April 18, 2020
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has used the coronavirus pandemic to shore up his political power at home, but the tools the Communist Party has exploited to do this are threatening China’s international standing.To get more China news, you can visit shine news official website.
China has demanded fealty and praise of Mr. Xi’s handling of the pandemic as a price for the country’s provision of medical supplies and expertise. It has accused Western countries of failing to protect their people, unleashing vitriol usually preserved for domestic audiences on the world, provoking anger.
In the past week officials in France, Britain and nearly two dozen African nations have rebuked actions or statements by the Chinese government. Mr. Xi’s government has now been accused of hypocrisy and hubris, for obfuscating the origins of the coronavirus and for portraying Western governments as ineffectual compared to China’s own response.
The state’s efforts to bolster Mr. Xi’s standing at home are
undercutting any good will that China had generated by sending experts
and medical supplies to countries on the newest front lines of the
"There’s no doubt: We can’t have business as usual after this crisis, and we’ll have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and about how it could’ve been stopped earlier,” Britain’s foreign minister, Dominic Raab, said on Thursday.
The lasting effect on Mr. Xi’s global ambitions could be profound. China’s relationship with the United States has already cratered, despite a rhetorical truce reached between Mr. Xi and President Trump. Now there is evidence the pandemic is forcing other countries to rethink relations.
Japan has pledged $2 billion to help companies move their production out of China because of concerns about the country’s reliability. President Emmanuel Macron of France questioned whether China’s response was a model for democracies to follow, disputing the narrative Mr. Xi’s acolytes have tried to spin. "Let’s not be so naïve as to say it’s been much better at handling this,” he said in an interview with The Financial Times.
China’s state media portray Mr. Xi as a steady, forceful and yet
benevolent leader who has guided the country through a "people’s war”
against the pandemic. The increasingly combative, nationalist tone of
his diplomats, though, has stirred hostility.
China’s embassy in France posted a statement on its website accusing Western governments of failing to protect their most vulnerable, letting the residents of nursing homes die abandoned.How they operate domestically spills over into how they operate internationally,” said Susan L. Shirk, the chairwoman of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego.
That means brooking no dissent, controlling the flow of information,
emphasizing the central role of the Communist Party leadership and
rarely, if ever, acknowledging mistakes.
Mr. Xi, in his many calls with counterparts around the world, has repeated the same points. The coronavirus pandemic knows no borders. The world should unite to fight it. China has turned the tide in its fight and was willing to share its expertise and experience.
And, according to Beijing’s official accounts of his calls, some leaders make the same points about China and Mr. Xi’s rule over it, often with strikingly similar language.
"Through heroic efforts, the Chinese people have beat their epidemic,
and established a model for the world,” Turkey’s president, Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, told him last week.
Or as President Alberto Fernández of Argentina described it two days later, "China has set an example for Argentina in the strong leadership and creativity it has demonstrated in containing the epidemic.”
Under Mr. Xi, the government does not simply want to manage the worst international crisis in decades but also have foreign leaders play a part in shoring up the Communist Party at a time when it has faced intense public discontent over its handling of the outbreak.
Chinese diplomacy, increasingly, has a transactional quality.
"Basically, assistance has been given in exchange for these countries’
recognition of China’s model of the epidemic prevention and control,”
said Wu Qiang, an independent political analyst in Beijing. He said that
also presumed that countries would "not condemn China or hold China
accountable for the outbreak.”
China has also demanded public expressions of appreciation for medical supplies it has sent only months after urging European and American officials to play down their own aid to save face. An official in China’s consulate in Chicago pressed a lawmaker in Wisconsin to draft a resolution supporting China’s efforts to fight the virus.
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