Chinese foreign ministry crossed the Great Fire Wall used by Beijing in early December to block access to many foreign websites and entered Twitter to interact directly with anyone in the world.
His tweets so far ranged from calling the US a “SUPER LIAR” and upsetting foreign journalists to lauding the victories of China: “China’s vast land of 9.6 million square kilometres is free of war, fear, refugees and displacement. Citizens from 56 ethnic groups are living happy lives, Top achievement in human rights!”
“2019 was a very, very bad year for China’s international reputation across a wide range of fronts–Hong Kong, Xinjiang, foreign interference, spying, technology, strategic competition,” said ChinaNeican co-editor Adam Ni, a Chinese policy newsletter.
After a year of converging crises, China, headed by Xi Jinping, will reach 2020 on the back foot. Over seven months of protests at its Hong Kong doorstep have captured global attention and mobilized citizens to push back against the influence of Beijing over the city.
A year-and-a-half-long trade dispute with the United States has intensified into near-full-on Washington rivalry. Elsewhere, as fears about Beijing emerge as a national security threat, China’s relations with Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have all come under strain in the past year.
More recently, two major leaks from classified government papers documenting China’s policy of mass imprisonment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have emboldened activists, witnesses, and other countries to speak out, and raised questions about possible government opposition.
At home, the government is facing a slowing Chinese economy, rising in 30 years at its sluggishest rate, raising fears about unemployment. Increasing consumer prices have hit Chinese people, illustrated by the fact that the cost of pork, the staple meat of the country, has skyrocketed, forcing the government to release strategic reserves of pork.
A recent high-level meeting on economic planning, attended by Xi and other top officials, called “stability” one of next year’s key government priorities.
“We are at a critical time,” said the conference’s official overview, noting “downward economic pressure” and “structural, systemic and cyclical interconnected concerns.” It said: “With contingency plans, we need to be well prepared.”