Other signs have only underscored what many of us hear from Beijing — that the Communist Party Secretary General is “arrogant and incompetent.” China’s rich are so eager to expatriate cash that new capital controls were imposed over the last few years, in addition to greater surveillance of banks and limits on investment in foreign bonds. Those who can are buying real estate in the West and sending their children to Western prep schools and colleges: The future in China looks bleak to them.
There’s money trouble. There’s health trouble. There’s political trouble. And under the presidency of Donald Trump, the United States has finally begun to push back on Chinese military expansionism in the South and East China Seas. So what exactly does Xi’s version of the Party have left to recommend it? Total social control and widespread purges throughout the government. Coercion is a last-ditch effort to maintain Communist Party rule.
For many outside China, its outward signs of strength — military, economic and political — indicate a Beijing inexorably on the march to global supremacy. But Xi’s mishandling of protests in Hong Kong and the brutal actions against China’s Muslims are not the actions of a confident regime. The Wuhan outbreak further reveals the worldwide consequences of Xi’s politics of fear.