Beijing is relations with the West have soured. Exacerbated by Xi’s “unbounded” partnership with Moscow.
Xi Jinping won a historic third leadership term in October. Emerging as China is most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong. With the Politburo Standing Committee stacked with allies. And no successor waiting to challenge him.
It was a rare highlight for Xi in 2022, a tumultuous year punctuated. By unprecedented street protests that followed an abrupt reversal of his zero-covid policy. And the spread of coronavirus infections across the world’s most populous country.
While frustration over zero-covid. And its devastating impact on the second-largest economy has done little to derail Xi’s march. Toward five more years as general secretary of the ruling Communist Party. 2022 has been a year of crisis at home and abroad for the 69-year-old. – The old leader.
China’s economy is on track to grow by around 3% in 2022. Well short of its official target of around 5.5%. As overseas Covid restrictions stifle consumption and disrupt supply chains. While the crisis in its vast property sector deepens.
Beijing’s relations with the West have deteriorated, worsened by Xi’s “no limits.” Partnership with Moscow, struck before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. As well as rising tensions over US-backed Taiwan. Which China considers part of its territory.
Xi traveled abroad for the first time since the pandemic began, meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in September. In November, He meet with US President Joe Biden, At the G20 in Indonesia. As both sides sought to maintain stable relations.
Later that month, Protesters in cities across China took to the streets to oppose. The three-year clampdown on Covid-19 controls that had been a signature Xi policy. This is the first such mass protest in China since 1989.
In an sudden reversal, China lifted most of its COVID controls in early. December as cases surged in cities including Beijing. Despite warnings from global experts about inadequate vaccine coverage. And a health system unprepared to deal with an outbreak of infections.
Why It Matters
For decades, China has been the world is main economic growth engine. As well as the linchpin of industrial supply chains. A prolonged economic slowdown. Or new logistical disruptions due to Covid or geopolitical tensions will reverberate globally.
Xi has further consolidated. His power in a process that began, When he first took office a decade ago. A concentration that has moved China in a more authoritarian direction. And critics warn that the policy increases the risk of missteps.
In the immediate aftermath of October is Communist Party congress. Global investors dumped Chinese assets and the yuan weakened to. Its weakest in 15 years on fears that security. And ideology will undermine. Trump’s rise and international sanctions during a third Xi term.
What does it mean for 2023?
Since the congress, China has reversed zero-covid. And said it will focus on stabilizing its $17 trillion economy in 2023.
Managing mushrooming infections across large. Populations with little “hard immunity” is Xi’s most pressing challenge. With implications for public health as well as social stability and the economy.
Experts warn that China, home to 1.4 billion people. Could see more than 1 million Covid-related deaths in the coming year.
At its annual parliamentary assembly in March, China will complete its leadership transition. With Shanghai Party chief Li Qiang, a close ally of Xi. Set to replace the retiring Li Keqiang as prime minister, a role to oversee the economy.
The World Bank expects growth to pick up to 4.3% in 2023 from the 2.7% forecast for the current year as China’s economy reopens.
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Xi appears to be trying to cool some of the tensions that have fraught relations with the West. Even as Beijing seeks to bolster. Its position as a counterbalance to the US-led post-World War II order. With outreach such as Xi’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.