Does Xi Jinping Really Care About the Deterioration of the Diplomatic Situation?

Does Xi Jinping Really Care About the Deterioration of the Diplomatic Situation?
Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on March 4, 2021. (Leo Ramirez/AFP via Getty Images)
Yang Wei

Reports on Xi Jinping’s inspection in Fujian province have dominated the headlines of the major party media of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since March 22 for three days. Media coverage was filled with photos of Xi smiling while surrounded by crowds of people. I wonder how much anxiety is hidden behind that satisfied smile regarding the rapidly deteriorating international situation.

The U.S.-China talks failed. They did not improve bilateral relations, frustrating Xi's desire to meet Biden quickly; China-Japan relations worsened; India moved closer to the United States militarily; South Korea renewed its military agreement with the United States; and the EU and the Five Eyes countries unanimously sanctioned and condemned the CCP. But the CCP insisted on retaliating; the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment was halted; various countries have summoned CCP envoys; and EU-China relations are in a deadlock.

However, Xi Jinping is still inspecting Fujian in a leisurely manner. It's abnormal.

It’s impossible for people around Xi not to know which is more important, U.S.-China relations, European relations, or the Fujian trip. Does Xi Jinping really not care? Or perhaps Xi truly believes that "wolf warrior" diplomacy is enough to deal with the United States and other Western countries?

In any other country, a leader would halt the inspection and consider countermeasures with cabinet members. However, Xi insisted on his insignificant inspection. Perhaps Xi and his Politburo Standing Committee have met privately through video conference. Perhaps they simply just did not communicate. After all, who could explain the deterioration in diplomacy? Without Xi’s instructions, how would Yang Jiechi, Wang Yi, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dare to utter wild words and even retaliate against the EU? Xi's seemingly relaxed inspection of locals says much about his helplessness.

The CCP invited the Russian foreign minister to visit China, but it was arranged in Guilin, more than 1,000 miles away from Beijing. Xi wasn’t exactly diplomatic to the Russian visitor. There was no courtesy meeting between Xi and the delegates. This bluntly exposed the lies about the so-called close China-Russia strategic partnership. A joint statement said nothing about a potential meeting between Xi Jinping and Putin. I wonder what kind of strategic partnership this is.

The CCP showed its hatred and annoyance by vilifying the United States and Japan for “colluding” to interfere with China's internal affairs. After a video conference between the four leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, the United States and Japan immediately had their 2+2 talks. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also plans to visit Biden in April. This is the expression of a true ally. In contrast, the China-Russian alliance is more symbolic, and there is not much substantive cooperation. The high-profile head-to-head diplomacy promoted by the CCP has not gone smoothly between China and Russia, let alone with other countries.

The CCP can be expected to continue its wolf warrior diplomacy before Xi’s further instructions. On March 24, Xinhua News published an article titled "Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Not Accepting Some EU Countries' Unjustifiable Moves of Summoning Chinese Ambassadors." The CCP’s retaliatory sanctions on relevant EU entities and personnel have caused trouble and triggered diplomatic incidents with EU countries. But the CCP still claimed, “China does not provoke trouble, but we will not flinch from provocations or be blackmailed by others.”

On the same day, Xinhua published another article, "(Authorized to Publish) Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020." When the CCP continued to attack the United States and the EU, Xi Jinping continued the inspection of Fujian, but Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China, was obviously having a tough time dealing with the consequences alone.

At the regular press briefing on March 24, the sanctioning of the CCP’s violations of human rights became the main theme. Hua Chunying, a typical CCP official, could do nothing but blatantly criticize human rights issues in Western countries. A reporter asked: “There's an apparent contradiction between your comments on the human rights situation in specific countries ... and the Chinese government's repeated statements that no other countries have the right to comment or interfere in Chinese domestic affairs. How do you explain that contradiction?” Hua was obviously troubled and questioned the reporter's nationality.

At the press conference the day before, Hua had been challenged with a similar question. She tried to argue by listing human rights violations in Western countries, but a reporter asked, “Does the Chinese government think that because other countries have done terrible things, that it's kind of OK for it to act in certain ways?” Hua was obviously reluctant to say that “they are completely different things.” Facing a diplomatic storm created by the CCP, this veteran "wolf warrior" Hua Chunying couldn't bear it either.

On the surface, Xi’s inspection of locals only reflects his helplessness. He and his think tanks need to deal with the consequences of his tough diplomatic stance toward the EU, the United States and other countries, and come up with explanations to the inner party about his leadership that has caused the diplomatic stalemate.

Yang Wei has been closely following China affairs for many years. He has been contributing political commentary on China for the Chinese language Epoch Times since 2019.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Yang Wei has been closely following China affairs for many years. He has been contributing political commentary on China for the Chinese language Epoch Times since 2019.