This week the Chinese began New Year celebrations. The year of the Ox commenced on February 12 and ends on January 30, 2022. The ox is a hard-working animal, thus the year portends less stasis and greater movement.
While on the subject of zodiac signs, it is worth mentioning that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was born in 1953, which was the year of the snake. Yes, it sounds bad but it's not. People born in the year of the snake are said to be calm, thoughtful, reticent and act on their own judgment.
Checking out President Joe Biden who was born in 1942, it turns out to be the year of the horse. Expected personality traits for this birth year are warmth, abundant energy and passion.
Whether one believes in astrology or not, it seems to have hit a bulls-eye in the case of these two leaders. The question is which personality is likely to negotiate better when the two leaders inevitably meet. If Mr. Biden raised concerns over human rights abuses in Xinjiang in his letter to Mr. Xi, a reasonable guess would be that the importance of such issues would wane over time against the imperatives of trade, the economy and big business.
In the meantime, China has reacted to the BBC investigative report on the maltreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang. It barred BBC World News from appearing on its television networks, and Hong Kong's public broadcast service announced it would stop relaying BBC World Service radio -- the latter severing an association going back to colonial days when the UK ruled Hong Kong. BBC reports on China, said China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) "seriously violated" the "true and impartial" requirements and "undermined China's national interests and ethnic solidarity." So reported Xinhua, the state news agency. The Chinese news agency in London charged the BBC with "relentless fabrication." NRTA also said it will not accept the BBC's application to broadcast in the new year.
On the opposing side, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) said that China seemed to be attempting to force foreign media to toe the government line. And Britain has already revoked the UK broadcast license of the Chinese state TV's global network.
During Mr. Biden's phone call subsequent to his letter to the Chinese president, he again raised human rights concerns particularly with respect to the Uighurs. Sensitive to deteriorating relations with respect to the Uighurs. Sensitive to deteriorating relations with western democracies, Mr. Xi kept reminding the US president how important it was to the world, and to both their countries, for China and the United States to work together.
If Plato's preferred form of government was an aristocracy with a philosopher king at its head (The Republic), it is China's government that comes closer to the model. Efficient decision making is not a characteristic of democracies; it seems, we pay for the freedoms we enjoy.
So will China outmaneuver the US in the coming contest? We have to wait and see.
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