Geopolitics

The Chinese Way
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Issue Vol 20.4 Oct-Dec 2005 | Date : 09 Aug , 2012

In the light of the continued US arms sale to Taiwan, it was stated that China finds it impossible to take a benign view of the US’s intentions on China. In early 1996, the US slashed export controls. This facilitated China to import supercomputers manufactured by Sun Microsystems of California. Instead of making civilian aircrafts, as promised, China diverted the machines to a missile and military aircraft factory in Nanchang. The PLA-run defense technology university in Changsha used such machines in specializing in advanced weapons systems, missile design, detonation physics, automatic target recognition, etc.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences, which helps develop China’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, bought a supercomputer from Silicon Graphics, that performs approximately six billion operations per second. It is reported that as early as in 1970s, the Academy helped develop the flight computer for the DF-5 intercontinental missile which can target US cities with nuclear warheads. This in effect serves as a nuclear deterrent against the US, and makes the US vulnerable in face of a conflict with China.

The Chinese government as well as the Chinese people have strong sentiments against Japanese atrocities…

Chinese analysts describe joint warfare weaknesses of the US army, navy and air force. They indicate that US forces are incapable of overcoming the following defences: cities and mountains, deep in the hinterland, the underground command post, garrisoned tunnels, underground warehouses, and aircraft and strategic missile bunkers. Chinese underground bunkers are portrayed as invulnerable to American attacks because US missiles are said to be incapable of penetrating and blowing up protective layers more than ten metres or dozens of metres thickness. Reportedly, China has a series of underground tunnels in the mountainous area of west Beijing that protect a national underground command centre.

Chinese use of tunnelling in mountainous areas for command centres and protection of army, navy and air force equipments dates back to the Korean War. Here, the author of this article would take the opportunity to point out that he personally had the chance of knowing about a concealed seaside bunker kept under a natural camouflage of steep cliffs, containing cruisers and destroyers on his way from Qingdao to Laoshan in Shandong province. The taxi-driver explained with pride the utility of the warships against possible naval attacks from the US or Japan.

In its tireless effort to catch up with the dominant powers of the world, China sent its first manned spacecraft Shenzhou-5 on 15 October 2003. Although China was the fifth country to launch satellites, yet it ranks third after Russia and the US in sending man into space by virtue of its own effort. Without any foreign help, Chinese scientists greatly improved the propellant capability of the Long March series of carrier rockets. China’s advantage in space development lies in its carrier technology. China planned its three-step strategy of the manned space programme in 1992:

  • Sending a human into space (already accomplished)
  • Setting up a space laboratory and a space station after having developed in-orbit technology including docking; and
  • Lunar landing.

Like American astronauts, and Russian cosmonauts, the Chinese taikonauts came into being. The first two syllables in the word taikonaut have originated from the Chinese word taikong-meaning ‘space’. The next goal after Shenzhou-5 is to send an astronaut to the moon, called the Chang’e Project-named after the moon goddess found in an ancient Chinese myth. Shenzhou-5’s successful launch and return proved that China had mastered three key technologies: life support, re-entry, and rescue technologies. In the face of criticism by US and other nations, China reminded that “space is no longer the domain of just a few first world countries.” The flight of China’s second manned spacecraft Shenzhou-6 with two taikonauts in October 2005 enhanced the Chinese confidence so much that their next manned mission includes a spacewalk in 2007. China affirmed its place in one of the world’s most exclusive clubs.

With immense political will, with the largest manufacturing and distribution network, with a high degree of scientific and technological advancement, and with a unique work culture and sense of accountability, China has truly become indispensable in the making of any global policy decision today

China dislikes the domineering posture of the US. Therefore, apart from countering the US at the political, military and economic fronts, China also actively seeks to confront the US head-on at the diplomatic and propaganda front. As mentioned above, the Chinese government loathes external interference in its internal affairs, especially on the issues of Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights. The Chinese purchase of Russian fighter planes and other armaments is mostly linked with US arms sale to Taiwan. A pro-independence move by the Taiwanese leaders meet with a propaganda blitz by the mainland (PRC) government. A show of strength then follows by firing missiles towards Taiwan as an act of intimidation. Dalai Lama’s or any Taiwanese leader’s visit to a foreign country is regarded by China as an act of “secession”. The visits are then followed by China’s official protest to the countries acting as hosts. But when it comes to the question of human rights, China strongly feels an urge to pay back in the same coin.

The Information Office of the State Council of China has been active since past six years in publicizing the human rights violations in the US in response to the US State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. China finds it highly objectionable and vehemently opposes the US State Department’s posing as “the world human rights police” and its releasing of reports with unwarranted charges involving human rights violation covering 196 countries and regions, including China, but keeping “silent on the US misdeeds in this field.” Therefore, keeping in line with China’s “repaying of an obligation”, Human Rights Record of the US comes out regularly from China so as to make the people of the world aware of “the human rights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States.” Written in six chapters, the US Human Rights Record in 2000 (published on 27 February 2001) deals with serious infringements of human rights existing in the US under the following headings:

  • American Democracy a Myth, Political Rights Infringed;
  • Rampant Violence and Arbitrary Judicial System are Jeopardizing the Freedom and Lives of US Citizens;
  • Widening Gap between Rich and Poor and Deteriorating Situation of Worker’s Economic and Social Rights;
  • Gender Discrimination and Ill Treatment of Children;
  • Racial Discrimination Prevails, Minorities Ill Treated; and
  • Waging War Frequently and Rampantly Infringing Upon Human Rights of Other Countries.
  • The preamble to the chronologically-arranged Human Rights Record of the US in 2004 (published on 3 March 2005) goes thus: “In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the US. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community.” The Chinese report said racism was entrenched in the US and dismissed its electoral system as a contest of money.

The Chinese government as well as the Chinese people have strong sentiments against Japanese atrocities committed during the World War II. The Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visit to the war memorial of Yasukuni Shrine trigger off a flood of dark memories in China and South Korea. These victim countries annually register their protest against the visits since the shrine is also a memorial erected for war criminals by guilt-free nationalists who celebrate Japan’s brutal invasions of other countries. The Chinese government has also accused Japan for trying to deny the historical facts involving war crimes. The Japanese textbooks are either silent or have sought to whitewash the chapters in history. In 2005, on the 60th anniversary of victory over fascism, China brought out publications with startling evidences of Japanese atrocities in China.

The Chinese purchase of Russian fighter planes and other armaments is mostly linked with US arms sale to Taiwan.

A book entitled Unit 731: Japanese Germ Warfare Unit in China reveals how the code-named Unit 731 of the Japanese Army conducted experiments of implanting epidemic germs in vivisected human bodies. They also produced bacteriological weapons and waged germ warfare on innocent civilians of China. Rich in pictures and documents, the book says that “the bitter history cannot be wiped out, the souls of the deceased victims have not been put to rest and the survivors of the dead have yet to recover from psychological trauma. Only by acknowledging its past and compensating the victim families, can Japan show its real intention of deep reflection over its past and its aspiration for peace.” The recent anti-Japanese upsurge in China is a result of Japan’s denial to acknowledge the dark chapter in its history. China’s reaction has been through blocking Japan for permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

In the era of Asian resurgence, China has clearly emerged as a victor. With immense political will, with the largest manufacturing and distribution network, with a high degree of scientific and technological advancement, and with a unique work culture and sense of accountability, China has truly become indispensable in the making of any global policy decision today. China is already present in all the regional groupings.

China-both in its revolutionary form in the post-colonial era, as well as in its reform mode in the era of globalization-has been looked upon with awe by the world community as a nation with uncompromising foreign policy when it comes to national interest and territorial integrity. Sometimes with inflexible and non-negotiable posture, but at the same time flexing robust economic muscle, China’s stated position has often been grudgingly accepted by the dominant powers of the world. The single reason is that China has preserved its self-esteem.

Since the reform started in 1979, China has treaded the path of national rejuvenation. With the greatest virtue of modesty, China became the biggest learning nation in the world. As the Chinese saying goes: Xuxin shiren jinbu, jiao’ao shiren luohou (Modesty helps one to go forward, whereas conceit makes one to lag behind), the Chinese have silently but steadily entered the world arena with industry and confidence. Today, the world market is flooded with Chinese commodities-from decorative items to utility gadgets, from toys to industrial machineries and mechanical spare-parts.

Except for dairy products, all the items in US or Australian markets are made in China. Napoleon once said, “If China wakes up, the world will tremble.” If analyzed correctly, the word ‘globalization’ has become a reality with the material civilization of China, including its early inventions, spreading across the world. China, once nicknamed as “the Sick Man of East Asia” (dongya bingfu) has transformed itself within half a century from a submissive entity into a powerful giant of the modern epoch-full of assertion and resolution.

References

  1. China’s Foreign Relations: A Chronology of Events (1949-1988). Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. Compiled by Xinhua News Agency, 1989.
  2. Full Text of Human Rights Record of the US in 2004 in http://english.people.com.cn/200503/03/eng20050303_175406.html
  3. Gary Klintworth, “Crisis Management: China, Taiwan and the United States-the 1995-96 Crisis and its Aftermath” in http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/1996-97/97rp14.htm
  4. Gary Milhollin, “Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations” in http://www.iranwatch.org/Gary/sfrc-milhollin-100897.htm
  5. Gerald Steinberg, “Chinese Politics on Arms Control and Proliferation in the Middle East” in http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~steing/arms/china.html
  6. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/04/01/US.China.plane
  7. http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/03spring/yuan.htm
  8. http://mprofaca.cro.net/wangwei.html
  9. http://www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/china/china9.cfm
  10. http://www.navyleague.org/sea_power/nov_04_10.php
  11. http://www.nti.org/db/china/engdocs/libib2.htm
  12. Jia Qingguo, “China’s New Leadership and Strategic Relations with the United States” in http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/2005/Sep/qingguoSep05.asp
  13. Li Zi, “Who’s Afraid of China’s Space Program?” in Beijing Review. Vol.46, No.46, November 13, 2003, pp.10-17.
  14. Michael Pillsbury, “China Debates the Future Security Environment” (Jan.2000) in http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/chindebate/pills2.htm
  15. Meng Xiangqing, “New Military Revolution and US Global Strategy” in Contemporary International Relations (China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Beijing, China). Vol.13, No.9, September 2003, p.28.
  16. News From China. Chinese Embassy, India. Vol. XVII, No.11, November 2005, pp.23-24.
  17. Qinhua Rijun Guandongjun Qisanyao Xijun Budui (Unit 731: Japanese Germ Warfare Unit in China), Compiled by the Unit 731 Criminal Evidence Museum, Beijing: China Intercontinental Press, 2005.
  18. Selected Works of Mao Tsetung. Vol.5. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1977.
  19. “Shanghai Alliance” in http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/ASMassoud.html
  20.  U.S. Human Rights Record in 2000. Bilingual Club, Beijing Review, 15 March 2001.
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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Prof. Priyadarshi Mukherji

Prof. Priyadarsi Mukherji, Chairman, Centre for Chinese & South-East Asian Studies, JNU

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One thought on “The Chinese Way

  1. If China wakes up, the world will tremble.. Then the world will wake up and Racist-Han China willl disappear with tail between its legs,and you will stop talking and quoting Chinese trash.

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