Two senior Chinese officials have in this past week met their American counterparts in the United States city of Anchorage, Alaska. Initial reports of the meeting were not encouraging. The Chinese leader reacted angrily to the United States’ opening statement that accused China of committing various crimes including against the Uighurs and the citizens of Hong Kong. The Chinese response was unusually robust, declaring that internal Chinese matters were exclusively the prerogative of the Chinese. They did not, in any case, accept the American characterisation of the treatment of their citizens.
The somewhat frosty meeting was consistent with the recent United States statements about China, its leadership, and its style of governance. The Alaska meeting followed the publication by an anonymous writer of a link to an article in the Atlantic Council called “The Long Telegraph: toward a new America – China strategy”. The tone of the article was set early when it claimed that “the single most important challenge facing the United States in the 21st-century is the rise of an increasingly authoritarian China under President Xi Jinping.”
It thus makes the classic American era, which is also seen in its treatment of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, of personalising the leadership. China in fact has a collective leadership of which Xi is merely the leader. The Chinese focus is very much on developing a long-term strategy. It is one that will continue long after Xi’s time is over.
The attacks on Xi, as on Putin, ignore the mutual benefits that accrue to each nation from their relationship. It is a relationship that has steadily improved in recent years. Both countries see the United States strategy for what it is: a crude attempt to separate the relationship, making it all the easier for the United States, in their view, to pick them off one by one.
Part of that campaign is an attempt to vilify the Chinese leadership for its alleged treatment of the Uighur population. The United States, and a few other lackie nations, have gone so far as to label the Chinese treatment of its Uighurs as “genocide.” This is a profound absurdity. Genocide refers to the systematic elimination of a particular group. That is certainly not true of the Uighurs. On the contrary, their population continues to grow,