Xi Jinping’s address last weekend was further proof that China intends to challenge the United States for political leadership on the world stage and that the era of peaceful observation is over.
The Chinese political leader also expressed interest in Taiwan. Although only 1% of those living in the democratic nation of Taiwan want to join China immediately and about 5% can imagine doing so in the future, having seen the example of Hong Kong, we know how important public opinion is for Beijing. Xi already does everything within his power to influence Taiwan’s business. He has threatened to send the military to the state, exerted influence over its elections, bought up media companies and conducted disinformation campaigns.
Beijing has even used the pandemic to prove the Chinese regime has the upper hand. Unlike Western countries, China was able to stop the virus and close entire cities overnight. The local media often criticized the chaotic way in which liberal democracies dealt with the crisis. As part of the disinformation campaign, local media reported that the virus did not originate in China, but the United States.
Xi’s election in 2013 marked an aggressive turn in Communist Party diplomacy. Beijing adopted several ideas from Russia; by using the methods the Kremlin uses, China is working to achieve its international political ambitions. This change in direction with respect to foreign policy has ignited Chinese nationalism. One can see how brainwashing has worked. Many of China’s youth look at the West as the enemy, since the West formerly occupied their country. The president is skilled at combining the past with the future, and has asserted that China cannot exist under the influence of foreign powers and must assume the role of a country that initiates action.
China is becoming increasingly aware of its potential, and is slowly catching up to the United States militarily and economically. However, China’s confidence is just a ruse. The regime is beset by constant uncertainty and fears for its own legitimacy. China is projecting an aggressive posture to divert attention from its domestic problems.