News reports on the U.S. election suddenly disappeared from the Chinese regime’s official media on Nov. 9. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has not publicly congratulated a winner in the race, though Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden declared victory on Nov. 7 after several major media outlets projected him to be the winner. Several battleground states are currently facing legal challenges and recounts.
International media outlets with correspondents in mainland China questioned the Chinese Communist Party’s views on the U.S. election during a press briefing with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing would wait for the U.S. presidential election results to be finalized before congratulating the winner.
According to the foreign ministry’s transcript of the press conference Q&A, a total of eight questions were answered, five of which were related to the U.S. election and raised by Western media.
CNN was the first to directly ask Wang: “After most American media declared Biden’s victory of being elected as the president of the United States, leaders of many countries sent congratulatory messages to him. Why has China been dilatory in making a statement? Is it because you think the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is still uncertain, or do you have other considerations? When will China send a congratulatory message?”
Wang responded: “On your first question, we noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory. We understand the presidential election result will be determined following the U.S. laws and procedures. On your second question, we will follow international customary practices.”
NBC asked, “With U.S.-China relations obviously at a very low point, what sort of tangible moves does the Chinese side expect from the Biden administration to signal that the relations can be any better?”
Wang answered, “I just stated China’s position on the U.S. presidential election and China-U.S. relations.”
Bloomberg asked, “Will China stick with the phase one trade deal under the Biden administration or look to renegotiate terms?”
Wang said, “I just stated China’s position on relevant issues and refer you to China’s competent department for the specifics of China-U.S. trade.”
Reuters asked, “Now Joe Biden is president-elect. He’s spoken out in the past unfavorably to China. How does the Chinese side feel about his platform given that it will likely dictate China-U.S. relations in the years to come?”
Wang gave an indirect answer, “We hope the new administration will work together with China in the same direction.”
Bloomberg asked about China’s response to Kamala Harris being the first female vice president. Wang gave a vague response: “Women hold up half the sky.” The Chinese saying implies that women are as capable as men.
CNN, NBC, Bloomberg, and Reuters have all pronounced that Biden was the projected winner of the presidential election. They should be disappointed and puzzled as to why they could not get the formal recognition from the Chinese Communist regime.
State-run media can avoid reporting on the U.S. election, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot evade the topic. It seems Wang received orders from the CCP’s high authorities to announce that Beijing would wait for the result of the U.S. presidential election. This is the CCP’s official statement on the U.S. election and Biden’s victory was not recognized.
Why Didn’t Top CCP Officials Acknowledge Biden’s Victory?
The CNN reporter’s question was actually quite interesting. “Is it because you think the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is still uncertain, or do you have other considerations?” Wang gave an indirect answer and avoided the question on “other considerations.” He merely stated, “We understand the presidential election result will be determined following the U.S. laws and procedures.”
Indeed, the high-level officials might have several “other considerations.”
First, the CCP is worried that President Donald Trump will win the legal battles and be re-elected. If the CCP still has to face Trump, then congratulating Biden now would be a bad move.
Second, the CCP does not want to openly support Biden, so as to cover up the shady business dealings with his family. In mid-to-late October, Hunter Biden and his deals with a disgraced oil tycoon in China were exposed. The CCP pretended not to know anything about it. If the CCP is eager to recognize Biden winning the election, it may have to eventually contend with the allegations of the Biden family collaborating with it.
Third, the CCP fears that Trump will be provoked and will fight back more aggressively. Prior to the election, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, wrote in an article on the Toutiao Chinese news app: “Don’t irritate or tease Trump at this time, so as not to irritate him.” The next two months will be “a very dangerous period [for China].” This may be Hu’s own words or directives from the CCP.
Perhaps based on these three concerns, the CCP decided not to express their position for the time being and did not say that Biden won. At the same time, the CCP is actually facing a new round of internal and external crises.
New Crises Are Emerging
The U.S. election has added variables to the CCP’s external crisis and it must deal with it cautiously.
The CCP’s botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heavy losses to the United States and other countries. Which country and its people can hold the CCP accountable for the spread of the coronavirus?
Many countries are hit with a second wave of the pandemic. They are actually waiting for the United States to take the lead in holding the CCP accountable. If the United States is unable to undertake such a major task, other countries will undoubtedly be provoked to take on more responsibilities. This may be a historical opportunity for countries to participate in the construction of a new international order.
Europe’s strategic alliance with Asian-Pacific democracies will not change; it will only go deeper. If the role of the United States weakens, the desire of Asian countries to form alliances to fight against the CCP’s expansion will become stronger; the false partnership between Russia and China will also lose its meaning. Thus, fighting against each other, and trying to control Central Asia, could become the main axis of Sino-Russian relations.
The CCP’s coverup of the pandemic was the exact reason why Trump completely turned hostile against Xi Jinping. The same goes for other countries. Trump took the first step and awakened the world. As a result, the Chinese Communist regime fell into international isolation, which has led to its internal difficulties.
It seems that Xi passed the challenge of the CCP’s Fifth Plenary Session, but it was by no means a smooth ride. There is no solution to the severe unemployment, nor are there signs of economic recovery. There are severe financial constraints and a drastic drop in foreign currency. After finally setting the tone for the “internal circulation” as the mainstay for economic development, will it be re-adjusted to “external circulation” if Biden wins the election? Should this 180-degree adjustment be made soon, and will there be more doubts within the CCP? Who should be held responsible for the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship and the international isolation of the CCP? Which CCP official should be held accountable for concealing the pandemic?
Faced with whether or not to acknowledge Biden’s victory, the CCP is in a dilemma. The top CCP leaders may feel hopeful if Biden wins, but more crises are emerging.
Zhong Yuan is a researcher focused on China’s political system, the country’s democratization process, human rights situation, and Chinese citizens’ livelihood. He began writing commentaries for the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times in 2020.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.