Opinion

The troubled relationship between the Bolsonaro family and China

Recent spats between the president's son and the Chinese ambassador have reignited old suspicions between Brazil and the Asian giant

supreme court justice The troubled relationship between the Bolsonaro family and China
Jair Bolsonaro (right) meets Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

Jair Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian president to be elected with a tough discourse on China, often criticizing Chinese investments in Brazil as a threat to national security and economic sovereignty. Despite that, in his first year in office, he established a pragmatic relationship with Beijing, including meetings with Xi Jinping and a successful trip to the Middle Kingdom.

The risk pervading this approach was his foreign policy of seeking full alignment with the U.S., while Donald Trump was waging a trade war against China. These latent tensions exploded in the controversy surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, with Congressman...

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