Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Check China's military expansion

By Paul Lin 林保華

Around the time of the passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law, China showed that it was concerned about Taiwan and the international community's reaction to the law by trying to create an "atmosphere of peace."

Chinese Communist Party Secretary-General Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) four-point guideline does not mention military force, and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) made similar remarks.

But the law openly praises the use of non-peaceful means, laying bare the hypocrisy of the Chinese leaders.

This, however, is not the crux of the problem. Looking at the Chinese military and public opinion, we see the ghosts of war behind this law, which doesn't merely involve Taiwan.

It involves global peace, and I am sure that is the reason the international community has reacted with such vehement condemnation.

On March 5, Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄) -- the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) who always gave former CMC chairman Jiang Zemin (江澤民) his full support before Jiang's resignation in September last year -- said that he would never promise to forego the use of military force.

Other military leaders made similar statements.

When Jiang during the National People's Congress resigned from his last post as chairman of the National Military Commission, the media made a big thing of Jiang's parting words to Hu: "If we are to take military action against Taiwan, then the sooner it is done, the better."

But what we should pay most attention to is the fact that Wen Zongren (溫宗仁), political commissar of China's Academy of Military Sciences, has pointed out that the Anti-Secession Law, in addition to helping resolve the Taiwan issue, has a deeper significance in that it breaks through blockades implemented by certain international forces which affect China's maritime security.

Wen also believes that the law is an important expression of China's maritime development strategy, and that this is the only way that China will be able to truly rise to its destined prominence.

These statements tell us that for China, the Taiwan issue is not a matter of unification or independence, but rather of military expansion and therefore an issue that must be solved for a Chinese rising.

China's leaders are using this "rising" as a "theory" aimed at arousing nationalist fervor among its public, although it distorts reality in many cases.

If you really want to talk about a "rising," then Japan comes before China.

From its defeat in World War II, Japan has risen from the ashes without any reliance on military power, instead relying only on its own economic power to become the world's second largest economy.

If Japan with its anti-war Constitution and liberal economy could rise up, we have to ask ourselves why China must rely on military force to achieve the same thing.

The rise of the Japanese economy also led the US to put forward the "Japan Threat" theory, particularly in the late 1980s.

But have either the US or Japan ever considered engaging in war because of it? Absolutely not.

Then why is it that China feels the need to back its economic rise with military force? Has any other country ever prevented Chinese ships from engaging in trade?

Has anyone ever made a blockade to prevent Chinese ships leaving their ports?

It seems that China's belief that the US is opposed to its development has, in addition to making it paranoid, also given it cause to conceal its own military expansionist ambitions.

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