Commentary by Perry Diaz (California): “China`s True Color”
Communist China`s founder Mao Zedong used to say, “Power comes from the barrel of a gun.” It was true in his lifetime, and it was true during the reformist period of Deng Xiaoping. It was true during the tiger economy surge under Jiang Zemin. It was true during the globalization era of Hu Jintao. And it would be true in the era of Xi Jinping, China`s new ruler. And no matter how muchChina tries to promote “soft power” in an attempt to co-exist peacefully and harmoniously with the rest of the world, China is still the bully that is systematically slicing the Western Pacific like salami… piece by piece.
Mao laid out China`s global goal in no uncertain terms. “We must conquer the globe where we will create a powerful state,” he said. Indeed, China today has territorial claims in nearly 20 countries, which include the following: Burma, Laos, Northern India, Vietnam, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Ryukyu Islands, 300 islands of the South China, East China and Yellow Seas, as well as Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Taiwan, South Kazakhstan, the Afghan province of Bahdashan, Transbaikalia and the Far East to South Okhotsk (Source: Pravda, 17 July 2012). According to Mao, these territories were lost after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. He dreamed of retaking them but didn`t live long enough to see it happen.
And as China grows stronger economically and militarily, her voracious appetite for grabbing her neighbors` land and waters, including the East China Sea and South China Sea, has put the Asia-Pacific region – nay, the world – closer to another senseless conflict. Territorial disputes In my article, “Trouble spots in Western Pacific waters” (5 October 2012), I wrote: “On 24 July 2012, in her boldest move to date, China established a prefecture-level government in Sansha City located in Woody Island, which will administer all of the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, and Macclesfield Bank. Woody Island — which was uninhabited when China forcibly took it from Vietnam 38 years ago — is now populated with more than 1,000 Chinese civilians with roads, a bank, a post office, a supermarket, and a hospital.
Interestingly, Sansha is the smallest prefecture-level city by both population and land area (13 square kilometers or five square miles) but the largest by water area with two million square kilometers (772,000 square miles). In addition to the city government, China is also going to establish a military garrison in Sansha to protect her territory and sovereignty over the entireSouth China Sea.
“With the establishment of the prefecture of Sansha, China achieved what she wanted without firing a shot: the entire South China Sea! Vietnam and thePhilippines immediately protested China`s action. In response, China warned them against meddling in her internal affairs.
“What`s China`s next move in the South China Sea?” Shock and awe On 22 September 2012, at the opening of a trade fair for the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Nanning in southern China, then Vice President Xi said in his keynote speech that China`s own prosperity could only be guaranteed by having good relations with China`s neighbors. “The more progress China makes in development and the closer its links with the region and the world, the more important it is for the country to have a stable regional environment and a peaceful international environment,” he said. That`s well and good.
But he also told the ASEAN leaders: “We are firm in safeguarding China`s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and are committed to resolving differences with neighbors concerning territorial land, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests peacefully through friendly negotiations.” It sounds like doubletalk to me. How can one negotiate with someone who already has a firm stand and is unwilling to compromise? It seems that his message was more like, “Let`s agree on my terms.”
By mid-November, when Xi took over the post of Secretary General of China`s Communist Party and concurrently Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, things began to happen.
On 28 November, China Daily reported that China`s island province of Hainanhad empowered its border patrol police to “board or seize foreign ships that illegally enter its waters, or order these ships to change course or stop sailing.”
The new regulation prohibits six illegal activities such as entering the province`s waters without permission, damaging coastal defense facilities, and carrying out publicity campaigns, which threatens the country`s security.
And here is the stinger: The regulation also emphasizes that the “border police should strengthen the patrol of the waters off Sansha City and coordinate activities with the routine patrols of the South China Sea to protect the country`s maritime interests.”
The regulation will take effect on 1 January 2013. China Dream The next day, 29 November, Xi and the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party Central Committee Political Bureau (Politburo) — China`s highest political body that rules the country – visited the “Road toward Renewal” exhibition at the National Museum of China, which features Chinese history since the First Opium War in 1840-42.
Speaking before the officials gathered at the event, Xi told his comrades to keep in mind that “the path decides the destiny” and he indicated how difficult it is to choose the “right road.” But he reminded them that they have to continue taking that road, “unswervingly.”
Then he talked about the “China Dream,” saying: “In my view, to realize the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the greatest dream for the Chinese nation in modern history.” “We, this generation of Communists, must take what has been left to us by our predecessors as a departure for forging ahead into the future,” he said.
And while he emphasized Deng Xiaoping`s revisionist brand of communism – “socialism with Chinese characteristics” — Xi tried to reconnect with the Maoist old guard by quoting Mao, “But man`s world is mutable, seas become mulberry fields.” It seems like he`s blending his own ideological brand – a mixture of Maoism and Deng`s revisionism.
He concluded his speech by saying: “I believe that by the time when the Communist Party of China marks its 100th founding anniversary (2020), the goal to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be inevitably achieved.”
Xi`s metaphor is easily understood, which doesn`t leave any ambiguity on what`s in his mind. Makes one wonder if the event was stage-managed for the whole world to see what he intends to do during his 10-year reign. True color Xi laid out his master plan of what he`d accomplish by 2020; that is, a world superpower. He didn`t waste any time in consolidating his political power at home and at the same set in motion the steps necessary to take full and exclusive control of the East and South China Seas… and beyond.
But for every action there is always reaction. The question is: How would China`s neighbors react and would they appease her just like what the European nations did to Germany 74 years ago?
In the final analysis, Xi`s dream of China becoming a world superpower could bring the specter of another Cold War… or worse, a shooting war. Indeed,China is now showing her true color… that is, bloody red!
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