Last week China’s President Xi Jinping gave a 3 ½ hour speech at China’s Communist Party Congress. While some American commentators say China is becoming more like the west, Xi declared, on the contrary, that China is rising quickly to world superpower status, capable of challenging the US economically, politically, and, by 2050 militarily, too.
Democracy, freedom of speech, and the free market economy have no place in Xi’s vision of China.
American political and business leaders need to wake up to China’s true intentions and capabilities. In the near-term the Chinese strategy is to become the dominant superpower in Asia, but with their military, economic, and production might, they are well-placed to become the leading world superpower. One day the US will pay the price for its shortsightedness.
1. China is aiming to be a world-leading economic superpower.
Xi’s vision, carefully spelled out last Wednesday, is for China to focus on becoming the world’s top economic superpower by 2035, and then by 2050, a geopolitical superpower. Communist Party officials were last week positioning Xi as the third of China’s three great modern leaders: Mao built Chinese Communism; Deng launched Chinese economic reform; and now Xi is making China a world power, fulfilling what Xi calls “The China Dream.”
Mr. Xi also held out China as a model for the new era, saying his country had developed its economy without imitating Western values. “It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence,” he said.
In Xi’s words: “The Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich, and become strong — and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation. It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”
In a phrase that should be seen as a warning to the West, he added: “No one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests.” There was never any intention on China’s part to follow the World Trade Organization or Western trade and market rules.
What they actually did was cheat, steal, and duped us on their way to prosperity
2. China will soon have a world-leading military.
China is on its way to becoming the only nation that can challenge the US on the military front.
Xi said, “We must build a powerful and modernized army, navy, air force, rocket force, and strategic support force; develop strong and efficient joint operations commanding institutions for theatre commands; and create a modern combat system with distinctive Chinese characteristics.”
An October 18 article by economist and Bloomberg News columnist Noah Smith pointed out that with the world’s largest manufacturing capability, China’s military will soon be “unstoppable … as its recent advances in stealth technology, directed energy weapons, hypersonic missiles and other areas demonstrate, its military technology isn’t that far behind the U.S. In a drawn-out war, once the mighty Chinese steamroller got moving, it would be unstoppable.”
3. China has no interest in free speech or other western freedoms.
Xi told the Chinese people that it must not copy western-style political systems. China continues to purge senior officials on charges of corruption, extravagant lifestyles, or just posing a threat to Xi’s vision and his hold on the Party. Moves to strengthen the “anti-corruption crusade” announced last week will strengthen Xi’s hold on China.
“The political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a great creation,” he declared (Tell that to the thousands of Chinese imprisoned or tortured without trial.).
4. China is increasing the role of the Communist Party in Chinese business.
China continues to take moves to increase the role of the Party in business, including privately-owned business. More than 90 percent of state-owned enterprises have a Party organization inside the company, while 68% of private companies have a Party organization. Last week China said more companies need Party organizations. China recently told Hong Kong private companies they must alter their articles of incorporation to include a provision acknowledging the “leadership role” of the Communist Party in their business decisions.
Xi supports an increased role for the Party because this enables the state to keep a firm grip on the private sector. As Xi said last week, “The Party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country.”
5. China is expanding the role of state-owned enterprises in the Chinese economy.
Xi views state-owned enterprises as valuable weapons for carrying out his aim of expanding Chinese production, making the state more powerful, and lifting the Chinese people out of poverty. Eliminating poverty is the best way to ensure the loyalty of the Chinese people as he builds a one-party state that enables China to stand tall in the world once again. Where Soviet, Cuban, Venezuelan, and North Korean socialism have proved to be ramshackle economic failures, Chinese Communism actually delivers growing wealth, living standards, and economic might-helped of course by the America’s naïve collaboration in the Chinese ascent. We buy whatever they produce, and we mothball our own industries to enable Chinese growth.
Western critics talk about free markets and profitability as if these are inevitable solutions to Chinese overcapacity. Xi heralded a “new era” in Chinese political life and repeatedly boasted of China’s status as a “great power.”
Xi spoke a great deal about making the economy more nimble and prosperous by doing things like improving state-owned enterprises. But he was clear it wouldn’t be moving toward a conventional market economy.
But Xi has already proved that the best solution to Chinese overproduction is simply to export more and to gradually give the Chinese people more purchasing power, all under tight state control. The world of private enterprise and state-owned enterprises work together in China, with state-owned taking the leadership in all the most important industries.
By absorbing Chinese overproduction, the US helps Xi build his one-party state and achieve his superpower objectives. US politicians are extremely shortsighted if they think supporting Chinese ambitions today won’t bite us hard in 20 or 30 years.
It appears that, for Xi, the world is for the taking.
One day people will say: how could we have missed it, when Xi spelled it all out so clearly on October 18, 2017?
Dan DiMicco is the chairman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and the former senior trade advisor to the Trump campaign.