China: Harmony or chaos?
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Issue Vol 24.3 Jul-Sep2009 | Date : 12 Jan , 2011

China suffers from a superiority complex. This is not new. Genetically, it must have been there for ages, but in recent years due to the rapid economic development, the tremendous advances in the defense field (including asymmetric warfare), the awe with which Western nations look at China1 and events like the Olympic Games in Beijing, this complex has been greatly exacerbated.

The last bashing bout against India is a demonstration of the complex from which the Middle Kingdom suffers. Today, in the 21st century, Zhongnanhai’s residents2 still believe that they are the Sons of Heaven.

“¦an online poll7 conducted by had “™shown that 90 percent of the participants believe India poses a big threat to China.

The People’s Daily and the Global Times, both working under the close watch of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have recently made derogatory comments on a purely internal Indian affair, the restructuring of its defense forces in Arunachal Pradesh.

On June 11, the Global Times3 wrote: “But India can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale. India apparently has not yet realized this.” The writer unabashedly continues: “India is frustrated that China’s rise has captured much of the world’s attention.”

A week later, in an editorial the Peoples’ Daily4, Li Hongmei stated: “Many Indians actually have very subtle impressions (sic) upon China, which has been translated into a very complicated mindset – awe, vexation, envy and jealousy – in the face of its giant neighbor.”

The editorialist goes onto expound his theory: “The reason for this mentality is multi-faceted, and brought about by both historical factors and reality. In 1947, when India freed itself from the British colonization and won independence, it was one of the global industrial powers, ranking Top 10 in the world and far ahead of the then backward China. But today, China’s GDP has tripled that of India and per capita income doubled, which turns out to be a totally unacceptable fact to many Indians. And with China’s galloping economic growth since its adoption of the reform and opening up policy in the late 1970s, the wealth gap between China and India has increasingly widened.”

Also read: Role of China as Pakistan’s nuclear and missile patron

While some figures might be true, one may ask, at what cost? Rampant corruption, destruction of environment, an increasingly totalitarian regime; one could also argue that in India the trains arrived on time during the Emergency and the pavements were clean, but who wants a new Emergency?

In another speech, the same General affirmed: “Marxism pointed out that violence is the midwife for the birth of the new society. Therefore war is the midwife for the birth of Chinas century.”

As often, Beijing blames the West for spoiling the Indi-Chini friendship: “Some Western powers have been inciting India to challenge China, and even insidiously convince India that China would be the ‘greatest obstacle’ threatening India’s rise. India, on the other hand, draws the Western hint trying for dear life to surpass China.”

The Pakistan angle is never omitted: “Obsessed with the crazy idea of ‘enemy’s friend being the enemy,’ India has gone out of its way to blemish the brotherly ties between China and Pakistan5, which India regards as its arch-foe, even staking out a position that Pakistan would have no courage to challenge it without the back-up of China.”6

The Global Times in the same vein wrote: “India thinks that fear and gratitude for its restraint will cause China to defer to it on territorial disputes. But this is wishful thinking, as China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India. And while China wishes to coexist peacefully with India, this desire isn’t born out of fear.”

A few days earlier, an online poll7 conducted by huanqiu.com8 had ’shown’ that 90 percent of the participants believe India poses a big threat to China9.

The Global Times commented: “The tension along the disputed border between the two countries has escalated in the last few days after India’s latest military move. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed, despite cooperative India-China relations, his government would make no concessions to China on territorial disputes.”

The pollsters added: “About 74 percent people in the poll by believed China should not maintain the friendly relations with India anymore after its military provocation. And more than 65 percent of people taking part in the poll believed India’s actions were harmful to bilateral ties and it is more harmful to India.”

Click to buy: Threat from China

This comes soon after the circulation on the Internet of a speech purportedly given by General Chi Haotian, former Minister of Defense and Vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission [see full text on IRD website]10. He would have said in 2005: “Hitler’s Germany had once bragged that the German race was the most superior race on earth, but the fact is, our nation is far superior to the Germans.”

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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

Claude Arpi

Writes regularly on Tibet, China, India and Indo-French relations. He is the author of 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga, Tibet: The Lost Frontier and Dharamshala and Beijing: the negotiations that never were.

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