Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the rare nationwide “white-paper protests” in China may not have an immediate effect but will have a long-term impact on Xi Jinping's government.
What Happened: Recently, hundreds of Chinese citizens took to the streets to protest against the country’s zero-COVID rules and lack of free speech in the country. Although the government was able to crack down on protesters, the rare incident showed the rising dissent for the Chinese Communist Party among the people.
"We should not overstate the impact. Many in the West describe this as an uprising. No, it’s a protest movement," Rudd said in an interview with Nikkei Asia.
Rudd, a fluent-Mandarin speaker and a keen observer of Chinese politics, also said Xi’s "Marxist-Leninist tilt" will see a similar correction to that of the Mao Zedong years after he steps down, bringing China back to a more pragmatic “middle course.”
"With Xi, if you push Chinese politics more to the Leninist left, push Chinese economics more to the Marxist left, then in the long term, you will get a reaction, as we’ve seen in previous periods in Chinese history. The period from Deng Xiaoping, from 1978 through to 2017, was a reaction to Mao Zedong’s period of 1956 to 1978, if you include the two years after his death. You had a long period of movement to the left, and a reaction back to the right," Rudd said.
Rudd, who is also the president and CEO of the Asia Society in New York, said under Xi's rule, U.S.-China relations will see a short- to medium-term stabilization as the president eyes rebuilding its COVID-battered economy.
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