Strength from Weakness China’s new Agenda 2020

At the beginning of December, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs leaped over Beijing’s Great Fire Wall, which restricts access to a wide range of foreign sites. The tweets ranged from branding the US “SUPER LIAR” to rejoicing foreign journalists to commending achievements of China: “China is 9.6 million km2 huge, free of fighting, terror, and migration.

China will be stable in 2020, after a year of converging challenges, under Xi Jinping’s rule. Over seven months of protest in Hong Kong captured global attention and mobilized people to oppose Beijing’s impact on the city.

A trade war of a year and a half with the US has grown to almost full-fledged Washington competition. Meanwhile, China has been experiencing growing criticism about Beijing as a National Security Concern, and China has linked Canada, Australia, and the U.K. over the last year.

Recently, two large releases of classified government documents detailing China’s Muslim minority detention system in Xinjiang have emboldened opponents, observers, and other states and raised questions of potential conflict within ranks of government.

At home, the government is facing a slow-down in the Chinese economy in its 30-year most slow-moving rate, which raises concerns about jobs. Chinese consumers have been impacted by growing consumer prices, which have been underlined by the rising cost of pork, the staple meat of the nation is expanding, causing the government to start releasing strategic pork reserves.

In the last few months, the government has issued new guidelines on democratic education recruitment of party members, guidelines on patriotism and new content controls. High schools have had to remove illegal or “inappropriate” books from their collections–contributing to a book burn outbreak in a county library.

Some of China’s strain will also be self-inflicted next year. Xi has staked out “three tough battles” to be fought by the end of the next year by his faction, to help him achieve a still larger goal, the “complete rejuvenation of the Chinese people.” Xi has defined 2021 as the deadline for his government to create a “moderately prosperous nation” and this is also the centennial of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.