NEW DELHI: China under Xi Jinping appears to be turning the clock back, to the time when state surveillance and control over their citizens’ lives was pervasive. In an exclusive chat with StratNews Global on his book India’s China Challenge, author and journalist Ananth Krishnan believes that Xi has absorbed some harsh lessons from the tragedy visited on his family and himself during the Cultural Revolution. That the way forward is not through more liberalisation and greater freedom, but the reverse, greater oversight and controls with the whip firmly in his hand.
So Xi is walking back from every hard won freedom of his people. He has centralised more power in his hands since the days of Chairman Mao, founder of the People’s Republic of China. The military answers to him alone, and Xi has shrewdly vested time and effort in ensuring he has a role in all top level appointments in the army, navy and air force. In that sense, he has underscored that political power flows from the barrel of a gun.
Krishnan warns that this is not good news for India and China. Surrounded by hawkish advisers and sycophants echoing his every word, Xi has blundered with India, sacrificing billions of dollars in trade and goodwill for no strategic gain on the boundary. Today, there is a backlash worldwide against China, and while economic decoupling will not happen overnight, distrust of China will ensure it will happen. For more, tune in to this interview.