Describe the various challenges being faced by the Communist Party of China and how it may affect President Xi Jinping?
The Communist Party of China and its General Secretary Xi Jinping are being hammered from all sides. From losing the trade war with the United States to mounting pressure from the international community on the Uyghur issue to the triumph of pro-democracy activists in the local elections in Hong Kong held in November, now 17 of the 18 district councils are in the control of pro-democracy councillors.
On the Hong Kong front, the results of the local elections have shown Beijing and its proxies in Hong Kong that the territory and her people stand firmly behind the pro-democracy activists and their very clear demands of genuine autonomy from Chinese rule. This may trigger Beijing into doubling down on the current hardline approach, but one thing is clear that the territory will not give up without a fight.
The trade war with the United States is not going well either, President Trump’s trade tariffs struck the Chinese economy when it was already under intense pressure and in decline. The tariffs imposed on China have resulted in China ceding space to economies like Bangladesh and Vietnam in its trade with the US. In addition to reduced exports to the US, many foreign companies have started to shift their supply chains out of China. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Hyundai are some of the big names who have started to move out of China.
On the Uighur issue, perhaps the biggest failure of the Chinese communist party is its inability to suppress the Uighur issue in the worldwide press and audience. A constant stream of classified documents being leaked by Chinese officials over the years have resulted in organizations like the UN, US State department, Human rights organizations of many nations and many news organizations getting knowledge of just how barbaric the Chinese state is in its dealings with the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the northwestern Xinjiang province.
From a slowing down economy to the failure of flagship projects like the Belt and Road Initiative to Chinese reputation getting shredded on alleged foreign spy rings. These failures both at home and abroad seriously damage General Secretary Xi’s reputation as the undisputed leader who will lead China into a new era as a superpower in the 21st century.
In China, it’s often said that foreign relations are the extension of domestic politics, as a result, there are real dangers that Beijing may want to wage a small war or two with a weak neighbour in order to divert the attention of its people. Here, New Delhi must remain vigilant and stand guard against any Chinese action especially on its northern border where Beijing stage a repeat of the Doklam episode of 2017.