The Chinese Way
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Vol 20.4 Oct-Dec 2005 | Date : 09 Aug , 2012

China's National People's Congress

Just ten days before the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), on 21 September 1949, in his opening address at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mao Zedong proclaimed, “The Chinese People Have Stood Up!” Some of the significant utterances in his speech are as follows:

Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation. We have stood up.

The imperialists and the domestic reactionaries will certainly not take their defeat lying down….they are sure to engage in sabotage and create disturbances….This is inevitable and beyond all doubt, and under no circumstances must we relax our vigilance.

The era in which the Chinese people were regarded as uncivilized is now ended. We shall emerge in the world as a nation with an advanced culture.

Our people’s armed forces must be maintained and developed with the heroic and steeled People’s Liberation Army as the foundation. We will have not only a powerful army but also a powerful air force and a powerful navy.

Some strong advocacies believe that China, “under the banner of opposing the hegemon”, should align with every anti-American nation in the world, explicitly citing the powerful precedent of the Warring States coalition.

On the eve of the founding of the PRC, on 30 September 1949, Mao declared that the Central Government of the PRC, in accordance with the Common Programme, will “strengthen the people’s army, navy and air force, consolidate national defence, safeguard….territorial integrity and sovereignty, and oppose aggression by any imperialist country.” “On 28 January 1955, Mao said, “We have an expression, millet plus rifles. In the case of the United States, it is planes plus the A-bomb. However, if the United States with its planes plus the A-bomb is to launch a war of aggression against China, then China with its millet plus rifles is sure to emerge the victor.” The sense of self-esteem and confidence was instilled in the minds of the Chinese people, reminding them that they had the ability to defeat the US in the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

The stages of development in the PRC since 1949 till date can be summarized as follows:

  • Ultra-nationalism: Nationalist fervour in defence of socialism.
  • Ideological activism: Ultra-leftist theories of Marxism-Leninism striking roots mainly in rural China in the garb of Mao Zedong Thoughts.
  • Political conflict: Class struggle. Artificial divide created between peasants, workers, intellectuals, and the bourgeoisie.
  • Diplomatic isolation: “Cultural Revolution”(1966-76) and erroneous policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by the Gang of Four. Collapse of diplomatic relations following hypertheories of China being encircled by ‘world political rivals’, and advocacy of ‘exporting revolution.’ The policy of yuan jiao jin gong (befriend distant states while attacking those nearby) further enhanced acrimony.
  • International recognition: China’s entry into the UN, and becoming a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power.
  • Reform and Open-Door policy: Economic restructuring. Increasing tilt towards capitalism. No political reform.
  • Market economy: Thorough privatization. Over-emphasis on economic development. Slashing of state subsidies. Full pursuance of capitalism. From economic affluence to hedonism and mammonism.
  • Advocacy of peaceful development: Resolving political and economic disputes through negotiations. Learning the best of all cultures (mainly materialistic) in order to vitalize Chinese economy.

After the US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Chinese authors have repeatedly pointed out that one important cause of Americas future decline is its conscious choice of a mistaken foreign policy.

The CCP with its long history of struggle and military campaign got seasoned in the art of war typified by Maoist guerrilla tactics. Mao Zedong was not only a voracious reader of Chinese martial classics like Sunzi Bingfa (The Art of War by Sun Zi), but he also practically applied its theories of strategy and tactics in the battlefronts during the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-45), the War of Liberation against the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek (1945-49), and the Korean War (1950-53). In most cases, Mao applied the basic theory of yi gong wei shou (use attack as a means of defence). Mao was also very fond of the heroes in the novel Shuihuzhuan (Water Margin). In 1949, as a newly-born nation, China found itself encircled by hostile forces.

The Chinese leadership conceived the notion that the US imperialists were intending to establish an “anti-Communist zone for the encirclement and blockade of China.” Mao clearly professed that the Chinese should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports. The US was identified as the foremost enemy of the socialist China. At the beginning of the Korean War, in December 1950, in response to the US State Department’s measures to freeze China’s assets in the US, China too took possession of all assets of the US government and American enterprises within its territory and froze all US bank deposits in China.

In a speech at the first session of the preparatory meeting for the Eighth National Congress of the CCP on 30 August 1956, Mao Zedong urged the party members thus: “You have such a big population, such a vast territory and such rich resources, and what is more, you are said to be building socialism, which is supposed to be superior; if after working at it for fifty or sixty years you are still unable to overtake the United States, what a sorry figure you will cut! You should be read off the face of the earth. Therefore, to overtake the United States is not only possible, but absolutely necessary and obligatory. If we don’t, we the Chinese nation will be letting the nations of the world down and we will not be making much of a contribution to mankind.”

Such a philosophy is deeply rooted in the thoughts of the famous neo-Confucianist philosopher Meng Ke or Mencius (372-289 BC) who once said, Bu huan pin, er huan bu jun (Do not worry if you are poor, but worry that you are not equal to others). This thinking has inculcated an indomitable spirit among the Chinese people to strive hard and attain the objective of catching up with and even surpassing the dominant powers of the world. Vestiges of magnificent architectural feats can be seen in the construction of the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, the giant Buddhas at Longmen, Leshan and other places. The big thinking of the Chinese made them attain great heights even in science and technology as seen in the Four Great Inventions (si da faming)-paper, printing press, magnetic compass, and gunpowder; and smaller but significant discoveries like needle, lenses, etc.

The Chinese concept of country (guo), synonymous with state and nation in the Chinese vocabulary, in the archaic sense spoke more of administrative jurisdiction as observed in princely states during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). The Chinese character guo was a picto-ideographic representation of land, people, and army within the territorial limits. Intense strategic calculations and bloody warfare characterized the pre-unification period of China. In the process of acute tussle, one kingdom used to get vanquished and annexed by the other. Words of admonition took shape in the form of idioms like Yu bang xiang zheng, yuren de li (When the snipe and the clam grapple, the fisherman profits), that is, it’s the third party that benefits from the tussle. Chinese statecraft is deeply rooted in such thought-provoking tales that stood the test of time.

In order to fully comprehend future global security environment from a Chinese perspective, one has to have a sound knowledge of Chinese, the analytic power to read between the lines in Chinese government documents, and most importantly an access to written tradition of statecraft that has been distilled into a few classic texts. Ancient Chinese statecraft is used as a lesson or metaphor to assess the future. Chinese references of statecraft to the Warring States Period remind the Chinese readers never to forget the eternal verities of geopolitics and worst case scenarios. The Chinese words fabao (translated as ‘magic weapon’) or shashoujian (translated as ‘killer mace’ or ‘trump card’ etc) tends to conceal the ancient Chinese concept of victory in warfare through possession of secret weapons that strike the enemy’s most vulnerable point, at precisely the decisive moment. Chinese analysts believe in geopolitics consistent with the texts of ancient statecraft.

China conducted its first nuclear test in 1964 and started developing rocket engines in 1965. And it also deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). In its urge to counter-balance the US, China started extending nuclear assistance to Iran, Syria, Libya, Algeria and others-the potential enemies of the US.

China calculates power ratios and predicts American decline. Chinese national security research analysts have mathematically analyzed the relative power of the nations in a new world structure where the US will decline economically, socially, militarily and internationally to become one of the five poles in a turbulent multipolar world. Chinese analysts are confident that US military forces can be defeated through ancient strategic techniques known collectively as yi ruo sheng qiang (the weak defeats the powerful). These they say through their experiences in different military campaigns.

The Chinese strategic think-tank regards the pattern of American dominance in the world as having been transformed from a “hegemonic power” into a “New Empire” with its essence remaining unchanged. If expounded in a formula, the so-called ‘global strategy’ can be expounded in the following formula:

“Global objectives + means to be taken to achieve the objectives”
(strength × guiding principle or policy)

However, Chinese analysts are well aware that there are serious disputes over policy decisions between the US administration and American strategic scholars. There are also contradictions between unilateraism and multilateralism, preemption and deterrence, etc. Rich Chinese idioms and metaphors embedded in ancient statecraft help in interpreting the future security environment. The age in which the classics of Chinese statecraft were produced was a time when a multi-state competition to become “hegemon” featured stratagems, small wars, interstate conferences, treaties, etc.

One set of lessons was how to become a hegemon; and another was how to survive destruction at the hands of a predatory hegemon. Chinese authors writing on the US today dwell on the concept of how to diagnose and deal with a powerful hegemon that seeks to dominate several other less powerful states. We find the word ba (hegemon) in many ancient texts dating back to 770-202 BC-in the form of bawang or bazhu (lit. despot, overlord, hegemon).

Chinese textbooks state that bourgeois states are greedy and constantly plot war and intervention; they are blocked from this course only by the socialist states who desire peace and development. In contrast to Western research that suggests miscalculation and misperceptions may be the leading cause of war, Chinese analysts assert that “scrambling for resources” causes war. Economic factors are the most fundamental cause triggering war.

Today’s Chinese concept of Comprehensive National Power (CNP) was invented in the early 1980s. The concept has its origin in the Chinese traditional military philosophy. Sun Zi identified “seven stratagems” that govern the outcome of war. Wu Zi wrote about six conditions in which, if the other side’s strength was greater, war should be avoided. Han Feizi demanded that strategy be based on cost-benefit calculations. Sun Zi warned that victory depended on calculations and estimates of enemy strength and weaknesses made in advance by advisers. Ancient Chinese strategists also attempted to help their country achieve dominance through non-warfare methods. In current times, calculating CNP can aid a nation not just for war but also to “coordinate a political and diplomatic offensive, to psychologically disintegrate the enemy forces and subdue them.”

Deng Xiaoping had advised that ancient texts should serve as guide to future Chinese leaders on strategy. He used a few expressions that China should abide by:

Tao guang yang hui (lit. hide brightness, nourish obscurity) that actually means “to hide one’s capacity and bide one’s time.” The word tao also means ‘the art of war.’ Taolüe, literally ‘the strategy of concealing’ means ‘military strategy.’

Bu chu tou (lit. don’t stick your head out) implies ‘never be the leader.’ That means China should keep a low profile, hiding its true features and intentions.

Some strong advocacies believe that China, “under the banner of opposing the hegemon”, should align with every anti-American nation in the world, explicitly citing the powerful precedent of the Warring States coalition. Chinese language abounds with thousands of idioms and idiomatic tales that originated during the Warring States period. One such idiom (tanglang bu chan, huangque zai hou) warns against coveting gains ahead without being aware of danger behind. The story narrates how a mantis aims at catching a cicada, unaware of the oriole behind. The oriole aiming to catch the mantis is also unaware of the hunter behind. Thus, the advice goes to be extra-cautious in chalking out plans – taking into account the pros and cons of any action.

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.

Some critics project a sharp decline in the global role of the US. Patience and caution are thus seen to be wiser than aggressive coalition building against the US. As the US strategy is always to “follow the oil”, and that they are exploiting Kuwait, Iraq etc, likewise China must get the Central Asian oil market oriented to China. Chinese analysts believe that it is better to place high priority on land transport of oil and gas, which China’s superiority in ground forces can protect, rather than depend in the future on sea-lanes for oil supplies that the US and Japan will threaten with their powerful navies. China is contemplating building a “Great Wall”- that is, a partnership with Russia to defeat Western containment of China. China predicts that this containment will be attempted by restricting access to capital markets and technology, promoting Western values and using military power “as the core” against China.

Chinese military strategists suggest that the greater danger to a nation’s survival is not warfare but zhanlüe wudao (strategic misdirection) in the current world structure. One of China’s most distinguished military authors General Li Jijun points out like many other PLA generals, that it was a policy of “strategic misdirection” used by the US by resorting to a NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in spring 1999. In an article in Zhongguo Pinglun (China Review), the conclusion with a warning goes that the Western forces are attempting to drag China into the mire of an arms race.

The Soviet Union contested with the US in increasing defence budget in the face of a US-sponsored Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) which the US had no intention to deploy. As a result of strategic misdirection, Soviet Union collapsed. Similarly the US is planning to pursue a TMD (theatre missile defense) system so that China in an arms race with the US will consume its national power, and collapse without a battle. Such a strategy of weakening an opponent has been mentioned in classic texts of the Warring States.

However, after the US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Chinese authors have repeatedly pointed out that one important cause of America’s future decline is its conscious choice of a mistaken foreign policy. The US was likened to Nazi Germany in eight specific ways in a long article, concluding that the pursuit of such Nazi-like policies would end in complete failure.

In the mid-1980s, Deng Xiaoping summarized a series of major conflicts in the world that might lead to war in four Chinese characters: dong xi nan bei (East, West, South, and North):

  • East-West conflicts, i.e., between the US and the Soviet Union, which means conflict between capitalism and socialism.
  • West-West conflict, i.e., between developed capitalist countries.
  • South-North conflict, i.e., developing Third World countries and the developed capitalist countries.
  • South-South conflict, i.e., differences between Third World countries that can lead to warfare.

According to Deng’s prediction, new cold wars have already started after the end of one cold war. Out of two more cold wars, one is directed against the south and the Third World, the other against socialism. Yan Xuetong of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations warns of potential conflicts between China and the US, as China’s power increases and the desperate US struggles to maintain its hegemony. This is exactly reflected in the case of the US blocking Chinese ships, such as the Yinhe event of 1993. In July 1993, the Chinese container ship Yinhe (lit. Milky Way) was followed and interdicted by US forces, alleging the ship to be carrying chemical weapons material to Iran. That was proved false through an open inspection, with Saudi Arabia as an intermediary.

China protested very strongly since the ship was kept on the high seas and its aerial photos were taken by the US military aircraft. Chinese sources say that the food and medicine dispatched for Iran turned stale. Although China might have taken steps to get its losses compensated, yet publicly China wants to project that it is least bothered to accept compensation, that too, from a non-socialist country, since such acceptance is symbolic of loss of self-esteem. Self-esteem (Zizunxin) is often combined with restraint (kezhi) so as to avoid major conflict.

“if the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on Chinas territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.”

However, self-restraint does not imply passivity. In its drive to become equal with the dominant powers of the world, China conducted its first nuclear test in 1964 and started developing rocket engines in 1965. And it also deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). In its urge to counter-balance the US, China started extending nuclear assistance to Iran, Syria, Libya, Algeria and others-the potential enemies of the US. While praising the US military technology as the best in the world, all the Chinese sources invariably emphasize the weaknesses of the US forces and their vulnerability to defeat by China. There are frequent references to the Chinese defeating the US forces in both Korea and Vietnam. The Maoist tactics of protracted warfare (chijiuzhan) has been quite successful in dealing with enemies since long.

In 1996, China founded an international alliance known as the “Shanghai Five” (S-5). It consisted of China, Russia, and the three Central Asian states (once part of the Soviet Union)-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The group, as an informal alliance, was set up initially in an effort to resolve a protracted border dispute between the Soviet Union and China. After 1991, the newly-independent Central Asian states sought to settle frontier problems with China. Later the group specifically focused on battling the terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan and ensuring regional stability. On 15 June 2001, Uzbekistan was invited to join and the group was officially named the Shanghai Cooperative Organization (SCO). In November 2005, the SCO granted observer status to Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India at the Defense and Security Forum. The focuses of the S-5 or later SCO can be summarized as follows:

  • In 1996, military agreement was signed addressing border security among the members.
  • In 1997, agreement was signed on the mutual reduction of military forces in the border areas.
  • In 2001, agreement of cooperation was signed to prevent, expose and halt three hostile forces-terrorism, separatism and extremism.
  • In 2005, China said it advocates a new concept of security based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation. It was proclaimed that such cooperation can only deepen the trust and friendship between the SCO member states, observer countries and their armies.

The idea behind China’s initiative in building such alliance was not only countering the separatist Uighur groups in Xinjiang, who advocate independence under the name of East Turkistan, but the bigger game plan was to check the eastward expansion of the US-led NATO, frustrate the US plan of making inroads upon Central and South Asian region, and create a multi-layered buffer zone around China.

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.

In the course of Sino-US relations, the spy plane incident figured prominently in 2001. On 1 April 2001, a US spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter plane killing the Chinese pilot. Thereupon, the other Chinese fighter forced the EP-3 Aries surveillance aircraft and its 24 US crew members to land at the Lingshui airbase in the southern island province of Hainan. The act of spying was serious enough. But the US crew refused to allow the Chinese onto the aircraft. Then a Chinese officer walked up the stairs and wrestled a US airman, threw him to the ground and enabled the PLA’s entry into the aircraft. The US crew was detained for eleven days, and the plane was finally confiscated by the Chinese government. It was widely opined that “the Chinese government would have released the American crew much earlier if the Bush administration had expressed regrets about the incident to the Chinese soon after the plane went down.”

The position of the Chinese government is categorical in regard to certain aspects of international relations. The question of getting equal rights in world forums is uncompromisable. China is “hypersensitive” to the issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Human Rights. Any country or any party stepping into these three domains with an official stamp is quickly admonished by China. Apart from security, Beijing’s paramount concern in its external relations is its sovereign dignity. No modern Chinese leader can appear weak and vacillating on the question of Chinese territorial integrity. Still smarting from the humiliations it endured between 1839 and 1949, China is hypersensitive to anything that smacks of interference in its internal affairs and has a ‘prickly insistence’ on the principle of state sovereignty. Every time the US extends its support for a cause considered counter to the stated policies of China, the latter takes up the ‘cudgel’ and hits the opponent straight onto the head.

In June 1989, during the massacre in Tian’anmen Square, the PLA toppled the polystyrene statue of “Goddess of Democracy” (perhaps a version of Statue of Liberty)-thus manifesting the crushing of core American values as a result of the US support for “pro-democracy movement” that was considered by the Chinese government as “counter-revolutionary”. The Yinhe event of July 1993, with no US apology, was quickly followed by China’s conducting an underground nuclear test on 5 October 1993. In defiance of international pressure to adhere to a voluntary test ban until a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) is in place, China conducted the test by justifying that it has conducted far fewer nuclear weapons tests than other nuclear powers and will be reluctant to agree to a test ban. China’s emerging interest in peaceful nuclear explosives (PNEs) centred round the purposes such as diverting freshwater to the Gobi desert. Hence China sought an exclusion for PNEs from the CTBT. Later China conducted nuclear tests in 1994, 1995 and 1996.

On 14 March 2001, Ambassador Sha Zukang in his speech said that China is opposed to the US National Missile Defense (NMD) because it would weaken or neutralize China’s very limited deterrence capability. He said, “China will not allow its legitimate means of self-defence to be weakened or even taken away by anyone in anyway. This is one of the most important aspects of China’s national security.” In all probability this utterance was a sort of deception. Later in December 2001, a Chinese academician emphasized that the US’s development of the NMD would encourage China to increase its nuclear weapons and the latter’s penetration capability. A Chinese General was quoted saying in July 2005 that “if the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.”

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.


  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
  3. Gary Klintworth, “Crisis Management: China, Taiwan and the United States-the 1995-96 Crisis and its Aftermath” in
  4. Gary Milhollin, “Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations” in
  5. Gerald Steinberg, “Chinese Politics on Arms Control and Proliferation in the Middle East” in
  12. Jia Qingguo, “China’s New Leadership and Strategic Relations with the United States” in
  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
  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
  20.  U.S. Human Rights Record in 2000. Bilingual Club, Beijing Review, 15 March 2001.
Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
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

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left

4 thoughts on “The Chinese Way

  1. The Chinese Way —– Bride trafficking along the ‘Game Changer’ China-pakistan economic corridor [CpEC]: More than 600 beautiful pakistani girls and women were sold as brides to Chinese men over a period of nearly two years.

  2. Year 2022 now we got like Hitler as Putin the most deadly dictator ever on earth so Hitler nearly destroyed Soviet Union all nearly of communistic system it’s happening now similar with China that repeat again in different area .USA now give both India and China 1 week to join with US to get rid of deadly nuclear warheads totally from earth if not US declare war on both of them with 1 billions dead each .

  3. China lacks the most basic thing to become a super power which US has in abundance,that is freedom and yeah a fair degree of meritocracy,Nobody from third world countries are lining to take Green card or Citizenship of PRC, the US attracts talent from all over the world, the US for all it’s faults is a beacon of hope , however flawed. but Communist China can never become that ,and that is why US will trump PRC everytime

  4. 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.

More Comments Loader Loading Comments