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Xi Jinping's hyper nationalism foster may backfire

News Agencies | Updated on: 1 August 2022, 14:20 IST
China's President Xi Jinping.

China's President Xi Jinping has fostered an ugly hyper-nationalism in the name of so-called patriotism with Chinese characteristics, according to a media report, which stated that the he might not always be able to manage it.

US President Joe Biden in March last year spoke about China's "nationalism" and said it is on the rise.

"Nationalism is on the rise, and repression is spreading and attacks against the rules-based order are intensifying," Biden told a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council, adding that America's fate is "increasingly entwined with international events".

Fang Fang, a writer in Wuhan, had drawn the ire of nationalists at home in China during the COVID-19 lockdown in the city when the pandemic just started, Policy Research Group reported.

She has received a barrage of online vitriol for daring to criticize the Xi government's inadequate reaction.

"They act like a bunch of thugs, throwing wave after wave of attacks on everyone who doesn't cooperate with them," Fang Fang stated and compared the "attackers" to the rampaging mobs during Mao's Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.

When Fang Fang published the 60th and last instalment of her online journal on life in Wuhan, during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, she had written about her personal struggles as well as those of the first city in the world to go through a COVID-19 lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine war has drawn concerns by other several western countries over the Chinese nationalism towards Taiwan.

China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan despite the two nations being governed separately for more than seven decades. Taipei continues to counter the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US.

As President Xi is all set to get a third term as the helmsman of China, there are several questions yet to be answered. These questions include -- how much will his judgment on whether to invade Taiwan be influenced by nationalism? Or to use force militarily against nations China has territorial conflicts with?

Sima Nan, a well-known Chinese nationalist with almost 3 million Weibo followers, asked whether it would be ethical to shoot Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, Policy Research Group reported.

He posed the question after former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8 during a campaign speech on a street in central Japan.

"All Chinese people want Taiwan to be liberated peacefully", he wrote, remarking, "Wouldn't people be thrilled if stabbing Tsai Ing-wen to death could bring about peaceful unification?"

POREG reported that some commentators say that since its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) government in Beijing has never had any sovereignty over Taiwan but that is besides the point. What is germane to the present discussion is the reality that diplomats, particularly from the West, are nervously watching for any indications of a stronger stance.

However, China's nationalism has gotten worse, and party conflict has long characterized the country's politics of succession. It's not implausible that Xi's detractors or those anticipating the day he leaves the political scene may turn to more virulent expressions of nationalism.


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First published: 1 August 2022, 14:20 IST