Gorbachev, Xi and China’s Current Situation

I am saddened to hear about the passing of Gorbachev, the reformist Soviet leader, and one of the towering figures of the 20th century. He helped to end the Cold War and had a significant role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Chinese media reported his death, describing him as ‘the tomb digger of the Soviet Union’. Some reports did mention the positive role he played in easing the tension with China and normalizing the relationship between the two countries.

Many people outside China may not know that Gorbachev also had a role in the current political situation in China. President Xi was convinced that Gorbachev’s decision to allow the Soviet Communist Party to lose a certain grip finally led to the demise of the Soviet Union. At one point, he described those Soviet Communists were ‘not man enough.’ Determined that the Chinese Communist Party would never meet such a fate, he tightened the social and political control as soon as he took power.

How ironic that when Xi was first elected at the end of 2012, some western pundits hopefully thought he might be China’s Gorbachev!

I think we should all be thankful to Gorbachev for having the courage to pursue peace with those holding different ideologies. Unfortunately, the new Cold War has descended.

Will there be other Gorbachevs, in Russia and beyond?

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