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China condemns US President Biden’s branding of Xi as dictator, still paints a glowing account of their summit

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov18’23) – China has condemned US president Joe Biden’s reiteration of his position that its virtually life-time President Xi Jinping is a “dictator”, although this does not appear to have soured Beijing’s portrayal of the two leaders’ Nov 15 meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ summit in San Francisco as a breakthrough in ties between the two countries.

“Look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours,” Biden told reporters while responding to a media query.

Biden’s remark came just hours after he held lengthy talks with Xi amid a surge in US-China tensions. Beijing has since registered ‘strong opposition’ to the remark and dubbed it “irresponsible political manipulation”.

At a briefing with international reporters Nov 16, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing “strongly opposes” Biden’s characterization, calling it “extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation.”

“It should be pointed out that there will always be some people with ulterior motives who attempt to incite and damage US-China relations,” nypost.com Nov 16 quoted Mao as saying, without mentioning the president by name. “They are doomed to fail.”

Xi, as Chinese president and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, effectively holds more power than any other Chinese leader before him, having removed term limits and purged former rivals in the Chinese government in recent years.

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Still, Mao gave a glowing review of the Biden-Xi summit, which she called “positive, comprehensive and constructive” — comments that were dutifully repeated by official sources, the report noted.

“It was an important opportunity for the two sides to build trust, clear up misgivings, manage differences and expand cooperation and an important meeting that adds certainty and stability for a world going through turmoil and changes,” Mao has said. “San Francisco can be a new starting point for stabilizing China-US relations.”

Besides, state broadcaster China Central Television allocated almost two-thirds of its daily evening news bulletin to the Chinese president’s outing in San Francisco, with about 15 minutes devoted to the Biden-Xi meeting and another 15 minutes to Mr Xi’s speech at a gala reception with prominent American business leaders later that night, noted bbc.com Nov 17.

“The meeting was positive, comprehensive and constructive… It would be a new starting point for stabilising relations between China and the US,” the presenter was quoted as saying, reading from the same article that had been published on the Party mouthpiece People’s Daily earlier.

President Biden previously called the Chinese President a “dictator” in June. Saying that Xi was embarrassed over the recent tensions surrounding a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had been shot down by the US Air Force over the United States’ East Coast, Biden added, “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators. When they didn’t know what happened.”

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Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, when asked Nov 17 during a closing media availability at the APEC summit if he would call Xi a dictator, has not clearly answered the question.

When pushed, Trudeau stated: “We can get into all sorts of different definitions. The fact is, he’s not running a democracy. It’s an authoritarian state,” noted globalnews.ca Nov 17.

Earlier, Trudeau had referred to China as having a “basic dictatorship” in 2013, when Xi was the country’s leader.

“Which nation, besides Canada, which nation’s administration do you most admire, and why?” he was asked at the time during a meet-and-greet.

“You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest’,” the report quoted Trudeau as having answered in 2013.

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