The billionaire was asked in September a series of questions regarding China’s government, which has overseen an autocratic rule of the most populated country on Earth. In an interview with Margaret Hoover, host of PBS’ Firing Line public affairs show, the Presidential candidate asked whether China could be a good partner in the fight against climate change. Mr Bloomberg said “China is doing a lot”, despite the country’s high use of fossil fuels and natural resource extraction.
He added: “Yes, they are still building a bunch of coal-fired power plants. Yes, they are burning coal. But they are now moving plants away from the cities.”
But more surprising than his praise for Xi Jinping’s environmental record, Mr Bloomberg also said the Chinese leader is “not a dictator”.
He said: “The Communist Party wants to stay in power in China and they listen to the public.
“When the public says ‘I can’t breathe the air’, Xi Jinping is not a dictator. He has to satisfy his constituents, or he’s not going to survive.
“The trouble is you can’t overnight move cement plants and power plants just outside the city that are polluting the air and you have to have their product. So some of it takes time.”
China previously had a two term limit on presidency, until Xi Jinping’s Communist Party removed it in 2018.
Incredibly, only two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964.
Xi secured his political authority as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party’s constitution – elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.
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On top of this, Beijing has come under fire for its treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China.
Estimates have suggested that at least a million people have been placed in prison camps, a direct attack on religious freedom in the country.
Mr Bloomberg will be hoping his controversial comments don’t harm in his primaries prospects.
Having spent millions on campaigning already, the businessman is hoping to challenge leaders Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
He didn’t campaign for the Iowa and New Hampshire votes, but Mr Bloomberg’s financial power could see him become the man to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.