President xi

Trump’s Yin and Yang game with China

It should be obvious by now — but somehow isn’t. Whenever @realDonldTrump says something wild, you can bet the real Donald Trump is contemplating something sensible — and vice-versa. Often the Commander-in-Chief does the opposite to what his social media handle has just said. Trump the Twitterer is the yin to Trump President’s yang. One suspects the Chinese, who invented philosophical dualism, have figured this out by now. That might mean Beijing is less freaked by his latest outbursts than the markets, which are sliding. Coming into the G7 summit this weekend, Trump has been ramping up the trade war: his response to China’s latest tariff escalation. It’s been pretty

Is China really the enemy?

China is a nation with values deeply at odds with the West. The Chinese spy, steal and bully. They don’t really care about human rights yet are getting disgustingly rich, and — well, I’m sure you’ve heard the rest. The western media likes to depict China as the new enemy — both morally and politically. It seems as if a new iron curtain is coming down, with my country (and family) on the wrong side of the divide. Of course, Britain is my country too: I’ve lived here longer than I did in China. But I have to confess that this fundamental ‘clash of values’ — described in such vivid

China’s obsession with Taiwan is nothing to do with money

Does President Xi’s first address of the new year spell trouble for Taiwan? In a 30 minute speech on Taiwan, Xi used much fiercer language than his predecessors on Taiwan’s reunification. Journalists have reported it as ‘chest-beating’ and ‘threatening’. Phrases like ‘the reunification of Taiwan…is the inevitable requirement of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ and ‘we do not promise to renounce the use of force’ certainly don’t bode well. But the speech is actually interesting for a different reason: it reveals why the Chinese are so obsessed with Taiwan. Many outside China don’t understand why a country of 1.7 billion people with the world’s second largest economy is so obsessed

A sleep and a forgetting

Ma Jian’s novels have been banned in his native China for 30 years and he has been hailed as ‘China’s Solzhenitsyn’. His latest book, China Dream, also contains some of the zip and vigour found in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian visions. This must be one of the liveliest novels about brainwashing ever written. Ma Daode, the protagonist, is the director of the China Dream Bureau. Chillingly, such a body exists and was tasked with promoting Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream of National Rejuvenation’ shortly after he came to power in 2012. Ma Jian takes this concept one stage further and has Ma Daode work on ‘developing a neural implant, a tiny microchip

Carola Binney

Christmas in China

If you think capitalism has blinged up Christmas, you should see what the Communists are doing to it. At this time of year, Chinese cities are dressed up like one big Oxford Street, but with lights that put London’s in the shade. Christmas Eve has become the biggest shopping day of the year. At the school where I taught last year, every classroom had at least three Christmas trees: one outside the door, one inside the door and one at the back. Tinsel ran up staircases, fake snow adorned all the windows. The Chinese have even developed their own Christmas traditions: revellers give each other elaborately packaged apples, and Father

Why does China’s Xi hate Winnie the Pooh?

Why is Winnie the Pooh like Ai Weiwei? Both have landed in political hot water with the Chinese government. The artist Ai has a long history of running into trouble with the Chinese authorities. In fact, earlier this week, Ai’s Beijing studio was demolished for reasons unknown (though perhaps you can take a guess). And Pooh’s become an equally worthy dissident, all because he bears an unfortunate resemblance to President Xi Jinping. Judging by his waistline, President Xi is obviously settling in to his cushy job with too much tea and honey. And he’s feeling sensitive about it. So much so that Disney’s upcoming film about Pooh bear, ‘Christopher Robin’,

Not my president: meet the Chinese students standing up to Xi Jinping

At last, some students in the West are campaigning for freedom and democracy. Following years of supposedly rad students banning pop songs about sex, and force-fielding their campuses against offensive speakers, and even expelling certain newspapers from their common rooms as if they were heretical abominations, a group of students has emerged to demand more liberty, not less. They’re Chinese students, studying in Western universities, and the target of their youthful liberal ire is Chinese President Xi Jinping. This week, Xi convinced the annual sitting of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, to scrap the two-term limit on presidency. They didn’t take much convincing, by the looks of things. Out

President Xi’s power grab will have global repercussions

President Xi Jinping’s second term was meant to come to an end in 2023. However, the news that the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee has moved to eliminate the constitution’s two-term limit for presidents suggests he plans on staying in power longer than this – and perhaps indefinitely.  The rest of the world will now have to figure out how best to deal with him. Xi is currently 64 years old, which means he could dominate Chinese politics until 2030. This would let him implement his ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, to link Eurasia through Chinese infrastructure and trade, and the ‘Made In China 2025’ plan, which aims to make China a manufacturing

How the West got China wrong

This week, Xi Jinping is close to achieving what Bill Clinton tried and failed to do: to remove the restriction on an individual serving more than two terms as leader of his country. It will mean that Xi is able to remain in charge of China beyond 2023, when his second five-year term will expire, and to become the longest-serving leader since Mao Zedong. Already, the Chinese constitution is being rewritten to incorporate his personal thoughts so a personality cult, too, is being created. For anyone who remembers the hell of the Cultural Revolution, it’s quite a step. Yet it’s one that’s being greeted with a yawn in the West.

Papa Xi

For the first time since the death of Chairman Mao four decades ago, a leadership personality cult is emerging in China. You can see it in Beijing’s streets, where President Xi Jinping’s face appears on posters on bus stops, next to those of revolutionary war heroes. Scarlet banners fly with bold white letters saying: ‘Continue Achieving the Successes of Socialism… with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core’. The city has this week been hosting the Communist Party Congress, during which Xi was affirmed for a second (and supposedly final) five-year term. But it looks and feels like a coronation. To those who remember Mao’s iron-fisted rule and the cult around

Nick Hilton

The Spectator Podcast: All hail Papa Xi!

On this week’s episode of The Spectator Podcast, we look at China’s new veneration of President Xi Jinping. We also discuss the unusual practices of the Palmarian Catholic Church, stars of Dan Brown’s new novel, and wonder why good girls fall for bad boys. First, the Chinese Communist Party has convened in Beijing this week for its quinquennial congress. With a growing control over the country and an army of youthful acolytes, President Xi is being described as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao. But who is he? And what does China’s increasing confidence mean for an uncertain world? Cindy Yu describes the loyalty of China’s population to their leader, and

One man rules

Optimists speculate that Xi Jinping’s power accumulation is the prelude to a burst of liberalising reform in his second five-year term as the Communist party’s general secretary, which will be consecrated at the current Congress. Nothing seems more unlikely, with the Chinese leader insisting in his marathon opening speech on Wednesday that his country should ‘strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics’ to take ‘centre stage in the world’. While he recognises the need for China Inc. to operate more efficiently, his chosen route lies through the reinforcement of the party state, the repression of dissent and the centralisation of his authority. This represents a sea change

China syndrome | 13 July 2017

Every day on his way to work at Harvard, Professor Allison wondered how the reconstruction of the bridge over Boston’s Charles River could take years while in China bigger bridges are replaced in days. His book tells the extraordinary story of China’s transformation since Deng abandoned Mao’s catastrophic Stalinism, and considers whether the story will end in war between China and America. China erects skyscrapers in weeks while Parliament delays Heathrow expansion for over a decade. The EU discusses dumb rules made 60 years ago while China produces a Greece-sized economy every 16 weeks. China’s economy doubles roughly every seven years; it is already the size of America’s and will

What was the Queen meant to say about the Chinese officials?

A retired diplomat I know had no doubt about where the blame lay for the Queen’s Very Rude episode. ‘Sounds as though the officials let her down badly – twice – in filming private conversations and then not vetting them,’ he observed acidly. And certainly it does seem as though the broadcasters’ cameraman at large – representing the BBC, ITV et al –  may have to have his right-to-roam licence revoked for any social gathering involving HM. The reason, I’d have thought, why he was let loose at cocktail and garden parties was that the Palace thought he, or rather his bosses, could be trusted with the content. More fool

Diary – 28 April 2016

I’m a lucky man. My novel House of Cards transformed my life, yet I wrote it almost by accident nearly 30 years ago. It wasn’t intended to be anything other than a hobby but thanks to the limitless skills of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, backed by the reach of Netflix, it now spans the globe. We’re into our fourth season, preparing the fifth, but it never ceases to surprise. A little while ago during his official visit to Britain I was invited to meet President Xi of China. In order to mark the occasion I decided to give him an original and now rather rare hardback copy of the

Heathrow’s third runway could still be halted – here’s how

The Great British Runway final between Heathrow and Gatwick is beginning to look like a game of two halves. The visit of China’s President Xi Jinping is a bonus for the west London team, who can claim that Chinese investors with bulging wallets are more likely to be impressed by landing at an urban mega-airport than an expanded flying club in Sussex. But the Volkswagen emissions scandal has been a gift for Gatwick, because as chief executive Stewart Wingate said: ‘Heathrow’s poor air quality already breaches legal limits and it’s difficult to see how expansion could legally go ahead with the millions of extra car journeys an expanded Heathrow would

A Chinese bailout won’t save Hinkley Point, our latest nuclear disaster

How easy it would be to scorn the environmentalists who are up in arms about George Osborne’s new pet project, the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. You can understand their anxiety: subsidies for green energy are being slashed, yet the Chancellor will do anything — and pay anything — to get this project up and running. He is happy to force households to pay artificially high prices for a form of energy which brings all kinds of risks — of which the world was reminded this week when Japan found the first cancer case liked to the Fukushima disaster of 2011. ‘Has the Chancellor lost his mind?’ they ask.

Exclusive: Boris declares that Japan is relaxed about Britain leaving the EU

Boris Johnson has recently returned from a tour of Japan. His diary of the trip appears in this week’s issue of The Spectator: Frankly I don’t know why the British media made such a big fat fuss last week when I accidentally flattened a ten-year-old Japanese rugby player called Toki. He got to his feet. He smiled. Everyone applauded. That’s rugby, isn’t it? You get knocked down, you get up again. And yet I have to admit that I offered a silent prayer of thanks that I didn’t actually hurt the little guy. They aren’t making many kids like Toki these days; in fact they aren’t making enough kids at

Isabel Hardman

Listen: BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg confronts President Xi over China’s human rights

One of the clever things that politicians try to do is to redefine words and concepts that everyone thought they knew the meaning of. Take today’s ‘press conference’ that David Cameron and Chinese President Xi held in Downing Street. That ‘press conference’ consisted of statements followed by two questions, though dozens of journalists had turned up. Fortunately, the question from the British media came from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, who asked the Prime Minister how he thought a British steel worker would feel that the Chinese president was being ‘ferried down Whitehall in a golden carriage’ and whether there is ‘any price that’s worth paying in order to further our

Is our foreign policy being dreamt up by the James Bond screenwriters?

If there’s one thing that the James Bond films has taught us it is that the Chinese are not our enemies. We should perhaps remember this as President Xi Jinping polishes his heels on our red carpets this week. Our enemies are cold war Russians, jewel-encrusted North Koreans, ex-Nazi rocket scientists, fat Europeans obsessed with gold, and, of course, bald Polish-Greek crime lords called Ernst with a love of bob sleighs and white cats. The imminent release of the twenty fourth Bond film is a handy reminder that if we’re looking for threats, we should really look closer to home. What little we know of Spectre‘s plot suggests that it’s