12 May 2021, 08:28 AM IST
As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hard-line policies beyond Chinese shores are squandering Beijing’s soft power, doubts are emerging over Xi securing an unprecedented third term.
The G7 last week called on Xi on everything from actions on Taiwan, incursions in cyberspace, human-rights abuses, fallout from its Belt and Road Initiative. The same week, Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong received another 10-months in jail for his role in 2019 anti-government protests, writes William Pesek for Nikkei Asia.
At the same time, he suspended a ministerial economic dialogue with Canberra, with his government hitting Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s for a “Cold War mindset” and “ideological discrimination”.
Pesek wrote that China’s inner circle is miffed about Morrison’s questions, which everyone should be asking – on COVID-19 and its demands for a seat on the G7 table despite being irresponsible for the pandemic.
Much of South Asia avoids getting at Xi’s bad side. After South Korea welcomed a US-designed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile-defense system, Chinese tourism flows to Seoul disappeared.
Xi had a once-in-lifetime opportunity to grow Beijing’s soft power at America’s expense amid trade wars between then US President Donald Trump. However, he blew it and China’s international image in international polls has lost ground since 2018.
As the COVID-19 ravaged the world, Xi’s belligerence deserves considerable blame – with Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Galwan border clash with India, Canada and more.
Meanwhile, current US President Joe Biden is pivoting the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue against China, much to Xi’s chagrin, with additional resistance from China.
Pesek for Nikkei Asia wrote that despite the common view that the Chinese President does not care what the world thinks, press freedom in China is racing in the wrong direction and Xi himself seems to fear Google and Facebook.
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