Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping is now starkly aware that he is facing the end of his rule and has turned to U.S. President Joe Biden to save him.
The CCP had, for at least two weeks before the summit, started a charm offensive aimed at the United States. Until then, Beijing had claimed to have hesitated about whether the summit would take place. Still, the start of the charm offensive was a significant pointer to the depth of Xi’s desperation and increasingly mercurial behavior.
Although the mainland China economic crisis had become significant and intense since at least 2015, Xi had taken virtually no steps to contain or correct it. Then, almost simultaneously with the charm offensive toward the United States, the Xi administration began some timid steps toward reversing its anti-private sector policies and promised unspecified support for private business in the mainland. This followed a xenophobic Maoist policy over the past decade of containing private enterprise and attempting to push the economy under the domination of state-owned enterprises.
That was at the core of his visit to San Francisco to plead with President Biden, and why he greeted with a sardonic smile Biden’s second naming of Xi as a “dictator,” a slip of the tongue of the less-than-disciplined president.
A significant source in China has reported that Xi formally asked the U.S. president to arrange an urgent $900-billion bailout for the communist Chinese economy. This specific detail could not be confirmed, but it fitted with the sudden and urgent campaign to stop Beijing’s bellicosity toward the United States and to insist that the two could be friends and partners.
The leak of this information came from within the CCP, from elements anxious to bring down Xi, and they confirmed that the effort to remove the Chinese leader was now reaching a level of imminent action.
Without that injection of almost a trillion U.S. dollars, the Chinese property market, among other things, will complete its collapse. Indeed, even with such an investment, it is probable that the mainland Chinese property market and overall economy would continue to slide. The scale of private sector bankruptcies and the interruption and closure of so many factories cannot be reversed overnight, and foreign trust in China cannot be rebuilt overnight.
Would such a bailout save Xi? Perhaps not, but it would be the only opportunity open to him.
He was even forced, in San Francisco, to abandon the pretense that the PLA was ready to conquer Taiwan. These events represent a seismic shift in Xi’s policies, even though he publicly said he could not renounce his intention to bring Taiwan into the communist fold.
Nor, indeed, is there any reason to believe that this is anything but a fairly cynical attempt to have the United States bail out the political career of the man who, in 2018, said that he had specifically declared war on the United States, a war, he said, which would be the “new 30-Year War” (mirroring the European war that ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia). Xi said that his new 30-Year War would result in a new “Peace of Westphalia,” which would bring about a new “rules-based world order” under the CCP.
Our Chinese source did not indicate whether Xi had received a response from President Biden to the blunt and desperate request. There was no evidence that President Biden had received any advance warning of the request. Still, there were certainly expressions of concern when Beijing had, before the summit, embarked on the charm offensive.
That there is no substance to the charm offensive, however, was demonstrated by the continued antagonism toward the United States and its allies in their actual practices on the military lines of confrontation.
Mr. Albanese, knowing of this incident, was also in San Francisco for APEC and had reiterated that Australia–China relations had been stabilized by his visit to Beijing.