A recent series of outrageous editorials in The Global Times, an English-language tabloid affiliated with The People’s Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), reveals China’s true colors as a peril to the free world.
On December 1, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, vice chairman of China’s giant telecommunications company Huawei, was detained in Vancouver, Canada, at the behest of the United States government.
Although released on bail on December 12, she has been kept under round-the-clock surveillance to prevent her from leaving Canada. The Chinese government is making all-out efforts to prevent her extradition to the U.S.
Taking a keen interest in Meng’s arrest, The Global Times daily ran a series of editorials following her arrest. Its December 15 editorial, entitled “Pompeo’s Arrogance Apparent in Intervention to Press China to Release Two Canadians,” is plainly typical of the political blackmail Beijing is good at.
What we see in The Global Times’ editorials are the values China continues to try to impose on the international community as it grows stronger as a world power. We now have a good chance to take a closer look at what these values imply.
First, there is the assertion that China’s judiciary differs widely from the U.S. and Canada.
For instance, the editorial wrote: “China’s judiciary is different from the U.S. and Canada, so how could both countries be so sure that China’s detention of the two Canadians is illegal?”
The Global Times followed with a warning: “Jurisdiction is an essential component of a country’s sovereignty. All foreign citizens in China, instead of holding the illusion that they can be protected by the laws of their home countries, must abide by the laws of China.”
China adamantly demands that all foreigners recognize the Chinese system as different from anywhere else, with American, Canadian, European, and Japanese ways having absolutely no relevance to China.
This intense egoism on the part of China is clearly discernible in a declaration made in Beijing last October. At that time, at its National Congress in Beijing, the CPC stated that the Chinese race would tower above the rest of mankind by 2049 and lead the world under the CPC’s leadership, when China “will become the strongest nation in the world.”
The Chinese described that state as creating “a community of common destiny with mankind.” But their true intent is the creation of a world led single-handedly by China.
Peril of 21st-Century Chinese Imperialism
Meanwhile, The Global Times’ December 13 editorial asserted as follows regarding the apparently retaliatory arrest of two Canadian nationals in the China nine days after Meng’s detention in Canada:
“Washington and Ottawa obviously want to dominate this game. Their unspoken words are that detainment of Canadian citizens in China has to be conducted in a system as open and transparent as theirs, for instance, by holding bail hearings. They know well it’s difficult to do so in China, which has a different legal system and information disclosure channels from them. Communication (with Canada and the U.S. on this issue) is therefore difficult.”
No wonder the Chinese spurned “as a scrap of paper” the July 2016 ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that fully favored the Philippines over China. This dispute concerned a string of islands in the South China Sea. These islands are also claimed by several other Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam.
What Beijing intended to get across is a message that it is impossible to establish an understanding with the U.S. and Canada — or the rest of the international community for that matter — as China’s judiciary system is different in the first place. Moreover, the Chinese warned: “Canadian and U.S. foreign ministers must be aware of this basic principle.” (The Global Times editorial, December 15.)
Let us firmly keep in mind the peril of their 21st-century imperialism, the establishment of which is their mid- to long-term national objective. While resorting to intimidation, The Global Times unashamedly stated in the same editorial: “The most important principle for communication between countries of different systems is mutual respect…”
I can’t agree more, and hope China will practice what it preaches. But China in reality is completely devoid of the spirit of mutual respect, as it only respects itself. Therefore, the Chinese always end up threatening the other members of the global community.
As the same editorial noted unabashedly:
“Canada should know that having the U.S.’ support won’t make much difference. Fiddling with the Taiwan question is unlikely to put any pressure on Beijing. Ottawa must be aware that China has many cards to play, and going against Beijing is a bad idea. Staying away from the tensions between China and the U.S. should be what it seeks.”
Although much smaller than China in terms of population (Canada’s 36 million vs China’s 1.39 billion) and GDP (Canada’s $ 1.653 trillion vs China’s $ 13.2 trillion), Canada is a G7 member. And yet China threatens this full-fledged democracy so crudely.
To put it another way, this shows how desperate Beijing is.
It is important to note that Huawei is one of China’s leading high-tech corporations. According to the conservative mass circulation daily The Sankei Shimbun, the firm does business in over 170 countries and regions of the world, and yet steadfastly remains unlisted.
Its founder is a former People’s Liberation Army officer named Ren Zhengfei, 74, who maintains close ties with the PLA and the CPC. Meng Wanzhou is his 47-year-old daughter, widely regarded as his successor.
China Can Never Be the World Leader in This Field
China’s major telecommunications corporations, including Huawei, are aggressively laying 5G (fifth-generation) mobile communication systems across the globe. China is said to be already operating a world-wide network of G5 base stations, their number amounting to roughly 10 times that of the U.S.
The U.S. is trying hard to recover from this setback as Japan and European nations have joined with the U.S. in excluding Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese mega telecommunication company, from their markets. I consider it a natural process, as the free nations and their societies must function differently to safeguard their freedoms and democratic systems.
Last October 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a stinging 45-minute address at the Hudson Institute, condemning China’s practices. Days later, on October 10, Senator Marco Rubio and his bipartisan colleagues issued a joint statement equally critical of China.
Pence condemned China’s unfair and inhumane systems, likening Chinese society today to what novelist George Orwell depicted in his novel, 1984 (Harper Collins, 1949).
The ongoing conflict between the U.S. and China is not merely a trade war, but a critical struggle to determine our world order in the next era. Both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government badly desire to smash China’s intent to turn our world into the oppressed universe portrayed by Orwell.
The CPC is forging ahead with a national campaign to back Huawei and ZTE in an effort to enable China to dominate the world in 5G high-tech communications. China may be one of the nations at the forefront of the world’s communications business, but it will never be able to become the world leader.
After all, what the Chinese intend to use high-tech communications for is all too obvious. China intends to use its technology knowhow as the tool to dominate the world, as it has its own people.
China has no intention whatsoever to allow its high-tech communications knowhow to implement a free flow of information for its people, or to encourage unfettered thinking and creativity. On the contrary, it has tolerated the creation of a de facto president for life.
China, which oppresses its own people, will never be able to compete against the U.S., Japan, and the nations of Europe, all of which allow their people to freely grow and develop.
The conflict between the U.S. and China is tantamount to a conflict between Japan and China. Bearing that in mind, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga must make stronger statements towards China.
Among other things, the government must freshly demand the immediate release of the eight Japanese businessmen detained in China on spying charges since 2018. There have been no disclosures concerning the case by the Chinese authorities, and without intervention on the part of Japan, they will likely be ruled guilty of the charges.
Japan cannot let that happen. We must protest against China in the strongest terms possible.
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)
Translated from the Renaissance Japan column, No. 833, in the December 27, 2018, issue of The Weekly Shincho
Author: Yoshiko Sakurai