China Calls Trump a ‘Bully’ for Supporting Xi Jinping in Hong Kong
China’s state-controlled Global Timeson Friday lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump, accusing him of feigning support for Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in a ruse to squeeze trade concessions out of China.
The Communist paper interpreted Trump’s good wishes as a “bullying” tactic and a tacit admission the U.S. is manipulating the Hong Kong protests to further its own ends.
The comment from Trump that infuriated the Global Times was, of course, delivered via Twitter on Wednesday.
I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a “tough business.” I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2019
Trump followed up with similar advice for Xi on Thursday.
If President Xi would meet directly and personally with the protesters, there would be a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem. I have no doubt! https://t.co/eFxMjgsG1K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
“The U.S is openly playing Hong Kong as a card to exert strategic pressure on China amid the trade negotiations and escalating contention between the two countries, said Chinese experts, as senior US officials, institutions and foundations have increasingly lent support to prolonged riots in the special administrative region,” the Global Times fumed.
From this perspective, Trump’s seemingly optimistic prognosis was actually a gangster-style warning along the lines of: Nice semi-autonomous former British colony you got there – be a shame if something bad happens to it.
“Experts” were trotted out to explain that America has been trying to subvert Hong Kong since the British still controlled it, and can’t wait for China to inflict another Tiananmen Square massacre on Hong Kong so it has an excuse to impose more sanctions, saying:
“The US is actually acknowledging its interference in the Hong Kong turmoil and trying to use it as a bargaining chip to get some benefit from trade talks with China,” Diao Daming, a US studies expert and associate professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.
“This is not a surprise at all and this is a customary tactic of the Trump administration when bullying other countries to accept an unreasonable deal.”
The US is also using its influence in Hong Kong to provoke China and it hopes China will solve the problem with force so that it can prove Beijing’s policy over Hong Kong is failing and Washington and its Western allies can launch sanctions against China, which would strategically benefit the US, and this is what US policymakers believe, Diao said.
It won’t be effective as Hong Kong is a “core interest” of China for which it has no room to compromise, but the trade disputes between the two countries are negotiable, so the US is using a wrong tactic which won’t bring what it wants but might cause great losses to the US, Diao said.
Lü Xiang, an expert on the US at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that using Hong Kong as a base to permeate the mainland is a long-existing approach that the US has applied since the Cold War and now since internationalization of the renminbi (RMB) is also threatening US financial hegemony, damaging Hong Kong’s position as a financial center and offshore RMB market is also a strategic US goal.
The Global Times repeated China’s frequent allegations that “human rights” and “democracy” are Western scams invented to attack China’s sovereignty. Its quoted experts predicted the United States would come to regret its victory if Hong Kong descends into utter chaos because “the financial security of the US will also see an impact in the current age of globalization.”
On that point, there is some international agreement, since Hong Kong is indisputably a vital hub of commerce for the entire industrialized world.
CNBC on Friday quoted Western analysts who predicted Beijing will feel obliged to wrap up the Hong Kong crisis no later than October 1, which will be the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and may conclude the damage to its own interests from a crackdown would be balanced by losses around the world, especially if the trade war with the United States remains unresolved.
“The personal authority of Xi, a strongman who has centralized power and extended his mandate indefinitely, is at stake,” the UK Guardian wrote on Thursday, suggesting that Beijing is unlikely to accept any resolution to the Hong Kong crisis that appears to have been dictated or facilitated by third parties, especially the United States.
Instead, with a growing campaign of economic leverage prodding Hong Kong companies, businessmen, and celebrities to make public declarations of support for the Beijing-aligned government and police, China will want the story ended with a demonstration of the Communist Party’s strength, an ending that reminds the world of China’s determination and willingness to use all means at its disposal to achieve its ends. A bloody crackdown is not optimal, but it’s also not the worst grand finale Xi Jinping can imagine.