Xi Jinping may be in denial, but it has become increasingly clear that his risky bets have plunged the country into a deepening geopolitical hole.
Since he became the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in late 2012, Xi has launched several major initiatives abroad and escalated political repression at home.
As a result, Xi now finds himself weighed down by four cumbersome albatrosses; the South China Sea dispute; the Belt and Road Initiative; Xinjiang; and Hong Kong. Unless he reverses course, Xi will face an increasingly unified Western coalition threatening the survival of his regime.
To be sure, there are different reasons behind each of these liabilities. Both BRI and the South China Sea are classic examples of strategic overreach that can be traced back to when Xi assumed the top CCP leadership post in late 2012, when the prevailing view in Beijing was that China should seize the opportunity to assert its growing power and influence while the West was still reeling from the 2008 global financial crisis.
Even though China was growing more assertive before Xi’s rise, under his leadership Beijing has not only adopted more confrontational tactics — such as its militarization of a chain of artificial islands in the South China Sea — it has sought to construct a Sino-centric order as a credible competitor to the existing U.S.-led order. To quote Xi, the world should have a “China option.”
The four albatrosses weighing down Xi Jinping https://t.co/PNo76M0VkL
— Gerardo Rodriguez R (@g_rodriguez_r) October 7, 2020