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Xi Jinping skipping G20 summit in Delhi due to turmoil in Chinese domestic politics and slump in economy, was criticised by party veterans: Report

The primary concern put forth before Xi Jinping was that if the political, economic, and social upheavals continued without adequate responses, the party's power could be jeopardised owing to a loss of public backing.

As China has officially announced that Chinese President Xi Jinping will be giving a pass to the G20 Summit scheduled to be held in New Delhi on September 9-10, the discussion around what could have been the reason behind missing a crucial G20 meet. Notably, in place of President Jinping the, Chinese delegation will be led by Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Interestingly, this is the first time since Jinping assumed power in 2012 that he will be missing a G20 meet which brings 19 countries and the European Union together. Although he was not present at the G20 Summit in Rome in 2021 due to the pandemic, he attended the event via video link. Many arguments are coming up one such being that the move is to snub India as the country has taken a strong stand against China over its unfounded claims on the Indian territories in Arunachal Pradesh and some areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC),

Before moving ahead, it is worth noting that China had recently released a ‘standard map’ laying claims on Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. China’s bizarre claims, however, were met with criticism from the Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who in an interview said that “China has a habit of releasing such maps, and told China that merely including other countries’ territories in its map meant nothing, as the territories are very much part of India.” In addition, India also registered against China’s actions through diplomatic channels.

Other countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Russia have also issued statements objecting to the map for including their territories.

Other than the speculations around China’s attempt to snub India, the annual gathering of incumbent and retiring Chinese Communist Party officials in the coastal resort of Beidaihe, Hebei Province, appears to have been a forerunner to Jinping’s decision not to attend the G20 conference.

The specifics of the discussions that took place behind closed doors at the Beidaihe summit were not made public, however, some interesting information is beginning to surface.

CCP elders rebuked Xi Jinping

According to a Nikkei Asia report, the tone at this year’s Beidaihe summit was noticeably different from the previous ten gatherings held since Xi became the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary in 2012. Citing sources the report stated that a group of retired party elders lambasted Xi Jinping in an unprecedented manner during this year’s session.

China is currently confronting severe challenges. Its economy is in a slump not seen since the late 1970s, when “reform and opening-up” began.

The Nikkei Asia report states that the Chinese real estate sector is in turmoil, as evidenced by the troubles of big developer Evergrande Group. The percentage of youth unemployment has reached such frightening proportions that Chinese authorities stopped publishing numbers this summer.

It is notable that in August this year, Evergrande Group filed for bankruptcy in a bid to protect its assets in the United States and reach an agreement with its creditors. Once China’s top developer, the Evergrande Group defaulted on its more than $300bn in debt in 2021. Recently, China’s largest property developer, Country Garden, said that it faced a loss of USD 7.1 billion in the first six months of the year.

Moreover, the Chinese military is currently in disarray as a consequence of the removal of two top Rocket Force generals, which became public in July. In addition, the dismissal of Foreign Minister Qin Gang from his position has left the ministry engulfed in suspicion and uncertainty.

According to the report, current military turbulence raised concern among party elders who were in control during China’s economic boom.

The party elders apparently conducted their own meeting in preparation for Beidaihe to gather their ideas before presenting them to the current leaders. This meeting is thought to have taken place on Beijing’s outskirts.

Following that, a group of elders travelled to Beidaihe to convey their agreement to Xi Jinping and other leaders of the present league. It is being said that this face-to-face meeting occurred on a single day.

‘Further turmoils can jeopardise public support to the CCP’

The primary concern put forth before Xi Jinping was that if the political, economic, and social upheavals continued without adequate responses, the party’s power could be jeopardised owing to a loss of public backing. “The elders emphasised that further turmoil must be avoided,”  Nikkei Asia report reads.

Zeng Qinghong, a former vice president and one of the late former President Jiang’s closest advisors, was a key figure among the elders. Zeng was instrumental in allowing Xi, who was relatively unknown at the time, to quickly climb to power inside the party. The 84-year-old continues to wield power inside the party and has a vast network of personal ties.

Reprimanded by party elders, Jinping directs his advisors to deal with “remaining issues”

According to the report, after receiving unexpected criticism from senior party members, Xi sought solace with close aides he had appointed to crucial posts. Xi Jinping reportedly conveyed his displeasure and blamed his three predecessors, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao.

“All the issues left by the previous three leaders are on my shoulders. I’ve spent the last decade attempting to settle things, yet they remain unresolved. Am I to blame?” Jinping reportedly said. It is also said that he directed his advisers to take charge of settling any unresolved issues.

Among the said “unresolved” issues is China’s declining relationship with the rest of the world, which has resulted in slow trade and a steep drop in foreign investment.

Jinping’s G20 miss attempt at face-saving?

Jinping’s decision to miss the upcoming G20 summit in India could be an attempt at face-saving as the conversation at the G20 conference may centre on China’s economy and its impact on the global economy. The CCP’s inner circle has most likely concluded that Premier Li, who is in charge of the Chinese economy, should attend the summit to discuss these issues.

Interestingly, the Chinese President’s decision to skip the G20 summit comes on the heels of another absence. Xi Jinping did not attend a business forum hosted during the BRICS summit in South Africa in late August, following the Beidaihe meeting. Instead, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao read his speech.

Back then it was speculated that Jinping opted not to take part in the forum out of concern about being confronted with upfront questions regarding China’s economic low performance. A further reason for his absence from the G20 summit is the failure to resolve tense relations with the United States.

G20 meeting in New Delhi

The New Delhi G20 Summit, which will bring an end to a series of meetings over the course of the year, is going to be held in New Delhi on 9-10 September this year. The 43 Heads of Delegations- the largest ever in G20-will be participating in the final G20 Summit.

The G20 Summit is a forum for international economic cooperation and represents 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade and two-thirds of the global population. The G20 presidency is a very important opportunity for India, as it gives India an opportunity to become a major player on the global stage.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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