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U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali.

Reuters

Biden and Xi’s Bali face-off: Agenda, forecast, and sticking points

On Monday, US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden was elected in 2020. “I look forward to working with you, Mr. President, to bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of health and stable development for the benefit of our two countries and the world as a whole,” Xi told Biden.

What’s at stake: Stopping the Russia-Ukraine war, Taiwan’s sovereignty and defense, North Korea’s increased weapons testing, battling COVID, resumption of global supply chains, and tackling climate change.

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The Graphic Truth: China's "Paramount Leaders"

While two-party and/or multi-party democracies thrive on differing policies being pushed by fresh leadership in regular elections, what happens in the case of one-party rule? In China, the Communist Party changes hands through a selection of its “paramount leader'' who also espouses their own philosophy that evolves along with the Communist party. Still, the essential idea is consistent: preserve the party above all else. We explore the basic tenets of political theories of China’s five “Paramount Leaders.”

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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: China’s Communist Party Congress kickoff, fire at notorious Iranian prison

Xi’s security signaling

The long-anticipated 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress kicked off Sunday with a two-hour speech by President Xi Jinping, who is all but assured to secure a norm-defying third term that could see him lead the party and the military until at least 2027. At the conclusion of the plenum on Oct. 22, the party will tap a new 200-member central committee, a politburo, and a seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. Xi, who for years placed China’s economic agenda at the heart of public pronouncements, focused much of his address on China’s security standing. Indeed, he doubled down on commitments to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, saying that “resolving the Taiwan issue is the Chinese people’s own matter,” adding that Beijing wouldn’t tolerate “protectionism and bullying” by other nations – widely seen as a nod to Washington. What’s more, Xi called on the Chinese to “be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms,” a reference, some analysts say, to Xi’s anticipation of an eventual military confrontation with Washington over Taiwan. Crucially, Xi also said that he’ll keep in place – at least for now – the zero-COVID policy, which is partly responsible for sending the global economy into a tailspin. Decisions made during the event will tell the world what signal Xi wants to send about his future plans for the country.

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Gasoline pump out of gas following the strike of the employees of the oil refineries in France.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: French fuel fury, China’s next premier, Putin's offer

France’s striking oil workers

Two weeks into strikes by French oil refinery workers over a pay dispute, the government has ordered some striking employees back to work to get petrol flowing. Workers are demanding wage increases to offset rising inflation, and the strikes have taken more than 60% of the country’s oil capacity offline. While ExxonMobil workers reportedly struck a deal for a 6.5% wage increase plus bonuses, unions representing Total Energies employees are demanding a 10% wage increase. On Wednesday, the unions voted to continue striking, defying the summons. The right to strike is protected in France, but a minimum number of workers needed to maintain a public service can be ordered to return to work … or risk a whopping 10,000 euro fine ($9,700) and time behind bars. Although Macron is keen to avoid further disruptions to the energy sector, he must tread carefully. The price of gas is a sensitive issue in France – fuel costs and economic inequality sparked the Yellow Vest movement that brought the country to a standstill in 2018. The last thing he wants to do is fuel more demonstrations, and there are already protests planned for Sunday in Paris over inflation and proposed pension reforms. Given the global energy crisis, heads of state worldwide will be watching carefully to see how Macron navigates the situation.

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Beating China at AI | GZERO World

Beating China at AI

The US and China compete on many fronts, and one of them is artificial intelligence.

But China has a different set of values, which former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is not a big fan of — especially when those values shape the AI on apps his children use.

"You may not care where your kids are, and TikTok may know where your teenagers are, and that may not bother you," he says. "But you certainly don't want them to be affected by algorithms that are inspired by the Chinese and not by Western values."

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PLA soldiers are seen before a giant screen as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, China October 1, 2019.

REUTERS/Jason Lee

Xi Jinping goes full 1984

"Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past."

That slogan laid out the Party's sinister ploy to entrench itself in power by rewriting history in George Orwell's classic novel 1984. And it's what the ruling Communist Party now wants to do in China, where "Big Brother" Xi Jinping already oversees an authoritarian techno-surveillance state that in many ways exceeds the intrusion of Orwell's dystopian future.

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