China: The Bully With an Image Problem

China’s brinksmanship with Japan in the Diaoyu Islands crisis, which took an elevated turn last week, reflects a broader assertiveness over territorial issues that has put the PRC at odds with a number of its neighbors recently. Tensions have run high with the Philippines since the summer, when one Chinese ship rammed a fishing boat and another ran aground on a reef in the South China Sea. Beijing has interfered with Vietnam’s attempts to pursue oil exploration in the disputed waters, prompting public demonstrations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City earlier this month. And controversial new passports issued by China – containing a map which incorporates the long tongue of the South China Sea and even the Himalayas as part of its territory –  have prompted diplomatic countermeasures across the region. Writing for The National Interest, James Clad and Robert A. Manning claim that Beijing’s provocative moves have backfired: A joke now making the rounds in Asia asks, “who is America’s most effective diplomat in Asia?” The punch line brings knowing laughter: “‘Mr. Beijing.’ Yes, Mr. Bob Beijing is playing America’s best hand.” The joke’s sting lies in the law of unintended consequences. Beijing’s increasingly provocative moves include cutting a Vietnamese seismic-exploration ship’s cables, disrupting oil exploration, declaring the entire South China Sea under Chinese sovereignty and making some hitherto unpublicized but very sensitive challenges to Malaysia. All seem tailor-made to produce exactly what China says it doesn’twant: a de facto anti-China coalition backed discreetly by the United States and reaching from India to the Sea of Japan. As if to put an exclamation point on it, the Philippine foreign minister recently said that if Japan rearmed and abandoned its pacifist constitution, Manila “would welcome that very much.” Meanwhile, The Diplomat’s Minxin Pei suggests a few steps China can ...
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3 Responses to China: The Bully With an Image Problem

  1. henry ford says:

    We can hope against hope that China will somehow recognizes the gravity of its image projection throughout the world, but it’s a long shot.
    Chinese position is built by years of feeling helpless victimization by the West, sudden ascendance to power, unequal wealth distribution driven domestic instability, policy of feeding distorted short-term appetites and ” face-saving ” culture… Costs of policy reversal for the CCP power base will be more than the potential loss of lives and properties, which can be recreated.
    Chinese neighbors should be prepared and coordinated against more accelerated aggressions, not less. They also can minimize damages with earliest possible opportunities instead of awaiting for China to pick the timing of engagement. And finally, they should plan for significant violence and drag-on suffering.

  2. Bo Peep says:

    China has to be stopped by total civil disobedience, refusal to do business with them and blunt force.

    They invaded Tibet and have committed murder and cultural genocide against its people while robbing the Tibetan Nation of its natural resources and pushing in Han settlers to grab the country.

    China’s corrupt Communist Party are fascists with no morals, no conscience and no good intentions. Their game is to steal, bribe and plunder while stoking their egos and fanning nationalism to try to create a moat of protection around themselves. They do not give a damn about the welfare of any other country, they are destroying species and wildlife at extinction pace.

    Go look at the art shops down by Hong Kong’s harbor and you will see shameless display of giant carved elephant tusks for sale from recently slaughtered animals! We can’t support their crimes any more by buying anything they make or allowing them to conduct business with the free world. They need to be kicked out of the WTO, the world financial system, and all internet contact so they can’t continue their intellectual property theft and business and government internet intrusions. They should not be readmitted until they become a full-fledged democracy, when and if ever.

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