China’s Centenary Warning

China’s president Xi Jinping issued a stark warning to other countries around the world in his address to mark the centenary of the Chinese Community Party this summer.

Speaking at a public event, Mr Xi threatened that foreign nations would ‘get their heads bashed’ if they tried to exert any influence over China, which he defined as ‘bullying’ and ‘sanctimonious preaching’ .

“We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China,” said Mr Xi, adding that “anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people”.

As we have noted in previous editions, relations between China and the USA in particular have been dramatic and strained in recent years, which made these remarks easy to interpret as a direct address to America. Between issues with trade, the pandemic, human rights, espionage and China’s role in Hong Kong and Taiwan, foreign powers have had much to level at China of late.

This aggressive stance, amid such sensitive and still unresolved issues, does nothing to ease tensions internationally, and is a curious choice of sentiment from China’s leader.

This has done little for China in the eyes of the world, and can only compound the more dubious press. Such a position of strength as China now has requires no such outward expression at such a celebratory event, so it is an unusual message to communicate to the world at a time when all eyes are on China and some of her more controversial actions.

Regardless of whether China sees itself as under attack or in a position of global dominance, we in our position as global family offices cannot help but think that the most useful thing to do for the country would be to outwardly express peaceful sentiment with regard to other nations.

Considering the global trade links and the many collaborations between Chinese expertise and other expertise around the world, this would be a much easier environment in which businesses – and family offices in particular with their more personal relationships – could operate.