Soros calls China's Xi Jinping 'the greatest threat that open societies face today’

Soros says China will use Olympics to 'score propaganda victory for its system of strict controls'

Billionaire George Soros on Monday warned that Chinese President Xi Jinping is "the greatest threat that open societies face today," and said the rise of big tech companies have "sharpened the conflict" between China and the United States.

Soros, a Hungarian-American mega-donor known for his backing of liberal causes and politicians, made remarks at the opening of a Hoover Institution panel on Monday evening, beginning by dubbing 2022 as a "critical year in the history of the world."

"In a few days, China – the world’s most powerful authoritarian state – will begin hosting the Winter Olympics, and, like Germany in 1936, it will attempt to use the spectacle to score propaganda victory for its system of strict controls," Soros said. "We are at, or close to, important decisions that will determine the direction in which the world is going."

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Soros pointed to elections across Europe, and Russian President Vladimir Putin as he considers whether to invade Ukraine, calling them "developments" that "will help determine the fate of Europe."

George Soros

George Soros speaks at the World Economic Forum annual meeting on Jan. 23, 2020, in Davos, Switzerland.  (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In October, Soros noted, China will decide whether President Xi Jinping should be given a third term in office as party general secretary, and the United States will hold a "crucial midterm election in November." 

"In an open society, the role of the state is to protect the freedom of the individual," Soros said. "In a closed society the role of the individual is to serve the rulers of the state."

"As the founder of the Open Society Foundations, obviously I am on the side of open societies," he continued. "But the most important question now is, which system is going to prevail?"

Soros said President Biden has "generally adopted the right policies."

With regard to Taiwan, Soros said Biden has "made it clear" that if Xi uses force against Taiwan, China will have to confront the AUKUS alliance. But Soros said Xi is "determined to assert China’s sovereignty over Taiwan by force if necessary."

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"He is devoting enormous resources to armaments. Recently he surprised the world by demonstrating a hypersonic controllable missile," Soros said, noting that the U.S. "has nothing comparable and doesn’t intend to compete."

"I think that is the right policy because Xi Jinping’s hypersonic achievement doesn’t change the balance of mutually assured destruction that will stop the enemies from attacking each other," he continued. "The missile is merely a propaganda victory."

Biden Xi Jinping

President Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh / AP Newsroom)

Soros, added, though, that "war between the U.S. and its enemies has become more plausible and that is not a pleasant subject to contemplate." 

"When I embarked on what I call my political philanthropy in the 1980s, American superiority was not in question. That is no longer the case," Soros said. "Why?"

Soros pointed to artificial intelligence and the rise of social media and tech platforms, saying they have "produced very profitable companies that have become so powerful that nobody can compete with them, but they can compete with each other."

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"These companies have come to dominate the global economy," Soros said, adding that "their reach extends to every corner of the world."

Soros said its development has had "far-reaching political consequences," and has "sharpened the conflict between China and the United States and has given it an entirely new dimension."

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"China has turned its tech platforms into national champions; the U.S. is more hesitant to do so because it worries about their effect on the freedom of the individual," Soros said, adding that the "different attitudes shed new light on the conflict between the two systems of governance that the U.S. and China represent."

As for Xi, Soros slammed his leadership, saying he has reinterpreted the Chinese Communist Party’s history in a way that would "lead to appointing him for at least another term."

"Xi Jinping has many enemies," Soros said, adding that he is "introducing a system of governance that is inherently superior to liberal democracy."

"He rules by intimidation and nobody dares to tell him what he doesn’t want to hear," Soros said, noting that makes it "difficult to shake his beliefs even as the gap between his beliefs and reality has grown ever wider."

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Soros criticized Xi for his leadership, including in China’s real estate market, the Olympics and COVID-19 vaccines.

"He tried to impose total control, but he failed," Soros said, claiming there is "strong opposition" to him within the CCP.

"It is to be hoped that Xi Jinping may be replaced by someone less repressive at home and more peaceful abroad," Soros said. "This would remove the greatest threat that open societies face today, and they should do everything within their power to encourage China to move in the desired direction."

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.