China Lodges Formal Complaint Over Biden Calling Xi a Dictator

Biden defended his rhetoric and downplayed the potential consequences

The Chinese government summoned the US ambassador in Beijing to lodge a formal complaint over President Biden calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

US officials said that a diplomatic note, known as a démarche, was delivered to US Ambassador Nicolas Burns just hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken departed Beijing. Over in the US, the Chinese Embassy in Washington said that it “made serious representations and strong protests” to US officials over Biden’s comments.

The Chinese embassy said that Biden’s “disparaging” remarks were “erroneous, absurd and irresponsible, and form an open political provocation.”

President Biden on Thursday defended his rhetoric and downplayed the potential consequences, saying his language when speaking about China “is just not something I’m going to change very much.” He claimed that he doesn’t think his comment will have any “real consequences.”

But the diplomatic spat risks reversing what little progress Blinken made in China. Blinken met with high-level officials, including President Xi, and the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue, but no breakthroughs were made as the Biden administration is not changing course on major issues of concern for China, such as increasing US support for Taiwan.

Biden said that Blinken had a “great trip” to China and that he expects to be meeting with Xi soon. He made the comments while holding a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Washington on an official state visit as the US is boosting ties with India as part of its strategy against China in the region.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.