Alice Yang, the daughter of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, is a Yale grad.
China demands Biden ditch allies: US not ‘qualified’ to speak from position of strength
by Joel Gehrke, Foreign Affairs Reporter | | March 19, 2021 11:56 AM
Chinese officials are demanding President Biden ditch U.S. allies facing economic pressure from Beijing in a testy opening encounter at a high-stakes Alaska meeting characterized by barbs over recent upheaval in the United States.
“So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi said. “The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years back, because this is not the way to deal with the Chinese people.”
That truculent comment came in an off-script contretemps that followed the opening remarks that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan exchanged with Chinese officials in Anchorage. Yang delivered an extensive statement, speaking longer than the two minutes allotted by agreement, according to U.S. officials, featuring jibes about the putative weaknesses of American democracy.
“And the United States has its style, United States-style democracy, and China has the Chinese-style democracy,” Yang said during his opening remarks. “It is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world. Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States, and they have various views regarding the government of the United States.”
Sullivan did not appear impressed. “I do hope this conversation will be one carried out with confidence on both sides,” he replied. “So it’s not lectures or long, winding statements; it’s the opportunity for us to explain where we’re coming from, to hear where you are coming from, and to indicate, at bottom, what our principles, our priorities, and our long-term strategies are.”
White House officials on Friday assessed the Chinese side’s actions as meant for a domestic audience, saying that they knew the meeting would be “difficult.”
That unexpected rebuttal sparked a new round of commentary from the Chinese officials, who made clear their irritation at the way U.S. officials prefaced the meeting with a week of travel to meet allies in the Indo-Pacific.
“It brings in China’s relationship with the United States, with Japan, and with Australia,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “If the United States would indiscriminately protest and speak up for those countries just because they are your allies or partners, we believe for the long term … then it will be very difficult for international relations to develop properly.”
“We are not going to leave Australia alone on the field,” Kurt Campbell, Sullivan’s top lieutenant for Indo-Pacific issues at the White House National Security Council, told Australian media this week. “We have made clear that the U.S. is not prepared to improve relations in a bilateral and separate context at the same time that a close and dear ally is being subjected to a form of economic coercion.”
Blinken, speaking moments before Sullivan, delivered his own extemporaneous rejection of Yang’s rebukes.
“I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re re-engaged with our allies and partners,” he said. “I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government has taken, and we’ll have an opportunity to discuss those when we get down to
Meet the Red Princesses and Princes: The Chinese Elite’s Globe-Trotting Kids
DAMIEN MANOVEMBER 28, 2011All of them spent their formative years in American education institutions (not to mention Parisian debutante balls) and seem to have entered high-power private sector professions
Over Thanksgiving, the Wall Street Journal‘s Jeremy Page wrote an excellent piece on Chinese royalty 3.0, replete with a neat interactive graphic. It immediately became a buzz on Twitter and Weibo. The article featured Bo Guagua prominently, the son of standing committee aspirant and former Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, and led with a vignette of Guagua pulling up to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in a red Ferrari. To me, that was the least surprising part of it. I would be surprised if he wasn’t behind the wheels of a Ferrari or some ultra luxury brand equivalent. Who do we think he is, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke?
I won’t dwell on what this phenomenon of “princelings with money” means for the Chinese political economy, since the WSJ page explains it in more detail. While it is understandable that Guagua commands most of the attention because he has not exactly been shy, in this Web 2.0 world, it is difficult for any of the notable progeny of Chinese politicians to escape notice. In fact, many of these “red princes and princesses” are on Facebook or Renren, the Chinese equivalent…
It’s not just them, even though they attract a disproportionate amount of intrigue. There’s also Jasmine Li, the granddaughter of Jia Qinglin, who heads the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee and is currently number four on the nine-man standing committee. Li attends Stanford and debutante balls in Paris — an honor she shares with Sabrina Chen. Apparently, becoming a red princess requires an appearance at the Paris debutante ball. Perhaps the least high profile red princess is Alice Yang, the daughter of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and a Yale grad. And last but not least, there is of course future Chinese president Xi Jinping’s daughter Xi Mingze, who is attending Harvard as an undergrad.
Their pedigrees are not so different from those of elite children anywhere else, and are all products of prestigious prep and boarding schools in the U.S. (Sabrina Chen, Tabor Academy; Jasmine Li, Hotchkiss School; Alice Yang, Sidwell Friends, which makes sense given that her father previously served as Chinese ambassador in D.C.). All of them spent their formative years in American education institutions and seem to have entered high-power private sector professions. It is far from clear whether any of them will have political aspirations in the future, and if they do, whether their experiences will decisively shape their world views. The average Chinese — actually, average anybody — would struggle to identify with what they represent or to determine whether they will be forces for change or stasis in China over the next decades.
(On a personal note, there was a remote possibility that I could’ve tasted the “sweetness” of the exclusive princelings club, as I recently learned that my grandfather survived the infamous “Long March” with Mao Zedong during the civil war. Alas, I went to public schools, dislike cars in general, and have nary a clue what a debutante ball is, all disqualifying me from entry. In any event, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, I, too, wouldn’t want to be part of a club that would have me as a member.)
DAMIEN MA is a fellow at the Paulson Institute, where he focuses on investment and policy programs, and on the Institute’s research and think-tank activities. Previously, he was a lead China analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk research and advisory firm.