Xi Jinping defends crackdown in ‘Shared Prosperity’ movement

China’s drive for “shared prosperity” is not egalitarianism, with President Xi Jinping in a rare international defense of policies that rocked markets from Hong Kong to New York last year.

Xi, often called China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, spoke via video link at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The event will be held online this year, rather than in the Swiss resort of Davos.

“This common prosperity What we desire is not egalitarianism,” Xi said. “We will make the pie bigger first, and then distribute it rationally through reasonable institutional arrangements. As the tide ebbs and flows, everyone can get a fair share from development, and the fruits of development will benefit all people in a more fulfilling and fairer way. “

Under Mr. Xi, the Chinese Communist Party has been reshaping the country’s business and cultural landscape through a series of months-long crackdowns. This targets industries such as fintech, education and entertainment, as well as social ills such as celebrity culture, gaming and women’s fashion trends.

The moves have wiped billions of dollars from Chinese and foreign investors, sparked an international debate over the policy’s political and economic motivations and cast uncertainty over the future of investment in China.

Mr. Xi tried to allay some concerns, insisting to the Davos audience that China remains committed to opening up to foreign companies.

“All kinds of capital are welcome to operate legally and compliantly in China and play an active role in the development of the country.”

The remarks came as China faced criticism for eroding democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, mistreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang and its flamboyant posturing in military affairs. In response, Beijing has often accused the United States and its allies and partners of interfering in China’s domestic interests.

On the global economy, China’s president warned of “serious negative spillover effects” if “major economies hit the brakes or turn monetary policy in response to accelerating inflation”. Developing countries will also “bear the brunt” of these changes.

Issues such as industrial supply chains, tight energy supplies and rising commodity prices also pose challenges, he warned. “These risks stack up against each other, adding to the uncertainty of the economic recovery,” he said.

“There has been a clear shift in the global low inflation environment and multi-factor-driven inflation risks are emerging,” he added.

Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Xi said countries should “make full use of vaccines as powerful weapons to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, speed up vaccination and narrow the global immunization gap”.

“Solid confidence and cooperation are the only correct way to defeat the epidemic,” he said. “Helping each other or passing the buck just causes unnecessary delays in responses and distracts us from our overall goals.”

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