China, US Tussle Over Biden Summit 12/03 06:18
BEIJING (AP) -- China and the United States are tussling over President Joe
Biden's upcoming democracy summit, which the ruling Communist Party sees as a
challenge to its authoritarian ways.
The party maintains China has its own form of democracy and plans to issue a
report titled "China: Democracy that Works" on Saturday, five days before the
opening of Biden's two-day virtual meeting with about 110 other governments.
The White House pushed back Thursday against Chinese criticism of Biden's
"Summit for Democracy," after a senior Chinese official said that it divides
countries and points fingers at others.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the participants would
discuss how to work together to stand up for democracy around the world.
"That's nothing we're going to apologize for," she said.
She was responding to opening remarks by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le
Yucheng at an expert forum on the topic held by the government for foreign
journalists in Beijing.
"It claims it's doing this for democracy," Le said, without naming the
United States. "But this is in fact the very opposite of democracy. It will do
no good to global solidarity, no good to cooperation and no good to
Biden has made a competition between democracies and autocracies such as
Russia and China a central theme of his presidency, saying democracies must
prove they can deliver. Neither Russia nor China are invited to his summit.
The Communist Party has responded by saying its system serves the country's
people, citing its rapid development into a middle-income country and relative
success in limiting the number of deaths from COVID-19. Officials regularly
highlight failings of American democracy, from gun violence to the insurrection
at the U.S. Capitol after the last presidential election.
Bonnie Glaser, a China expert who is director of the Asia Program at the
German Marshall Fund of the United States, said the Chinese are correct in
viewing the summit as a pushback against autocracy and China's political system.
"The Chinese Communist Party likely feels threatened by the Biden democracy
narrative and feels compelled to reaffirm that it puts the people first," she
said in an email. "Of course, the people come after the party and the
preservation of its role, but that is left unsaid."
The U.S. also angered China by including Taiwan in the summit. China claims
the self-governing island as part of its territory and objects to it having any
contact on its own with foreign governments.