Amid Crises, Frayed U.S. Ties Give China’s Xi Political Cover At Home | 6/29/2019 | Staff
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BEIJING (Reuters) – To the outside world, China’s ruling Communist Party – faced with an expanding trade war crimping an already slowing economy and spiraling protests in Hong Kong – is confronting some of its strongest political and economic headwinds in decades.

But at home, where China’s elite leaders prepare for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic this October, there are few indications that President Xi Jinping is politically embattled.

Beijing - US - President - Donald - Trump

Many in Beijing believe U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to the trade war, and the Chinese government’s effort to use Washington as a scapegoat for the Hong Kong unrest, provides Xi with convenient and effective short-term political cover.

This time last year, as Xi and other top officials held secretive talks at the seaside resort of Beidaihe, there was an unusual surge of criticism in official circles about economic policy and how the government had handled the trade war with the United States, sources told Reuters at the time.

Beach - Week - China - Midst - Deepening

With that same annual beach gathering likely wrapping up this week in China in the midst of the two deepening crises, there are no obvious dissenting voices.

“In the early months there were some criticisms on the government for not opening up so quickly,” said one Chinese government advisor, speaking on condition of anonymity, referring to the rare internal dissent during the opening salvoes of the trade war last year.

China - Consensus - US - China - Matter

“But right now in China, the rising consensus is that the U.S. is trying to contain China no matter what we do.”

The source, who closely follows U.S.-China trade talks, said Trump’s threat in early August to impose 10% duties on Sept. 1 on another $300 billion of Chinese imports was evidence to many in China that he was not sincere in wanting a deal.

Tuesday - Trump - Deadline - Tariffs

On Tuesday, Trump backed off that deadline for tariffs on...
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