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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.55 minutes to read.

Xi Jinping’s rousing speech at the lavish 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was a reflection of the good, the bad and the (whitewashed) ugly of its complex legacy…

As for the good, Xi proudly recounted the undeniable achievements under the CCP. But he conveniently omitted the bad and the ugly. Some of the horrors of CCP rule since 1949, conveniently omitted from Xi’s speech: tens of millions dead as a result of famine from Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” of the 1950s, and the grotesque violence of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. And not least, the crackdown on protestors at Tiananmen Square. Absolute power means you can rewrite history as you like. That is the bad and the ugly…

All told, Xi’s CCP anniversary speech had few surprises and much bravado. But despite China’s remarkable economic and technological success, there is a sense of underlying fear and vulnerability in Beijing’s behavior — from Xi’s techno-totalitarian control of the party-state and efforts to control business to crackdowns in Xinjiang and Hong Kong…

It is tempting to view China as an immature fledgling great power. The challenge to the U.S. and other like-minded states is how to curb Beijing’s ambitions and find a way to manage a competitive coexistence with a major nuclear state before they spin out of control.

Robert A. Manning, senior fellow of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council and its New American Engagement and Strategy and Risks Initiatives. (Published in The Hill)

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping personally led nationwide celebrations to mark the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party. In his speech commemorating the day, Xi celebrated the party’s accomplishments, predicted the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” and warned that any foreign force that tries to bully China would “find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

But most people in Hong Kong did not celebrate. For them, this day marked the loss of their freedoms and democratic institutions. Since 1997, July 1 has been the high point of a series of annual protests and rallies celebrating Hong Kong’s once-flourishing civil society. But not this year… This July 1, propaganda banners celebrating the CCP’s 100-year anniversary stood where pro-democracy signs would otherwise have been. This year, the streets were filled with police, not celebrators…

The lesson of the last century was that appeasing aggressive, repressive, expansionist, nationalist, totalitarian dictatorships is more dangerous than confronting them. This July 1 is a stark reminder that we should believe Xi Jinping when he threatens to attack and undermine freedom and democracy — and then we must do more to push back, in Hong Kong, in Taiwan and in our own country.

Josh Rogin, Washington Post ($ or try incognito)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.55 minutes to read.

China’s economic liberalization and integration into the international order did not —as many expected — result in its political liberalization or its development into a responsible international actor.

Rather, its economic successes have only allowed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to tighten its authoritarian grip at home and flex its muscles abroad. With hindsight, most observers today recognize that treating liberalization theory as an inevitability was a mistake, and one that led to a series of additional errors.

And yet, now that China has arrived as a great power… many, including the powers-that-be in the Biden administration, seem intent on repeating those same mistakes… They are acting on [a] pernicious premise: that the fundamental character of the CCP can and should be set aside at times so that the United States can work with the country on discrete issues…

That the character of the regime is inseparable from its motivations and behaviors as it pertains to particular issues should also be made readily apparent by the CCP’s response to the coronavirus pandemic…

It’s difficult to say how many lives might have been saved had the Chinese government put the truth in front of what it deemed its immediate, short-term interests throughout this crisis, but it didn’t because it is incapable of doing so. Ruthlessly pursuing its own short-term interests is an immutable part of the CCP’s nature…

By failing to reckon with the fact that the Chinese regime’s character — as well as its domestic and geopolitical objectives — are indivisible from its approach to any given issue, the Biden administration is empowering it to achieve those objectives. It is incumbent upon the president and his diplomatic corps to identify these spheres — the environment, coronavirus, sports, etc. — as battlegrounds, and engage on them.

Isaac Schorr, National Review

Today’s China under President Xi Jinping is more assertive abroad than it has been in a couple of decades, and economically more successful at home than many might have thought possible. Mr. Xi and the party may even be making some headway on several economic problems that vexed his predecessors…

And yet. Several challenges are emerging that will test anew the capacity of Mr. Xi and the party to plow through political and economic difficulties. None of these problems doom the regime to an imminent demise, but they’re good reasons to resist the common assumption that party rule will endure forever…

One concerns the distribution of the gains from economic growth… The other wild card is the rapidly changing international attitude toward Beijing…

After 40 years of sustained economic growth, four years of President Trump and 16 months of Covid-19, global patience is wearing thin.

Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ