By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Current Chinese President Xi Jinping will probably become China’s “most impactful” leader since Chairman Mao Zedong, said Sig Rogich of Las Vegas, a former presidential adviser, sometimes known as the “kingmaker” of Nevada politics.
Rogich, current president of The Rogich Communications Group, an international public relations and crisis management firm in Las Vegas, sees Xi developing into one of the most powerful world leaders of our time.
“President Xi, and we do work with China as you know, I think he is going to be as impactful as Mao Zedong to China,” Rogich said Thursday on Nevada Newsmakers. “I think he will be viewed in the same light. And I think he will become a world player to a degree like we have not seen yet.”
Chairman Mao was the founding father of The People’s Republic of China and held ultimate power from 1947 to his death in 1976.
The United States faces stiff economic competition in China partially because, “he (Xi) is going to have the ability to manufacture at costs we can’t compete with,” Rogich said.
China will soon manufacture batteries and cell phone technology to rival American giants in those fields.
“I am told they are right on the verge of announcing batteries that are six or 10 times stronger than our best batteries,” said Rogich, the former U.S. ambassador to Iceland.
“They are building cameras and phones to compete with iPhone,” Rogich added. “Their new product line is very good. And they’ve got this thing called population and they have geography. They have the essence of what you need, what America has. They don’t have as good as geography as we do, But they make up for it with manpower.”
Xi’s influence will be on display during China’s twice-decade congress that opened on Wednesday. Observers and journalists covering China have reported Xi is all but certain to receive a second five-year term at the week-long, mostly closed-door congress.
Rogich sees Xi leading China long after his second term.
“He could be there forever, in my view, however long he wants to be,” Rogich said. “Yesterday, the congress started in China and it will end in the next week or 10 days and he will get everything he wants.”
Rogich was impressed by Xi’s efforts to end air pollution in China. Current levels of Chinese air pollution rank as some of the worst in the world, according to a study by The World Bank.
Sixteen of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China, according to The World Bank. About a fifth of urban Chinese breath heavily polluted air, according to Chinese government sources. News reports say many places smell like high-sulfur coal and leaded gasoline.
“People don’t even realize what he is doing,” Rogich said. “He’s mandating all electric cars by 2020, so they won’t have a pollution problem. If you go to Beijing, it’s real. It is cleaner now than it has ever been but it is a real problem. And I have been there on red-alert days or red-flag days where you don’t go out. You just stay in the hotel room because the smog is so severe.”
Under Xi, China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are investing in infrastructure projects overseas along the ancient Silk Road land and sea trade routes, part of Beijing’s signature Belt and Road initiative, according to Reuters news service.
China’s centrally owned overseas investments exceed $906 billion (USD), with investments in more than 185 countries and regions, the Chinese state assets regulator said on Wednesday, according to U.S media reports.
“What they are doing in China is extraordinary,” Rogich said. “I don’t know if you follow the Silk Road, One Band, One Belt, One Road theory, but it is going to touch about 40 percent of the gross domestic product in the world. Just try to fathom that — trillions and trillions of dollars.”