Title: US President Biden Labels Chinese President Xi Jinping a Dictator, Sparks Controversy
By Steve Holland, with additional reporting by Laurie Chen in Beijing
In a solo news conference following their summit talks, US President Joe Biden did not mince words when reaffirming his view that Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dictator. This straightforward declaration raises eyebrows, as it marks a significant departure from the diplomatic language used by previous US administrations.
Biden’s reasoning behind this statement stems from China’s status as a communist country, which employs a different form of government than the United States. He argues that Xi’s consolidation of power and restrictions on media freedoms make him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. The US President firmly believes that these factors make Xi Jinping a dictator.
Unsurprisingly, China’s foreign ministry expressed strong opposition to Biden’s remarks, condemning them as “extremely wrong” and “irresponsible political manipulation.” However, they refrained from naming individuals who they believe are attempting to damage US-China relations. This lack of specificity suggests that Beijing wishes to avoid exacerbating tensions further.
While attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, the Chinese delegation has not yet responded directly to Biden’s comments. However, in past instances, China dismissed similar assertions as absurd and provoking. This apparent willingness to overlook such remarks in the interest of improving bilateral relations raises questions about the potential impact of Biden’s labeling.
Adding to the drama surrounding Xi’s dictatorial portrayal, an array of protesters took to the streets of downtown San Francisco, expressing their dissatisfaction with Beijing’s policies. Advocating for freedom in Tibet and Hong Kong, hundreds of demonstrators criticized China’s regime during the summit. Their display reflects the growing global concerns over China’s human rights record and its control over regions such as Tibet and Hong Kong.
This article provides a glimpse into the ongoing tensions between the world’s two largest economies. It also showcases the stark differences in their political systems. With US-China relations already strained by trade wars and other conflicts, Biden’s blunt characterization of Xi Jinping as a dictator adds fuel to the fire.
Written by Steve Holland, this report includes additional reporting by Laurie Chen in Beijing. It has been edited by Heather Timmons, Stephen Coates, and Raju Gopalakrishnan to provide a balanced perspective on the issue at hand.