Financial TimesFinancial Times

Xi Jinping’s Taiwan ambitions threaten China’s rise

By Gideon Rachman

15 May 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Xi’s nationalistic rhetoric "is creating a dangerous mixture of hubris and paranoia in Beijing," argues the FT's Gideon Rachman; a war over Taiwan would undermine China's path to economic greatness.

“Hide your brightness, bide your time.” That famous piece of advice from Deng Xiaoping has served China well over the past 40 years. Deng, the leader whose economic policies transformed China, understood that if his country was to become richer and stronger, it must avoid confrontation with the west.

But Xi Jinping, who has led China since 2012, has decided that the “bide your time” era is over. He talks of a China that “dares to fight”. Even if Xi does not literally mean that his country should go to war, he has signalled — by word and deed — that Beijing is ready to confront its international rivals.

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