Arthur Kroeber

Nationalism has been a double-edged sword in China’s domestic policy, where the leadership mostly tried to control this natural sentiment among its citizens. But Xi Jinping is clearly taking a different direction when it comes to his foreign policy, tells economist Arthur Kroeber, author of China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know® to the South China Morning Post.

The South China Morning Post:

Rising nationalism in China will also make it hard for Beijing to change its policies.

“If you look at some of the speeches Xi Jinping has made or plans highlighted in his presentation, he is presenting a sort of nationalist message,” said Arthur Kroeber, research head and co-founder of Gavekal Dragonomics.

Xi told last week’s meeting of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission that leadership on foreign affairs would become more centralised in order to achieve the “Chinese dream” of national rejuvenation.

“I think the evidence we have is that most people in China respond positively to that. They think it is very important for China to become more powerful and more independent and that if the US is trying to restrain China, then it is good for China to fight back,” Kroeber said…

Washington’s seven-year ban on selling US components to Chinese telecoms firms ZTE over sales of its equipment to Iran – which Trump has since said he will revisit – has fuelled debate in China about its heavy reliance on chips imported from America. After the ZTE penalties were announced, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily called for China to develop its own hi-tech industries, invoking Beijing’s drive to develop its nuclear and space programmes in the 1960s.

“I think both in terms of a disciplined policy system and in terms of the power of nationalist message to a broader audience, they are important tools for Xi Jinping in constructing his response to the US,” Kroeber said.

More in the South China Morning Post.

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