Geopolitics

The Great Wall(s) of China
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 28 Dec , 2015

Over the past 65 years, China has erected psychological walls with all its neighbors.  First, China shut itself from the world while it carried out internal purges.  Today, China has walls of intransigence with Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and India.  With Russia, the relationship is hot now and cold now – though the recent closeness of Russia and China is a cause for alarm to the Free world.  With the West, China still carries grudges from 115 years ago when the eight-nation alliance,sailed up the Yangtse River, bombing embankments, and occupied the Imperial Palace in Beijing, defeating the Boxer Rebellion that had gained momentum by killing missionaries and Christians.  China did not see this as a military defeat, but as a humiliation, as if every defeat is a humiliation.  But, these walls are not easily broken, as China is emotionally entrenched in them.

The Great Wall of China, a mammoth engineering structure visible from outer space, was first reported constructed in the 7th century BC, enhanced later by China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in 220–206 BC, and then revived during the Ming dynasty in the 14th century AD, all ostensibly with the purpose of keeping raiders outside the kingdom from entering China, centered around Xian and Peking.  For all practical purposes, the Great Wall was a military structure.  As great as was its engineering marvel and construction logistics, that much short sighted and ill-considered was its intended purpose, for it never succeeded in keeping out the raiders, who time and time again came around the ends of the walls, and ransacked villages and towns of China anyway.

The Communist Party of China has undertaken very deep brainwashing over the past 65 years such that every Chinese is now aggressive as well as beholden to the Communist Party.

The present name of the Great Wall was given by Europeans in recent centuries, but the wall has been known by other names in Chinese, such as the “long wall,” the “barrier,” the “rampart,” and so on.  Mao Tse Tung impressed the Great Wall on the people of China by saying “anyone who has not visited the Great wall is not a human being.”  A monument to this statement is seen at the Great Wall.  Thus, in their timidity, fear, and diffidence, the Chinese people visit the Great Wall in droves, hoping to be recognized as a legitimate human!

Constructed in hilly terrain, the location was a poor military selection in the first place, traversing hilly terrain and hill peaks from where raiders didn’t even want to ever pass to get to Beijing.  As such, it was a colossal waste of natural resources and funds from the treasury.  Estimated today at costing roughly $2 million a mile, the Great Wall would cost $10 billion to build today.  Any military of a developing nation would today think multiple times before investing this type of money into keeping the enemy out, but emperor after Chinese emperor made the wacky mistake of spending inordinate sums of money to pursue an ineffective military strategy.  This is what continues to speak about the mindset of the present Communist Party of China and Xi Jianping.

The Concept of Walls and Fences

In and of itself, a wall is not altogether an irrational concept, though it may be injudicious.  The Berlin Wall, erected virtually overnight by the German Democratic Republic, to curtail widespread immigration from East Germany to West Germany via West Berlin, was extremely effective in its intended purpose.  But, it must be noted that the total length of the Berlin Wall was only 96 miles, which length is quite easily controlled in contrast to the 5,000 mile Great Wall.

The Chinese leaders continue to alienate all their neighbors and the rest of the world, while projecting smiling faces, dyed black hair, and western suits and ties.

At other times, India has constructed fences along the Bangladesh border, and along the Kashmir and Punjab borders.  Though not quite as expensive as a heavy masonry block barrier such as the Great Wall, the intention is the same.  Along the Bangladesh border, the effectiveness is arguable, because border guards are reportedly easily bribed to turn a blind eye to human trafficking and smuggling; along the Kashmir border, the results are mixed because jihadis still get through from POK to IOK.

Another version of a barrier is the type like the Ichogill canal constructed by Pakistan outside Lahore.  In 1965, advance units of Gen Harbaksh Singh’s army easily crossed the canal and entered Lahore without opposition, but only to be withdrawn by Gen Harbaksh himself, since his aim was different – to tie down

Pakistani forces in Lahore so that they wouldn’t threaten East Punjab[1].  Nevertheless, the canal, by itself, is barely a major obstruction for modern day sappers.  However, a water canal can cause delays to an invading force, where the attacking army has to create and maintain bridgeheads, which is not easy against an entrenched defensive army.

At other times, the Indian army deliberately created an undeveloped, no-man’s barrier at the Arunachal border by not developing that area, and not constructing roads at border areas.  Of itself, this is an effective strategy, i.e., to deny a stronger, invading force the ability to quickly come inside your country while holding out the potential to bomb all enemy forces within that undeveloped tract, since the invading army cannot move fast in undeveloped terrain.  But now, with an offensive strike corps’ in the works, India’s strategy has changed quite dramatically and meaningfully.

More than 45 walls and barriers have been built along international borders since 1945.

More than 45 walls and barriers have been built along international borders since 1945.[2]  Famous fences exist between US and Mexico, built by the US; Israel and the West Bank, built by Israel; Georgia and South Ossetia, built by Russia; Spain and Morocco, built by Spain, to curtail illegal migrants; Morocco and Spanish Sahara; walls in Baghdad to separate Sunni from Shia populations, built by the US …. and so many more.

The walls along international borders in the present world are somewhat effective for the purpose they are constructed – to curtail illegal immigrants and terrorists from crossing over.  But, in contrast, the Great Wall of China was totally ineffective over a prolonged period of many centuries, but yet, successive emperors continued to think the dividing walls could be effective.  Even now, Chinese leaders think their international policies with its neighbors are effective, but fail to think that they may be bringing some calamity upon themselves by earning the wrath and resentment of their neighbors.

Daft Beliefs in China

Despite China producing the impeccable moral writings of Confucious, and the marvelous Sun Tzu Art of War, it appears that military practicality escaped the emperors.  Besides the Great Wall, the Xian Terracotta Warriors are a masterpiece evidence of the ridiculousness of Chinese beliefs.  Even today, having been denied the benefit of religion and spirituality, the Chinese are an extremely superstitious group of people.

For no major reason – except for land grab – in the same tone as barbaric emperors of ancient times – China has taken inflexible and obstinate positions over territory in the East and South China Seas, and along the Indo-Tibetan border.

The Terracotta Warriors were a replica of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s army, constructed to protect the emperor in the after life.   This mimics the backward beliefs of the Egyptian Pharaohs who believed that their emperors would need goods, dresses, and jewelry in the afterlife.  Such absurd thinking was never prevalent in India even in those centuries, when India already had the benefit of the Upanishads, Vedas, and Buddhist teachings.  However, such – or similar – nonsensical thinking among Chinese military planners has continued to the present day. The Chinese leaders continue to alienate all their neighbors and the rest of the world, while projecting smiling faces, dyed black hair, and western suits and ties.  To believe China is to be fooled by China.  And astonishingly, even though the Terracotta Warriors are a sign of the fatuousness of Chinese emperors and Chinese thinking, the present Chinese continue to claim the “greatness” of those warrior sculptures, as if claiming the greatness of their past emperors, who really were apparently boneheaded, means that they, themselves, are great.

The Intransigent Walls of China

Over the past 65 years, China has erected psychological walls with all its neighbors.  First, China shut itself from the world while it carried out internal purges.  Today, China has walls of intransigence with Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and India.  With Russia, the relationship is hot now and cold now – though the recent closeness of Russia and China is a cause for alarm to the Free world.  With the West, China still carries grudges from 115 years ago when the eight-nation alliance[3],[4]sailed up the Yangtse River, bombing embankments, and occupied the Imperial Palace in Beijing, defeating the Boxer Rebellion that had gained momentum by killing missionaries and Christians.  China did not see this as a military defeat, but as a humiliation, as if every defeat is a humiliation.  But, these walls are not easily broken, as China is emotionally entrenched in them.

For no major reason – except for land grab – in the same tone as barbaric emperors of ancient times – China has taken inflexible and obstinate positions over territory in the East and South China Seas, and along the Indo-Tibetan border.  This reflects nothing but the ominous signal that its “emperors” – the present day leaders — are once again asinine in their approach to the realities of existence on Earth.

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The present-day battle with Japan over Senkaku is partly about the grudges of World War II, though China brushes under the carpet that its own leader, the eccentric Mao, sent 70 million Chinese to their death during the great famine.  For China to resurrect the issue of Japanese behavior is to forget that the invasions of the Japanese helped to weaken the colonial grip across India, China, and East Asia, leading to the ultimate freedom of these countries.  There is always some good in virtually everything.

This brings to perspective the bizarre embalming of the body of Mao Tse Tung, with the equally eccentric belief that they can make Mao Tse Tung live forever by doing so.[5]

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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

Dr Amarjit Singh

is an independent security analyst.

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