The picture shows a young man setting up a street vendor on the streets of Beijing. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)
[The Epoch Times, November 09, 2023](Comprehensive report by Epoch Times reporter Xia Yu) A new study shows that concerns about China’s economic downturn and troubled real estate market have led to rising Chinese people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. While Xi Jinping puts security first, the Chinese are paying more attention to economic development.
According to the “State of U.S.-China Relations” report released by Morning Consult on Wednesday (November 8), Chinese adults’ satisfaction with the country’s development path has fallen below the worst level during the CCP’s purge. In 2022, Chinese people’s dissatisfaction escalated into widespread protests against the Chinese Communist government.
In the second half of 2022, due to dissatisfaction with the CCP’s zero-clearance policy, white paper movements broke out in many places in China. This was a direct protest against the CCP regime and attracted widespread attention from the international community.
“These trends deserve attention as potential warning signs, especially given the recent death of former Prime Minister Li Keqiang,” the researchers wrote.
Li Keqiang’s death remains a sensitive moment for Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping has been grappling with a sluggish economy, record youth unemployment and a severe slump in the real estate market.
Li Keqiang is seen as a reformist politician who can challenge Xi Jinping, although he has always been consistent with Xi Jinping’s political agenda. During his ten years as prime minister, Li Keqiang achieved neither significant economic achievements nor major political progress in the shadow of Xi Jinping. But Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, told Newsweek: “If there are problems with China’s economy in the future, people may think of Li Keqiang’s stance on the economy and people’s well-being.”
In the past, the deaths of popular government officials have triggered outpourings of public support and even large-scale demonstrations, although new protests appear unlikely at this stage, researchers say.
Compared with Xi Jinping’s emphasis on regime security, Chinese people value the economy more
Morning Consult’s survey shows that Chinese adults believe that the society they live in is full of dissatisfaction and burnout. This uneasiness has led people to prioritize economic growth and social stability over national defense.
A Morning Consult report published last month said competition with foreign rivals has been the least important policy priority for the Chinese over the past five months.
Economic growth has long been Beijing’s top policy priority, but as the economy slows, Xi has signaled a shift in the party’s strategic thinking, prioritizing economic autonomy and “comprehensive national security” over pure economic growth.
Under Xi Jinping, the “ghost” of national security has become ubiquitous and has become a guiding principle for the authorities’ decision-making. On May 30 this year, Xi Jinping stated at the first National Security Committee meeting after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that the CCP “faces national security issues that have become significantly more complex and difficult” and is “prepared to withstand major tests in high winds, rough seas and even stormy seas.” .
International media often use the term “Security Obsession” to describe Xi Jinping’s recent series of security measures. This “security obsession” has become a lingering shadow since he took over the top 20 powers.
Morning Consult found that China’s domestic woes and their impact have also translated into a softening of attitudes toward the West.
Research shows that from April to October, the proportion of Chinese adults who believe the United States is an enemy or unfriendly fell by 9 percentage points, while the proportion who are interested in resolving military tensions between the United States and China increased by 6 percentage points.
The report believes that the softening of Chinese views on the United States may be more due to public anxiety about China’s economic downturn than to changes in geopolitics.
Morning Consult tracks geopolitical sentiment and political attitudes around the world, conducting monthly surveys of about 1,000 adults in the United States and China from mid-February last year to early October this year.
The possibility of significantly easing the situation between the United States and China in the short term is limited
The report assesses the risks and opportunities faced by multinationals, investors, asset managers and policymakers amid continued tensions between the United States and China, and draws on analysis of public sentiment among Democratic and Republican voters to predict what will happen as the United States moves closer to 2024. The presidential election of 2020 is getting closer and closer, and the relationship between the two countries is heading.
The report said that the possibility of significantly easing the situation between the United States and China in the short term is still limited, especially as the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaches. Beyond next year, if Republicans make significant gains in Congress or regain the presidency, the relationship is expected to sour due to domestic political interests.
Editor in charge: Li Huanyu#