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“Xi Jinping wants to rely on the ‘Global South’ to circumvent a hostile North and establish himself as an unavoidable power”


REconducted for a third term as President of the Republic on March 10, Xi Jinping now places China’s international role at the top of his concerns. His agenda bears witness to this: since the end of the parliamentary session on March 13, he has not yet inspected any province, but has made a new visit to Russia (the ninth since 2013), is preparing to receive the Spanish Prime Minister , Pedro Sanchez, then, the following week, Emmanuel Macron and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. He should also have received the Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, at the end of March, in Beijing, but the latter had to postpone his trip for health reasons.

In addition, China will organize a first China-Central Asia summit in May, before celebrating with great fanfare in the fall the tenth anniversary of the “new silk roads”, launched by Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan in 2013. Shanghai Cooperation Organization, created by Moscow and Beijing to manage this buffer region, has expanded “on the initiative of Moscow”according to the Chinese, to the point of bringing together traditional enemies (India and Pakistan), but without leading to much.

Taking advantage of Russia’s current weakness, Xi, despite his ” friendship “ for Putin, is pushing his advantage by trying to regain leadership in this region which is again of interest to the White House, as shown by the recent trip by Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “Xi Jinping’s very anti-Western discourse, shared by Vladimir Putin, complicates the dilemma of Europeans in relation to China”

What is new, however, is the discourse that accompanies this diplomatic priority. Believing that it has succeeded in a few decades in achieving what the West has accomplished in several centuries, Beijing considers that its success “offers a new model of modernization to the world”. Of course, Chinese propagandists are too smart to recommend that emerging countries emulate China. For the moment, they are content to convey two messages.

A sufficiently consensual discourse

First, the American model is failing. Everything proves it, according to Beijing: from the populism of former President Donald Trump to the ravages of drugs and guns to the fear that China inspires in Washington.

Secondly, this American failure is not serious, on the contrary, since China proves that an alternative is possible. According to Beijing, five characteristics distinguish its “success” from Western modernization: the first is the massive size of the population involved; the second is the “common prosperity”, this concept developed by Xi Jinping in 2020 to try to reduce inequalities; the third is “the balanced development of material and spiritual civilization” ; the fourth, “the harmonious coexistence of man and nature” ; the fifth, the “peaceful development”.

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