Beijing has changed. For decades-long pursuit of influence through the gentle art of diplomacy and the careful leveraging of influence got results. After being ravaged by Communist five-year plans and Maoist doctrine on everything from culture to starlings, China’s amazing growth from 1978 was down to careful stewardship as well as amazing ingenuity and hard work by the people.
Since Xi Jinping rose to become Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party and collected the consequent titles of Chairman of the Military Commission and President of the People’s Republic in 2012-13, a new ethos has emerged. In embassies and boardrooms around the world, Xi’s party envoys have turned to bullying as a means of control.
This is clearest of all in Hong Kong.