Major democracies to curb China’s coercion risks

Decoupling Lite will put the West on a collision course with Beijing and its nationalistic agenda

Little Pinks, “economic coercion” and China’s obsession with “opening up” while “closing down.” These are the contradictions of the ruling Communist Party as it tightens its grip on power instead of empowering the people.

Ten years of Chairman of Everything Xi Jinping has left the country in a quagmire of political dogma, isolated from the world’s major democracies with just autocrats for friends.

“The stark reality in China … is that security now trumps everything, from [the] economy to diplomacy,” Alfred Wu, of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, said.  

“For all that China says about wanting to be open to the outside world, it has progressively closed up,” he added, referring to Beijing’s eternal mantra of being “open” for business, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

Little Pinks and Big Reds:

  • Amid a growing tide of nationalism are the Little Pinks, or “prolific new cyber-nats.”
  • They vent their anger at the global community of democracies for allegedly “demonizing China.”
  • They also back the Party line that democratic Taiwan should be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
  • But then, rabid red pride runs deep inside the CCP and its catch-all national security law.  

The hype of ‘economic coercion’ is actually ‘political framing.

Global Times

Delve deeper: The United States and the European Union have finally woken up to the dangers posed by Beijing. Brussels and Washington will work together in reducing their economic dependence on China or Decoupling Lite.

Between the lines: “When a dependency is too big, it’s a risk,” Josep Borrell, the top EU diplomat, told a media briefing in Stockholm last week.

Big picture: China will also be top of the agenda at the G7 summit in Japan this week. The US and its allies will call out Beijing’s bullying in the South China Sea and its playbook of “economic coercion.” 

Alternative view: China’s state-run Global Times has warned there will be repercussions. “The hype of ‘economic coercion’ is actually ‘political framing.’ Western countries have put [that] label on China, [but] there is another sinister intention, to morally blackmail China,” it said in an editorial at the weekend.

China Factor comment: President Xi has stoked the fires of nationalism at a time when the economy is mired in debt and stagnating. Rising unemployment among the young is another powder keg waiting to go off.