The top priority of the CCP is ensuring its own survival. To do so, it strives for total control over the economy and society. This emphasis on CCP dominance comes at the expense of the welfare of China’s citizens.
The government has either blocked efforts to improve safety standards and regulation or failed to fund and invest in systems and procedures to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens.
The CCP’s approach to legitimate domestic concerns is matched by its efforts to rally support for its position in trade negotiations.
This year, China’s government stepped up an ideological and nationalistic messaging campaign to unite the domestic population against perceived opponents abroad.
As it clamps down at home, the CCP has advanced a more aggressive approach to its relationships abroad.
As part of this approach, Beijing has increased pressure on foreign countries, companies, and even individuals to conform to its worldview.
Meanwhile, it has used state-directed influence organizations overseas, including Chinese students groups, as tools to silence dissenting views.
Externally, China faced increasing resistance to its ambition to shape the regional and global order.
There is also rising concern regarding the CCP’s increasingly brazen attempts to influence and interfere with internal political processes and social freedoms in other countries.
The CCP’s decision to deploy thousands of paramilitary troops near the Hong Kong border in an implied threat reflects its fear that the calls for democracy in Hong Kong pose a direct threat to its own survival.
Amid these pressures, Xi Jinping is projecting an image of confidence and control.
As China celebrates the 70-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, the CCP is reinforcing its political and economic model at home while making its most forceful case yet for legitimacy of its leadership on the world stage.
If there were glimmers of political opening in China, they have been firmly extinguished.
It is for this reason that this year the Commission made the decision to start referring to Xi Jinping using the title by which he derives his authority: General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
China is not a democracy, and its citizens have no right to vote, assemble, or speak freely.
Giving General Secretary Xi the unearned title of “President” lends a veneer of democratic legitimacy to the CCP and Xi’s authoritarian rule.
As Beijing promotes its “China dream”, which it promises to grow into the “world’s dream,” Washington must plan for worst-case scenarios while trying to achieve the best ones.
The courageous calls in Hong Kong for an elected government accountable to the people, as well as Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election, are clear reminders of the compatibility of Chinese civilization with democratic values.
As we look ahead to the future of U.S.-China relations, Congress should bear this promise in mind while not forgetting the people of Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere who are displaced, abused, harassed, or threatened to make way for the CCP’s global ambitions.