Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 8 News List

US must face up to China mistakes

By Masao Sun 孫國祥

The China policy of all eight former US presidents from Richard Nixon, who initiated contact with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1971, to Barack Obama, was an engagement strategy based on the assumption that China’s economic liberalization would advance the nation’s democratization and maintain the “status quo” of not challenging the US-dominated East Asian security framework and order.

After 40 years of diplomatic relations with China and after the Civil Aviation Administration of China sent letters to 36 airlines around the world demanding that their Web sites not list Taiwan as a country, the US’ “Chinese dream” was finally and thoroughly shattered.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement that said: “We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens,” adding that China’s move was “Orwellian nonsense.”

“Orwellism” is a synonym for totalitarianism: domestic surveillance controlling every person’s actions, speech and thoughts, while demanding external self-censorship to meet the CCP’s standard of what is “politically correct.”

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) came to power, the CCP’s Orwellian style has exceeded anything that occurred during his predecessors Jiang Zemin’s (江澤民) and Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) terms.

Domestically, it applies heavier oppression of dissidents and civil society, as well as control over the Internet and social media. Internationally, it uses its power and cultural exchanges to intervene in other countries’ academic freedom, and uses incentives, pressure and intimidation to interfere with non-governmental organizations and the domestic affairs of other countries.

International relations academic David Shambaugh has said that the CCP’s essence is one of “hard authoritarianism.”

When Xi ended the “collective leadership” practice that was in place since the time of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), by not appointing a successor at the party’s 19th National Congress last year, and the 13th Chinese National People’s Congress voted to amend the Chinese constitution to abolish presidential term limits, it became clear that Xi’s permanent hold on power was developing into neo-totalitarianism.

This runs counter to the US’ presumption that the CCP would democratize.

The repression in today’s China is the most intense since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Shambaugh said.

In terms of East Asian security, the timing of Xi’s abandonment of Deng’s doctrine that China should “hide its capabilities and bide its time,” demonstrates China’s attempt to become a great power.

By setting up alternative organizations, such as the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has clearly expressed its discontent with the post-war order constructed by the West, while ignoring arbitration over the South China Sea sovereignty disputes, militarizing islands and reefs in the region and holding the largest military exercise in history, thus taking concrete action to change the “established ground truth.”

In addition, the CCP supports a 10-year defense modernization plan with a 12 percent annual budget increase in an attempt to destabilize the security that the US has provided in the Asia-Pacific region since 1945.

Political scientist John Mearsheimer, an international relations expert who proposed the offensive realism theory, has long predicted that China’s rise as a great power would not be peaceful and that it would attempt to rule Asia.

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