This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Saudi Arabia for two regional summits as efforts to revive the economy are hampered by stringent anti-COVID-19 regulations.
The first China-Arab States Summit and a meeting with the heads of the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council will both take place in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, the Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Saturday marks the conclusion of his state visit to Saudi Arabia.
After falling to 2.2% in the first half of the year, China's economic growth rebounded to 3.9% in the three months that ended in September. However, this is still significantly below the government's aim. The second-largest economy in the world and a significant source of foreign investment in China. It imports half of its oil to meet the enormous demand, with tens of billions of dollars worth of those imports coming from Saudi Arabia.
Rolling lockdowns enacted across the nation in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic delivered serious damage to China's economic growth, which had been steadily declining for years. Infection rates with COVID-19 are lower in China than in the United States and other large nations.
However, the government's ruling party is adhering to "zero-COVID," which calls for isolating every case, while other countries are loosening travel and other regulations and attempting to live with the virus.
China's ruling Communist Party shields Beijing from criticism over its harsh practices toward Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities since it shares many of the authoritarian traits of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regimes. They claim that they were made to renounce Islam and swear allegiance to Xi and the party while being held in detention facilities where more than a million people were sent.
Beijing disputes the accusations, claiming that it has been educating Muslims for the workforce and purging them of extremist, separatist, and terroristic tendencies. After spending the majority of the year inside China, Xi is making further efforts to reclaim his international standing with the trip to Saudi Arabia.
The most significant public challenge to Xi's reign occurred last month during mass rallies against "zero-COVID" rules, which may have led to some restrictions being eased. Xi was given a third five-year term in October.
After spending the majority of the year inside China, Xi is making further efforts to reclaim his international standing with the trip to Saudi Arabia. This is only Xi's third international trip since the beginning of 2020.