‘China’s Xi Jinping better politician than Hu Jintao’: Hillary Clinton’s speeches revealed by WikiLeaks
Hacked emails show US presidential candidate praised Chinese leader for his ability to consolidate power quickly
US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2013 hailed President Xi Jinping as “a better politician” than his predecessor, Hu Jintao, praising Xi’s ability to consolidate his authority over the military, according to hacked emails released by WikiLeaks.
The emails contained excerpts of private speeches Clinton gave between June and November that year and her comments are in sharp contrast to her other public remarks.
Last year, the former US secretary of state described Xi’s pledge on women’s rights as “shameless” amid China’s detention of five prominent women’s rights activists.
Three months after Xi became president, Clinton told an audience at a conference by US investment bank Goldman Sachs that the new Chinese leadership was “good news”.
“He’s a more sophisticated, more effective public leader than Hu Jintao was,” Clinton said of Xi, according to the leaked email of her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.
“He’s someone who you at least have the impression is a more worldly, somewhat more experienced politician. And I say that as a term of praise, because he understands the different levers and the constituencies that he has to work with internally and externally,” she said.
In another private speech at financial company CME Group that November, Clinton again said Xi “is a better politician than his immediate predecessor”.
“He has consolidated his power quite quickly over the military and over the Communist Party, “ Clinton said.
“He has set forth a plan for economic reform, some of which is quite far-reaching, and some social reform as well like ... the one-child policy.”
Clinton mentioned Xi’s brief stay in Iowa in the 1980s and offered other observations of him.
“He is political in the kind of generic sense of that word. You can see him work a room, which I have watched him do. You can have him make small talk with you, which he has done with me,” she said. Clinton’s team has not confirmed or denied the authenticity of the leaked emails.
In her speeches, Clinton said she worried during her days at the State Department’s helm that the Chinese military had gained more sway over Beijing’s foreign policy under Hu’s administration.
“One of the biggest concerns I had over the last four years was the concern that was manifested several different ways that [the People’s Liberation Army] was acting somewhat independently... in effect that were making some foreign policy. And Hu Jintao, unlike Jiang Zemin before him, never really captured the authority over the PLA,” she said.
“So President Xi is doing much more to try to assert his authority, and I think that is also good news.”
But she also warned of rising nationalism in China, particularly the deep mistrust among senior Chinese officials towards Japan.
“There is a resurgence of nationalism inside China that is being at least condoned, if not actively pushed by the new Chinese government. You know, Xi Jinping talks about the ‘Chinese dream’, which he means to be kind of the Chinese version of the American dream.”
“In my last year, year and a half of meetings with the highest officials in China, the rhetoric about the Japanese was vicious, and I had high Chinese officials in their 60s and 50s say to me: ‘we all know somebody who was killed by the Japanese during the war. We cannot let them resume their nationalistic ways’,” Clinton said.
Asked by someone in an audience whether Xi’s daughter Xi Mingze was studying at Harvard, Clinton said it was a taboo for some Chinese leaders.
“They don’t like you to know that, but most of the Chinese leadership children are at American universities or have been,” she said.
The following are excerpts of paid speeches made by Clinton released by WikiLeaks :
Clinton Praised The New President Of China Xi Jinping As “Much More Sophisticated” Than Hu Jintao, Praised His “Far-Reaching” Plans For Economic And Social Reform.
“Well, I think it is such a consequential relationship. And the new president of China is a much more sophisticated actor than his predecessor. He lived in the United States for a short period of time, actually lived in Iowa on a -- on a farm. He was working in agricultural issues within the Communist party, you know, about 30 years ago. He is a better politician than his immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao. He has consolidated his power quite quickly over the military and over the Communist party. He has set forth a plan for economic reform, some of which is quite far-reaching, and some social reform as well like, you know, saying they’re going to end, at least to some extent, the one-child policy.” [Remarks to CME Group, 11/18/13]
Hillary Clinton Called Xi Jingping “He’s A More Sophisticated, More Effective Public Leader Than Hu Jintao Was.”
“I think it’s a good news/maybe not so good news story about what is going on right now in China. On the good news side I think the new leadership—and we’ll see more of that when Xi Jinping gets here in the United States after having gone to Latin America. He’s a more sophisticated, more effective public leader than Hu Jintao was. He is political in the kind of generic sense of that word. You can see him work a room, which I have watched him do. You can have him make small talk with you, which he has done with me. His experience as a young man coming to the United States in the 1980s—going to Iowa, spending time there, living with a family—was a very important part of his own development.” [Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
● Hillary Clinton Said “He Understands The Different Levers And The Constituencies That He Has To Work With Internally And Externally.”
“So he’s someone who you at least have the impression is a more worldly, somewhat more experienced politician. And I say that as a term of praise, because he understands the different levers and the constituencies that he has to work with internally and externally. That’s especially important because of the recent moves he’s making to consolidate power over the military.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Said Chinese Leaders Don’t Like People Knowing Most Of Their Children Attend American Universities.
“MR. BLANKFEIN: His daughter is at Harvard? MS. CLINTON: Yes. They don’t like you to know that, but most of the Chinese leadership children are at American universities or have been. I said to one very, very high ranking Chinese official about a year, year and a half ago—I said: I understand your daughter went to Wellesley. He said: Who told you? I said: Okay. I don’t have to punish the person then.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Said “President Xi Is Doing Much More To Try To Assert His Authority, And I Think That Is Also Good News.”
“One of the biggest concerns I had over the last four years was the concern that was manifested several different ways that the PLA, the People’s Liberation Army, was acting somewhat independently; that it wasn’t just a good cop/bad cop routine when we would see some of the moves and some of the rhetoric coming out of the PLA, but that in effect that were making some foreign policy. And Hu Jintao, unlike Jiang Zemin before him, never really captured the authority over the PLA that is essential for any government, whether it’s a civilian government in our country or a communist party government in China. So President Xi is doing much more to try to assert his authority, and I think that is also good news.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Warned Of Rising Nationalism In China, Saying “I Had High Chinese Officials In Their 60s And 50s Say To Me: We All Know Somebody Who Was Killed By The Japanese During The War.” “On the not so good side there is a resurgence of nationalism inside China that is being at least condoned, if not actively pushed by the new Chinese government. You know, Xi Jinping talks about the Chinese dream, which he means to be kind of the Chinese version of the American dream. There has been a stoking of residual anti-Japanese feelings inside China, not only in the leadership but in the populace. It’s ostensibly over the dispute that is ongoing, but it’s deeper than that and it is something that bears very careful watching. Because in my last year, year and a half of meetings with the highest officials in China the rhetoric about the Japanese was vicious, and I had high Chinese officials in their 60s and 50s say to me: We all know somebody who was killed by the Japanese during the war. We cannot let them resume their nationalistic ways. You Americans are naive. You don’t see what is happening below the surface of Japan society.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Said “The Biggest Supporters Of A Provocative North Korea Has Been The PLA.”
“Now, that looks back to an important connection of what I said before. The biggest supporters of a provocative North Korea has been the PLA. The deep connections between the military leadership in China and in North Korea has really been the mainstay of the relationship. So now all of a sudden new leadership with Xi and his team, and they’re saying to the North Koreans—and by extension to the PLA—no. It is not acceptable. We don’t need this right now. We’ve got other things going on. So you’re going to have to pull back from your provocative actions, start talking to South Koreans again about the free trade zones, the business zones on the border, and get back to regular order and do it quickly.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Said She Warned China That If North Korea Continued Developing Its Missle Program, The US Would “Ring China With Missile Defense.”
“You know, we all have told the Chinese if they continue to develop this missile program and they get an ICBM that has the capacity to carry a small nuclear weapon on it, which is what they’re aiming to do, we cannot abide that. Because they could not only do damage to our treaty allies, namely Japan and South Korea, but they could actually reach Hawaii and the west coast theoretically, and we’re going to ring China with missile defense. We’re going to put more of our fleet in the area. So China, come on. You either control them or we’re going to have to defend against them.” [ Speech to Goldman Sachs, 2013 IBD Ceo Annual Conference, 6/4/13]
Hillary Clinton Said The Chinese “Have A Right To Assert Themselves” In The South China Sea But The US Needed To “Push Back” So They Don’t Get A Chokehold Over World Trade.
“48 percent of the world’s trade, obviously that includes energy but includes everything else, goes through the South China Sea. Some of you may have seen the long article in the New York Times Magazine on the South China Sea this past weekend, an issue that I worked on for the entire time was in the State Department because China basically wants to control it. You can’t hold that against them. They have the right to assert themselves. But if nobody’s there to push back to create a balance, then they’re going to have a chokehold on the sea lanes and also on the countries that border the South China Sea.” [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]
Hillary Clinton Said She Told The Chinese They Can’t Just Claim The South China Sea And By Their Argument The US Could Claim The Pacific Because Of World War Two.
“I think that—you know, one of the greatest arguments that I had on a continuing basis was with my Chinese counterparts about their claim. And I made the point at one point in the argument that, you know, you can call it whatever you want to call it. You don’t have a claim to all of it. I said, by that argument, you know, the United States should claim all of the Pacific. We liberated it, we defended it. We have as much claim to all of the Pacific. And we could call it the American Sea, and it could go from the West Coast of California all the way to the Philippines. And, you know, my counterpart sat up very straight and goes, well, you can’t do that. And I said, well, we have as much right to claim that as you do. I mean, you claim it based on pottery shards from, you know, some fishing vessel that ran aground in an atoll somewhere. You know, we had conveys of military strength. We discovered Japan for Heaven sakes. I mean, we did all of these things.” [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]
· Hillary Clinton Said The Chinese Said In That Case They Would Claim Hawaii And She Joked They Would Give China A “Red State.”
“MR. BLANKFEIN: These are more technical conversations than I thought they would be. (Laughter.) SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes. And then he says to me, well, you know, we’ll claim Hawaii. And I said, yeah, but we have proof we bought it. Do you have proof you brought any of these places you’re claiming? So we got into the nitty-gritty of --
MR. BLANKFEIN: But they have to take New Jersey. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, no. We’re going to give them a red state.” [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]
Hillary Clinton Said The Most Important Advantage The US Has Over China Was “Freedom.”
“MALE ATTENDEE: Madam Secretary, what is the most important competitive advantage that you think the U.S. will keep as compared to a country like China?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Freedom. I think freedom. Freedom of the mind, freedom of movement, freedom of debate, freedom of innovation. You know, I just—I don’t think we fully value—we sometimes take it for granted, and we sometimes even dismiss it, how much stronger we are. Because in addition to that individual freedom that we have in great abundance compared to China, for example, we do have checks and balances. We have constitutional order. We have protection of intellectual property, we have a court system that we use for that purpose. We have a lot of assets that support the free thinking and free acting of individuals. And in the long run, that’s what I would place my bet on. I think that is what gives us such a competitive advantage.” [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]
Hillary Clinton Said Freeing Chen Guangchen Was One Of Her Proudest Moments As Secretary Of State.
“On the opposite end was helping a blind Chinese dissident get safety in the American Embassy in Beijing and then negotiating with the Chinese to get him and his immediate family out of China. That was one of those moments where you have to think hard about what America really stands for so when I got a call late one night saying that Chen Guangcheng had escaped from his house where he had been under house arrest, he’d been picked up by sympathizers and he was on his way to Beijing and he wanted safety in the American Embassy, there were many who said, ‘Don’t do it, we’ll totally destroy our relationship with the Chinese government.’” [Jewish United Fund Of Metropolitan Chicago Vanguard Luncheon, 10/28/13]