Could China’s new leader change its relationship with the west?


by Guest    
2:01 pm - November 12th 2012

      Share on Tumblr

by Jack Torrance

Rising star of the Chinese Communist Party – Xi Jinping – will take the initial steps towards becoming Paramount Leader of China this month.

As the country looks set to overtake the USA as the largest economy on the planet during his ten year term it’s worth considering what his reign will mean for China’s relationship with the west.

The most striking thing about Xi Jinping isn’t his plan for the future of China. It’s that virtually nobody knows what it is.

This is owed to the nature of China’s succession process, which forgoes the campaigns, manifestos and leadership debates which have preceded the US presidential election which also takes place this month.

For this reason it is difficult to anticipate the impact Xi’s reign will have on Sino-western relations. But there are some clues of what is to come.

On the face of it Xi seems fairly western-orientated. He has spoken about the importance of strengthening Sino-American economic ties, describing the symbiotic relationship between the two countries as “an unstoppable river”.

A recent trip to the US was well received, with Xi’s warm and engaging presence being contrasted with current president Hu Jintao. During the trip he visited Iowa in what has been seen as an attempt to reassure normal Americans that China is an economic friend.

His pro-business attitude has been widely reported and remarkably he even said: “government should be a limited government.” This position should play well, both for foreign investors interested in China’s markets and for western leaders eager to have China as an ally.

Despite this, there are a number of issues which have the potential to become contentious.

As a “princeling,” one of the descendants of those revolutionaries who founded the PRC, Xi has Marxist thought deeply ingrained in his history. He spent time as a youth working in China’s “yellow earth” rural farming communities during the Cultural Revolution.

It has been suggested that as a result of this experience Xi became “redder than red” and he has proposed to address the vast inequality currently experienced by China.

He has also been outspoken about China’s critics abroad. Western hostility to China has been increasing in recent times, particularly in the US. On a visit to Mexico, Xi berated “foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us.”

He continued: “First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”

Regardless of his own intentions, Xi will ultimately be beholden to the political and economic realities his reign will face.

Nationalism is an increasingly important phenomenon in China, and ongoing discontent with western positions on Taiwan, Tibet and human rights could force Xi to be more assertive towards other leaders.

Similarly, a fragile global economy has the potential to drive China’s economic focus inwards, preventing Xi from engaging more with the west even if he wants to.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Far East ,Foreign affairs ,Realpolitik

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


“The most striking thing about Xi Jinping isn’t his plan for the future of China. It’s that virtually nobody knows what it is.”

We can make a good guess though. China will continue to try to get certain rare earths companies to close down or reduce production. Thus boosting prices for those that remain open.

For Xi’s family owns some 40% of one major producer, Jiangxi. One that almost certainly won’t be told to reduce production.

2. Dick the Prick

@Tim. Yup. Also, the big 4 oh his desk are apparently Tibet which now has preventative immolation cameras, the $ potentially falling off a cliff, rampant corruption and a growth plateux in an ever fractious Japanesse enviornment with a fucking loon spunking his jizz all over North Korea. Steady away. Corruption is institutionalized in China.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jack Torrance

    Will Xi Jinping change China's relationship with the west? My article for Liberal Conspiracy @libcon http://t.co/664j7qXi

  2. Nile Amos

    Will Xi Jinping change China's relationship with the west? My article for Liberal Conspiracy @libcon http://t.co/664j7qXi

  3. Jason Brickley

    Could China’s new leader change its relationship with the west? http://t.co/jfC4bqH7

  4. George Sandeman

    Will Xi Jinping change China's relationship with the west? My article for Liberal Conspiracy @libcon http://t.co/664j7qXi

  5. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Could China’s new leader change its relationship with the west? http://t.co/KO62idDx

  6. Sunny Hundal

    Could China’s new leader change its relationship with the west? – asks @thejacktorrance – http://t.co/TEN6C43Z

  7. Frances

    Could China’s new leader change its relationship with the west? – asks @thejacktorrance – http://t.co/TEN6C43Z





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.