Xi’s “Five Never Allows” to Curb U.S. Mounting Attacks on China

Xi’s ‘Five Never Allows’ is self-defensive and assertive. It means that China, led by CPC, is willing and ready to protect her legitimate rights and interests. It is not aggressive in that it is not a face-off towards the U.S.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at a symposium commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing, China, on Sept. 3, 2020.

According to Xinhua News Agency, in the speech, President Xi issued the following five stern warnings to people or forces who have been trying to harm and destroy China: “The Chinese people will never allow any individual or any force to distort the history of the Communist Party of China or smear the party’s nature and mission; to distort and alter the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics or deny and vilify the great achievements the Chinese people have made in building socialism; to separate the CPC from the Chinese people or counterpose the party to the Chinese people; to impose their will on China through bullying, change China’s direction of progress, or obstruct the Chinese people’s efforts to create a better life; to jeopardize their peaceful life and right to development, obstruct their exchanges and cooperation with other peoples, or undermine the noble cause of peace and development for humanity.”

Why has Xi issued the “Five Never Allows” now?

To my understanding, President Xi’s strongly worded and stern warnings are, in most likelihood, directed towards the ears of key cabinet members of the Trump administration.  These warnings, delivered by President Xi on behalf of Chinese people, Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese army, seem to constitute President Xi’s official response to a series of recent attacks and a chain of acts against China and CPC by Trump administration over the past several years, especially since the start of 2020.  Trump administration has been becoming more and more aggressive to China both verbally and behaviorally especially since the White House released the National Security Report in December 2017 which branded China as “a revisionist power”, “a rival” or “a competitor” of the U.S.

President Xi had been showing kindness and generosity towards the U.S. and the Trump administration including Trump himself all along.  He is known to have been advocating for a sound U.S.-China relationship for several decades since the 1980s  This is not only shown through his eight visits including his first visit to Iowa, a U.S. Mid-West state in 1985, and his most recent visit to Florida in 2017 to meet President Trump for the first time, but also his special treatment of President Trump’s visit of China as a state visit plus in 2017. President Trump ended his state visit plus to China and left Beijing with a $250 billion trade and investment deal from China.  To the Chinese, this is the best one could get, in terms of both the ins and the outs.  This Chinese act of hospitality and generosity is based on the Chinese logic reflecting a universal human sentiment: Kindness given begets kindness in return.

On the contrary, unexpectedly to the Chinese, this Chinese hospitality and generosity ended up inviting more greed and attacks against China on the part of President Trump and his administration. During the past several years, from President Trump to Vice-President Pence, from Secretary of State Pompeo to National Security Advisor O’Brien, almost all the White Hoe and the cabinet members vilified China and CPC in one way or another. Hundreds of Chinese businesses such as Huawei and TikTok have been blacklisted and run the risk of being dismembered, thousands of Chinese have been suffering from racial profiling with many of them being unduly arrested, investigated or scrutinized by the U.S. Government in the name of national security.

In the meantime, swords and daggers of division and decimation from the U.S. have been thrown among China’s autonomous regions and regions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong in the name of human rights and democracy to tamper China’s sovereignty. Finally, the U.S. military conducts almost daily patrols of South China Sea and other parts of China’s coastlines and colludes with some of its allied powers as part of Trump’s secret plan to topple CCP and dismember China.

The Trump administration, appearing to be both suicidal and self-suicidal, hallucinating of forcing China to stand on her knees and kowtow to the U.S. As a result, the Trump administration’s recent attacks on China have reminded the Chinese people of the humiliations and atrocities the old imperialist powers of the West brought to China starting with the Opium War by Britain in 1840.

The Chinese people are also reminded of the historic role CPC played in driving out such imperialist powers and expect and entrust the CPC again to resist the new aggression by the new imperialist forces or neo-fascists represented by President Trump and his like. Xi’s five stern warnings logically represent the voice of the 1.4 billion Chinese people in this regard and may even represent the voice of almost 100 million Chinese and other fair-minded and peace-loving people around the world, including most Americans.

What does the “Five Never Allows” really mean?

Put in this context, Xi’s “Five Never Allows” is self-defensive and assertive. It means that China, led by CPC, is willing and ready to protect her legitimate rights and interests. It is not aggressive in that it is not a face-off towards the U.S.  In the American lexicon, assertiveness is encouraged whereas aggressiveness is discouraged for more constructive relations. I would encourage members of the Trump administration to attend a short session on assertiveness training which is typically offered in K-12 education and colleges in today’s U.S. Perhaps out of a typical Chinese concern for face of their counterpart, Chinese seem to tend to avoid conflicts with foreign countries, especially with the U.S.  As a result, China’s conflict-avoidance style of communication has begotten the unwanted aggression against China on the part of the U.S.  Xi’s five stern warnings have delivered a loud and clear awakening to the U.S leadership.  It says out loudly: “Enough is Enough!”

One could also discern the connotative meanings implied by the context under which Xi delivered his speech: To the Chinese, the nature of this contest is not ultimately ideological; it is economic. As Trump repeatedly states: “Economic security is national security.”  All the wars Trump has started against China such as trade war, technology war, diplomacy war, including the ideology war against China, aim to advance America’s economic interest by cutting short China’s lucrative economic initiatives such as Huawei’s 5G, the Belt and Road Initiative, and “Made in China 2025” plan and so on in an attempt to rob China of a future opportunity of economic prosperity.

The logic behind Trump’s China strategy is fundamentally flawed.  As the Trump administration is using the whole-of-government approach and the whole of society approach against China, they are cutting the limbs of the U.S. and even perhaps digging a tomb for the Trump administration. While Trump is hallucinating of himself as the Commander-in-Chief of the new Allied Forces he is gathering to mobilize America’s allies against China and Russia as his new enemies, he should be aware that it is him and his like who are thinking, talking, and acting like Hitler and his like in the eyes of the American and global communities, something in the becoming U.S. former secretary of state Madeline Albright alerted the world about with the release of her book Fascism, A Warning two years ago. The more they speak and act like these, the further away they are pushing the U.S. from Pax America.

The bottom line of President Xi’s message is this:  Stop the aggressive-passive dynamics between the U.S. and China. Start the mutually assertive exchanges, i.e., a rational, equal, consultative, and constructive model of diplomacy for the U.S.-China relations. This, I think, is what President Xi is hoping to get at with his “Five Never Allows” in the coming months and years. To avoid repeating global tragedies caused by past fascists, President Trump and his like are strongly advised to heed President Xi’s “Five Never Allows” and Albright’s warnings, stop harmful attacks and actions against China and Chinese.

The author is Ph. D., Adjunct Professor at Shandong University and Professor at School of Communication, Chapman University.

The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of China Focus.