By Ethan Montague
Xi Xinping was elected to serve a third term as the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) this October, after doing away with the country’s Presidential term limits in 2018.
This is an unprecedented move in recent Chinese history and is something not seen since the likes of Mao Zedong, considering China implemented a two-term limit under leader Deng Xiaoping all the way back in 1982.
This comes as Jinping recently had Hu Jintao, the party leader prior to him, removed from a congressional meeting and subsequently scrubbed from the internet according to the New York Post. Jintao was currently the CCP’s second in command.
China has mostly ignored this occurrence and has censored it on social media platform Weibo, only showing posts from before his removal.
The removal may have been political as Hu Jintao’s terms were marked by a desire to be looked at in a positive lens internationally contrary to the years of Xi Jinping, where China has doubled down on a more nationalistic stance.
China believes in what is called The One-China policy, which asserts that Taiwan and other areas off the coast of China belong to them. Currently, they are in the process of building artificial islands in the South China Sea.
This is somewhat of a new development, starting in 2013, so it is unclear how international law impacts this. However, China also claims these territories and has militarized these bases.
Since the Russian invasion of sovereign Ukraine, China has increased military activity around Taiwan, even promising to re-unite China by using military force to retake Taiwan.
“Being that he is re-elected and the country still follows his beliefs, it may spark the interest of the country to invade Taiwan and allow both sides to make connections with the superpowers of the world to push it through with their agendas,” said senior entrepreneurship major AJ Rizzo.
Jinping also has a history of clearing out his political opponents by any means necessary, starting with when he was General Secretary and used an anti-corruption campaign to drive them out.
In this year’s conference the Politburo Standing Committee announced that it would be adding Xi allies such as Li Qiang, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi.
All of these men are aged 60 and older, so it is not clear who the successor would be among them.
In recent years, as Jinping has consolidated power, the term BRICS has mostly been forgotten. BRICS, standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa according to Investopedia, was first used as a term for these non-westernized countries who were believed to be growing their economies at a pace so rapid that they would dominate the global economy by 2050.
These countries typically share similar international politics and vote together in virtually every international forum. Recently, Russia announced that a dozen such countries, including Algeria, Argentina, and Iran, are working to join, while BRICS plans on expanding into a more formal group.
If all these countries are accepted by BRICS then the group will have over half the world’s population and likely a larger share of valuable resources like oil, gas, and metal.
“The advances in missile defense systems seen in the Russia-Ukraine war should scare everyone,” said senior economics major Yash Gudhka. “These technological advances are destroying the assumptions of mutually assured destruction. While vital in any military arsenal, missile defense systems increase the likelihood of war between nuclear powers by lowering the consequences of a nuclear exchange.”
According to political science and international relations professor Belisa Marochi, China so far has not expanded their military outside of China, similarly to how the U.S. has military bases on every continent besides Antarctica.
“[China wanted to] make the whole world dependent on them economically,” said Marochi. “Africa is completely dependent on Chinese investment.”
When the Western World seeks to invest in developing countries, they frequently will outline some things they need to see in return politically, like neo-liberal policies of privatization and liberalization. Chinese investment offers countries an alternative to this.
Marochi noted when China invests in a country “it doesn’t come with neo-liberal conditions.”