He sits alone in his office. Reflecting on the condition of the world, his position, the war in Ukraine, the futility of free speech and other matters.
He’s feeling strong. China has emerged. He’s just been elected to a third 5 year term as leader of China. A fourth term will likely follow, and maybe a 5th, if he feels up to it, as he’s sure he can keep his rivals in check. In fact, he would like to die in office, like Mao Zedong before him.
He can imagine the entire China going into mourning for a week, whenever he dies, with continuous speeches paying homage to his greatness as multitudes wail uncontrollably.
He thinks of Elon Musk, his travails with Twitter, and how he’s lost the position as richest man in the world.
Musk was the richest but he, Xi Jinping, is the most powerful, for he commands the second strongest economy, soon to surpass America’s and leave them far behind.
He, Xi Jinping, a name that is already part of the history of mankind and about whom books and books will be written, does not have to worry about the legalities that constrain the president of the United States.
For instance, he can call up Elon Musk and tell him, ‘You need to appoint a Chinese administrator to lead Tesla here in China. You’re getting a little too distracted with your affair with Twitter and I don’t want to worry about that.’
Musk might answer, ‘Well, I have my people who I have confidence in…’
‘You’re not hearing me,’ Xi would interrupt, “I need a Chinese administrator with full executive privileges… Now… and my preference is that he be a member of the Chinese Communist Party. You have a great company, one that we can keep learning much from, but you’re spreading yourself too thin and I don’t like it. Understood?’
To which Musk might reply, ‘I hear you… but I have investors I have to answer to… complex technical matters to address… it’s not as easy as you think…’
‘That’s why you would be at his disposal,’ Xi would say, ‘so you can answer what questions he/she may have during the transition…’
Musk would counter, ‘The change you propose is equivalent to a transfer of power… I’m not ready for that… and that would not go over well with the foreign business community in China… there would be significant repercussions worldwide… it would affect the entire Chinese economy…’
But Xi would insist, ‘Mr Musk… we are ready… China is ready… we fear no one… we have the markets and all the nations of the world who prefer to be governed by autocracies, who don’t want to be bothered with the details of free speech… and who are in the majority.’
Musk might reply, ‘I would need time to think about it… I can’t give you an answer now…’
‘This discussion does not have to be made public… If it pleases you…’ Xi would continue.
‘Do you intend to have this type of arrangement with other foreign businesses?’ Musk may ask.
And Xi would return, ‘You do not need that information.’
Musk again, ‘I mean, Tesla has been very cooperative with China… so I don’t see why I should be treated this way…’
Xi would then play hard ball, ‘The world is changing rapidly Mr Musk… and you have chosen to provide valuable Star Link support to the Ukrainian resistance, enabling satellite communications for their military, which is hurting my good friend Putin’s heroic effort to defend his beloved Russia from the brutality of Western aggression.’
Musk stalling, ‘I see… and if I stop providing such satellite support you would not be interfering with Tesla?’
Xi, smelling victory, ‘It just might affect my judgment, let’s put it that way. There comes a time when businesses must choose, in the interest of the future of the world. China and Russia have common goals. We believe that personal freedoms must be surrendered for the higher purpose of having a caring, benevolent ruling class. Autocracies are the way forward. We are right and democracy is wrong. Ukraine must be squashed. Eliminated. Your assisting them is not aligned with our overall objectives. But you do not have to reply this minute. I will give you 24 hours. Have a good day.’
Xi reflects on the conversation he might have with the former richest man in the world.
He feels ready for it. And why not?
Nothing will stop China. Soon enough he will take over Taiwan. Much sooner than the West is expecting. And following the example of Putin, he will rain thousands of missiles on the island. Never mind where they land. Until they drop to their knees.
Long live, Xi!