Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

How China Sees the Biden Administration

By Melinda Liu

14 May 2022 · 12 min read

Joe Biden has had more face time with Chinese leaders than any other U.S. president. He played basketball with Xi Jinping when they were both vice presidents; he sparred with former President Jiang Zemin over human rights; and he debated the merits of military cooperation with the legendary Deng Xiaoping. But of all of these leaders, he has spent the most time with Xi: Biden claimed in February 2021 to have had “24 [or] 25 hours of private meetings” with the man who is now the most powerful person in China since Mao Zedong.

One would expect, then, that the current occupant of the White House would be somewhat of a known quantity for Beijing—a familiar, reassuring face for a regime that prizes continuity and consistency. But Biden hasn’t turned out to be the president China expected.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content