Thinkers & Advocates

Jin Canrong

A Chinese academic breathes fiery rhetoric about the United States.

Associate Dean, Renmin University School of International Studies

In 2016, a tense year for U.S.-China relations, no one gave clearer voice to Beijing’s collective military and political id than academic Jin Canrong. In June, Jin appeared to suggest the Chinese government consider using military force against Taiwan, an island that the United States might protect in the event of armed conflict. In July, he predicted that by the end of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tenure, China would assume control of the China Sea, where it frequently jostles with the United States for influence. In August, Jin said China stands poised and ready to “fight back” against U.S. “containment.” With a gift for explaining complicated international entanglements in plain (and share-ably tendentious) language, Jin is quite popular in China, and even has his own fan page.

But Jin's hardline turn is relatively new, and may represent a shift in the political winds more than his actual opinion. A regular contributor to academic forums, he's also the translator or author of several Chinese books on U.S. foreign policy, most of them with a considerably softer line on the United States than Jin’s recent fire breathing. So far, he appears pleased with a Trump White House. “He will certainly bring his business sensibilities into office,” Jin said in a widely shared interview published in November conservative outlet Guancha. “And China is used to dealing with businesspeople.”

(Photo credit: Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies)

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