“Beijing — despite its rhetoric — is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world, and the world more dependent on China,” the American secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Thursday. In a speech outlining President Biden’s China policy, Mr. Blinken observed that Communist China is the only country with the “intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the … power to do it.”

The secretary’s speech then wavered between pinpointing ostensible areas of tension and those for cooperation. “We do not see conflict,” the secretary said. That’s too bad, because Beijing certainly does. For Beijing that conflict is not just economic and technological, as Mr. Blinken outlined, but fundamentally ideological. The sooner that American and Western leaders realize this, the sooner they might be able to contend with it.

Since Xi Jinping assumed the presidency, he has been steadily closing off Communist China to foreign influence. A 2013 internal party document, “Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere” — commonly known as Document No. 9 — outlines what China’s party boss and his henchmen regard as seven “noteworthy problems,” each concerned with the ostensible infiltration of Western thought into segments of Chinese society.

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