Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 8 News List

China setting itself as enemy No. 1

By ChangKuo-tsai 張國財

Throughout history, people have discovered that anyone who uses arms to conquer, expand their territory and try to rule the world is an enemy to the world. They might dominate for a while, but they will not be able to rule the world permanently.

This was as true of Rome and Mongolia in ancient times, as it was of Germany and Japan during World War II.

People with military ambition never seem to learn from history. Today, yet another country is trying to use its military might to conquer, expand its territory and rule the world — China.

Sports know no borders. In the sporting arena, it does not matter if the contestants are black, white or yellow, if they come from a huge country with more than 1 billion citizens or a small nation of a few hundred thousand, a wealthy country or a poor region, a democracy or a communist state: They are all brothers and sisters standing together on the starting line, comparing their skills, power, speed and — more importantly — the spirit of sports.

Today, this tradition of sports for sports’ sake is being attacked by China as it sticks its dirty hands in and tries to manipulate it.

Last year, Taipei hosted the Universiade and Chinese athletes did not attend the team competition. On Tuesday last week, China manipulated the East Asian Olympic Committee at an extraordinary meeting in Beijing to revoke Taichung’s right to host the first East Asian Youth Games.

By bringing politics into the world of sports, China is becoming the enemy of the sporting world.

If China can politicize even sports, of course it can politicize border disputes. In the South China Sea, Beijing is blatantly building islands by reclaiming land, although at the outset it said the work was not to militarize the region and the features would only be used for peaceful purposes, such as tourism, fishing, meteorology and rescue operations.

Today, aerial photography of Fiery Cross Reef (Yongshu Reef, 永暑礁) shows runways, radar units, military equipment, hospitals and military deployments.

From the perspective of the Philippines and Vietnam, is this large-scale construction by China the action of a peaceful neighbor or that of a troublemaker?

Beijing claims that its military expansionism is peaceful, yet its actions are clearly in defiance of world opinion. Otherwise, why do US warships have to repeatedly conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea to demonstrate that it is international waters? Even distant countries, such as the UK, France and Australia, have said that they intend to dispatch warships for freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea when appropriate.

Chinese coast guard vessels have long encroached on the territorial waters surrounding the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — called the Senkakus in Japan — and have even flown drones into the territorial airspace of the Japanese-administered islands. Japan’s coast guard is kept on constant high alert, scrambling coastal patrol vessels and the army in response to Chinese incursions.

From Beijing’s perspective, “previous possession” or “previous temporary possession” of a territory — even if it was ceded to another nation in perpetuity — and even a historical record showing that someone from China has visited a location, are all grounds for a Chinese claim to sovereignty.

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