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Report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus

By Reuters and published by Daily Mail

BEIJING could face a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into “armed confrontation”, an internal Chinese report has warned.

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

Although the briefing paper remains undisclosed, the content of the document was described to Reuters by people who had direct knowledge of its findings.

“I don’t have relevant information,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s office said in a statement responding to questions from Reuters on the report.

China’s Ministry of State Security has no public contact details and could not be reached for comment.

CICIR, an influential think tank that until 1980 was within the Ministry of State Security and advises the Chinese government on foreign and security policy, did not reply to a request for comment.

But the presentation of the report shows how seriously Beijing takes the threat of a building backlash that could threaten what China sees as its strategic investments overseas and its view of its security standing, according to Reuters.

Relations between China and the United States are widely seen to be at their worst point in decades, with deepening mistrust and friction points from US allegations of unfair trade and technology practices to disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and contested territories in the South China Sea.

In recent days, US President Donald Trump, facing a more difficult re-election campaign as the coronavirus has claimed tens of thousands of American lives and ravaged the US economy, has been ramping up his criticism of Beijing and threatening new tariffs on China. His administration, meanwhile, is considering retaliatory measures against China over the outbreak, officials said.

It is widely believed in Beijing that the United States wants to contain a rising China, which has become more assertive globally as its economy has grown.

The paper concluded that Washington views China’s rise as an economic and national security threat and a challenge to Western democracies, the people said.

The report also said the United States was aiming to undercut the ruling Communist Party by undermining public confidence.

Chinese officials had a “special responsibility” to inform their people and the world of the threat posed by the coronavirus “since they were the first to learn of it,” US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in response to questions from Reuters.

Without directly addressing the assessment made in the Chinese report, Ortagus added: “Beijing’s efforts to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens and spread disinformation exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis.”

A spokesman for the US National Security Council declined to comment.

However despite worsening US-China relations, CNBC reported today that Kingsoft, a Chinese internet and software company, is spinning off its cloud division Kingsoft Cloud and listing it on the Nasdaq in the US.

The company said the IPO would raise between $392 million and around $451 million.

Kingsoft Cloud will be valued at between $3.4 billion and $3.8 billion.

The listing comes amid a tough stock market environment due to the coronavirus pandemic and as scrutiny of Chinese listings in the US intensifies following revelations of fraud at Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee.


Top: US President Donald Trump is pictured meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters published by Daily Mail

Below: The Tiananmen Square crackdown is immortalised by the below picture called the “Tank Man”, which shows a student standing in front of a row of tanks to protest at the clampdown by the armies against its own people.The picture was taken by AP photographer Jeff Widener from a sixth-floor balcony of the Beijing Hotel nearTiananmen. Photo: AP published by Daily Mail

TNR staff
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