Monday, April 04, 2016

UNDER PRESSURE - Xi Jinping of China

"Signs of growing discontent for Xi Jinping in China" PBS NewsHour 3/31/2016


SUMMARY:  Pressure has been mounting between the U.S. and China on issues ranging from Chinese military activity to reining in North Korea's nuclear efforts.  But tensions are also rising within that country, due to economic instability and a crackdown on dissent.  Christopher Johnson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Andrew Nathan of Columbia University join Hari Sreenivasan for more.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  For the Chinese leader, it’s a moment on the world stage, on issues ranging from the growing tensions over China’s military activity in the South China Sea, to Beijing’s ability to rein in North Korea’s nuclear efforts.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING, China (through interpreter):  Especially, we want to enhance communication and coordination on the Korea nuclear issue and other regional and global issues, and to consolidate and expand our shared interests.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  But Xi’s biggest challenge may be back home, where there are signs of growing discontent.  Partly, it’s economic, a stock crash, sliding currency values and the weakest economic growth in a quarter-century.

Outwardly, at least, Xi’s government has remained upbeat.

LI KEQIANG, Premier, China (through interpreter):  We are fully confident of China’s long-term economic growth.  The economy will not suffer a hard landing.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  But Xi has also raised hackles with his crackdown on dissent.  Last month, he visited state media organizations, warning that absolute loyalty to the party is their highest priority.  That drew criticism from real estate magnate Ren Zhiqiang, among others, and his social media accounts were suspended.

This month, a government-run Web site posted a letter calling for Xi’s resignation.  It was signed “Loyal Communist Party Members.”

Soon after, a number of people, including well-known columnist Jia Jia, went missing, apparently as part of an investigation into the letter’s origin.  Protesters in Hong Kong demanded to know his whereabouts.

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