Chinese Leader Xi Takes Veiled Swipe at US in Speech at China’s Boao Economic Forum

April 20, 2021 Updated: April 20, 2021

Chinese leader Xi Jinping took a veiled jab at the United States on April 20 during a speech given at the annual Boao Forum for Asia. Xi’s words immediately drew scrutiny given the communist party’s aggression in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and its lack of good will over calls for transparency over the CCP virus pandemic.

“Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs will not get one any support,” Xi said in his keynote address at the forum, according to an English translation published by China’s state-run media Xinhua. The Boao is China’s equivalent of Davos, an annual conference held by the nonprofit organization The World Economic Forum to boost public-private sector cooperation.

Many western governments, including Washington, have been criticizing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over its human rights violations in far-western Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet, as well as its continued military coercion against Taiwan. However, the communist regime has deflected the criticism by arguing that countries shouldn’t “interfere” in China’s “internal affairs.”

Xi’s veiled swipe at Washington did not end there. Xi said that any attempts to “build walls” or “decouple” in the era of economic globalization would only “hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself.”

The United States has placed numerous export restrictions on China, including a ban on semiconductors, which has proven most damaging to China’s economy given Beijing’s heavy dependence on buying foreign chips. U.S. sanctions have crippled the smartphone business of China-based tech giant Huawei. Chinese chipmaker SMIC has also been listed on a trade blacklist.

Some U.S. lawmakers are calling for a decoupling of the two economies to safeguard U.S. interests. In February, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) released a new report on China, calling for the decoupling of certain U.S. and Chinese sectors, including critical minerals, entertainment, higher education, telecommunications, and semiconductors.

In March, Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) recommended that the United States support the development of a manufacturing base in Latin America while decoupling from China.

“We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world,” Xi said, without naming any specific country but pointing to the United States.

Xi added: “[W]e must reject the cold-war and zero-sum mentality and oppose a new ‘Cold War’ and ideological confrontation in whatever forms.”

Xi’s words on having a Cold War mindset have been used by CCP officials and China’s state-run media to attack the U.S. government and its officials.

For instance, after the U.S. Department of Defense published an article about former Pentagon chief Mark Esper’s interview in July last year, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin used the same Cold War argument to denounce “certain individuals in the U.S.” at a daily briefing days later.

In the Pentagon article, Esper said: “We’re in an era of great power competition … and that means that our top strategic competitors are China, then Russia.”

Esper added: “It’s very clear to me and anybody who understands China that they have the ambition to displace us—certainly from the region and preferably on the global stage.”

Xi’s speech immediately drew criticism on Twitter, in particular, over his remark: “What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony.”

Salih Hudayar, founder of the Washington-based East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, wrote that the world does need justice by prosecuting Chinese officials, including Xi, on the International Criminal Court “for directing the genocide of #Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in Occupied #EastTurkistan.”

The CCP is committing genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, subjecting them to forced sterilization, forced abortion, torture, forced labor, and the removal of children from their families. Additionally, more than one million Uyghurs are detained inside internment camps—facilities the communist regime has defended as “vocational training centers.”

Sreeram Chaulia, professor and dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs at India’s O.P. Jindal Global University, wrote that the world needs justice from China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP virus, which the Chinese regime tried to cover up initially while silencing whistleblower doctors, including Li Wenliang, who tried to warn the public of a new form of pneumonia on China’s social media in late 2019.

“Countries in Asia need justice for China’s territorial aggression. People of #Xinjiang, #Tibet and #HongKong need justice. #XiJinping should stop lecturing others and reflect on China’s inhumane policies,” Chaulia added.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer