In 1949 Mao Zedong (毛澤東) succeeded in establishing his Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dictatorship. In that same year George Orwell foreshadowed the CCP’s paramount promise of eternal totalitarian darkness in his dystopian classic, 1984. In its numbing conclusion the agent of oppression, O’Brien, lectures the de-humanized victim Winston saying, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
Today one of Orwell’s boots is worn by Hu Xijin (胡錫進), editor and chief of the CCP-controlled Global Times, often regarded as the “inner voice” of the CCP. If CCP supremo and President for Life Xi Jinping (習近平) disagreed with Hu Xijin, he’d be fired, or worse.
On September 11, 2020, one day after two days of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Air Force joint exercises at times a mere 90 nautical miles (166km) southwest of Taiwan, Hu Xijin spewed forth a torrent of threats to Taiwan. Hu declared that if China has the “means” to win and is “morally justified,” then, “I believe China can be free to engage in war if it has to.”
Previously, after the PLA Eastern Theater Command opposite Taiwan had publicly announced impending twin military exercises, the Global Times on August 13 intoned:
“The PLA has more options to impose military pressure, including fighter jets flying around the island, passing the ‘middle line’ of the Straits and even flying over Taiwan Island, testing ballistic missiles over the Taiwan Island, and carrying out military exercises in the eastern waters of Taiwan, until Taiwan is completely haunted by the thought that a war will break out anytime… The Chinese people generally no longer believe that US military could dominate the battlefield once a war breaks out there… And we are confident we will win.”
But Global Times was driven into a meltdown over the visit of US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth Keith Krach and reports of a new US arms sales package. Hu Xijin opened the anti-Krach barrage on September 8, indirectly threatening war: “Will the US provide security guarantees to Taiwan?”
On September 17 the Global Times explained the horrors of Krach’s visit, saying, “if Washington underestimates China’s determination to retaliate, the US could send more senior officials from other departments, such as the Department of Defense… and other countries could follow to develop their security or political ties with the island of Taiwan… and will break peace in the region.”
The Global Times responses: declare aircraft carriers “crucial in reunification by force operation” (September 11); repeat the claims of “Taiwan experts” that “the PLA could engage in small-scale military actions, such as striking Taiwan targets with short- or medium-range missiles” (September 18); and as for new US arms sales, “Once the People’s Liberation Army dispatches troops to reunify the island of Taiwan, the military equipment from the US will be nothing but decorations” (September 17).
But Hu Xijin is not just urging China to commence a war to murder millions of Taiwanese, he wants China to be able to kill millions of Americans as well. The previous May 8, Hu created a stir by calling for China to build up to 1,000 nuclear warheads and up to 100 DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Then on September 2, criticizing the annual US Department of Defense China Military Power Report issued the previous day, Hu stated, the “latest Pentagon report deliberately underestimates China’s nuclear warhead stockpile… Its purpose, first of all, is to weaken China’s nuclear deterrence, especially the role of China’s nuclear capability in shaping the US society’s attitude toward China.” In short, the US is not intimidated enough by China’s nukes.
So this is Xi Jinping/Hu Xijin’s core goal for 2020: this is the year we must fear the Chinese Communist Party. Whether it’s forcing Taiwan to surrender its freedom, murdering Indian soldiers, subverting democratic governance in Australia and New Zealand, unilaterally asserting sovereign claims over the South and East China Sea, or deploying divisions of student/researcher and business spies in the United States, one must submit to the CCP. When, as charitably viewed, protocol failures in government-controlled laboratories, compounded by a CCP coverup, enable the Wuhan Coronavirus to kill nearly one million people around the globe and reduce global GDP by 5%, one must submit. If historical context is needed, consider the 70 million Chinese citizens already killed by the CCP.
But here is the problem, if one does not submit to the CCP, then how long before growing PLA military power acts on Hu Xijin’s “moral justification” to attack one’s country? It is far better to meet the CCP/PLA threat now, if only to de-fang its military-political-threat coercion combine before it commands a dozen aircraft carrier and amphibious invasion groups, or can fly airborne mechanized army brigades to one’s capital.
First it is necessary to teach the CCP accountability and humanity. This can be done by using the upcoming United Nations General Assembly speeches to demand that China accept responsibility and pay a token US$50,000 per person killed by the Chinese Wuhan Coronavirus. At an expected 1 million victims this will work out to about US$50 billion, or less than one-fifth of the estimated current PLA budget.
Second, it is necessary to enhance the moral and military resilience of the CCP’s targets. If this year has highlighted one contrast, it is the one between the freedom-loving, Wuhan virus-defeating nation of Taiwan, and the death-sewing, threat-spewing CCP/PLA. By conferring or sharing its Nobel Peace Prize with the people of Taiwan, Norway could significantly increase their moral strength while also acknowledging their medical aid efforts.
As a military conquest of Taiwan will allow the PLA to base naval, airborne, and nuclear missile forces that will threaten the democracies of Asia and expand global PLA power projection, it is in the direct interests of the United States, Japan, Australia, India, and the democracies of Europe to ensure Taiwan has the means to dissuade, deter, and defeat a CCP/PLA attack. Washington should consider emergency airlifts of missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles for fighter jets, new long-range anti-aircraft missiles like the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) —and as soon as they are available, anti-ship ballistic missile versions of the ATACMS missile.
Fear and terror have been fundamental tools for Communist Parties since Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. Sustaining fear requires not just verbal terrorists like Hu Xijin, but murder as well, as China did to India on June 15 and is threatening to do to Taiwan. So, there is another lesson from 2020: if the democracies do not confront CCP/PLA terror now largely in Asia, it could soon be unleashed on them.
Richard D. Fisher, Jr. is a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
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