Xi Targets U.S. in Public Comments


Chinese President Xi Jinping | Image by plavi011

In a rare and unusual move, Chinese President Xi Jinping directly criticized U.S. policy on Monday, blaming it for undermining China’s economy and national security.

During a speech to China’s top political advisory body on March 6, Xi said, “Western countries—led by the U.S.—have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression against us, bringing unprecedentedly severe challenges to our country’s development,” per The Wall Street Journal.

In the past, Xi has refrained from publicly criticizing the U.S. and would tend to employ vague terms like “other countries” instead of naming them directly.

This departure from the norm comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China.

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pointed to China’s aggressive attempt to “shape the international rules-based system to suit its authoritarian preferences” as one of the greatest threats to global order.

In the last few weeks, Beijing and Washington have butted heads over alleged spy balloons, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and trade sanctions, especially those affecting advanced semiconductor chips.

As the WSJ reported, the latest rhetoric in Xi’s speech — namely the term “containment” — harkens to the era of the Cold War.

Some experts have suggested that Xi’s speech might be a way to turn the U.S. into a scapegoat in a bid to silence some of his own critics.

As Shirley Martey Hargis, a nonresident fellow at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, told the WSJ, “It’s either take the blame or shift it.”

China has recently been weakened by the country’s zero-COVID measures, outbreaks, population decline, and political dissent, as The Dallas Express previously reported.

Xi’s speech also appears to appeal to Chinese nationalism. As previously reported by the WSJ, since he took office in 2012, Xi has made Chinese ascendancy both in terms of the military and the economy his top priority. Implicit in this vision is a relative decline in Western power.

Above all, Xi’s speech, which was directed at politicians connected to the private business sector, seemed to be a rallying call to strive for wealth and “common prosperity,” per Bloomberg.

Beijing is seeking a targeted economic growth of around 5% this year. To achieve this, Xi urged the private business sector to strengthen innovation and play a greater role in establishing technology independence, according to Bloomberg.

After Xi’s speech, Chinese stocks trading in Hong Kong had added 1.6% as of 10:52 a.m. local time, Bloomberg reported. Tech shares from Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, and JD.com Inc. were the largest point contributors.

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