakeup of the seven member Politburo Standing Committee which is China’s strongest political physique. China’s premier Li Keqiang, longtime rival to Xi, was demoted whereas 4 Xi loyalists have been promoted. The Social gathering’s high official in Shanghai, Li Qiang, seems set to develop into China’s new premier. He’s a detailed ally of Xi. He oversaw the tough COVID crackdown in Shanghai that lasted months.

Maybe essentially the most dramatic second of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering’s Congress got here when former President Hu Jintao was abruptly escorted out of the closing ceremony. He had been sitting proper subsequent to Xi Jinping when two males got here to escort him from his seat. Some analysts speculated the transfer was an assertion of Xi’s dominance. Chinese language state media later stated it was as a result of the previous chief was not feeling properly.

We flip now to look extra intently at the way forward for China as Xi Jinping begins a 3rd time period. Underneath Xi, China has continued a decades-long effort to eradicate excessive poverty. Some 800 million individuals have been lifted out of poverty over the previous 4 a long time in what UN Secretary Basic António Guterres has known as “the best anti-poverty achievement in historical past.” However Xi has additionally overseen a rising surveillance state to silence dissent and goal ethnic minorities, together with the Uyghurs. And Xi’s third time period comes at a time of rising rigidity between the U.S. and China over Taiwan and different points.

We go now to 2 visitors. Yaqiu Wang is Senior China Researcher at Human Rights Watch. She is in New York. And in Baltimore, Maryland, we’re joined by Ho-fung Hung, Professor of Political Economic system and Sociology at Johns Hopkins College. His books embody Conflict of Empires: From ‘Chimerica’ to the ‘New Chilly Warfare’ and The China Growth: Why China Will Not Rule the World. We welcome you each to Democracy Now! Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us. Professor Ho-fung Hung, let’s start with you. Speak in regards to the significance of what occurred this weekend. Speak about who Xi Jinping is and the way his insurance policies have modified through the years.

HO-FUNG HUNG: My pleasure to be right here. Thanks. What occurred over the weekend may be very vital, although we truly anticipated it to come back for some time, as a result of in 2018 Xi Jinping managed to abolish the 2 five-year time period restrict of the Chinese language presidents. That’s type of a time period restrict that Deng Xiaoping led to impose within the Chinese language Structure within the Eighties, as a result of after the Cultural Revolution, Deng and the Communist Social gathering leaders suppose that it isn’t good to have lifelong chief; it’s good to have verify and stability throughout the social gathering. Xi Jinping managed to remove this time period restrict, in order that not like his predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, who every served two five-year phrases as president of China, Xi can now theoretically serve limitless time period, till he dies, and he could be a lifelong chief of China.

This type of abolition of the time period restrict as a legacy of the Deng Xiaoping period is important. It was carried out in 2018 however individuals didn’t consider that each one the social gathering elite will let him truly do it to have one other, the third, five-year time period, however he managed to do it. He has simply confirmed over the weekend that he managed to do it. Not solely that, but in addition he managed to place all of his personal loyalties, absolute loyalties, within the Politburo Standing Committee. So the individuals from different factions, for instance, some individuals who [inaudible] to be within the Politburo Standing Committee or the Politburo who belong to the Hu Jintao, the earlier president faction, weren’t there. So evidently within the subsequent 5 years at the very least, Xi Jinping will set up his personal absolute private management of all the things in China with out a lot verify and stability throughout the social gathering.

AMY GOODMAN: Speak about what occurred this weekend. Do you suppose that was intentionally staged to take away the previous chief sitting subsequent to Xi Jinping, as a message that he was consolidating his energy? Or the truth is do you suppose it’s what China stated, what the federal government stated, that he wasn’t feeling properly?

HO-FUNG HUNG: In these type of rigorously choreographed rituals of the Communist Social gathering, it’s unimaginable that that is type of an accident or incident that’s completely out of nowhere. In fact there’s a risk that he truly felt unwell, however now extra video footage emerged from the Spanish and the Singaporean TV exhibiting what occurred earlier than former President Hu Jintao was escorted away from the Congress, and it didn’t seem to be he’s unwell in any respect. It seems within the video footage that he tried to open a folder with some paperwork and Li Zhanshu, who’s sitting subsequent to him, tried to forestall him from wanting on the doc and seized the folder, after which Xi Jinping known as any individual to come back and take him away. Initially, he seemed to be reluctant to depart. Then the guards and the individual behind Hu Jintao appears to be utilizing some type of power to take him away after which he ultimately left the Congress reluctantly. After he determined to depart, and he walked fairly quick, after which he can stroll on his personal, and it didn’t appear to me that he’s truly actually feeling unwell. I don’t suppose it’s the actual motive that he left.

Then, why Xi Jinping known as any individual to escort him and even actually forcefully take him away from the Congress? I believe Xi Jinping’s transfer is rigorously thought-about and calculated to indicate that he can do no matter he needs, and he may even take out a former president from the Congress in entrance of the digital camera. In fact individuals are speculating, and I believe it’s affordable to suppose so, that Hu Jintao won’t be very comfortable in regards to the so-called election results of the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee with none of his loyalties there, and Xi Jinping would possibly fear that he would possibly give a face or not elevating fingers or not clapping fingers within the last part, so it’s a risk that Xi Jinping intentionally requested any individual to take him out to forestall this embarrassment.

AMY GOODMAN: Yaqiu Wang of Human Rights Watch, your response to what has taken place and the importance of Xi Jinping starting this historic third time period?

YAQIU WANG: Effectively, I believe we anticipated this to occur as a result of in 2018, the time period restrict for the president was eradicated, however it was nonetheless a really miserable second as a result of it turned a truth. I talked to associates and households again in China; individuals have been depressed. As a result of prior to now ten years since Xi got here to energy, the horrendous human rights violations Xi dedicated was simply hanging. And now he’s going to have one other 5 years, at the very least. I believe individuals are anticipating issues can go worse, so individuals have been fairly depressed. On the identical time, individuals now are very offended with the zero-COVID coverage. Individuals are protesting in China. A man in Beijing posted a banner on a bridge and folks responded to that. So on the one hand, I see individuals are sad and depressed. Alternatively, I see individuals are waking up, they usually need to say, “I would like freedom. I would like human rights. I need to resolve how I’m ruled by my authorities.”

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ho-fung Hung, Xi’s human rights file, what which means and your evaluation of his function and the impact he has had on the Chinese language individuals? And your response to the U.N. Secretary-Basic António Guterres speaking about this what he known as monumental taking over—largest anti-poverty program in historical past?

HO-FUNG HUNG: Undoubtedly Xi Jinping, like his predecessor Hu Jintao, is type of a brutal repressor of human rights. It’s not that human rights violations began with Xi Jinping. Truly within the Jiang Zemin period, within the Hu Jintao period, we already see a variety of crackdowns within the Han majority space and in addition the non-Han minority areas. However Xi simply raised it to a brand new stage as we now are very a lot conscious of. What occurred to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, it’s taking place beneath Xi Jinping’s watch.

So by way of the repression of human rights, the Communist Social gathering, whether or not it’s collective management or it’s a one-man dictatorship, it has been just about the identical. What Xi Jinping introduced in one thing new in comparison with the Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin period is that he even cracked down brutally on his allies, his different elite throughout the Communist Social gathering. As a result of after Xi Jinping turned the president, he launched an anti-corruption marketing campaign. Then many elites, even senior officers and personal enterprise individuals, disappeared or mysteriously commit suicide or taken to jail beneath the title of anticorruption marketing campaign. Possibly individuals would see that it isn’t precisely anti-corruption marketing campaign; it’s extra like a purge. In China these days, not solely dissidents and minorities are afraid, but in addition some elites and middle-class.

Additionally Xi Jinping doubled down on increasing the state sectors, state corporations, and making non-public corporations and overseas corporations’ life harder in being profitable in China and preserving their wealth and jeopardizing their non-public property as properly. Within the subsequent 5 years on the very least, this sort of draconian coverage that I’d name some type of a North Koreanization of China politics and economic system, goes to double down and goes to get even worse.

AMY GOODMAN: Yaqiu Wang, the importance of Li Qiang? A longtime rival to Xi, he’s demoted, whereas his loyalist Li Qiang seems like he’s about to be China’s new premier. You talked about the crackdown in Shanghai however discuss in regards to the significance of the COVID crackdown, what it truly felt and regarded like on this huge metropolis.

YAQIU WANG: It lasted from April to June, for 2 months {that a} metropolis of 20 million individuals are confined to their houses. In consequence, individuals had large difficulties to have meals delivered to them and entry to hospitals. I’ve heard tales from individuals whose dad and mom had a coronary heart assault or different emergency they usually couldn’t go away their condo advanced, or even when they managed to depart their condo advanced, they couldn’t truly get into the hospital. So there are individuals who died because of the shortage of entry to hospital services. Then there have been the individuals who had no meals. Then there have been the individuals who misplaced their jobs they usually couldn’t pay to get meals delivered. So the human rights violations related to this draconian lockdown was huge. Then it ended, and the individuals say Li Qiang, the Social gathering secretary of Shanghai, is in the end liable for this, and now this man was promoted. So we are able to see Xi is rewarding individuals who have been loyal to his coverage reasonably than rewarding people who find themselves good for the general public.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ho-fung Hung, relations with China are, if not at an all-time low, extraordinarily dangerous proper now. I’m questioning when you can touch upon what’s going down. In one of many items you wrote, you stated the dynamics of U.S.-China rivalry is an inter-imperial rivalry pushed by inter-capitalist competitors. Competitors for the world market might quickly flip into intensifying clashes of spheres of affect and even battle. So that you’re not speaking in regards to the distinction of ideologies. In truth you’re speaking a couple of related capitalist ideology.

HO-FUNG HUNG: Sure, certainly. I personally am not not fairly supportive of the framing of the U.S.-China rivalry as a brand new Chilly Warfare. It’s a catchphrase used a variety of time these days, indicating that the distinction between China and U.S. is basically ideological and political. I consider course that this distinction is actual. It’s very true; there’s a big distinction. However it isn’t a crucial and ample situations that result in this rivalry between the U.S. and China at the moment. As a result of proper after the 1989 bloodbath, human rights is already an enormous concern about China within the dialogue within the U.S., and many individuals are already very sad about what’s going on in China with regard to human rights. And Tibet, Xinjiang. It’s an outdated downside, within the Nineteen Nineties, however within the Nineteen Nineties, U.S.-China relations get an increasing number of harmonious no matter this human rights distinction and political system distinction.

What’s totally different now compared to the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s is that again within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s, transnational companies, American companies, they’re very comfortable being profitable in China. They’ve a superb time in China, and they also don’t care about human rights, they don’t care about labor rights, they don’t care about all type of political distinction between U.S. and China. However as far as they’re making massive cash, they’re discovering it very worthwhile in China, so that they foyer the U.S. authorities, the U.S. Congress, to have a extra amicable and harmonious relation with China. At any time when there’s a concern about labor rights, human rights violation in China, within the Congress, they may foyer towards these payments, within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s. So the U.S. companies have been type of ambassadors of the Chinese language authorities to melt U.S. coverage on China, regardless that geopolitically and by way of human rights, political system, and beliefs, there may be already an enormous distinction.

What occurred round 2010 is that the China economic system began to lose steam. Their financial pie now not expanded that quick. Then the U.S. company market share in China began to stagnate and even decline, as a result of the Chinese language authorities helps the Chinese language state enterprise and Chinese language non-public enterprise to develop the market share in China and all over the world within the Belt and Highway international locations, on the expense of U.S. companies. So it’s the turning level.

U.S. companies hardly ever individually voiced their issues about this enterprise setting in China. In fact there’s additionally different issues like mental property theft and unfair competitors and unfair enforcement of laws, so on and so forth. They don’t voice this concern individually however within the survey, the nameless survey performed by for instance American Chamber of Commerce in China, and US-China Enterprise Council and all these sorts of enterprise associations within the U.S. all present the American enterprise in China scenario is deteriorating. They’re on the lookout for diversifying their funding, and they’re now not desperate to foyer within the names of Chinese language pursuits.

This is the reason the geopolitical distinction between U.S. and China, human rights and political distinction between U.S. and China can now prevail and affect largely the route of U.S.-China coverage. Essentially, it’s a type of inter-capitalist competitors between U.S. companies and China companies within the Chinese language market and within the Belt and Highway and all of the creating international locations’ markets that result in this deterioration of U.S.-China relations.

AMY GOODMAN: I wished to go to the flashpoint, Taiwan. Throughout his opening deal with on the Communist Social gathering Congress, Xi Jinping lauded his authorities’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressed the economic system, China’s army and overseas coverage. He additionally praised Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, claiming Hong Kong shifted from chaos to governance. President Xi additionally addressed the difficulty of Taiwan, which has develop into this flashpoint between China and the U.S.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING: [translated] The decision of the Taiwan situation is a matter for the Chinese language ourselves to resolve. We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceable reunification with the best sincerity and with the best effort. Nonetheless, we’re not dedicated to abandoning the usage of power and we reserve the choice of taking all crucial measures.

AMY GOODMAN: Yaqiu Wang, your response?

YAQIU WANG: I believe sure, it’s apparent that there’s extra aggressive rhetoric coming from the Chinese language authorities on the Taiwan situation, and I do know individuals in Taiwan are nervous. However on the identical time, I see individuals in Taiwan, they’re very protecting of the liberty, of the human rights they’ve, they usually arrange themselves collectively they usually need to preserve that freedom. They’re alert of the scenario and they’re energetic in pushing again the type of strain coming from China. Additionally I’m seeing that governments all over the world together with the U.S. authorities are additionally doing extra to help the colourful democracy in Taiwan. So sure, China has develop into extra aggressive, there may be extra hostile rhetoric. However on the identical time, I additionally see extra pushback from Taiwan and the democracies all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ho-fung Hung, your response?

HO-FUNG HUNG: Sure, truly I believe there are two sides of the query. On the one hand, China is closing nearer to utilizing army power to forcefully take Taiwan, on the one hand as a result of the Zero-COVID coverage, and plenty of issues it did, that Beijing did, over Hong Kong, present that it’s now not a regime that prioritize financial development and financial prosperity. They prioritize nationwide safety and management, absolute management of the Communists Social gathering. Even in terms of sacrificing the economic system, they may do it. So on that regard, that Beijing has much less restraint when it decides to assault Taiwan.

However then again, I believe the speedy army risk will not be there but. Since you have a look at, for instance, Russia’s army motion towards, invasion towards Ukraine, there’s a path, from the Russian overseas intervention and abroad army deployment in Georgia in 2008, Syria, and in addition Ukraine in 2014. So these dictators’ logic is that they fight a smaller-scale intervention, and in the event that they succeed, they get extra assured, extra assured, after which full-scale invasion.

And also you have a look at China; if the management remains to be rational, they may look again to their army historical past and they’ll discover that the final time China fought a battle abroad was 1979 towards Vietnam. And the final time China even have a severe army mobilization of its army, of its military, is 1989, which is towards its personal individuals. So China has not truly used the army towards any abroad goal for many years, so I don’t suppose it would simply bounce from zero to an all-out invasion of Taiwan.

However I believe that Beijing would possibly attempt to discuss up the army rhetoric, the risk, and in addition would possibly even do some restricted army motion to take some outlying islands of Taiwan, or some South China Sea Taiwan now managed by the Taiwan authorities, as a type of a risk, or perhaps a partial blockade of Taiwan, to create a type of tense scenario to affect the Taiwan election, to affect what Taiwan individuals would possibly need to elect for. If Beijing managed to get a few of its allies and even its brokers elected in Taiwan by means of election, then the pro-Beijing authorities can signal settlement with Beijing and do a variety of issues that U.S. can not discover a motive to intervene or to discourage.

However I’m assured that the Taiwan individuals may be very clear what’s going on they usually have a will they usually have the capability to defend their vibrant democracy, which is type of a miracle, and it’s why Beijing finds that Taiwan is a thorn on its again, as a result of it’s an ethnic Chinese language democracy, and a liberal society which may be very vibrant. It reveals that really democracy can work in Chinese language society, which truly contradicts Beijing’s propaganda that really democracy will not be appropriate for Chinese language individuals. So I’m assured that the Taiwan individuals could have the desire and capability and application to defend itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Ho-fung Hung, we need to thanks for being with us, Sociology Professor at Johns Hopkins College. And thanks a lot to Yaqiu Wang of Human Rights Watch. Once we come again, midterms are lower than two weeks away. Democrats are dealing with tight races. We’ll communicate with former Inexperienced Social gathering presidential candidate Ralph Nader and writer Mark Inexperienced about their undertaking Profitable America and the brand new report “Crushing the GOP, 2022.” Stick with us.