During January the onslaught in the Western media, notably the US and the UK, against the Chinese government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, was merciless. The Chinese government stood accused of an inhumane attitude towards its people, secrecy, a cover-up, and an overwhelming concern for its own survival above all other considerations. The actual evidence was thin bordering at times on the threadbare but this made little difference to the venom and bile of the assault. Read more >
This is a recorded version of a live interview CGTN, to discuss China’s reform and opening-up policies, and the China-US relationship, during a special Town Hall program recorded at the George Washington University on December 11 2018.
CGTN America presented a special town hall filmed at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on China’s dramatic transformation, and the path forward towards the 21st century.
Speakers on the panel were:
– Zhou Jingxing, minister-counselor and chief of Political Section, Chinese Embassy in U.S.
– Martin Jacques, senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is also author of “When China Rules the World”.
– Yukon Huang, Senior Fellow with the Asia program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also the author of “The China Conundrum”.
– Robert Hormats, former U.S. Under Secretary of State and Vice-Chairman at the Kissinger Associates.
The following article by Modesto P. Sa-onoy appeared in the Daily Guardian on August 21st 2018.
A RECENT report by the Pentagon says that China is “likely training for strikes against the United States and its allies” but China debunked this report as “pure guesswork”.
As the late US President John Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1963, “sincerity is subject to proof”. And proof is in what one sees or hears from credible sources. Studies can be guesswork if seen from the eyes of the suspect, as China is in this case. Surely we cannot expect China to admit it is conducting training exercises for a military strike.
In 1927, a study by the US military strategists claimed a possible conflict in the Pacific. There were two countries with the possible intent of striking – the Russia and Japan. The US preparations for a likelihood of war with Japan was code-named War Plan 5 with an orange ribbon covering, thus the plan became popularly known as WP Orange. The study projected possible hostilities within 10 years. Well, as we know the
Japanese struck in 1941 although it already began invasion in China in 1938; the Americans considered that as a “training” exercise.
Indeed, Martin Jacques in his book, When China Rules the World (2009) considered the Chinese capable of becoming the dominant military force in Asia after it has gained a phenomenal economic growth. He asked,
“How will the impact of China’s economic rise be felt and perceived in ten years’ time? How will China behave twenty years hence when it has established itself as second only to the United States and effectively dominate East Asia? Will China continue to operate within the terms of the established international system…?”
We know that China has already refused to accept the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal in the issue of the West Philippine Sea. The tribunal said the islands belong to the Philippines; instead China defied the tribunal by constructing military installations there with capabilities for a bombing strike against the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Despite our complaints, China continued its constructions at the same time befriending the Philippine government and courting it with offers of financial aid that have not materialized. China nurtured the anti-American sentiment of President Duterte and it got its way.
The Philippine government, small and putty at China’s hands, can only complain a situation that the Philippines created for itself because it has no more powerful friends to come by its side. Worse the Philippine is courting Russia, China’s ideological ally and too far away to help us. The US has issued a warning of the risks of this shift but the Philippine government refuses to listen. Historically, we might be a rehearsal for military conflict due to Chinese incursions.
Jacques likened the situation in 2009 with those years prior to WW II. “International relations experts are fond of citing the rise of Germany and Japan in the early twentieth century as examples of nations whose new-found powers could not be contained within the existing international system and whose ambitions eventually culminated in war. The rise of China will not necessarily result in military conflict -and for the sake of humanity, we must fervently hope it does not – but it is a sobering thought that the ramifications of China’s rise for the world will be incomparably greater than those of Germany and Japan, even accounting for the differences in historical times.”
The United States is a deterrent to China’s ambition for an East Asian hegemony with it as the dominant power, a realization of its belief as the center of the Universe.
Comparatively, the US has more fixed-wing aircraft, surface combatant ships and submarines and can draw allied forces from its allies (Japan, Taiwan and South Korea). The US can no longer depend on us.
The US has more nuclear weapons but the Pentagon says China is building fast with nuclear missiles striking capabilities against the US mainland and its military facilities including those of US allies. To the Pentagon these are dangerous developments.
Jacques quoted the warning of the Chief of Malayan navy: there exist uncertainties in the form of China’s behavior once she attained her great power status.
Modesto P. Sa-onoy
This article, by Modesto P. Sa-Onoy, was published in the Daily Guardian, 16th May 2018
CHINA has reportedly installed facilities for a missile strike in the Philippine’s side of the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine Navy estimates that the facilities can be operational in three months. Pro-Chinese Filipino officials claim that the missiles are not pointed at the Philippines as if the missile launching pads are stuck to one direction. The Philippine Navy said they have interceptors, but how many? Are they enough to prevent missiles from devastating the country?
For years China has set its eyes on the Philippine Sea that had been proven in the international court to be Philippine territory but China refuses to accept that decision and uses its military might to bully the Philippines from enforcing its rights.
Now it is using its economic clout to entice the Philippines not to outright demand the removal of its missiles but to just keep on making statements against them. In return it has befriended President Duterte with offers of economic aid, loans and investments. But as one commentator warned, “don’t trust China with those financial offers.” But Duterte wants to be close to China as a counter-balance to the US that he accuses of unfriendly acts for the US criticisms of Duterte’s human rights record.
China needs to expand to survive and the Philippines is an easy target – close, weak and “friendly”. Martin Jacques whose 2009 book, “When China Rules the World” I had quoted before, has a grim assessment of China’s rapid development that bears on this subject of expansionism.
“China is increasingly dependent on the rest of the world for the huge quantities of raw materials that it needs for its economic growth. It is already the world’s largest buyer of copper, the second biggest buyer of iron ore, the third largest buyer of alumina. It absorbs close to a third of global supply of coal, steel and cotton, and almost half of its cement. It is the second largest energy consumer after the US, with nearly 70 per cent produced from burning coal. In 2005, China used more coal than the US, India and Russian combined. In 2004 it accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the increase in the world demand for oil. If the Chinese was to continue to expand at 8 per cent a year in the future, its income per head would reach the current US level in 2031, at which it would consume the equivalent of two-thirds of current world grain harvest and its demand for paper would double the world’s current production. If it were to enjoy the same level of per capita car ownership as the US does today, it would have 1.1 billion cars compared with the worldwide total of 800 million; and it would use 99 million barrels of oil a day compared with a worldwide total of production of 84 million barrels per day in 2006. Of course, such a level of demand would be unsustainable in terms of the world’s available resources, not to mention its global environmental impact, which is dire.”
These are not just estimates but projections and we are already feeling the impact of China’s needs. The Western countries were able to expand their economies without harming or exhausting their natural resources because they had colonies to provide the raw materials and absorb their outputs. Japan had the same idea at the turn of the 20th century and embarked on expansionism in 1936 with its slogan, “East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, its euphemism for Japanese colonies like the Philippines.
Martin’s book was published nine years ago and we are now seeing the movement of China to expand and secure a new kind of colonies, dissimilar to the concept and methods as the Western colonizers but colonization nevertheless.
A few years ago a report said that China wanted to lease one million hectares in the Philippines that it will cultivate for food production. That is not for local consumption but to help feed the billions of Chinese. Although China has large tracts of land not all are suitable for agriculture and their water source for agriculture is limited. It must expand.
A report said that real estate prices in the Philippines are rising fast; one reason is that Chinese investors are buying land. Caveat emptor is still an excellent policy.
Modesto P. Sa-Onoy
Original article by Arif Nizami in Pakistan Today can be found here.
The China that I saw last week is a far cry from the country that I had first visited with Prime Minister Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto in May 1976. At the time one of the few hotels in town was the Peking hotel where the Pakistani delegation accompanying the prime minister was put up.
Men and women, both were attired in Mao suits plying mostly on bicycles. There were only a few cars on the roads belonging mostly to communist party officials. The first premier of China, Zhou Enlai had died back in January the same year, while Mao Zedong the chairman and founder of modern China was gravely ill.
Bhutto was the last head of state or government who got an audience with Mao when he was suddenly whisked away from an opera performance in his honour to meet the Great Leader. A few months later Mao died and with that an era ended.
Carmen N Pedrosa
We are ecstatic that the Filipino crowd has finally found its strength and the way to express it. For the moment Duterte supporters are full of hope that Rodrigo Roa Duterte, an obscure mayor from Mindanao is the answer. He has come forward with his program and he has a party to implement it – the PDP Laban. He is serious about constitutional change that will transform the Philippines into a parliamentary system with a federal structure. He will have many enemies but he will also have friends and a multitude of supporters to carry out the difficult task.
I don’t think he needs to be told about the treachery of evil. He has lived with it when he was mayor of Davao. But caveat emptor (avoid danger) the famous Latin quotation is relevant to him as well as to us. Evil is a constant in reality. The danger is to think that it can be destroyed with a magic wand. No matter how much he may wish it, it will not happen overnight. Nation building is a slow process of creating effective institutions that should last long after he is gone. And most of all he must keep in mind that as leader of the Filipino crowds that waited for him to remember always that he must not make “the perfect come in the way of the good.” That I believe is the temptation for a man with a heroic bent like Duterte. He wants to do good, he lives humbly and speaks in the language the masses understand. Never mind the critics who tell him that he needs to speak with the Arrneow accent.
His role in history is to begin the process of change. We were subjected to an imperialist constitution from the Americans in favor of a presidential system. That ensured the rule of oligarchy as its new channel to imperialist rule. The all powerful Philippine President would act like the all powerful American governor general.
Over the past few months, the Chinese stock market, rather than its real economy, has been making headlines. The index rose almost 50% between March and mid-June before coming back to the March level over the next four weeks, when the authorities took several steps to halt the slump. These moves—like reducing interest rates, restricting margin trading, getting some state-controlled organizations to buy equities or provide margin money, suspension of trading in a number of shares, etc—are standard measures which all policymakers, including those in Anglo-Saxon economies, take when a bubble in asset prices bursts.
Market euphoria and gloom are recurring features of all financial, or asset, markets, and exaggerated when leveraged, or margin, trading is preponderant. To recall a few examples from the supposedly deep and “mature” US financial markets: the October 1987 crash of the stock market; the “rescue” of Long-Term Capital Management, a hedge fund, by the Fed “persuading” several banks to take it over; the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000; and the 2007-08 crisis in the mortgage securities market. The US Federal Reserve is famous for writing a “Greenspan put” option in favour of markets.
More important in the long term is the way China has been fostering the internationalization of the yuan. A few years ago, Arvind Subramanian, now India’s chief economic adviser, wrote a book titled Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance. His argument is that, given the size of China’s economy (the world’s largest in purchasing power parity terms) and trade, and the fact that China is the world’s largest creditor nation while the US is a very large debtor, China is likely to become the dominant financial/economic power in the near future.
As the Dalai Lama exiled in India turned 80, the situation regarding the Tibet issue has reached a crucial stage. There seems to be no chance of resumption of talks between Beijing and the representatives of the spiritual leader as deep differences between the two sides persist; the last contact was five years ago. China’s economic and security policies have led to an overall stability in Tibet; its international economic clout has grown leading to a weakening of foreign support to the Dalai Lama’s movement. With these as basis, China may feel confident about its ability to control events in Tibet and despite some internal viewpoints in favor of a soft line towards the Dalai Lama, China may not be in a hurry to reach a rapprochement with the latter. It is quite possible that China would choose to wait for the passing away of 14th Dalai Lama and appoint his successor on its own within the country in which case it can hope for a close to the Tibet issue once for all. Till such time, there may not be an end to the prevailing stalemate with respect to the Tibet issue. The stalemate has negative implications for relations between India and China though the Tibet issue is not a bilateral political problem among them. Any settlement of the issue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama can contribute to creating a right atmosphere for solving the vexed India- China border problem which was once non-existent and arose only after China liberated ’Tibet.
Hong Kong’s mother tongue is under threat. Cantonese may be centuries old but how much longer can it sustain the pressure from China to pick up Putonghua? By Arthur Tam and Anna Cummins. Additional reporting by Emily Cheng and Allen Jim
Our tongue. Our voice.
Language is the tongue that gives a nation its voice. And Hong Kong’s voice has never been as intrinsically linked to its identity as it is right now. Cantonese isn’t just the city’s language; it’s one of the many yardsticks by which Hongkongers measure their cultural and political differences from the rest of the Mainland.
We all know the abrasive political situation between the Central People’s Government and the SAR is complex, contentious and set to continue into the foreseeable future.This is particularly magnified in the light of the 18th anniversary of the handover, as well as the recent rejection of the pro-Beijing electoral reform package. But it was four years ago, in 2011, that Hong Kong’s voice took its first major, measurable shift in tone. According to the government’s census, Putonghua overtook English as the second most spoken language in the territory for the first time in 2011, with 48 percent of people claiming to speak the official language of mainland China, and 46 percent claiming to speak English. In the 2001 census, only a third of respondents could speak Putonghua.
When the leaders of the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) gather this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, their agenda will be dominated by the launch of the 10-year roadmap toward the realization of the Asean Community. But, apart from regional economic integration, President Aquino has other things in mind. The Asean summit offers him another opportunity to bring up the issue of China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea. Hopefully, he will get his colleagues to conclude the protracted discussion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as a concrete achievement in political and security cooperation.
This was an issue he first sharply brought to the Asean table at the 20th Asean summit in 2012 in Phnom Penh. For the first time in its history, the consensus-oriented regional bloc failed to issue a joint communiqué at the end of its meeting after the host country decided to take up the cudgels for China. This was a moment when semantics could not come to the aid of diplomacy.
That Cambodian summit conveyed in no uncertain terms P-Noy’s determination to hold China accountable for its actions under international norms. His dogged pursuit of the South China Sea issue at that meeting, which he did in the politest terms possible, deviated from the customary practice of issuing muffled official protests while signaling a readiness to settle disputes through bilateral talks. It was a sharp departure from the policy that had characterized his predecessor’s cozy relationship with China. Not too long after the Cambodian encounter, the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China under the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).