WHAT WILL XI JINPING’S LEGACY LOOK LIKE ?
Right now, we are seeing Xi’s and the CCP’s anger at the West for what it sees as intervention in China’s affairs and a rejection of their One-China policy. From Xi down through his politburo members such as Wang Yi the Foreign Minister, the anger is always there now and the rhetoric stringer than ever. It is fundamentally emotional child-like behaviour. The tantrum until it gets its won way.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit this week seems to have brought tensions between China and the US to a head – at least in China’s eyes. The US and the rest of us want only to see calmer heads prevail.
Xi and his CCP ramped up the conflict by implementing military exercises off Taiwan from midday Wednesday 3rd August until midday Sunday 7th. This time though, and unlike all the flyovers that have occurred since October 2021, Xi has shown his arrogance and aggression once again by encroaching on Taiwanese territorial waters and their airspace! 21 Chinese aircraft invaded Taiwan’s south western AIDZ!
Prior to Pelosi’s arrival even, the Chinese also banned imports of 100 primarily Taiwanese food products and also stopped its sand exports to Taiwan.
What will be interesting over coming weeks, will be to see if China does the unthinkable and try to forcibly seize of Taiwan’s islands. It is not commonly known, but Taiwan has 166 islands largely under its control and management. There are many others that are the subject of dispute.
The Kinmen and Matsu island groups are the closest to the Chinese mainland so they would probably be an easier target.
The 20th CCP Congress is coming up later this year in October or November. This will be Xi Jinping’s chance to extend his term by another 5 years. Given recent events including China’s exports and GDP dropping, Xi will not have it all his way. It will depend on whether he has any serious up and coming rivals. Many of Xi’s rivals have probably been ‘cleaned out’ during his anti-corruption purges but given that he is not popular with the younger people, younger rivals will pose a problem in the future. Of course at 69, Xi will be 74 at the 21st Congress in 2027. It would seem unlikely either way that he would gain a 4th term.
Once Xi loses the Presidency, China will be in a better position to recover its reputation in the world and head in a more palatable direction for all concerned.
So, after probably 14 years in power, Xi Jinping will leave a legacy that is positive in some aspects (eg. the removal of 1 million corrupt individuals is a plus), but largely negative in most other aspects – particularly internationally. Some of his ignominious legacy will include:
1. His treatment of the more than a million incarcerated Uyghurs deserves nothing but our contempt.
2. His constant claims over Taiwan and his stated desire to take Taiwan by force if necessary shows his arrogance, aggression and complete lack of facts.
3. His expansion of the PLA and PLA Navy has heightened world tensions with the West and especially the US.
4. His illegal claims to territories in the South China Sea and elsewhere display his arrogance and complete disregard for the United Nations and its legal findings.
5. He and the CCP become extremely touchy whenever accused of anything and as a result they exact their punishment. When Australia suggested an inquiry into the origins of COVID, Xi stopped all sorts of Australian goods from being imported including coal.
6. His Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has spread Chinese benevolence supposedly with the aim of assisting willing and usually impoverished countries. In reality, he has been all too ready to jump in and take possession of foreign assets when they default.
All in all, Xi Jinping may well be remembered in China alongside greats such as Mao and Deng but to the rest of the world, there will be a collective sigh of relief and a universal hope for far better and productive relations between the world and China.
China has a great history, chequered maybe, but it is still an amazing country. Xi Jinping left it blemished but, no doubt tourism will return and the world will again enjoy what the Han can every day.
Wouldn’t it be great if Xi could depart at this Congress and save us all the angst for another 5 years!
GB / AB