The Chinese communist regime boasted of receiving an invitation to the inauguration of Brazil’s President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, next week, telling reporters on Thursday that Beijing officials “stand ready to join hands with Brazil.”
China’s decision to send the vice chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, Ji Bingxuan, to Brasilia to attend the inauguration – at Bolsonaro’s request – follows the high-profile disinvitation of representatives from Venezuela and Cuba, Latin America’s two explicitly Marxist states. Bolsonaro insisted that “regimes that violate the rights of their peoples” had no place in a celebration of democracy like an inauguration, despite the two nations’ previously close ties to the socialist regime that preceded the conservative Bolsonaro.
China is the world’s largest communist state and one of the world’s most prolific violators of human rights. It is also the wealthiest ally of Cuba and Venezuela, investing heavily in both failed economies.
The Chinese Communist Party is also Brazil’s largest trading partner – exporting twice as much to China as to the United States – a fact complicating any attempt by Bolsonaro to smoothly divorce ties between Brazil and China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Thursday that Ji would represent Communist Party leader Xi Jinping as his “special envoy” in Brasilia.
“In recent years, China-Brazil relations have been growing rapidly in an all-round manner as evidenced by fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation across the board,” Hua explained. “Developing China-Brazil ties has become the widespread consensus of people in all sectors in our two countries.”
Hua gave Bolsonaro credit for saying that “Brazil views China as a great cooperative partner and will actively develop its cooperation with China” following his election in October – a tone that differed significantly from warnings that China was “buying Brazil” during his candidacy. “We stand ready to join hands with Brazil to maintain and ensure the sound growth of our comprehensive strategic partnership in an effort to deliver more benefits to the two peoples,” Hua assured.
Bolsonaro has not made any specific comments about the invitation to China. With communist states closer to home – namely Cuba and Venezuela, which officially brands itself as socialist – Bolsonaro transparently condemned their regimes and insisted in severing any ties Brazil has with those regimes.
Last week, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry confirmed that, following default protocol, it had invited representatives from Havana and Caracas to the inauguration. “However, we then received the recommendation that Cuba and Venezuela should not be included in the list, which required a new communication to those governments,” the Ministry explained.
Bolsonaro took to Twitter to clarify his stance.
“Naturally, regimes that violate the freedoms of their people and act openly against the future government of Brazil because of their ideological affinity for the group defeated during the [Brazilian] elections will not be at the 2019 inauguration,” he wrote. “We defend and truly respect democracy”:
Naturalmente, regimes que violam as liberdades de seus povos e atuam abertamente contra o futuro governo do Brasil por afinidade ideológica com o grupo derrotado nas eleições, não estarão na posse presidencial em 2019. Defendemos e respeitamos verdadeiramente a democracia.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) December 16, 2018
During a conservative conference this month, Bolsonaro urged the audience to unite to combat the threat of communism, socialism, and leftist ideologies generally.
All of Latin America “knows what the consequences of the left are. The clearest example is Cuba, and the nation that most clearly approximates that reality is Venezuela,” he said, adding that Brazil had an “obligation” to fight for democracy in those countries.
The Cuban and Venezuelan regimes, unlike the Chinese, have spent months openly condemning Bolsonaro as a far-right reactionary, long before his electoral victory. More recently, Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro hinted at a potential coup brewing against him and blamed Bolsonaro for organizing it, citing no evidence.
The Chinese communist regime, through its state media outlets, has nonetheless attacked Bolsonaro and dismissed Brazil as a whole as a nation of inferior cultural value. Beijing showed particular concern that Bolsonaro expressed that China had exported its “debt trap diplomacy,” typified by relationships with impoverished African states, to Brazil.
“Are you willing to leave Brazil in the hands of the Chinese?” he asked voters this year.
The Global Times, a Chinese government-run newspaper, published a story this month arguing that Brazil can never have a successful economy on its own because Brazilian people do not have a sophisticated culture like the Chinese. The piece heavily implied that all Brazilian people were lazy and lacked innovation.
“It may sound racist to differentiate development based on culture. But after living in Brazil for a while, you will find out the answer,” the article posited. “To be honest, Brazil does not compare well with China.”