WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Chinese leader Xi Jinping criticizes U.S. policy for suppressing China in a speech to top political advisors.
- Xi’s comments represent a departure from his previous indirect criticism of the U.S.
- Xi’s speech appears to be an attempt to shift blame away from his own policies and boost confidence in China’s private sector.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, gave a speech to top political advisors on Monday criticizing U.S. policy and blaming Washington for the challenges China faces. In the speech, he accused Western countries, led by the U.S., of implementing all-round containment, encirclement and suppression against China, which he said has brought unprecedentedly severe challenges to China’s development.
This is an unusual departure for Xi, who has generally refrained from directly criticizing the U.S. in public remarks. Xi’s criticism of the U.S. appears to be an attempt to shift blame away from his own policies, including tough Covid controls that have weakened the economy and pressure on technology companies that cost the industry some of its dynamism.
Xi’s speech comes at a time of simmering bilateral tensions between the U.S. and China over trade, technology, geopolitical influence, and discordant views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Xi’s use of the term “containment,” loaded with Cold War meaning, suggests that he is associating himself more closely with nationalist rhetoric, which attacks Washington.
However, the English-language version of Xi’s speech reported by Xinhua news agency didn’t refer to containment or the U.S. Instead, it quoted him telling fellow officials to “have the courage to fight as the country faces profound and complex changes in both the domestic and international landscape.”
Xi urged business people to strive for wealth with a sense of responsibility, righteousness, and compassion and bear in mind his push for “common prosperity.” This aims to redistribute more of China’s wealth amid concerns that the elite classes had benefited disproportionately from the country’s economic boom.
Xi also defended his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and addressed the growing tensions between China and the West. According to Xinhua, Xi also urged the business community to work together with the party to overcome difficulties in an uncertain global environment.