Treat China with Caution
by Alim A Seytoff
Washington – Half a century ago when the World War Two was over and when every other country was tired of the unprecedented devastation caused by the war and busy concentrating on peace, Mao ZedongÀôs Red Armies swarmed into East Turkestan and Tibet, and occupied these two states killing hundreds of thousands of indigenous people. Such killing continues today in China with no halt in sight.
Thus I was not bemused at all by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s recent comments that China was a country “we hope and pray enters the civilized world in an orderly way.” This is not just
his personal hope and prayer. This is the hope and prayer of all those Uyghur, Tibetan, and Chinese people who have been suffering under China’s authoritarian rule since 1949.
Although China should be considered as a civilized country but the Chinese government has never ruled this country in a civilized manner acceptable to its people. According to Amnesty International, the Chinese government executes more people every year than rest of the world combined. The Chinese people deserve democracy, human rights, and religious freedom. But the leaders in Beijing has neither given them such things nor intended to do so in the future. In fact, the Chinese government is not behaving the way this great nation deserves both at home and abroad. A regime that always acts against the wishes of its people and does not respect its citizens’ human rights and religious freedom in the 21st century but is bent on ruling them with
the power it wields by the barrel of the gun neither deserves respect at home nor abroad.
The Bush Administration is rightly concerned with the rise of China and its military strength because nobody is sure now whether the Chinese government will become a responsible power or partner — or as Rumsfeld put it, “enters the civilized world in an orderly way” — in many urgent international issues or become a destablizer to challenge the United States, like the former Soviet Union did.
It is highly likely that China will challenge the U.S. since it has never given up the use of force to occupy Taiwan, a de facto democratic state U.S. is bound to protect by law. In addition, China is buying advanced Russian Suhoy fighter jets, Sovromenny cruisers and nuclear submarines for the sole purpose of fighting against U.S. aircraft battle groups in Asia Pacific. The recent menacing statements by Chinese leadership directly to Taiwan and indirectly to the U.S. and its short-range ballistic missile buildup across the Taiwan Strait
is an increasing sign that China will sooner or later use force against Taiwan, and U.S. should it come to its rescue. Thus far, China is the only country that is planning to militarily take on the United States since the end of Cold War in 1991.
Apparently, the European Union is not going to help defuse the intensifying situation across the Taiwan Strait by lifting arms embargo imposed against the Chinese government for killing pro-democracy students at Tiananmen Square in June 1989. With the advanced weapons and military technology China acquires from EU, it will certainly accelerate China√¢‚Ä¢Àôs military ambition and capability to use force to resolve the Taiwan Issue whether or not the U.S. is going to be involved. The Chinese leadership knows that if it could persuade Washington that it is too costly for U.S. to protect Taiwan, U.S. may consider not getting involved once China attacks Taiwan. By lifting arms embargo EU will precisely help China to raise the cost of war for both Taiwan and the United States. It is unclear why EU has decided to choose China, a rising belligerent, at the cost of its most reliant long-term ally during the World War Two and the Cold War.
At the moment, I am bemused why the U.S. needs China’s help to disarm the nuclear weapons of North Korea, which was able to develop nuclear weapons with China’s help in the first place. Seeking its own long-term interests, China pretends to be on the side of disarming this rouge state by brokering the six-party talks. In fact, China is responsible for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. It was China that persuaded the Clinton Administration to help North Korea to develop nuclear facilities for “peaceful use.” The result, a nuclear-armed
North Korea appeared threatening South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. As long as Kim Jong-il is not a threat to China, Beijing will continue to use North Korea to create more headaches to U.S. allies in Asia
The Bush Administration was correct in its early days when it designated China as a “strategic competitor” rather than the mistaken designation of “strategic partner” used by the previous Clinton Administration. As a matter of fact, China has never been a strategic partner of the United States but an emerging strategic competitor, and a potential rival, in East Asia and the Pacific region. President Bush foresaw China’s long-term ambitions to dominate this region and push U.S. out of it. This is progressively
manifested by China’s annual double-digit military budget increase, and CIA’s recent assessment of China’s growing military power.
Although the September 11 terrorist attacks changed the Bush Administration’s focus on China’s long-term ambitions but on global terrorism and Iraq, it is time now to refocus on China’s military power. Some analysts argue that China offered its support in the global war on terrorism. But the reality is, China hijacked the
U.S. war on global terrorism and began to demonize the Uyghur dissidents in East Turkestan as “terrorists” since they are Muslims. Both U.S. State Department and Amnesty International testify that China increased the pace of arbitrary detention, arrest, and execution of Uyghur dissidents who peacefully opposed to its hard-line
policies in East Turkestan since 9/11. Such persecution of Uyghur people by the Chinese government still continues in the name of global war on terrorism.
There are three truths about China’s future: China will become a more and more formidable threat to the U.S. national interests and its allies in Asia Pacific. China will continue to deny democracy, human rights, and religious freedom against the wishes of its people. China will continue to hijack the global war on terrorism to further persecute the Uyghur and Tibetan peoples and all those who dare to stand in the way, as a man who stood in front of a column of tanks in Beijing in 1989, of its imperial ambitions to unify Taiwan by force
and dominate East Asia.
The Bush Administration has foreseen and recognized these truths so it is treating the Chinese government with caution while treating the Chinese people with respect and understanding, hoping to move this
authoritarian regime toward democracy. Realizing that the Chinese government will not give up its military ambitions on Taiwan and East Asia, the Bush Administration should be ready to contain and confront
if necessary to deter China from destabilizing the peace achieved in this region since the end of World War Two.