When Xi Jinping’s Diplomatic Activities Become Fodder for Internal Propaganda

December 4, 2020 Updated: December 7, 2020

Commentary

On Nov. 27, Chinese state-run media Xinhua published a special article titled, “Strike a Strong Tone for the Era of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.” It was a high-profile summary of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s speeches during virtual conferences this year, such as the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), APEC ( Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), and G-20 summits.

In the face of international isolation, these virtual diplomatic activities have become good diplomatic stages for Xi. Although they won’t ease the international sanctions Beijing is faced with, they have become a platform for Xi’s internal propaganda amid his power crisis within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, the state media’s efforts signal that Xi’s power crisis is intensifying.

Xi’s Dilemma

Xinhua’s feature article began by stating that this year is a “special year,” that “the pandemic of the century is intertwined with once-in-a-century changes, the global economy has plunged into a severe recession, and the world has entered a turbulent period.” It also blamed the international community for “shirking responsibility.”

2020 has become a “special year” for the CCP. It is entirely caused by the CCP’s top leaders trying to use the epidemic to seek hegemony. First, they deliberately covered up the initial outbreak. Later, they launched “mask diplomacy” and demanded gratitudes from other countries, followed by denying accountability. It was its series of insidious behaviors that spurred anger from world governments. After U.S.-China relations deteriorated sharply, Beijing continued to tighten its grip over Hong Kong. It drew the United States’ rebuke.

The series of misjudgments and missteps were all caused by the CCP leadership. Xi suddenly became a target of public criticism, especially within the Party.

The Xinhua report was seeking to shift focus from China’s epidemic to the global pandemic situation.

It also highlighted the global economic recession, but actually, large-scale shifts in global supply chains and U.S. sanctions have made it difficult for China’s economy to recover, leading to widespread unemployment; loan defaults and bankruptcy have begun to climax; the Chinese Communist regime is cutting costs while draining money from private enterprises.

China’s economy was developed through the effects of globalization—not because of the Chinese Communist regime’s efforts. This fact is known to everyone and Xi obviously feels that his power is being challenged. Before and after the Party’s key political meeting this year, the Fifth Plenary Session, Xi saw that officials were already dispassionate. Seeing the rapid loss of authority, Xi could only display so-called “diplomatic achievements.” The exquisite packaging done by Party media shows that Xi is still in power.

Xinhua’s article praised Xi for “sending a strong voice for the era of building a community with a shared future for mankind.”

Such high-profile praise from Xinhua actually reflects the inner weakness of the CCP leadership, and it also reflects that the CCP regime is heading for an inevitable collapse.

Xi Misjudged US Election Results

The CCP has openly signaled that it hopes for Joe Biden to win the presidential election. The delay in certifying the election results has made the CCP anxious. At a time when many allegations of election fraud have become public, Xi suddenly congratulated Biden, showing that the CCP’s top leaders were desperate and had to make the last big bet.

For a period of time, the Chinese Communist Party media has avoided discussing the source of the virus and the issue of accountability for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when Xi spoke about the epidemic, he boldly called on people to “replace bias with reason and stamp out the ‘political virus’” and once again claimed that China could share its “experience on COVID-19 containment.”

Xinhua also claimed that the regime has dispatched medical teams to more than 30 countries, provided $2 billion in international assistance and $50 million in cash assistance to the World Health Organization.

In fact, after Xi’s virtual speeches, Party media once again played the “savior” role. It is not accidental. Recently, CCP media once again blamed local outbreaks in mainland China on imported frozen products, though experts have said the virus is not known to spread through contaminated food products.

At a press briefing on Nov. 27, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who once publicly blamed the U.S. military for the outbreak, said again, “although China was the first to report cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the virus originated in China.”

Zhao shifted the blame after Xi delivered his talks and Xinhua touted Xi’s addresses. These concerted acts show the regime is back to offensive tactics.

Two months ago, when Xi gave a video speech at the U.N. General Assembly, he was humble: “It’s not up to whoever has a big fist.” Two months later, Xi Jinping resumed his posture of “guiding” the world. This is directly related to the misjudgment that Biden was “elected.” The CCP clearly fears the Trump administration.

An Anti-American Alliance

Xinhua quoted Xi as saying, “We will not reverse course or run against historical trends by ‘decoupling’ or forming a small clique to keep others out.”

The second half of this sentence is of course attacking the United States. “Not reverse course or run against historical trends” means that the CCP will not give up its fight against the United States to achieve its hegemony. And of course, the CCP is challenging the “small clique” by plotting a larger anti-American alliance in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and developing countries.

Xinhua specifically mentioned the recent Asia-Pacific RCEP Free Trade Agreement, saying that Beijing “will actively consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” and claimed that Xi has expressed “a clear attitude to support the free trade system.”

This claim was debunked the same day. On Nov. 27, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao insisted that China’s “anti-dumping” tariffs on Australian wine are “in line with Chinese laws and regulations and international customary practices” and that “they are being responsible for Chinese consumers and domestic industries.”

Zhao blatantly used trade tactics to intimidate Australia, which signed a bilateral free trade agreement with the CCP and is also one of the signatories of the RCEP agreement. The CCP’s “free trade” is by no means an “international customary practice,” but is shaping its own rules.

Zhao also stated that “China always regards ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy.” In late November, Xi also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and sent foreign minister Wang Yi to visit Japan and South Korea. The CCP is launching a new round of efforts to form an anti-U.S. alliance, attempting to transition with a diplomatic breakthrough to its hegemony.

Xinhua quoted Xi as saying that China was “actively involved in reforming the system of global economic governance,” and claimed that the CCP “will play its significant role in the leadership.”

Xinhua has completely ignored the diplomatic realities facing the Chinese regime, in order to paint a rosy picture for the Party leadership.

According to Xinhua, Xi also said, “all of us are indeed passengers in the same boat.”

Around the world, which country would think it is on the same boat as the Chinese communist regime? The illusions of the top CCP leaders will undoubtedly lead to accelerated U.S.-China decoupling and further international isolation, and Xi’s grip on authority will be even more precarious. Of course, the CCP leadership hopes that officials at all levels can continue to stay on the boat, but the CCP’s boat is sinking at an accelerating rate. How many people are still willing to stay on this boat that is about to capsize?

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.