Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Religion and Global Security, University of Tokyo

The tensions between China and the United States seems not to be abated under Biden administration. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first press conference since confirmed by the Senate in January 27, reiterated his judgement that genocide had been committed against Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region.

Chinese President Xi Jinpin, in his first speech since the inauguration of Biden administration, avoided to name the U.S. in a specific manner and advocating a globalist view of the world order and called for a multilateral cooperation. In his video-recorded speech for the Davos Agenda virtual event hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 25, Xi admonished “arrogant isolation will always fail” obviously insinuating the U.S. recent behavior under Trump administration.

Chinese way of the relationship with others at home and abroad, however, can not to be praised. As the statement by Jen Psaki, Biden’s administration’s Press Secretary pointed out, described, China becomes “more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad.”

On December 26, 2020, National Defense Law was amended by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and enacted on January 1. By this revision, the Central Military Commission (CMC) chaired by the President Xi himself, has further strengthened the control over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and would be fully mobilized against a perceived threat to a very vague notion of “development interests.”

The same Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has also passed the Coast Guard Law on January 22. According to that law, Chinese coastguard is for the first time explicitly allowed to fire on foreign vessels in disputed waters and demolish structures built by other countries, which will further endanger the peace in the East China Sea and South China Sea. 

Is it possible, however, to dissociate with China in this tightly connected world economy in which China is firmly embedded?

According to a leaked database of the 2 million Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members which was obtained by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international, cross-party alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries focused on relations with China, CCP members are working for many US, UK, Australia and Japanese firms, banks and consulates in China, particularly in Shanghai.

It’s no surprise that among 92 million CCP members, several millions may work for foreign firms or governmental institutions but that would pose a security concern in the future.