Trade war with U.S. causes rift in Chinese leadership

China regrets hyping its power: Reuters

Chinese leader Xi Jinping visiting South Africa last month.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping visiting South Africa last month. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The escalation of trade disputes with the United States has caused a rift within the ranks of China’s communist leadership, the Reuters news agency reported Friday.

While President Xi Jinping (習近平) still has a secure hold on power, there has been uncharacteristically open criticism of economic and trade policies, the report said.

“There is a growing feeling within the Chinese government that the outlook for China has ‘become grim’ as Beijing might have taken too overtly nationalistic a tone in its dispute with Washington,” Reuters reported.

Hyping China’s power and capabilities might have made the U.S. more inclined to take drastic action on trade, obtaining the opposite of the desired effect. The Belt and Road Initiative and the government’s hardline stance on the South China Sea and Taiwan were elements that influenced Washington’s view of Beijing, Reuters reported.

Official media have begun downplaying the elements most likely to provoke U.S. government anger, trying to limit the damage, according to Reuters.

“But the thinking in Chinese government circles is that the damage has already been done – and that China has learned the hard way that its domestic propaganda is now being scrutinized abroad in a way it never was before,” the report concluded.