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Politics & Law

Beijing’s moves and lesson amid US post-election chaos


ASEAN’s statistics of trade 2019

At least three moves have been made by Beijing in its anticipation of the U.S. post-election chaos and paralysis.

On June 16, my essay “As ‘not-re-elected’ Trump may refuse to quit, Beijing is preparing for US chaos” suggested that Beijing would seize this opportunity to enhance its positions in the competition with the United States.

While some may remain unseen to the public, at least three tactical moves had been known.

First, Tik Tok wisely postponed the inking of the deal with Oracle and Walmart even President Trump indicated his approval of the merger in mid-Sept (Guardian Sep 19). Although the uncertainty is still there, the hope of staying alive on its own in America cannot be eliminated. So long as Trump and Biden are stuck in the transition issue which probably takes up most of their attention and resources, Tik Tok as a minor side matter can continue to survive.

Second, Beijing succeeded in having the RCEP signed on Nov 15 Sunday. This Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership produces the world’s largest free trade zone. It was regarded as ‘a coup’ (CNBC Nov 15) since most analysts believed that China had made some significant concessions to deliver its birth earlier than expected (HK Economic Times Nov 17 written in Chinese)

As shown in the data above, ASEAN’s trade size with China is bigger than the combined total of Japan, South Korea and Australia in 2019 (ASEAN website). The RCEP will consolidate China’s position as the prevailing trading partner of the ASEAN.

Third, given the pandemic, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi conducted a trip to Europe in late August, and most importantly, chose Italy as his first stop. His subsequent visits to Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany appeared to be side dishes and of formality. Wang succeeded in yielding a term spoken by his counterpart Di Maio, namely, “strategic partnership” (Reuters Aug 25). It is a milestone mainly because in the eyes of the Italian leaders, China’s effective and efficient public administration has exemplified its capability of handling the COVID-19 crisis.

While both the EU and the U.S. rely on printing money to jack up the stock market and inflate the wealth of the super-rich, China has proved its solid ability to revive its producing and purchasing powers of the mass public. These powers are the real sources for sustainable economic growth, whereas the U.S. in chaos is full of uncertainties.

On another issue, I would like to highlight the shock of the bias against Trump by the Western mainstream media, as it is a lesson for readers to understand more about China.

Over the past weeks, it is astonishing to note that the Western mainstream media presents a disproportionally negative and misleading coverage of President Trump after the Nov 3 election, especially his achievements in getting [i] a record number of votes nationwide, [ii] victory in Florida, and [iii] the interesting 2016-2020 voting comparison that “… women shifted towards Trump this cycle … Trump saw comparable gains with Black and Hispanic men as well …” (Guardian Nov 14)

The extent of the media to execute the ‘censorship’ against Trump in such a concerted manner is beyond my imagination. It is a valuable jaw-dropping experience to know how powerful the Deep State can be. Certainly, Beijing is very sure to realize the danger of this strength. If it can be no mercy for even an incumbent U.S. president, the harshness toward China in case of a tension in high density may go beyond all past records. It is what all the parties concerned need to prepare for Beijing’s firmness in the future.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China News.

About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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