The Big Ideas

Wang Jisi | President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University

'How Beijing Sees U.S.-China Relations'

Foreign Affairs

Wang Jisi | President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University

Foreign Affairs

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'How Beijing Sees U.S.-China Relations'
'How Beijing Sees U.S.-China Relations'
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Wang Jisi | President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University

July 4, 2021
BIG NEWS | ‘In Chinese eyes, the most significant threat to China’s sovereignty and national security has long been U.S. interference in its internal affairs aimed at changing the country’s political system and undermining the CCP.’

‘Just as American views on China have hardened in recent years, so have many Chinese officials come to take a dimmer view of the United States.’

  • ‘The conventional wisdom in Beijing holds that the United States is the greatest external challenge to China’s national security, sovereignty, and internal stability.’

‘Most Chinese observers now believe that the United States is driven by fear and envy to contain China in every possible way.’

  • ‘From Beijing’s perspective, it is the United States—and not China—that has fostered this newly adversarial environment, especially by carrying out what the CCP views as a decades-long campaign of meddling in China’s internal affairs with the goal of weakening the party’s grip on power.’
  • ‘Anytime the CCP has encountered political turmoil at home, it has believed the United States to be a hidden hand.’

‘Underneath the recent hardening of Chinese views on the United States lies a deeper, older source of antagonism.’

  • ‘In Chinese eyes, the most significant threat to China’s sovereignty and national security has long been U.S. interference in its internal affairs aimed at changing the country’s political system and undermining the CCP.’

‘Americans often fail to appreciate just how important this history is to their Chinese counterparts and just how much it informs Beijing’s views of Washington.’

‘The CCP’s rise to power in 1949 wiped out U.S. political, economic, and cultural ties to the Chinese mainland.’

  • ‘In response to Washington’s effort to contain and isolate China, Beijing forged an alliance with Moscow and soon found itself directly fighting the United States during the Korean War.’

‘In the late 1970s, the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening” policy ushered in a dramatic political transformation and led to the warming of U.S.-Chinese relations.’

  • ‘Closer ties, however, also fed Chinese suspicions that the Americans intended to sow the seeds of dissent in China and eventually topple the CCP.’

‘Chinese officials are particularly irritated by what they see as American meddling in restive regions of China.’

  • ‘The CCP believes U.S. is attempting to foment dissent and destabilize China through it actions regarding Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang.’
  • ‘It believes these are part of an integrated American strategy to westernize (xihua) and split up (fenhua) China and prevent the country from becoming a great power.’
  • ‘In Xinjiang, for example, Beijing charges that violent riots there in July 2009 were planned and organized from abroad and that Uyghur activists in the United States who received encouragement and support from American officials and organizations acted as a “black hand” behind the unrest.’

‘The CCP’s concerns about U.S. meddling in China’s internal affairs have a direct connection to the tension between Washington and Beijing on a range of geopolitical issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea and finger-pointing over the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.’

  • ‘China’s increasingly assertive posture in these disagreements is in part a reaction to the CCP’s perception that the United States is attempting to weaken the country and delegitimize the party.’

‘The message is clear: China will not be intimidated.’

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