Biden: China as ‘Bad Actors’ and an Economic ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

**Biden Criticizes China’s Economic Problems and Communist Party Leaders**

President Joe Biden has strongly criticized China’s economic problems, referring to them as a “ticking time bomb.” He also called Communist Party leaders “bad folks.” Despite his administration’s efforts to improve overall ties with Beijing, Biden made these comments at a political fundraiser. However, his remarks included several major inaccuracies about China’s economy. He claimed that China’s growth has slowed to 2% per year and that the country has the highest unemployment rate. Biden also criticized President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, calling it a “debt and noose” due to the high levels of lending to developing economies.

**Beijing Unlikely to Be Baited into Responding to Biden’s Remarks**

Josef Gregory Mahoney, a politics and international relations professor at Shanghai’s East China Normal University, believes that Beijing is unlikely to be provoked by Biden’s comments. He suggests that Beijing is aware that Biden may resort to anti-China tactics to rally support at home. Mahoney also notes that Beijing faced worse remarks from former President Trump. The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond to Biden’s comments.

**Biden’s Direct Criticisms of China**

Biden’s recent comments mark some of his most direct criticisms of the US’s top economic and geopolitical rival, China. The President aims to strike a balance between using trade curbs to deter China’s technological advancements in the military and establishing a diplomatic relationship with Chinese leaders. This relationship could potentially lead to a meeting this year with President Xi Jinping. However, it is uncertain whether this meeting will happen, especially after reports that the White House will bar Hong Kong leader John Lee, who is under sanctions, from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November. Other issues, such as new investment curbs approved by the US and military tensions over Taiwan, also threaten to disrupt the relationship between the two countries.

**Beijing’s Reaction to Biden’s Remarks**

It remains unclear how Beijing will respond to Biden’s latest criticisms. Previously, China ignored his reference to President Xi as a dictator and proceeded to welcome US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US climate envoy John Kerry on separate trips. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who plans to visit China this month, highlighted a recent agreement with China to lift restrictions on group travel to the US as a positive outcome of engagement between the two largest economies in the world.

**China’s Economic Challenges and Biden’s Inaccuracies**

Biden’s criticisms come at a sensitive time for President Xi Jinping, as China is facing economic difficulties. Although Biden misrepresented some key statistics about China’s economy, the overall outlook remains grim. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a slower-than-expected pace of 5.5% in the first half of the year compared to the previous year, leading to concerns about its impact on the global economy. The country is experiencing deflation, slowing exports, high youth unemployment, and a struggling property market. One of the notable examples is Country Garden Holdings, which is facing a debt crisis and is in danger of defaulting.

**China’s Economic Growth and Unemployment Rates**

Contrary to Biden’s claims, China’s economy is projected to grow by 5.2% this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists in July. This growth comes despite weak consumption and a slump in the property market. In comparison, the US economy is expected to grow by 1.6% this year. While China’s annual economic growth has slowed from the rapid pace of above 10% seen in the early 2000s, the government aims for “high quality” development, moving away from an infrastructure and property-driven growth model that has led to high debt levels. This shift may result in more sustainable development. China’s official urban jobless rate has remained around 5.2%, while youth unemployment has reached a record high of more than 20%.

In conclusion, President Biden’s criticisms of China’s economic problems and its Communist Party leaders have caused controversy, as his comments contained several factual inaccuracies. China’s economy is facing challenges, including slower growth and high unemployment rates. However, Biden’s remarks should be approached with caution, as they did not accurately portray the situation in China. It remains to be seen how Beijing will respond to Biden’s words and whether it will impact the relationship between the two countries.

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