• 22 June, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

Xi’s Re-election: Opportunity For World, Curse For China

Cdr Sandeep Dhawan (Retd) Sat, 04 Jun 2022   |  Reading Time: 6 minutes

China is gearing up for the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to be held later this year. According to the consensus view, President Xi Jinping’s historic bid for a third term as the party’s General Secretary is assured.

The Chinese President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping, doesn’t have much fan following in the world. Therefore, my statement that Xi’s re-election is an opportunity would shock many people worldwide and specifically in India.

Xi Jinping: The Cult Figure

Chinese President Xi Jinping is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary and a contemporary of Mao. In 1963 Mao had purged the whole family, and young Xi’s luxurious life came to a grinding halt. Xi Jinping was dispatched to the countryside, where he worked for six years as a manual labourer in an agricultural commune.

Instead of hating Mao for his actions against his family, Xi Jinping started patronizing him. Today, Xi glorifies his exile to the countryside and garnering as much profit from it as possible. Xi Jinping has also issued a history resolution that distorts the facts or circumvents controversial historic topics. This resolution allows Xi to compare himself to celebrated predecessors Mao and Deng Xiaoping implicitly.

Unfortunately, a country is as good as its leaders are. China is no different. In the past, China had some very talented leaders who improved China without a destructive mentality. Why Xi Jinping is terrible news for China? Because before he would wound the world, he would scar China.

The Farce Of Chinese Characteristics

CCP has been deceiving the world and the Chinese citizens that their way of working is unique. The fact is that they have been outright copying their one-time tormentor Japan. If the Japanese called their treaty of 1854 with Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States unequal, the Chinese also called the Opium Wars and the treaties that followed, unequal. Though the Japanese treaty ended Japan’s 215 years of self-isolation, this didn’t happen with the Chinese self-isolation that had started in 1434. Chinese citizens had to wait till the Third Plenum of the CCP, held from 18-22 December 1978, which saw the launch of China’s reform and opening-up policy under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping.

Japan’s model had surprised the world, and Deng Xiaoping had to just copy the successful model. Japan had smartly identified, modified, and adopted in each sphere of life the western models that were best suited to Japan. Like Japan in the 1870s, China started sending government representatives, scientists, scholars, and students to the U.S. and various European countries. They visited factories, government offices, met political leaders, worked in the western scientific institutions and, studied in the world-class universities, and got immensely benefited from that.

While Japan sent representatives to observe the French-Prussian war of 1870, to understand how Europeans fought and implemented military reforms, China also closely monitored the Western wars to draw its conclusions. Japan purchased modern Western equipment, modeled its army on the German army and navy on the British navy. China went one step further. They not only imported the modern equipment but reverse-engineered them for indigenous production.

China’s Smart Moves

The Chinese leaders of the 80s and 90s clearly understood the Japanese shortcomings during World War II. In the 1940s, U.S.’s manufacturing capacity for high-quality steel was 50 times Japan’s. The Western powers were way ahead in their industrial base. Leaders like Deng Xiaoping invented the phrase, “Hide your strength, bide your time” to garner Western support for China’s peaceful rise. Such nimble steps successfully brought China to a state where today it is called the ‘World Factory.’

2019 Manufacturing Data – Courtesy: theglobaleconomy.com

In 2019, China’s manufacturing output was at a staggering $3.8 trillion, accounting for 27% of the world output. The closest low-end manufacturing competitor India was $383 billion, representing only 10% of China’s numbers. Even if China stagnates and India grows at 10% annually, it would take 26 years to catch up. That looks worrisome, but there is hope. In Xi Jinping, China has a destroyer hell-bent on destroying previous generations’ decades of diligent planning, hard work, and meticulous execution.

Xi Jinping – The Destroyer

In 2012, Xi knew that he was not anyone’s first choice, neither in the Shanghai faction nor in the CCYL. Despite that, he was selected for the top job of General Secretary because he was considered harmless. Xi is like Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet’s 1973 coup was welcomed with relief and received broad support from all the political parties. Even the CIA described him as a quiet, mild-mannered, honest, harmless, friendly, hard-working, and businesslike person.

Just like General Pinochet purged every political and military opposition, Xi has also decimated every kind of opposition in the party. He has not even spared retired party leaders and warned them, “violations of disciplinary rules should be dealt with seriously.” Today he is called the ‘Core Leader.’ Since Xi had no base, he made PLA his base. He took the support of the hawks in the PLA and purged Generals and Admirals who came in his path. The problem is that it is not clear if Xi controls the PLA or PLA controls Xi. One thing is amply clear, either PLA is running the show, or Xi is letting them run the show for his sake. PLA’s imprints on diplomacy are apparent. Their methods are fast replacing diplomacy with sharp power.

This once again takes one to Japan in the early 1900s. Meiji Japan had created history by defeating Russia in the 1904–1905 war. Japan annexed the southern half of Sakhalin Island and controlled South Manchurian Railroad. Korea became a Japanese protectorate, followed by annexation in 1910. Micronesian island colonies were conquered in 1914, and in 1915 China was presented with the so-called ‘Twenty-One Demands,’ making it virtually a Japanese vassal state.

Japan was on a roll. But Meiji Era’s Japanese leaders were realists. They always made an honest appraisal of Japan’s strengths compared to the strengths of other countries. Every step Japan took was only when it was confident of success. Compared to this, the 1930’s Japanese army commanders were hothead officers who were intoxicated by the previous generation’s successful campaigns. Today’s China is in a similar situation. Xi’s diplomats and generals are hotheads who are not honest in their assessments. They are intoxicated by the previous generation’s successful but illegal occupation of Tibet and the South China Sea islands. The Japanese hotheads took Japan to doom in World War II, and Xi’s hotheads would do the same in the coming years.

A Man In Hurry Is Bound To A Make Mistake

Xi is a man in a hurry, and he has started to falter. China, under Xi’s watch, has had the slowest economic growth in the last three decades and is held responsible for the spread of Covid-19 worldwide. Chinese officials’ shameful display of celebration over their recovery and mounting deaths in other countries has further isolated China. Xi’s regular rhetoric of war over Taiwan, siding with Russia in the Ukraine war, debt-trap diplomacy, and luring of the Pacific island nations hasn’t helped China’s cause, either.

Despite all this, China has become too powerful and wealthy to fail. China also doesn’t have the factory output problem that ailed Japan during World War II. Xi and his hotheads have been working smartly just below the threshold of war. Therefore China has to be lured into war. The lingering China problem has to be taken to a logical conclusion. All the Quad+ nations have to put their heads together since the present offset strategies won’t help in China’s case.

The Outdated Offset Strategies

The concept of offset strategy came into existence with the help of superior technology soon after World War II. The ‘First Offset Strategy’ was nuclear deterrence. The ‘Second Offset Strategy’ was achieved with the guided munitions, stealth aircraft, radar and tracking systems, and the battle networks that controlled them. The ‘Third Offset Strategy’ was implemented by introducing deep learning systems, human-machine collaboration, human-machine combat teaming, assisted human operations, and network-enabled cyber-hardened weapons.

Unfortunately, China is not far behind the Quad members in almost all these fields. Therefore, while Xi Jinping is destroying China from the inside, a ‘Fourth Offset Strategy’ has to be devised to achieve that aim from the outside. Holding or hedging strategies won’t work with China.

Xenobots, the organic robot – Courtesy: thenextweb.com

The answer may lie in combining two or three scientific fields together. In 2022 a team of biologists and computer scientists from Tufts University and the University of Vermont created the novel, tiny self-healing biological machines from frog cells called “Xenobots.” These living, programmable organisms could move around, push a payload, and even exhibit collective behavior in the presence of a swarm of other Xenobots. These organic robots may change the way we fight a war without firing a single bullet.

Such out-of-the-box thinking present technological advantages and make the fourth offset strategy a reality. If the ‘China Problem’ is not resolved at war footing, the next decade could be the most harrowing experience humanity has ever endured. War is not the solution to any problem, but ignoring an existing wound for a long may turn it into cancer. China has been giving those cuts and wounds to the world under Xi Jinping for a long time. Why should the world wait for those wounds to turn into cancer?

“Peace is not the absence of war; it is the ability to deal with the war” ~ Insightful Geopolitics


A veteran of the Indian Navy, Cdr Dhawan served in the Navy from 1988 to 2009. He was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Flying Instructor. He is a geopolitical analyst and writes for various online websites and organizations.


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Jun 10, 2022
Great reading It is really worth the time reading your articles and getting educated on a different dimension. Regards

B Raja

Jun 09, 2022
यह कहना अतिश्योक्ति नहीं होगा कि चीन के राष्ट्रपति ने मुह बड़ा खोल लिया है, ना निगल पा रहे ना चबा पा रहे | लेखक का आकलन सही है जब वो कहते हैं कि चीन कुशलतापूर्वक युद्ध के threshold के नीचे कि परिस्तिथियों को बनाए रखना चाहते | दशकों के बाद भी चीन ने कभी अपने सेना को सही मायने में नहीं परखा | परंतु अपने विशालता का स्वरुप दिखाकर उसने Confucius के विचारों का सही मायने में पालन किया, कि अपने प्रतिद्वंदियों को बाहर से नहीं, अंदर से कुरद के कमजोर बनाया जाना चाहिए | लेखक के लेखों को उच्च शिक्षा के विद्यार्थियों तक पहुंचाया जाना चाहिए |

Rakesh P

Jun 08, 2022
This article was futuristic as well as a history lesson. Kudos to your in-depth research and for bringing out such intense topics in a straightforward language.


Jun 07, 2022
Learnt something new— Xenobots! Also about how China is aping it’s tormentors. Thank you Commander Sandeep

Raghu Vir S Gauba

Jun 05, 2022
Excellent insight !

Marilee Wein

Jun 05, 2022
The title gives hope over the complex conditions that were well expressed in the article.

Pradeep kumar sharan

Jun 05, 2022
Well-researched article, Sandeep. With reference to the past experience in similar circumstances, it points to a reasonable solution. The solution though, however reasonable-sounding, will remain a quandary world will need to think over deeply to resolve

Wendell Bruges

Jun 05, 2022
A very incisive and intriguing article. It is amply clear that Xi Jinping has bitten more than he can chew. His every outing has been a failure. There is no doubt that Xi is a curse to China.

Dhirender Gaur

Jun 05, 2022
Indeed very apt

Gp Captain RSMehta

Jun 05, 2022
Nice article . Author’s ability to move back and forth in history to cite lessons from past of similar situation is rarely seen in other mainstream articles on similar subject. This makes his articles different and more interesting than others . Author’s grasp on history is commendable. Some quick reflections - By not biding his time and hiding his strength Mr Xi has exposed his intent , plans and instruments to achieve them a bit to early. By prematurely exposing himself he has truly spoiled the Chinese broth. World is now alert about China’s intentions and fast putting a counter measure in place. World economic dependence on China, its supply chain domination, and its digital superiority are the three main instruments by which China wants to win its global war. Liberal world is working hard to neutralise all the three of them. Militarily, technologically and in control of global finance, China is still decades behind the west. Writer is right. Xi has spoiled the China story and harming more than doing good to China . P.S. If nuclear deterrence can be considered most effective, morally, ethically and strategically most justified for the existence and survival one country That is TAIWAN . Why Taiwan decided not to go nuclear till now , baffles me ?? !!

Cdr Deepak Singh

Jun 05, 2022
I have been forwarding your articles to young students. Don't be surprised that a few are quoting the articles in their International Studies projects. Keep going Sandeep.

Commander NK Kulkarni

Jun 04, 2022
How far the Xenobot concept would be akin to a biological warfare & deviating from treaties for non use of chemical & bilogical warfare needs to be seen. Secondly, the Xenobot concept presently may appear to be a localised weapon system rather than a far reaching intrusive & offensive system. Time will tell perhaps

Srk Murthy

Jun 04, 2022
Excellent articlewith deep insight into Chinese politics.

Sid Gupta

Jun 04, 2022
Wonderfully crafted. Some good analogies. Great insight

GP Singh

Jun 04, 2022
Quite an in depth analysis. China indeed cannot be ignored. But too much focus on China - be it their trade, manufacturing , tech or political power has brought the country to limelight it required. Capitalising on its image , it expanded it's influence in all fields while staying away from any truly constructive global engagement. It only remained involved in aggressive trade and expansion of its economic might with a view to create debt trapped colonies. As a result China has become a necessary evil for many. But to my understanding , China may take a decade or two to implode due to the burden of its own ambitions and leadership. The world cannot of course wait and watch till then . Hence , the Quad like initiatives may be the beginning of a process to challenge Chinese belligerence.

Narinder Pal Singh Hora

Jun 04, 2022
No doubts, Xi will get re-elected. However, as brought out, the economic slowdown in China could have been due to global slowdown in economic activity. Maybe Covid pandemic or other factors were the reasons. How all this will affect China, time will tell. Whether the world is in a position to censure China like Russia is still a big question mark.


Jun 04, 2022
Well researched article.


Jun 04, 2022
Another eye opener and informative article as always.

Praveen Bhaik

Jun 04, 2022
Great article. Lots to think about!!

KS Uppal

Jun 04, 2022
Good reading but sounds a too optimistic approach against a giant.

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