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China’s safe haven looking more like a minefield

On any list of leaders of major economies who are hating 2022, there’s a place at the very top for China’s Xi Jinping.

This was supposed to be a year of crowning achievement for President Xi, when he secured an unprecedented third term as top Communist Party leader.

Instead, China’s economy is experiencing its weakest growth in more than 30 years. The property market is suffering mounting defaults. Xi’s crackdown on top technology companies is repelling many global investors.

Meanwhile, Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine puts Xi’s government on the spot either to stand with aggressor Vladimir Putin or distance itself from a vital energy-supplying ally.

Meantime, US President Joe Biden’s effective freezing of Russia’s $630 billion of foreign-exchange reserves has officials in Beijing wondering whether China’s $1.1 trillion of US debt is real – or Monopoly money.