TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Canadian YouTuber on Monday (Dec. 2) posted a clip on YouTube from a PBS interview in which Michael Bloomberg claimed China's ruler Xi Jinping "is not a dictator," and he suggested the gaffe could doom his candidacy for president.
Canadian YouTuber, scholar, and author Christo Aivalis on Monday uploaded a clip of Democratic presidential candidate, billionaire, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg making the claim that China's self-appointed chairman for life, Xi Jinping, is not actually a dictator. In the segment of an interview on the PBS show "Firing Line, which aired on Nov. 29, Margaret Hoover began by asking Bloomberg how the world can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.
Hoover mentioned that China is responsible for 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and questions how the communist country could be coaxed into bringing its emissions down to zero. Bloomberg quickly interjected by saying "China is doing a lot." He conceded that the country is still building many new coal-fired power plants, but he stated that they are moving the plants away from the cities.
Bloomberg failed to mention the fact that whether the coal plants are in cities or in the countryside, the contribution of greenhouse gases to the Earth's atmosphere is the same. He then made the claim that while seeking to stay in power, the Chinese Communist Party listens to the public.
The billionaire mogul then said, "Xi Jinping is not a dictator. He has to satisfy his constituents, or he's not going to survive." When Hoover asked incredulously, "Xi Jinping is not a dictator?" Bloomberg responded, "No, he has a constituency to answer to."
Hoover pointed out that Chinese citizens cannot vote for their top leaders, that there is no democracy in China, and that Xi no longer has to answer to any other authority in the country. Bloomberg then stammered, "That doesn't mean he can survive... I mean if his advisors..."
Before he finished his thought on how Xi's advisors could have some sort of input, Hoover asked, "Is the check on him just a revolution?" Bloomberg quickly shot down the notion that a revolution could occur in the country and then said, "No government survives without the will of the majority of the people," but he failed to provide any evidence that there is a mechanism in China for its citizens to voice their political opinions.
In his YouTube video, Aivalis pointed out that there is "no democratic mechanism to fundamentally address the confluence of totalitarian and corporate power that dominates China." Aivalis said that the idea that Xi is beholden to constituents is "absurd."
He added that if there were constituents, they are not the "average Chinese voter," since a national pluralistic democracy does not exist in China, but rather his constituents are "other powerful people, multinational corporations, the richest and most prestigious people in China, Chinese domestic corporations, and other segments within the Chinese Communist Party." Aivalis then asserted that the interview "will not bode well for Bloomberg" as it makes him appear to be kowtowing to China and could doom his candidacy in the U.S.
In March of 2018, China's rubber-stamp legislature, the National People's Congress, approved Xi's proposal to remove term limits on his post as chairman (主席) with 2,958 voting in favor, two opposed, and three abstaining. This change in China's constitution in effect enables Xi to remain in power indefinitely.
As he also holds the top positions of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, he alone holds the reins of power over the massive communist state. According to Webster's Dictionary, a dictator is "one holding complete autocratic control: a person with unlimited governmental power."