Criticized throughout Jair Bolsonaro’s (PSL) campaign, China reacted with a serious warning to the president-elect in Brazil. The Chinese government has indicated that the country has more to lose than to win if it adopts aggressive rhetoric like that of US President Donald Trump.
In an editorial in the China Daily, China’s top state newspaper, the Chinese warned that criticizing Beijing “may serve some specific political purpose, but the economic cost may be hard for the Brazilian economy, which has just emerged from its worst recession of history.”
The text also exalts that Brazilian exports “not only helped fuel China’s rapid growth, but also supported Brazil’s strong growth.” Thus, it makes no sense, from Beijing’s point of view, the aggressive rhetoric of the former Army captain.
“Although Bolsonaro imitated the US president by being vocal and outrageous to capture the voters’ imagination, there is no reason for him to copy Trump’s policies,” continued the editorial, a device already used by the Chinese government to run errands.
The text, which starts from a question – “to what extent will the next leader of the largest economy in Latin America affect the Brazil-China relationship?” – calls Bolsonaro “Tropical Trump” and stresses that the president-elect could follow the booklet of the current resident of the White House.
“In addition, he [Bolsonaro] proved less than friendly toward China during the campaign. He presented China as a predator seeking to dominate key sectors of the Brazilian economy,” the editorial said.
The Chinese doubts about the true Bolsonaro with whom he will have to negotiate – “that the President Bolsonaro naturally eat the extreme words of the candidate Bolsonaro” – and were expressed in meetings of Chinese diplomats and businessmen with advisors of the former captain to during the presidential campaign.
Both Paulo Guedes, an economist who should be the minister of the super economy department, and Onyx Lorenzoni, a federal deputy who will be the chief minister of the Civil House, have already tried to put warm cloths on Bolsonaro’s criticisms of the Chinese. Agribusiness, an important ally of the president-elect, has China as its major client and, thus, may play a relevant role in the retreat of the words of the Brazilian president.
A day earlier, another Chinese newspaper, the Global Times, had already criticized Bolsonaro’s rhetoric. According to the publication, Brazil’s president-elect has unfairly depreciated China in its campaign, saying it was “inconceivable that the new Bolsonaro government will give up the Chinese market.”
“China is Brazil’s largest trading partner and Brazil’s largest trade surplus has been registered with China.” In 2017, Brazil recorded a trade surplus of US $20 billion with China , which is also the largest buyer of soybeans and Brazilian minerals,” the statement said.
China also hopes to hear from Mr. Bolsonaro what he thinks about Taiwan, a country he has visited and considered independent of China, something that Beijing considers unacceptable.