As a basic premise in analyzing anything done by the Chinese government or Chinese business interests, you must keep in mind that having friends who you can influence or help, with the expectation that such benefits and help will be reciprocated in the future when needed, is a feature of what they see as perfectly acceptable and effective political and economic relationships. There are no ethical concerns on the part of the Chinese with regard to the idea that they are at once entering into business and financial transactions with Joe Biden and members of his family, while at the same time expecting to benefit from his position as (maybe) President of the United States in return for the benefits they have bestowed upon him.
Making friends with influential actors in foreign governments through improving the circumstances of their families through lucrative business deals is a way of doing business and statecraft at the same time. And they expect that their efforts will be reciprocated when needed.
State-sanctioned bribery, if effective, is encouraged as it advances the interest of the state which is paramount in a Communist government.
The video below comes from a Twitter account of Jennifer Zeng. Her Twitter page says she is located in New York, and writes a blog at jenniferzengblog.com.
She identifies the speaker as Di Dongsheng, Vice Dean of the School of International Relations, Renmin University of China, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of China. His comments were made on Nov. 28, in Shanghai, China.
Some background. This from @jenniferatntd's YT channel. The guy is a vice dean and vice director at Renmin University in Beijing. Renmin is the CCP's training ground for new cadres. This guy doesn't freelance.
Watch him remind everyone of what China did for the Bidens. Wow. pic.twitter.com/WSsRFupwur
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) December 5, 2020
That is a small excerpt of a full 18-minute video that is posted on YouTube, for which she has provided English subtitles.
The entire video is enlightening in the sense that you can see how Chinese officials view themselves and China’s place in the world economy. He digresses into vapid stories that go nowhere as part of what seems to be some sophisticated presentation about the lack of a two-way relationship in capital markets — that China has opened itself to foreign capital investment, but the US-led global capitalist system remains largely closed to allowing Chinese capital to invest in their economies.
But there are small portions where he mentions the difficulties that came to exist due to the “trade war” launched by Pres. Trump after the 2016 election. He references the fact that prior to Pres. Trump’s election, China had “friends” among the Wall Street elite, the true political and economic elite of the US who was able to step in and “fix” problems between the two countries as they arose from time to time. But he states that Wall Street was not able to “fix” President Trump. He claims that friends on Wall Street told him they tried to “fix” President Trump but were unable to do so because of his past contentious relationship with Wall Street — seemingly making reference to Trump’s history of litigation with creditors of Trump Inc.
After mentioning the difficulties encountered in getting Wall Street to “fix” Pres. Trump and the “trade war,” the speaker then goes on to talk about how they are happy that Biden will be President:
Since the 1970s Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. So we had a chance to rely on [uncertain]. But the problem is that after 2008, the status of Wall Street has declined, and more importantly, after 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. Why? It’s very awkward. Trump had a previous soft default issue with Wall Street, so there was a conflict between them. But I won’t go into the details, I may not have enough time.
So during the US-China trade war they tried to help, and I know that, my friends on the US side told me that they tried to help. But they couldn’t do much.
But now we’re seeing that Biden was elected, and the traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street, you see that, right?
Trump has been saying that Biden’s son has some sort of global foundation. Have you noticed that? Who helped him build the foundations? Got it? There are a lot of deals in all these. [Everyone Applauds].
Then, so, at such a time, we use an appropriate way to express some goodwill.
This is my personal understanding based on my limited professional background. If we understand this matter from the perspective of the international political economy, I think there is tactical and political value in it.
I’m going to substitute “bribe” for “fix” in the translation supplied by Ms. Zeng. I’m sure her translation is correct, but in context, it seems clear to me that the speaker is making reference to a basic principle of Chinese statecraft — you get political accommodations from rival foreign governments by making it financially beneficial to the leaders personally to act in the manner in which you are asking them to act.
They have already laid that foundation with Biden and his family, and they now expect that relationship to payoff by “resolving” conflicts between the countries in ways that were not possible while Pres. Trump advanced a political agenda that put US domestic interests ahead of the interests of global rivals who also happened to be trading partners.
China is a malevolent force in the world, and their overriding consideration behind all political and economic policy decisions is advancing on the goal of displacing the United States as the preeminent military and economic power in the world. They understand that their window to achieve this goal is limited, and closing fast. They have an aging population that will begin to demand more resources while being less and less of a contributor to the national economy. Economic growth and resources will need to come from abroad, so extending the reach of the CCP into the global economy and capital markets is a necessity.
Donald Trump made that harder. They are counting on Joe Biden to turn that around.