One would actually think that the Chinese communist leadership has massively increased in popularity in recent months. As the US fails to fight the pandemic and the American economy slides into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, China reports a handful of new infections every day.
Probably the only major industrial power in the world, the People’s Republic’s economy will have grown by the end of this year. And life is back to normal, even domestic tourism is booming, as was recently seen during Golden Week, the nationwide holiday week in early October.
Nevertheless, President Xi Jinping and the cadres around him have not yet been able to score. On the contrary: A poll published by the PEW Institute in Washington at the beginning of October shows that China is more unpopular abroad than it has been since 1989.
The institute asked people in 14 countries whether they perceive the People’s Republic of China as a threat. In all countries, the percentage of those who have a negative opinion of Beijing has increased, in some cases rapidly. In Australia in 2014 it was 37 percent, today it is 79 percent. In Germany, 62 percent saw China as a threat in 2014, today it is 78 percent.
Trump’s anti-China election campaign
Trump raised the mood against China during his tenure. During the election campaign, he never tires of emphasizing that an election victory for his rival Joe Biden is in the interests of the leadership in Beijing. “If Biden wins, China wins,” he said at a campaign rally in Ohio on September 21.
Shortly before that, he had made even more drastic statements on a radio show: “If I don’t win the elections, China will own the US. You will have to learn Chinese. ”On another occasion he said,“ China wants me to lose. ”
It was Trump who started the trade war with Beijing in 2018, imposed sanctions on Communist Party cadres, and kicked tech firms like Huawei and Tiktok in the shin. Since the pandemic, he has not missed an opportunity to blame China. In addition, with his numerous verbal derailments, Trump offers an easy target for commentators and cartoonists. Accordingly, the leadership in Beijing would have to hope that Trump’s opponent Biden makes the race.
System competition in the foreground
But it’s not that simple. The CP is known to think in longer lines. More important than the question of who will win the US election on November 3, and whether relations between the two states will improve again under President Biden, is that of systemic competition.