As our new era of U.S.-Chinese major power competition accelerates, this week’s train wreck of an American presidential debate, followed more dramatically on Friday by President Trump’s positive Covid test and hospitalization, contribute both to the perception and reality of Beijing’s historic gains.
Chinese officials are unlikely to use this moment of unanticipated U.S. distraction for any sort of dramatic move that might provoke Washington, such as a military move on Taiwan’s independence to complement its recent actions to more fully control Hong Kong.
At a minimum, however, Chinese officials will embrace this period as additional, welcome “breathing space” to escalate their ongoing efforts across a range of fronts to build upon their momentum – from tightening party control on the Chinese private sector, to the accelerated development of a digital currency, to closing remaining technology gaps with the United States.
Recent events have also contributed to Chinese confidence that their single-party, autocratic system – for all its failings and inefficiencies – is better designed to provide public needs and political stability than the disorder of American and Western democracy.
Though Chinese officials have been cautious this week in their reactions to both the U.S. debates and President Trump’s illness, commentators that typically reflect official views left little doubt that President Xi Jinping regards this past week as a powerfully positive one for the Chinese team.
“Such a chaos at the top of U.S. politics reflects division, anxiety of U.S. society and the accelerating loss of advantages of the U.S. political system,” wrote Hu Xijin, editor of the English-language Communist party mouthpiece, the Global Times.
Commenting later in the week on the positive Covid tests in the White House, Hu Xijin underscored a message that’s been sent consistently by Chinese officialdom to their global partners that U.S. institutions and leaders
CHICAGO (AP) — News Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 sparked an explosion of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories that in a matter of hours littered the social media feeds of many Americans.
Tweets shared thousands of times claimed Democrats might have somehow intentionally infected the president with the coronavirus during the debates. Others speculated in Facebook posts that maybe the president was faking his illness. And the news also ignited constant conjecture among QAnon followers, who peddle a baseless belief that Trump is a warrior against a secret network of government officials and celebrities that they falsely claim is running a child trafficking ring.…