Burying the myth of peaceful rise

Earlier this month, China’s top envoy to British Columbia challenged the 15% tax on foreign buyers of residential property that the province had imposed. This story in Bloomberg makes for delightful reading. Apparently, Chinese students complained to her about not being able to drum up the cash to pay the tax! What were students doing buying homes?!

Then, a Chinese think-tank lashed out at India warning it of retaliation if India fomented trouble in Baluchistan.

Xinhua, depending on your preference, either implored or warned the Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates.

Jamil Anderini had written how China was scapegoating the West on August 11 in FT:

Since President Xi Jinping took power in late 2012, there has been a noticeable negative shift in Chinese attitudes towards foreigners living in the country.

I was reminded of the report of the Mercator Institute of China Studies published in June – a collection of essays titled, ‘The Core Executive’. I had cited the following from that report in my recent piece for ‘Swarajya’ titled ‘Permanent interests trump permanent ideas’:

In his essay in the collection titled China’s Core Executive, published in June 2016 by the Mercator Institute for China Studies, Richard McGregor dismisses the fond but naïve belief that a prosperous and successful China would be magnanimous. This is what he wrote:

“There is nothing in the party’s DNA, nor in the public’s, as far as one can tell, that suggests China would be more accommodating if it were more powerful and better armed.”

He should know. He was the Bureau Chief for The Financial Times in Beijing and wrote a much acclaimed book, The Party, on the Chinese Communist Party.

In their concluding essay for the Mercator collection mentioned above, Sebastian Heilmann, Björn Conrad and Mikko Huotari came up with four scenarios for the evolution of China in the next five years. None of the four scenarios holds out the prospect of China co-existing peacefully and harmoniously with the rest of the world.

Indeed, in the same article in ‘Swarajya’ I had tallied some of the recent China attacks/criticism of other nations:

They threatened the United Kingdom that it would face consequences if it did not go ahead with the Hinckley nuclear plant; they warned Japan that it would face military action if its self-defence forces joined U.S. naval ships in the “Freedom of Navigation” passage in the South China Sea and they called Australia “paper cats” for daring to applaud the judgement of the International Court of Justice at the Hague for its verdict on the disputed islands in the South China Sea. For good measure, China’s Global Timeswarned Japan that its plans to place land-to-sea missiles in the Miyako islands would prompt China to limit Japan’s waterways in the South China Sea.

Now, to cap it all, China worries that the West would derail its G-20 party:

The state-run Study Times wrote in mid-August that Western countries were trying to deliberately exclude a rising China and deny it a proper voice on the world stage with schemes like the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. [Link]

“China is angry with almost everyone at the moment,” said a second Beijing-based Western diplomat familiar with the summit.

That about sums it up right. So much for China’s peaceful rise.


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