To revive its sluggish economy, China set out this year to woo foreign investors and stabilize its ties with the West. But these goals are colliding with what China’s leader, Xi Jinping, considers the paramount priority: bolstering national security in a world he sees as full of threats.Xi has warned that China must fight back against a campaign by the United States to contain and suppress the country’s rise. In this worldview, foreign rivals are using spies to weaken China’s economy; Russia is not treated as a pariah but a vital partner in blunting the NATO menace; and the diplomatic stage is a place to assert China’s influence and reshape the global order in its favor.At home, authorities have sent a chill across foreign businesses by launching a nationwide crackdown on consulting firms with international ties. China’s state broadcaster accused Western countries of trying to steal sensitive information in key industries with the help of consulting firms that help investors navigate the murky Chinese economy.Abroad, China’s efforts to improve ties with Europe — to drive a wedge between the United States and some of its most important allies — have been complicated by Beijing’s closeness to Moscow. On a visit to Germany this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang dismissed criticism that Beijing wasn’t doing enough to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. He also warned that China would retaliate if the European Union decided to impose sanctions on Chinese companies accused of supplying Russia with technology for its military.China’s increasingly muscular approach has also raised concerns in Canada. That government accused a Chinese diplomat of intimidating and gathering family information on a Canadian lawmaker who was an ardent critic of Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims. After Ottawa ordered the Chinese official to leave, Beijing expelled a Canadian diplomat in Shanghai in a tit-for-tat move.“China’s ability to manage multiple and competing interests, domestic and global, is rapidly becoming a defining challenge for Xi,” said Evan S. Medeiros, a professor of Asian studies at Georgetown University who served as an adviser to President Barack Obama.While that is not new, Medeiros said, it has become much harder as China’s economic recovery has grown more fraught with export growth slowing and unemployment rates soaring. “Xi seems to think he can both assert themselves and attract other countries, relying on the gravitational force of their economy and global frustration with U.S. power. These are big gambles.”
13 May 2023 - 23:11
In Xi's China, economic needs may take a back seat to security
To revive its sluggish economy, China set out this year to woo foreign investors and stabilize its ties with the West. But these goals are colliding with what China’s leader, Xi Jinping, considers the paramount priority: bolstering national security in a world he sees as full of threats.
13 May 2023 - 23:11
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