/China’s National People’s Congress starts amid rising geo-political tensions (via Qpute.com)
China’s National People’s Congress starts amid rising geo-political tensions

China’s National People’s Congress starts amid rising geo-political tensions (via Qpute.com)

The annual week-long meeting of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) began yesterday, overshadowed by a continuing rise of tensions with the US. Just weeks after his inauguration on January 20, President Joe Biden has already set out to escalate the confrontation with China that had its origins in the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” of which Biden was a part, and was intensified under Trump.

The discussion at the NPC is shaped by fears in Beijing that Biden will continue Trump’s aggressive trade war measures, naval provocations in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, close to the Chinese mainland, and a broader military build-up in the Indo-Pacific in preparation for war.

People walk past a video screen displaying an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition in Beijing, March 1, 2019 [Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein]

On the opening day of the Congress, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the government work report, focused on the economy in the context of the 14th five-year plan, which was also published on Friday. He foreshadowed an economic growth target of “above 6 percent,” indicating a substantial recovery from last year when the economy contracted by 6.8 percent in the first quarter before rebounding to grow at 2.3 percent for 2020 as a whole.

The target appears to be an underestimate, according to outside observers. In January, the International Monetary Fund forecast that China’s economy would grow by 8.1 percent in 2021.

The growth figures underscore the deep concern in Washington that China will eclipse the US—a situation that is intolerable for the American ruling elite, which will use all methods, including war, to prevent its global dominance being undermined. In his first foreign policy speech, Biden declared that he foresaw “extreme competition” with China.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the rivalry. Despite the weaknesses and bureaucratic character of its response to the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime did in large measure contain its spread and enable a revival of economic activity. The 2020 figure of 2.3 percent growth was the fastest of any major economy. By contrast, COVID-19 was allowed to run rampant in the US, resulting in more than half a million deaths and an economy that contracted.

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