The world’s second largest economy is being pushed by its leadership to overtake #1…..
That effort has caused worries around the globe…
Donald Trump is pushing a trade war that is causing concerns at home….
Few in media have looked at the issue from China’s side…
A few months ago, Xi Jinping seemed unstoppable. He’d just abolished presidential term limits and announced the most sweeping government overhaul in decades. Having hosted Donald Trump for a successful visit in November, Xi seemed to have prevented a trade war with the U.S. Party propagandists were distributing hagiographic accounts of the newly anointed leader for life.
Today, China’s president looks like he may have overreached. An economic slowdown, a tanking stock market, and an infant-vaccine scandal are all feeding domestic discontent, while abroad, in Western capitals and financial centers, there’s a growing wariness of Chinese ambitions. And then there is the escalating trade war with the U.S. China initially refused to believe it would happen, but in the past few weeks it’s become the prism through which Xi’s perceived failings are best projected.
China watchers say studying the workings of the Communist Party is like trying to review a play by watching only the audience’s reaction. By that gauge, signs of upheaval are reverberating around Beijing during what is fast becoming Xi’s summer of discontent: articles from prominent academics and pundits questioning his overall policy direction; an embarrassing rebuke of his top economic adviser by Trump; and a rare public spat over policy between the central bank and Ministry of Finance. All point to a newfound sense of self-doubt creeping into a country whose relentless march to becoming a global superpower had seemed unstoppable. “The trade war has made China more humble,” says Wang Yiwei, a professor of international affairs at Renmin University in Beijing and deputy director of the institution’s “Xi Jinping Thought” center. “We should keep a low profile,” he says, even suggesting that China should rethink how it implements Xi’s flagship “Belt and Road” infrastructure project.
That’s a remarkable shift in sentiment from March, when Xi boasted of taking China closer to the center of the world stage at the National People’s Congress and secured near-unanimous support for scrapping term limits. Yet that’s also when the whispers began, as some throughout the country, from young officials to old cadres, were shocked at the suddenness of Xi’s power grab…..