Research and Opinion

Dr. Jasna Plevnik comments for „Obzor“ on the popularity and political strength of President Xi Jinping, how his governance differs from previous Chinese leaders and whether China will behave aggressively





Večernji list, Saturday, October 22, 2022.

Dino kong


 Xi's Promises: Taiwan and the Economy

The future of China after the Party Congress - the President must prove that China's economic development is not a threat to other countries and the stability of the world order

 Croatian foreign policy commentator and expert on China, Jasna Plevnik, points out that Xi Jinping's strength on the domestic front stems from the country's economic growth.

- President  Xi Jinping's political power and popularity is based on increasing China's economic and social progress and reducing corruption and with that he fulfilled his 2012 promises to ensure a better life for all Chinese. Xi was not the only Chinese leader who pursued a policy of eradicating poverty, but he worked hard to do so. In 2021, extreme poverty in the western regions and rural areas of China  ended.

Ensuring prosperity for all Chinese residents is precisely the main Chinese characteristic that distinguishes Chinese socialism from other social systems. President Xi believes that the goals of shared prosperity are being undermined by large corporations that rely on temporary workers and freelancers to create poverty. That's why he recently adopted measures that force them to hire permanent full-time employees - says Jasna Plevnik.

She explaines the differences between the current president and some of his predecessors at the head of China.

- Unlike past leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and even Hu Jintao, he found himself in a situation where he had to prove to countries in the region and the whole world that China's economic development is not a threat to other countries and the stability of the world order. He upgraded Deng's policy of an open China with the policy of China as an important actor of global governance working on the development of international relations in the direction of multipolarity, interdependence and multilateralism - points out Plevnik.

Will China, as potentially the most powerful country in the world, act aggressively?

- International relations in the next decade should not remain the same as now, but they should not change even through war and chaos, and that is the crux of the matter. No one knows what the new world will look like.

The line between democracies and autocracies is not clear. There are democracies in Europe that behave like autocracies. From the American perspective, the world should be afraid of China, even though the US has been such a superpower for thirty years, unfortunately, that does not work on policies for further democratization of international relations and behaves openly autocratically in international relations. Lately, America has been pushing the narrative of dividing the world into democracies and autocracies in order to more easily secure allies under the label of democracy for its not ideological, but technological war against the development of China.

China believes in the superiority of its system, but it does not want any country in the world to copy its system or impose it on others, unlike the USA, which also did it militarily.

China thinks that every country should follow what suits them. China has an economy with Chinese characteristics as well as a democracy with Chinese characteristics and has never hidden that it is socialist and has a Communist Party. 

It is strange to me that the European Union, after conducting a strategic dialogue with China since 1975, remembered in 2019, that China has a different social system. Well, the fact that China has a Communist Party cannot be breaking news for Brussels after so many years of mutual cooperation - believes Jasna Plevnik.

- China does not aspire to global hegemony and has said and proven it a thousand times, but the USA, which has 800 military bases around the world, does not trust China. 

The Chinese Constitution and the Party's main documents reject any path that leads to hegemony, and Chinese leaders follow that path. China behaves democratically in international relations and many countries, not only developing ones, see Xi as the most influential world leader - says Jasna Plevnik