President Xi Jinping jumped onto his soapbox again at the virtual World Political Parties Summit earlier this week.
In a broadside aimed across the bows of the United States and its democratic allies, he called for concerted action against nations that impose “technology blockades.”
His words were aimed with laser precision at Washington as relations between China and the US deteriorate into a New Cold War.
“Together, we must oppose all acts of unilateralism in the name of multilateralism, hegemony and power politics,” Xi, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, told a virtual gathering of delegates from across 500 parties and 160 countries, including Russia, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Iran.
Indeed, this was the second time in less than a week that Xi has taken a pot shot at the US and President Joe Biden’s administration.
During a speech to celebrate the Communist Party’s centenary on July 1, he painted a vivid picture of confrontation.
“Foreign forces trying to bully China would have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of steel forged by more than 1.4 billion Chinese people,” he told an ecstatic audience in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Xi’s Tuesday address followed a similar theme. Below, are key aspects from his speech at the World Political Parties Summit.
Lessons from History
What Xi said: “Development is not the exclusive privilege of a few, and any attempt to thwart other country’s development is not welcome and will end up in vain. History will prove that the path [by China] is the right and correct one … There is no one-size-fits-all model for modernization.”
Read between the lines: “Political parties across the globe no longer ask whether the CPC can succeed. Instead, they are eager to know why it does, and how they can emulate the success themselves,” Guo Yazhou, the deputy head of the International Department of the CCP Central Committee, told state-run Global Times.
Delve deeper: Last week, a Pew Research Center survey of 17 advanced economies revealed that confidence in Xi and China remained near “historic” lows. “Views of Xi continue to be widely negative,” the report stated after polling the public in countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.
What Xi said: “Democracy is the right of all peoples rather than an exclusive privilege of the few. The judgment on whether a country is democratic or not should be made by its people, not by a handful of others … All countries are entitled to choose their own development path and institutional models.”
Read between the lines: China’s idea of “democracy” should be viewed through the prism of Hong Kong. “In one year, the National Security Law has put Hong Kong on a path to becoming a police state and created a human rights emergency for the people living there,” Yamini Mishra, the Asia-Pacific regional director at Amnesty International, said last month.
Delve deeper: “It’s not too late to change China from an autocratic system to a democratic system. The earlier the better, for China and the whole world. Even though Xi Jinping calls for a ‘shared future for all mankind,’ he has already launched [a] Cold War,” Cai Xia, a retired professor from Beijing’s elite Central Party School,” told the BBC.
Politics of Covid-19
What Xi said: “We should oppose the practice of politicizing the Covid-19 pandemic or attaching a geographical label to the virus. In the face of the ongoing [crisis], we need to continue with a science-based approach and advocate solidarity and cooperation so as to close the ‘immunization gap.”
Read between the lines: The Covid-19 crisis has only added to the distrust between China and global democracies. Even a World Health Organization mission failed to completely rule out a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-security state-run laboratory in the Chinese city where the initial infections were officially reported.
Delve deeper: “We’ve got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that [WHO] report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the CNN network in a May interview.