World Faces a More Hostile China Under Xi’s Third Term: General Spalding

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In clinching an unprecedented third term, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is showing the world his vision of China: one that is more aggressive and at odds with the values of the free world, according to retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding.

“China is going to be much more aggressive, both militarily and with regard to foreign policy, and I think this is going to be a big challenge for the free world,” Spalding, who served as a senior director for strategic planning at National Security Council under Trump administration, told Capitol Report, a political news program on The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD News.

One clear instance of a power play in Spalding’s eyes was the removal of Xi’s immediate predecessor Hu Jintao over the weekend from the conference hall during the National People’s Congress, as Xi stacked the key leadership positions with loyalists.

Closing Ceremony Of The 20th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) looks on as former President Hu Jintao is helped to leave early from the closing session of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at The Great Hall of People in Beijing, on Oct. 22, 2022. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Hu, who is turning 80 in December, was escorted out from the first row, in front of more than 2,000 people in attendance, despite his visible consternation. A staffer at one point tried to lift him from his seat.

To Spalding, that scene evoked memories of Barack Obama’s 2016 trip to China for the Group of 20 summit meeting, where the former president was denied the typical red carpet welcome and instead forced to go through the back of his place upon arrival.

U.S. officials had insisted at the time that “it was just logistics,” but such statements “just belies an understanding of what the Chinese Communist Party would do,” he said.

2016 G20 State Leaders Hangzhou Summit: Previews
Then President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One for the 2016 G20 State Leaders Hangzhou Summit at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, on Sept. 3, 2016. (Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)

“In terms of scripting these events, they’re highly scripted. They’re highly choreographed, every movement is known,” he said.

In the case of Obama, Beijing “wanted to embarrass him,” and in the case of Hu, by having an attendant physically lift him up and lead him away, the flexing of political muscle was unmistakable, said Spalding.

“That was the message that Xi is in charge, and he will brook no disagreements with his policies.”

Still, Spalding sees one bright side to Xi’s expansion of power. “The good news is that we actually can see very clearly what kind of nation China will be,” he said. “It’s going to be totalitarian. It’s not going to be market-based.”

This might help spur a change in the business community that has been pushing back hard against a tougher stance on China, according to Spalding.

“Now, as the business community understands that there’s no longer money to be made in China, you’re going to have to go somewhere else”—which means free societies such as America, he said.

And Spalding believes the rebuilding of economic power should be a priority for America.

“That’s what’s going to serve us over the long haul with regard to this cold war with China.”

Eva Fu


Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at

Steve Lance


Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.

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