BEIJING — As China’s leaders gather for their annual Yellow Sea retreat, the country’s political waters are looking choppy.

Chinese President and ruling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is beset by economic, foreign policy and domestic political challenges just months after clearing his way to rule for as long as he wants as China’s most dominant leader since Mao Zedong.

Mounting criticism of the Xi administration’s policies has exposed the risks he faces from amassing so much power: He’s made himself a natural target for blame.

“Having concentrated power, Xi is responsible for all policy setbacks and policy failures,” said Joseph Cheng, a retired City University of Hong Kong professor and long-time observer of Chinese politics.

Notably, Xi used to dominate state-run newspapers’ front pages and the state broadcaster CCTV’s news bulletins on a daily basis but has in recent weeks made fewer public appearances. “He can’t shift the blame, so he’s responding by taking a lower profile,” Cheng said.

The challenges so far aren’t seen as a threat to Xi’s grip on power, but for many Chinese, the government’s credibility is on the line.

Of greatest concern to many is the trade war with the U.S. that threatens higher tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese exports. Critics say they’ve yet to see a coherent strategy from Beijing that could guide negotiations with Washington and avoid a major blow to the economy. Beijing instead seems to be opting for defiance and retaliatory measures of its own.

Both the stock market and the currency have weakened in response and the Communist Party itself conceded at a meeting last month that external factors were weighing heavily on economic growth.

At the same time, a scandal over vaccines has reignited long-held fears over the integrity of the health care industry and the government’s ability to police the sprawling …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

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