Politics, Recommended, Security, World Affairs

When the Lion Wakes: The Global Threat of the Chinese Communist Party

China is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.

It has become something of a truism to say that China will rise to a position of global dominance in the twenty-first century. All the evidence seems to support the thesis and we are flooded with the most fantastic figures charting the rise. Harvard political scientist Graham Allison treats us to a selection of these in his recent book Destined for War. He tells us that China’s GDP was less than $300 billion in 1980, a figure that had risen to $11 trillion by 2015. The country’s total trade with the outside world came to just $40 billion in 1980, but in 2015 it was $4 trillion—a hundredfold increase. Allison has plenty more shockers up his sleeve: “For every two-year period since 2008, the increment of growth in China’s GDP has been larger than the entire economy of India. Even at its lower growth in 2015, China’s economy created a Greece every sixteen weeks and an Israel every twenty-five weeks.” In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, 40 percent of all the economic growth in the world has occurred in just one country: China. Allison quotes Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, for the coup de grâce: “It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of the world.”1

If Lee was right, then there can be only one outcome. “This world will be China’s,” says the brother of Ye Cheng, the Communist Party billionaire who now controls Australia’s Port Darwin. It is time for China to “change the world where rules are set by foreigners,” according to Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group and China’s second richest man. China will “lead the entire world on political, economic, military, and environmental issues,” in the words of president-for-life Xi Jinping. But when men like this use the word “China,” they mislead us. It will not be the Chinese people who rise to inherit the earth, who wake to shake the world. It will be the Communist Party.

Chinese citizens have been indoctrinated for decades with the idea that Party is country. The idea was introduced by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping soon after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. He realised that as long as the state and the people were seen as separate entities, then the door would remain open for recognition of the Party’s many historical crimes—and also for recognition of the ongoing subjugation of the people by the Party. He wanted to make sure that citizens would never again rise up as they did in 1989. As China-watcher Clive Hamilton explains: “For many new Chinese arrivals in the West, one of the hardest concepts to understand is the distinction, essential to democracies, between the nation and its government. When they do grasp the difference, they are open to becoming critics of the party-state without feeling they are betraying their homeland.”2

The problem is that people in the West don’t always understand the distinction themselves, and so they will regularly criticise “China” when referring to the authoritarian policies of the Communist Party. This leads firstly to defensive reactions from patriotic Chinese, and secondly to criticism from Westerners highly attuned to issues of racism. Accusations are flung back and forth, confusion reigns in both East and West, and all the while the Communist Party quietly extends its influence across the globe. So how concerned should we be? Party officials have soothed us for decades with talk of China’s “peaceful rise,” and Xi Jinping has even sought to qualify the famous Napoleon quote. “Today, the lion has woken up,” he declared in a speech in Paris a few years ago. “But it is peaceful, pleasant, and civilised.” All this smooth talk has certainly convinced US presidential hopeful Joe Biden. “What are we worried about?” he cheerfully asked a recent audience.

They could have given him a hundred and one answers. Today, the Communist Party stifles criticism and dictates policy far beyond Chinese borders,3 controlling NGOs and businesses, silencing dissidents, and filling Western university boards with CCP sympathisers.4 Academic institutions are increasingly reliant on Chinese money—$12.55 billion in student tuition fees in 2016—and so it’s easy to buy their silence. “We don’t talk about Taiwan independence,” says Perry Link, Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. “We don’t talk about the occupation of Tibet. We don’t call the June 4 Massacre ‘massacre.’” The same subjects are off-limits for British lecturers, who have been warned by staff from London’s Chinese embassy that they should never talk about “the three Ts” (Tibet, Tiananmen, and Taiwan). Those who do stray into the forbidden areas of discussion are summarily punished. Funding was removed for visiting scholars at the University of California San Diego in response to the Dalai Lama’s appearance at the university. The Communist Party considers him to be an “enemy element,” and it will not tolerate its business associates maintaining any kind of relationship with him.

The Party’s iron grip extends to society far beyond academia. Many foreign companies with business interests in China have been forced to apologise for referring to Taiwan or Tibet in the ‘wrong’ terms. The German manufacturer Leica made the mistake of referring to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in one of its adverts, and was forced to issue a full apology. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz was forced to apologise for quoting the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post. The quote itself was as banal as you might expect: “Look at the situation from all angles, and you will become more open.” But Party stooges quickly registered their displeasure online, and so Mercedes-Benz deleted the offending post, adopted the penitent posture, and issued the ritual confession: “We will promptly take steps to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, our international staff included, to help standardise our actions to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again.”

This craven behaviour is making the Party confident—so confident, in fact, that it has begun arresting the citizens of other countries. A Swedish citizen was abducted in Thailand and flown to China after publishing books critical of the Chinese authorities, and a British citizen from Hull was snatched in Beijing airport and jailed for comments he’d made on Facebook. He was on his way from the Philippines to the UK and only stopping off briefly in the airport, but he ended up spending two weeks in prison for the crime of “not being a friend to China.” The Party’s thugs have physically assaulted journalists in the US for publishing anti-CCP content,5 they have kidnapped and tortured booksellers in Hong Kong, and they have attempted to murder independent journalists in Australia. They locked British businessman Peter Humphrey into an iron chair inside a steel cage and drugged him in order to elicit a confession. They hounded New Zealand academic Anne-Marie Brady, punishing her for researching the CCP’s foreign influence by sending their goons to break into her home in Christchurch, tamper with her car, burgle her office, and send her threatening letters.

You might argue that this behaviour simply shows that the Communist Party wants to gain power abroad to increase its own standing—its prestige or “face.” The projection of a strong image will allow it to more effectively protect the country and be taken seriously by big players like the United States. But the kidnapping of journalists and publishers on the other side of the world reveals another attitude entirely. The Chinese authorities apparently believe that the citizens of all countries come under their jurisdiction. This is more than aggressive nationalism, this is imperialism.

Drunk with self-confidence, the Party is now attempting to fully absorb Hong Kong. The territory has been a “Special Administrative Region” for the past 22 years—officially part of China but at the same time ruled by its own government. This is in accordance with an agreement between China and the United Kingdom that is supposed to last until 2047. But, in 2017, the CCP declared, to Britain’s surprise, that the legal document signed by the countries had “no practical significance.” Having become so powerful that it no longer concerns itself with international law, the Communist Party is now reclaiming the region. CCP officials have been appointed to the Hong Kong government, and legal changes have been made to bring the territory under greater mainland control.

The newest change is a proposed amendment to an extradition law allowing criminal suspects to be moved onto the mainland. This law would officially apply to those facing sentences of seven years or more, but that is little consolation to the people of Hong Kong. They know that the Communist Party routinely conjures serious charges out of thin air when it wants to imprison its political opponents. No one takes the Party seriously when it claims (as it often does) that China is a country ruled by law: the claim is fatally undermined by a 99 percent conviction rate. Everyone knows that this amended law will be used to silence the Party’s critics in Hong Kong. And if you are extradited to China then you finished—in some cases literally. At the very least, you are certain to be tortured in police custody. The people of Hong Kong are not taking this lying down: they have gathered for mass protests in recent weeks. Unfortunately, there may be little they can do. The bill has been suspended for the moment, but it will inevitably be reintroduced at some point.

As a “Special Administrative Region,” Hong Kong is an unusual case. But the Party adopts the same imperialist approach further afield, and without the mask of international agreements. Much of the world has been intimidated into pretending that Taiwan is part of China simply because the Party says that it is—even British Airways lists the country as a Chinese province, and Taiwan’s Olympic competitors are made to perform under the banner of “Chinese Taipei.” Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s minister of foreign affairs, explains the reality of the situation:

Taiwan is a sovereign democratic state. … We elect our president and legislators, have our own armed forces, issue passports and visas, and conduct international relations with other countries. Taiwanese enjoy all kinds of freedoms: speech, press, assembly, religion, political participation, the rule of law, and, since May, same-sex marriage. … The great majority of Taiwanese have zero interest in being part of a police state that monitors its citizens with social credit surveillance, puts Uyghurs in mass internment camps, suppresses religion and dissent in Tibet, throws human rights lawyers in jail, and limits access to the internet.

Xi Jinping is not listening. He has stated that Taiwan “must and will be” unified with the mainland, and his tone is urgent—he says that the “problem” of unification cannot be put off for another generation. He calls on the Chinese military to be prepared to fight “bloody battles” to achieve this. All the signs indicate that the Party will not stop at Hong Kong and Taiwan. Pressure is now being applied to foreign governments to deport Uyghurs to China, where more than a million members of the ethnic group are being held in concentration camps. Xi Jinping has decided that Uyghurs are a problem, much as the Nazis decided that Jews were a problem, and he expects other countries to submit to his authority on the issue. Incredibly, the governments of Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos have all complied, sending their Uyghurs to China for torture and incarceration. If the cowardice and appeasement continues, then soon enough the lion will sink its claws into Western countries. Indeed, this is already the plan: He Yafei, deputy director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, told senior Party cadres that “China” (by which he means the Communist Party) will “carve out a bloody path and smash the West’s monopoly and public opinion hegemony.”

So what kind of world can we expect to live in, once the CCP is in control? We might get some idea from the social credit system that Jaushieh Joseph Wu mentioned. An increasing number of Chinese citizen—by 2020 it will be all citizens—are subject to a rating system whereby their behaviour dictates their score, somewhat like a malevolent version of the 2016 Black Mirror episode “Nosedive.” The Party monitors individual behaviour through extensive surveillance, both on and offline. All manner of innocuous activity can drive down an individual’s score—even playing video games. When a declining score passes a certain threshold then travel plans and bank loans are blocked. Citizens with low social credit scores were prevented from buying airline tickets 17.5 million times in 2018. Those with the lowest scores simply vanish into the labyrinth of the Communist Party’s internal security system. We might imagine that no similar arrangement could ever be put into place outside China, but unfortunately the evidence suggests that the Party is already quietly setting it up.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project has provided the perfect cover for the Chinese authorities to introduce their own video surveillance system to most of Pakistan’s major cities. In fact, CCP-controlled Hikvision cameras can now be found scattered throughout Stansted and Glasgow airports and the London Underground. The Party has direct access to the data from any one of these camera systems. The same issue has cropped up with regard to China’s telecoms infrastructure—Huawei has been banned in many parts of the world because of fears that “backdoors” in the equipment could allow Beijing to carry out unauthorised surveillance. Tourists to the western Chinese province of Xinjiang must now submit their phones to border guards, who install surveillance apps and download personal information before allowing the tourists to move on.

The Party has also launched the “Belt and Road” Initiative, a hugely ambitious programme involving infrastructure development and investment in 152 countries. To date, the Initiative has enabled CCP enterprises to gain control of 76 ports and terminals in 34 of these countries. It has enabled the Party to gain footholds across the world by investing heavily in states that will never be able to repay their debt: the Sri Lankan government, for instance, ended up owing so much that it could not end a large Chinese port project at Hambantota, and so the authorities had no choice but to give a CCP-owned firm the rights to the port on a 99-year lease. Now special arbitration courts are being introduced at “Belt and Road” sites, where they will promote an “alternative” (read”Communist Party”) legal system.6

In his bestselling book When China Rules the World, the journalist Martin Jacques suggests that we will see the rise of a new global political system in the twenty-first century—one radically different to the current arrangement. Jacques foresees a tributary system based on a romanticised view of the Qing dynasty, which was the last of the old empires in what we now call China. Representatives from surrounding regions were required to make regular journeys to the court of the Qing emperor to pay tribute. The twenty-first century version would involve national leaders journeying to Beijing once a year to perform the same ritual kowtow.7

These are not just the predictions of one man looking in from the outside—Communist Party leaders have confessed to the very same dreams. Lee Kuan Yew told Graham Allison that hundreds of Party officials came to him over the years to seek his advice, and they all shared the same nostalgia for “a world in which China was dominant and other states related to them as supplicants to a superior, as vassals came to Beijing bearing tribute.” Graham Allison knows of a Shanghai deputy mayor who says he looks forward to the day when every upper-middle class family in Shanghai has an American houseboy.8 This unlikely vision begins to look less unlikely when we remember the power and influence such visionaries hold—power and influence that is growing rapidly.

The time has come to take the Chinese Communist Party very seriously indeed. Successive Western governments have dealt softly with their counterparts in Beijing, hoping for the gradual emergence of a Western-style democratic regime. We convinced ourselves that if you leave lions alone then they will become completely different animals. Now we must deal with the consequences of that mistake. The Communist Party will never change, it will only get worse—and already it begins to threaten the liberty of people all over the world. We need a new approach. Wang Dan, one of the exiled student leaders from Tiananmen Square, has found cause for hope in the recent US-China trade war. “In the 1990s,” he told the New York Times, “when Washington linked the granting of China’s most favourable trading status with human rights, the Chinese government bowed to the pressure by relaxing its political control and releasing me and several other dissidents. But once trade and human rights were delinked, the situation there deteriorated drastically.” Perhaps we could cage the lion by refusing to compromise on human rights, and by insisting on the association of political reform with trade.

But equally important is the support of the Chinese populace. We must decouple Party from people, making it clear that the former threatens us, not the latter. Language is crucially important here. If ‘the Communist Party’ and ‘China’ are separated in the political discourse, then Chinese citizens will be liberated to criticise the Party themselves, just as Deng Xiaoping feared. Another Tiananmen Square movement will become possible. Once this happens, then we can avoid a repeat of the 1989 massacre by ensuring that the international community stands with the Chinese people throughout. If we provide continual support and coverage, ignoring the Party’s inevitable barrage of bribery and bullying, then we may be able to avoid the Orwellian future that Xi Jinping has planned for us all.


Aaron Sarin is a freelance writer living in Sheffield and currently working on a book about the nation-state system, cultural universals, and global governance. He regularly contributes to seceder.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter @aaron_sarin


1 Graham Allison – Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (Scribe Publications, London, 2018 edition, orig. 2017), pp. 6-7, 12. Allison cites Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, & Ali Wyne – Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2013), p42; World Bank, “Merchandise Imports (Current US$)” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/TM.VAL.MRCH.CD.WT?locations=CN; World Bank, “Merchandise Exports (Current US$)” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/TX.VAL.MRCH.CD.WT?locations=CN
2 Clive Hamilton – Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia (Hardie Grant, London, 2018), pp. 5-6
3 “China and the West,” The Economist, 16 December 2017
4 Hamilton, op. cit., p46. Hamilton cites Anson Chan, former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong
5 Ibid., p41. Hamilton cites James Jiann Hua To – Qiaowu: Extra-Territorial Policies for the Overseas Chinese (Koninklijke Brill, Leiden, 2014), p180
6 Elizabeth C. Economy – “China’s new revolution: the reign of Xi Jinping,” Foreign Affairs, May/June
7 Martin Jacques – When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World (Allen Lane, London, 2009), chapter 11
8 Allison, op. cit., pp. 109, 139. Allison cites Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, & Ali Wyne – Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2013), p17


  1. China is indeed a giant, dangerous, filthy dictatorship, sadly.

Continue the discussion in Quillette Circle


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    • 11bravo says

      Also, we/our president could call back our manufacturing and slow down paying for their property. It will work.

    • B. Bennett says

      Thanks for the article. I’m a fan of the aims of this website. However, to claim in the above that the CCP thugs attempted murder, when upon inspection of the link , it seems they only shot a BB gun through a window, seems disingenuous. That kind of discrepancy takes away from the legitimacy of the article IMO.

  1. Robert N says

    We should all be glad that President Trump has stood up to this giant. If only the deranged democrats understood it.

    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

      “deranged democrats”


    • David of Kirkland says

      What as Trump done for Taiwan or Hong Kong? Adding taxes to imports so our costs go up is hardly standing up to a giant. It’s more like fear of the giant, and they can sense it, and they have already reduced their investments in the US to our economic detriment, along with those suffering the higher costs due to added import taxation while pretending he’s lowered taxes.

      • A generation ago, our young men stood up to tyranny and stormed the beach at Normandy.

        Here you complain about tariffs and how you’ll have to pay more for your sneakers.

        • That’s not what David said at all. And, you didn’t actually answer his question, since China is acting at least as smart in countertariffs.

          • Recent economic reports have shown that American Businesses have began to move manufacturing from China to other Asian countries, Vietnam and Singapore being the largest beneficiary. Vietnam and China are not exactly best friends.

      • Kauf Buch says

        TO DoK
        WHO “OUR,” White Man?!

        Great “spin” you got on all the BILLION$ President Trump is returning to America from China, through judicious application of tariffs. There may be small downsides, but your “fear and economic doom for the US” fantasy is little more than Anti-Western WISHFUL THINKING.

        Please feel free to move to Bejing…or Caracas, if you prefer your hunger and enslavement with better the weather.

      • Chia-Wei Chang says

        Tariffs aside, I can tell you what the Trump administration has done:

        Trump was the first US president-elect to directly speak to a Taiwanese President since the 1960s.
        USA was one of the very few nations whose airliners refused to comply with China’s demand to list “Taiwan, China” on their websites. The US government backed those airliners.
        F16V fighter jets and M1A2 tanks have been sold to Taiwan to upgrade its defence. (Could have been better but we’ll take it.)
        Taiwan Travel Act has been passed to allow ministerial officials (and above) of both countries to publicly pay visits to each other. It also allows President Tsai to hold public events when transmitting in the US.

        Because of these, we are the rare people on Earth who appreciate Donald Trump, even though we know he’s a controversial person in essence.

        • Skept-O-Punk says

          As CNN is primarily the news source for many foreign countries (or Al Jezira or RT! — or even the BBC), of course all anti-Trump news outlets, therefore 1) it is really hard to know what the actual people of a country think of Trump as only negative information is reported, 2) If they’re anti-Trump it is because of the never-ending negative news they these outlets generate. I live in Japan and the Japanese were led to believe nobody in America liked Trump at all, so they were totally confused by his election to POTUS. My wife and her family have since learned to view news reports about Trump, etc. with skepticism.

      • staticnoise says

        David of K
        My brother-in-law works directly for a Chinese firm and says China takes Trump very seriously. It was his predecessors they walked all over. Will Trump be successful? Who knows. But China has several structural problems and rampant wide spread corruption at every level. The demographics of it’s population is one thing for sure to say nothing of the environmental cesspool they’ve created – the Chinese are clamoring to get out of China.

        The US and the West still have a lot going for it if we could stop the navel gazing and get off the self-loathing train.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO Robert N
      EXACTLY. This article reads like an Academic’s dirge, of one who has already swallowed The Left’s Blue Pill of “all hope is lost (for America and the West) defeatism,” and that China’s supremacy is already guaranteed.

      I’m at a loss as to whether “Henny Penny” or “Tokyo Rose” is more applicable.

      President Trump is a Master Student of Sun Tzu, applying Free Market economic pressures to their Communist Achilles Heel.

      God and Freedom win.

      • There is no god, and if you truly believe in an invisible hand, tariffs are a state intrusion.

        (Note: The “invisible hand” was conjured by Smith out of his Enlightenment Deism, and quantum physics and many other things of the last century have shown how false that is. Note 2: Smith actually supported limited mercantilism.)

        • Kauf Buch says

          TO SocraticG
          “…a state intrusion.”
          You implication is that that is a BAD thing.
          If one were a rigid ideologue libertarian, I could understand the sentiment, in theory…(and laugh at the person silently…).

          Often yes, it is…but, more and more today, NOT SO:
          Breaking up monopolies is a welcome State “intrusion.”

          NEXT UP: Breaking Bad Big Tech*…and waiting
          “to hear the lamentation of the women libertarians.

          [including China-friendly GOOLAG]

        • Brian in CA4 says

          I bet you learned that in a major university somewhere….right??? I studied engineering so they didn’t get the chance to indoctrinate me with drivel you’re spouting.

  2. dirk says

    What I, educated as an agronomist, am especially interested in: what will happen with Africa under Chinese Global Rule, a continent with lots of unused lands (only by elephants and lions) and with governments easy to convince of the urge of development and economic progress and infrastructure (heavier ships to fish whatever swims there at their coasts, and more machinery to plow the savannahs to grow more soybeans and cassava to feed the world’s need for animal proteins).

    Just a month ago, a Chinese became the new director-general of the FAO (who supported him of all those UN members??). He said that being a scientist and a biologist, he would only look at the worlds food system and sustainable ecosystems, blablabla, but who believes that?

    What are we heading at, on this planet?? Nothing much good, I fear!

    • dirk says

      And, don’t fotget that please, Tian An Men might seem something positive and hopeful for us, it certainly is not so for the leaders and officials there, The youngsters there don’t even know what it was ( not explained in their school books, and about what it meant abroad, it simply didn’t happen).

    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

      China got burned pretty badly by Venezuela. Hard to say whether that investment of tens of billions will pay off or be written off.

      • dirk says

        @ Weasels: and what about this complete crazy ultra modern train connection from Mombasa to Nairobi in Kenya?? Ridiculous, who is going to pay for that? Not the locals (they need a slow train where they can enter with their live chickens and baskets with vegetables), neither the tourists ( it was fun to have that ride, with dinner and table silver in the evening, and the quiet sleep until you arrived, no longer, a pity, who wanted this all? Nobody!

        • Jonny Sclerotic says

          @ dirk

          Sorry if you were being sarcastic, but the Mombasa/Nairobi train has been a grand success. It’s dramatically cut the journey time and made it far more pleasant to boot. Live chickens? What are you talking about? Trains are the dogs bollocks. Everyone should have access to them.

          • dirk says

            I’ve heard rather different voices on that train from a friend who visited Kenya last year. Anyhow, if I go back to Mombasa, I take a dhow for a pleasant trip.

            And how is Kenya going to pay China back for it? The old train was a financial success, the new one certainly not. The live chickens was something of old time, OK, that scene is now reserved for the buses, as I understand.

      • Good point, Weasels. I remember not long ago we were worried about the Japanese buying up America.

    • Nick Podmore says

      As a South African who once dabbled in mining I can assure you that the Chinese now pretty much own and control most of Africa and its resources. They also have plenty of compliant countries where they can spread out their population….Chine not only owns resources but also many major transport links and hubs and all they had to do was drop a few mill into the offshore accounts of various ministers and presidents. It was the cheapest….and quietest fire sale in history….

  3. Jeeves says

    All of this presupposes that the West has done better. Colonialism, the genocide of the native Americans, the enslavement and oppression of blacks, and criminal wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq all say differently. China’s rise will no doubt be messy and ugly but the US is and was no better.

    • dirk says

      But, Jeeves, only look at how diligently the US and Canada go around with their natives in the territories of once and other backward regions, and how the Chinese behave with their Uyghurs in the North West (far away from Peking). This is really quite a different matter, and nobody sees this? Or is aware about these differences??

    • @Jeeves

      The West is doing much better. Despite frequent self-flagellation, the West is far more tolerant and diverse, and is doing rather well at integrating people with different races and ideas.

      Western people are abundantly critical of their own political systems, culture and history. We freely discuss the negative effects of colonialism, America’s wars in the Middle East, bigotry in our own societies, the historical effects of Nazism, etc.

      Chinese mainlanders don’t do any of this. They do not acknowledge that China is ever wrong in international affairs or discuss China’s numerous human rights atrocities. They are adamant that China has never invaded other countries (not even the nuttiest American nutcase would make such a claim).

      As the article mentioned, the word “Chinese” refers to both a nationality and a race, which Han Chinese people consider to be the same thing. A foreign-looking person can never be considered a Chinese citizen, whereas an ethnically Chinese person can of course be considered an American, Australian, British, etc., citizen. Ask a mainland Chinese person whether a foreigner can be a Chinese citizen and they will be either amused or outraged at such a silly notion (“Of course you can’t be Chinese!?!?!”). Now consider for a moment how we view white people who consider nation and race the same thing.

      As Chinese people are taught not to differentiate between their own government, nation and race, criticisms of the Chinese state can easily (or deliberately) be interpreted as “insulting” to Chinese people. The Chinese media frequently portrays statements made by foreign companies or individuals as “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people”. Chinese thought leaders nurture feelings of victimhood, while fully understanding and exploiting the West’s vulnerability to accusations of racism.

      The Chinese nation is an imperialist ethno-state that does not tolerate honest discussion of its own history or current actions, and is becoming increasingly audacious in punishing and threatening foreign nationals, organisations and governments. China’s treatment of ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans clearly demonstrates the implications of “Chinese sovereignty”.

      I think you need to live in China for a year or two and witness how pervasive, aggressive and unchallenged the racism, nationalism and imperialism are.

      • TarsTarkas says

        The only ‘Chinese’ are Han. And among the Han those whose mother tongue is Mandarin are higher still. There are no citizens in the Empire, only subjects, and it is the subjects’ duty to support the Empire in every way. Including giving up their bank accounts, which is how they’ve been able to finance their house of cards for so long.

      • You are ignorant and brainwashed and feel superior in your perception of China and Chinese, North American stereotype.

        • Andy Espersen says

          I am inclined to think you are right, Jim. This whole article, from beginning to end, speaks only of China’s rise to power in the world economy. The Chinese communists are capitalists. Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev hated capitalism – there is the qualitative difference.

          Nowhere is China threatening any country militarily – and that is really all we should worry about. They are just peacefully going about their business of becoming the best capitalists in th world – good on them. Aaron Sarin waxes indignant about Hong Kong. That is just nonsense. Whether its residents like it or not, Hong Kong is part of China and will necessarily become fully Chinese as the aftereffects of the expired British lease slowly fade away. Political circumstances change over generations.

          Yes, eventually Chinese military might may come to surpass even the that of the U.S. – but so what? What really matters is whether they begin to threaten other countries militarily – and so far there is no signs of that. And it is no business of ours how the Chinese want to arrange their internal way of governing. If the huge majority there remains happy about their government, that’s fine with me.

      • @RR
        You are ignorant and brainwashed and feel superior in your perception of China and Chinese, North American stereotype.


      • @RR You are ignorant and brainwashed and feel superior in your perception of China and Chinese, North American stereotype.


        • In which case you should refute some of the above points.

          • Our media worries about Russian troll farms, but the Chinese have been playing that game for much longer. Everytime China and the CCP are discussed we have a series of bots defending them. The other day they were actually defending Mao and the cultural revolution. Trying to convince people Mao wasn’t responsible for 100,000,000 deaths. Run along Jim, tell that tinpot dictator Xi how unenlightened he truly is.

    • Mr. Gear says

      Yes, the US has done awful things but you overlook one crucial piece: through our republic we can change, we can be better, and we are free to criticize our government for its immoral behavior. Democracy is a process, it’s not an easy one, and its work is never finished, but through it we can condemn our nation’s behavior and commit to doing better.
      China has no such system, its people are not free to criticize the party, nor to change the CCP’s behavior. The CCP is a brutal authoritarian regime whose sins far out weigh our own, but have no check on their power.
      Just for a minute imagine if the US and CCP governments operated the same way: MLK would not have survived the Montgomery bus boycott, Thurgood Marshall would be stripped of his right to practice law and placed under “house arrest”, and anybody who even mentioned the words “indigenous people’s day” would never find a job again. The CCP are fascists, their brutality should not be underestimated.

    • Stephanie says

      “All of this presupposes that the West has done better.” No, it doesn’t. Only those aroused by self-flagellation would deem it necessary to pick up and exaggerate historical “wrongs” when faced with the threat posed by the CCP. The world is vastly better off under the current world order than under an expansionist, totalitarian surveillance state that is incarcerating and torturing people for their ethnicity.

      There are few times when comparison to the Holocaust is appropriate, but we’re looking at one right here. Instead of having any sort of awareness, the “punch a Nazi” types attack the only civilization that can stop the most dangerous regime in the world. It’s because we have such soft moral relativists in our midsts that we will fail to meet this challenge and the world will burn. Good times, weak men.

    • y81 says

      I guess that explains why so many Americans want to move to China, and so few Chinese want to move to America. Hahaha.

      • Amforty says

        @y81, Are you considering the bus loads of Chinese tourists and students who flood U.S. campuses and cultural centers every week?

      • staticnoise says

        you have excellent observational skills!

    • None says

      Holy shit you’re a stupid CCP bootlicker. Stop playing “whataboutism”,and sod off with that nonsemse.

    • Kauf Buch says

      Oh JEEVES!

      Thanks for the resurrection of that Old Chestnut, “Western Colonialism”!
      You’ve reminded me I have to pull out and dust off my pith helmet before I go out and whip some slaves before brunch!

      Let me play “My Heart Bleeds for You” for you on the tiniest violin on the world.

      EVERYBODY has abused SOMEBODY ELSE in the history of mankind – oh no! I’ve Leftist committed thoughtcrime and not written ‘humankind’! …
      SO GET OFF YOUR HIGH(victimhood)HORSE, you bitter excuse for a human.

    • The Chinese have a history of invading and colonizing neighboring countries. China also was heavily involved in both the Vietnam and Korean wars, helping to fund the original Communist insurrections. China also invaded Vietnam. It’s treatment of ethnic non-Chinese tribal cultures is hardly exemplary. It takes part in religious persecution, persecution of political groups, the press and ethnic minorities in such a manner that even the strictest Grand Wizard of the Klan during the height of Jim Crow would have called foul. It whitewashes it’s history of human rights violations (under Xi, Mao is once again impeccable and perfect). It is a state sponsor of corporate espionage, supports the Syrian and Iranian regimes, sponsored Hussein, even after his invasion of Kuwait and subsequent massacre of Sunni and Kurds in the 1990s. So your attempts at comparison to the West is simply asinine, the ultimate non-sequitor Whataboutism.

  4. TheSnark says

    Hello Jeeves…go live in China for a few years and see if you still think that. Or spend a week or two in Hong Kong today. In the end, tens millions want to move to the US permanently (including millions of Chinese), despite all our shortcomings. Nobody wants to move to China, other than to make some money for a few years and then get out.

    The article is somewhat alarmist, but that is what happens if you take current trends and extend them out to infinity. But those trends cannot extend out forever. As Charles pointed out, China’s population will start declining soon, their working-age population is already declining. And what happens when economic growth stops? China has not had an economic downturn since 1989, and we know what happened then (and in case you forgot, it was the Tiananmen protests).

    “China’s Rise” will inevitably change the international system. China’s economic interests will have to be recognized, but the CCP’s political influence has to be opposed. The difficulty is that these two often overlap. Managing this will be much trickier than the Cold War, when we could simply oppose the USSR. Obama tried to do it, but he was pretty naïve about it. Trump is being tougher, but his ham-handed approach and erratic tactics risk letting the confrontation run out of control. And the Europeans are too divided to come up with a common policy.

    • dirk says

      The Europeans see the dangers and the risks, but are too divided and stupefied to react, the Greeks recently had much financial and bancary problems with their northern neighbours, but are the first now to be overrun by the Chinese, their harbours in Athenes have already been taken over by them, who follow??

  5. Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

    What is going on in Hong Kong these days says all you need to know about the PRC.

    That and the “social credits” ….

  6. Morgan Foster says

    I’d like to see some in-depth articles for the lay reader examining the ability of China to do all of this without experiencing the same, or similar, kind of economic collapse that brought down the Soviet Union.

    So far, most talking heads are not even questioning it.

    • David of Kirkland says

      China has added capitalism; the Soviets didn’t. The Soviets ate up entire countries to “join their union,” but China not so much outside of what it thinks are historical lands.
      It will be interesting to see if central planning with a tyrant can really surpass liberal democracies.

      • E. Olson says

        China has gone from Soviet type Marxism to Nazi type Socialism. China also has many million youngish men who will never finds a wife due to all the aborted or exported girls, and young sexually frustrated men can cause lots of problems.

        • Morgan Foster says


          Interesting idea, China moving to Nazi-style Socialism. As I understand it, the German economy under the Nazis staved off economic collapse – brought about by the social programs now championed by many in the US’s Democratic Party – only by bleeding its neighbors dry.

          Had the US not entered the war against Germany, all it’s neighbors would have been driven to bankruptcy, and would we not then have seen Germany forced to expand well away from Europe? Much as we see China doing, out of Central Asia? Though perhaps not for all of the same reasons.

          • dirk says

            I wonder, Morgan, whether Stalin would have allowed that expansion eastwards. Russia itself, yes, expanded far eastwards, they once even mastered Alaska, not a small thing.

        • TarsTarkas says

          Train ’em and put ’em in uniform, then send them abroad to fight and fornicate for the Empire.

        • Evil Nick says

          I read an interesting article YEARS ago how an abundance of North Korean women were imported to China as brides because the female population was so low. This wasnt just in the farmlands either, it was to upper middle class men arranging marriages.
          Even then it was speculating a decade or 2 would wipe out pretty much all “full blood” Chinese through mixing of North Koreans. Makes you wonder if this is why China even bother to deal with the Hermit nation. Well that, basically slave level imported contract labor and to hopefully one day get their hands on all the valuable minerals North Korea has but cant afford to mine out or process.

        • Gringo says

          E. Olson
          China has gone from Soviet type Marxism to Nazi type Socialism.
          Back in the 1980s, when China had unleashed agricultural productivity by permitting more free market approaches, lefty journalist Alexander Cockburn wrote that China was moving towards Fascism. He was more prescient than I thought at the time.

        • staticnoise says

          I fail to see the major difference between China’s one child policy and the “Planned Parenthood” policy of the West in practice. We have our own crimes to atone for.

        • Harland says

          USA genocided two million black people since 1970 via Planned Parenthood eugenics. PP deliberately locates their clinics in black neighborhoods. This was no mistake, it was deliberate.

  7. Gregg Connolly says

    China will not be deterred by anything, We cannot defeat them militarily, economically, or culturally, A war with China would be a disaster, ask a korean war or a vietnam vet. Furthermore Nihao, just practicing

    • Farris says


      All kind of wars Gregg; hot wars, cold wars, trade wars ect. Forty years ago Japan was going surpass the U.S. and end up owning everything. Personally I don’t believe a government that subjugates its people can ever prevail. There still remains an innovation gap between China and the West.
      Not taking the Biden “nothing to see” approach. As a matter of fact I would advocate engaging and challenging China frequently as to keep assets and resources tied up. Outside of Taiwan and a few others, China has lacks territorial interests. Its primary goal is control by exerting influence. At present China is much more a threat to the Russians than the Western countries.

    • E. Olson says

      A war with China would certainly be a disaster for China. China had about 350,000 KIA during the Korean war, while the US had about 35,000, and the Chinese military hasn’t had any significant military experience since fighting the Vietnamese in 1979 and no navy or air force sufficient to project beyond their borders. China also heavily relies on imported food and energy to keep running, which could easily be blockaded, and the US is self-sufficient.

      • staticnoise says

        Any war would be over after the first series of EMPs. The question is who will strike first. The modern world is so dependent on electricity and electronics that world will grind to a halt without it.

        • aidan maconachy says

          A war with China could be over before a shot is fired. The PRC is rapidly gaining an edge in cyber warfare. According to some estimates over the next few years China will be capable of launching a militarily disabling cyber attack that could severely compromise an enemy’s physical assets. In the case of hostilities in the region, such a strategy might also be employed against Taiwan.

    • They can only defend their coastline now. We will be alright if we keep moving to a 355 ship armada and the new Stealth bombers. What set us back was the demise of the F-22; something no one will have for a while!

  8. They cannot feed themselves, they have almost constant battles with epidemic viruss’, right now their pig stock is infected, their water supply is in question, they have fully nosed over the demographic cliff, even the most stubborn co’s have acknowledged and begun to move or are in plans to move their supply chains and to top it off, you can copy just so much but you cannot be original or truly create when your whole form of living and government is based on coercion…….. it wont last.

    In short; China will run out of road before they become truly strong enough to force any of the issues they wish to, regards Taiwan, Hong Kong etc.

    • “….you can copy just so much but you cannot be original or truly create …”

      I would love to see a whole article about the above statement.

  9. E. Olson says

    I’m reminded of an old Soviet story told by Ronald Reagan, which I will adjust to the current circumstances.

    An American and Chinese citizen are having a political discussion, and the American says: “in America I can go to the White House and pound on the President’s desk and tell him that I don’t like how he’s running the country.”

    In reply the Chinese citizen said “I can do the same thing in China” In disbelief the American said “you can?”

    “Yes” said the Chinese citizen, “I can go to the office of President Jinping and pound on his desk and tell him I don’t like how President Trump is running his country.”

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      Then be happily executed for pounding on the desk.

  10. ROBERT VESSEL says

    Motion is relative, China’s rise is occurring during the West decline,so it looks faster.

  11. T.C, C. says

    I fear the American communist party and the “squad of Stupid” are FAR worse than the Chinese

  12. Etiamsi omnes says

    I rather think an “Orwellian future” is what is awaiting us anyway, no matter where we live. Western democracies will of necessity become more and more autocratic if they are to stand up to China…oops! pardon me, I meant: to the Communist Party. If anyone here who is over fifty finds they enjoy more freedom and get more fun out of life nowadays than when they were young in the sixties or seventies, perhaps the only item from that period they still care about is a reefer.

  13. Mark says

    But, but, but, allowing China into the WTO was going to lift the peasants out of poverty with the introduction of capitalism!!!! The service economy is GOING TO BE AWESOME!!!!!!


  14. Etiamsi omnes says

    @Hsiao Feng : “I am a Chineses spy and I got all you guys’ home addresses. We’re coming for you”

    YIKES! Oh, come on, Hsiao, it was all meant in good fun. Just horsing around…

  15. mitchellporter says

    I belong to the faction of Quillette readership which is mostly left cold by these periodic appeals to watch out for the rise of China. It’s the kind of thing which makes me think that maybe this zine has become just another tool in the western deep state’s pursuit of its current strategic agendas.

    Or maybe I’m just living in the past, the years between 2013 and 2015, between Snowden and Trump, when the curtain was raised on just how total the ambitions of digital global liberalism are, and when the Eurasian alliance anchored in Russia and China seemed the best way to resist. Now we have a rebirth of nationalism within the west, and it can be hard to tell the difference between healthy pursuit of self-interest among otherwise coexisting civilizations, and the zero-sum battle to bring down the other way of life.

    • mitchellporter says

      I have just discovered an essay by this author at Areo Magazine, entitled “The Dangerous Myth of Nations”, in which he actually says “the demise of the nation is something that we should actively encourage”. Not just the Chinese nation, all nations. Instead we’re all going to be global citizens who identify with the human race.

      Of course, such a view is shockingly detached from reality. You don’t have to trash national identity and national institutions in order for people to be globally aware. And you will not have a united global polity without having enforcers who stamp out secessionists wishing to reassert local sovereignty again.

      This garbage idea that all nations should be subverted for the sake of global peace is totalitarian itself. There must be no collectives other than the global collective, no identities other than identification with the whole. We will not lay down our spears until we have liberated all the people of the world!

      • bumble bee says


        To go even further with globalization and the one state mentality is that it also effectively waters down everyone’s voice, vote, to almost absolute zero. If our voices and votes are most effective at local governments, it’s impacts dwindle when it goes to state, country, and now world. It’s effects are to silence and to be ruled by only a select few who have neither the benevolence, nor the desire to ensure life and freedoms.

        If the US and other countries want to weaken China, they must all divest from her. With the advent of sending manufacturing, technology, to China they have had their hands on some of the worlds top technologies and I would bet have stolen much for their own developments. That is why bringing home manufacturing, keeping technological advances within countries of origin, and trading with those who are not bent on global dominance by way of totalitarianism ideology we could minimize China’s abilities. Instead democratic countries have sold out, and created the threat that comes from China.

        It’s time that American companies no longer do business with China. Even Google, who was developing software/search engine for China in their model of preventing their citizens from knowing the truth or what is happening outside of their country has decided to abandon the project. We must stop giving them all our knowledge lest it comes back to bite us. Sorry if this isn’t PC, but who wants to take any chances down the road.

      • mitchellporter says

        @Kauf Buch Many more analogies are possible than one might expect. I would never have thought of the comparison with Planned Parenthood, for example; which is strongly backed by one of the political alliances which takes turns being the government, under the American system.

        But such comparisons can bring out differences as well as similarities. The ultimate point is to learn, and to see things as they are.

  16. Elton H says

    The Open Border crowd do not realize that if they do achieve their goals in the US, China can easily send over 100 million people just for starters.

    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

      “Easily send over 100 Million”?

      I don’t think the word easily means what you think it means. That’s a whole LOT of ships and airplanes. Do they land in Mexico and march over? Or from Vancouver Canada? (Insert evil racist joke about how they already took over Vancouver).

      • R B says

        Nah i’d rather memorize one of Mao’s poems. They’re as good as Hitler’s painitings

  17. Pingback: When the Lion Wakes: The Global Threat of the Chinese Communist Party written by Aaron Sarin | RUTHFULLY YOURS

  18. Henry Miller says

    I’m more concerned about the threat of the American Communist Party–otherwise known as “Democrats.”

  19. Excellent perspective.
    I highly recommend the YouTube channel ADVChina. If you want to hear immediate, uncensored opinions about the true nature of China today (pollution, crime, government corruption, animal cruelty, quack medicine) you cannot do better than ADVChina.

    • Stephanie says

      I follow China Uncensored on YouTube for my China news.

  20. James R says

    Several years ago, I served as an English Language Fellow in China. The ELF program is one of the State Department’s soft power initiatives, similar to the Peace Corps. As it happened, I was placed at a university in a second-tier city and lived in a building with other foreign faculty.

    Three floors below me, there was a Russian woman, who was in China on a similar program sponsored by the Russian government. She and a Chinese counterpart wrote a textbook for Chinese students studying Russian. Their text included an innocuous passage about the city of Vladivostok, which noted that way back when some emperor ceded the city to some czar.

    The evening before they were to go to print, three men showed up at the Russian woman’s office. They told her she had to remove the sentence saying China had ceded Vladivostok to Russia and replace it with a sentence saying China has never ceded Vladivostok to Russia.

    Just so Putin knows what’s coming down the pike!

    • mitchellporter says

      I decided to look into the history of the area. The city of Vladivostok was built by Russia – but on territory that Russia took from Qing China, in one of numerous “unequal treaties” extorted from China in the late 19th century, in this case just after China lost an opium war with Britain. At the same that Russia was carrying out this “Amur annexation”, Britain was seizing Hong Kong and burning down the “Old Summer Palace”, a notorious act of cultural vandalism. The European great powers had their pretexts for these actions, but the fact is, they were looking to divide up China the way they did Africa a few decades later.

      I think even a typical Taiwanese person would agree with the communists on this point. The actual treaty documents are on display in the Taiwanese national museum, in a section devoted to the unequal treaties. If mainland China ever became a multi-party democracy in which parties like the KMT could field candidates, you wouldn’t see any change of attitudes on this point.

      • ga gamba says

        Qing ‘China’ is kind of a misnomer. The Qing Dynasty was Manchus who invaded from Manchuria, conquered the Ming Dynasty, slaughtered many such as the Yangzhou Massacre where 800,000 were murdered in 10 days, and established a regime of Manchu supremacy. They too installed an unequal rule over the Han, one where Manchu Bannerman were reserved positions of privilege. They had their own legal system, housing districts, and reserved government jobs. Many of the Ming Han who had sided with the Manchus at the start of the invasion were later demoted from Bannermen to the Green Standard Army. Suffice it to say, the Manchus didn’t see themselves as Chinese but as rulers of the Han and others. The Russians and other Western Powers treated the Qing rulers much in the same way the Qing rulers treated their Han subjects. Vladivostok was territory in Manchuria, and to the Manchus it was called Haisenwai, “small seaside village” – a place of little importance. Hong Kong Island was a mostly barren outcrop of few people that didn’t even have sufficient fresh water.

        The “unequal treaties” were not imposed on China but on Qing, much like how victors throughout time gained territory from the defeated, imposed a tributary system, etc. i.e. exactly like how not only the Manchu Qing behaved but prior dynasties in China as well, be they Han or not. China’s present borders were won by the Qing, so the Han of today are beneficiaries of an imperial system that won for the nation Tibet, parts of Mongolia, and Uyghur Xinjiang. Moreover, the weakening of the Qing by the outside powers set off a chain of events that led to the dynasty’s collapse and self rule by the majority, i.e. the Han.

        The “unequal treaties imposed on ‘China’” is propaganda created by the CCP and embraced by anti-colonialist occidentals, often socialists and oikophobes as well, to bamboozle. And it works, as demonstrated by your comment. It’s amusing to listen to today’s Chinese up on their high horse about imperialism and colonialism that they themselves have benefited from and even perpetuate, such as the repopulation of Tibet. Their laments aren’t based on principle but on seeking advantage through emotive manipulation – it’s a power play.

        In sum, the western powers were simply last in a long line of conquerers that have spanned human history. And it was through their efforts, over a long time, that this aspect of human behaviour has faded and today is treated as criminal when incidents recur.

        • mitchellporter says

          Anyone seeking more facts might start with wikipedia on “unequal treaty”, “Manchu people”, and “Yangzhou massacre”, where they will read that Nationalist China (the regime between Qing and Mao, which retreated to Taiwan after the communists took over) said the treaties were unequal and needed renegotiation; that many Han in many ways were assimilated into Manchu identity and people, and that in modern Chinese ideology (again, shared by Nationalists and Communists), Manchu is one of the major defining ethnicities of China; and even that the figure of 800000 killed in Yangzhou is probably a huge exaggeration. Oh, and under “Vladivostok” you will read that this patch of land was held by many Chinese dynasties before the Manchu.

          • ga gamba says

            Why would I rely on wikipedia when I’ve read, to name a few, Mark Elliot, Frank Dikotter, Lars Laamann, Pam Crossley, and Zhou Xun? Wikipedia may count for much to you, but I’ll keep these sources. Thanks, though. That you advise people to read wikipedia is…

            Oh, and under “Vladivostok” you will read that this patch of land was held by many Chinese dynasties before the Manchu.

            Which dynasties held this patch of land (or even Manchuria)?

            Shang Dynasty? No. Very far from Manchuria. Zhou Dynasty? No. Qin? No. Han Dynasty? Nope. Six Dynasties period? No. Sui? No. Tang? No. Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period? No. Liao dynasty? Yes. It was a Khitan (a proto-Manchu people) kingdom, i.e. not Han. Jin Dynasty? Yes. It was those Khitans from Liao who swept south and conquered much of the Han territory. Song Dynasty? No. Yuan Dynasty? Yes. The Mongols conquered the Manchus of the northeast and the southern Han. Ming? No. Qing? Yes, these were the Manchu. After the Qing Dynasty collapsed the Emperor withdrew to Manchuria, his ancestral homeland, and signed an alliance with Japan. The Han didn’t gain control of Manchuria until after the USSR ran the Japanese out of Manchukuo in 1945.

            So, the “Chinese dynasties” that controlled the area of Vladivostok were non-Han Mongol and Khitan/Jurchen/Manchu invaders of Han kingdoms, i.e. they were the conquest dynasties. To state that Vladivostok was long ago Chinese territory would be like the Spanish claiming Mecca and KSA’s oil fields were long ago Spain because once upon a time the Arabs conquered almost all of the Iberian peninsula. “We were conquered and the conqueror’s land is ours too.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to conquer your conqueror to claim his land. The Han Chinese didn’t do so until after WW2, so their claims begin then, which is almost eight decades after the region was given to Russia. It was the Manchus to give away but not the Hans.

            As I already mentioned, a two-tier system was established between Manchu and Han. The Han considered the Manchu inferior, an issue that worried Qing because it needed to establish a system of rule to keep the Han under its thumb. Before they became the Qing, the Manchus spent years studying the conquest of the Han by the three foreign invaders to understand what was successful and what led to their respective downfalls, and then these Manchu devised a comprehension plan of invasion and post-conquest administration to keep the Han subservient.

            Chief amongst this, the Manchu decided to keep Confucianism to legitimise their rule, and twice a week Confucian rituals were performed throughout the realm to demonstrate to the Han the dynasty’s mandate of heaven. It should be mentioned that the queue hairstyles required of all Han men were a violation of Confucian norms, but the Manchu needed a way quickly to identify pacified from rebel. The Manchu placed an emphasis on ethnic distinctiveness, on the “orderly congruence of race to custom”, which had the Manchu fixate on horsemanship, archery, their own style of dress, retention of their own Manchu names and language, and the perpetuation of shamanism. The Manchu were determined to avoid being absorbed and Sinicised. They confined their activities to military affairs and imperial administration. Commerce, the trades, and the like were for non-Manchus. In 1648 the emperor decreed that the Han and Manchu should be separated so that each could “live in peace.” This did not mean the Manchu were returning to Manchuria. Han Chinese were expelled from Beijing. To this end the Manchu Bannermen were housed in separate walled-garrison quarters in cities throughout the dynasty. Intermarriage was forbidden in 1655. Manchu women retained their own styles of hair and clothing and never participated in Han foot binding, which they thought was barbaric. The Han Bannermen included many non-Han people such as Koreans and other minorities who lived under Ming rule and flipped allegiance when offered the chance. In addition to the separate legal systems, a Han magistrate had to defer to the Bannerman’s commander. Manchus had their own jails, which were of comfort and cleanliness magnitudes better then jails for Han. The Manchus also retained their own written language for official documents to be handled exclusively by themselves; often these were assessments of the accuracy of Chinese-language reports written by Han administrators.

            The British in Canton knew this segregated system and decided that extraterritoriality, where they too would fall under preferential law of their own making, suited their purposes. But it wasn’t only Manchus and Occidentals who had special privileges; Central Asian traders had been granted such privileges in the western borderland regions by the Qing as well. Under Qing, it was certainly not one law for all.

            During the incursions by the western powers in the 1840s, the Bannermen often ruthlessly terrorised and murdered the Han. What else, the Qing thought, but Han treachery could explain how easily the British defeated Bannermen in city after city? Believing that without the help of Han traitors the foreigners would never have advanced as far as they did, reassurance grew amongst the Bannermen that the English were not so powerful after all and this kept them from seeking an earlier negotiated settlement, adjusting their defences, etc. Get rid of the traitors and the British would be defeated; blame for losses was thrown on those who interacted regularly with foreigners, chiefly merchants. But as defeats mounted soon the Qing were blaming all the Han for their setbacks. Official Manchu reports on the fall of the Zhapu garrison acquired significance: they said that when the British attacked there, Han traitors rose within the city to join them. The entire Zhapu garrison was wiped out, but not by the hand of either the British or the Han. The Bannermen fought to the end, killing their wives and children before committing suicide. Hearing of this, other Bannermen garrisons took pre-emptive action against their local Han populations and began slaughtering them, causing them to flee.

            Once Qing fell it was a period of vengeance exacted by the Han on their former rulers, and during the early to mid-20th century Manchus began to hide their identity, Sinicize their names, and dispense with Manchu artifacts and behaviour – they needed to blend in to save their necks.

            said the treaties were unequal and needed renegotiation;

            They could have called the treaties Boatie McBoatface for all I care. You make same mistake the Chinese make. The treaties were not between equals; they were between victor and vanquished. Here’s the key thing, which I mentioned before, so make sure this sinks into your noggin. Everywhere throughout human history unequal treaties exist. The Germans were complaining about the Versailles Treaty seven decades after the First Anglo-Sino War. After the Franco-Prussian War the French signed an unequal treaty. The US Confederacy weren’t celebrating the equal terms ending the Civil War. The Chinese carry on as if this was unheard of in human history and only they had unequal treaties imposed on them. And as I mentioned previously, the Qing and other dynasties imposed victor’s treaties on those they defeated. In some cases the Qing (and the Mongolians as well) unequal terms were the wholesale slaughter of all in city that refused to surrender. Look at some of the conditions of Qing’s peace treaty with Chosun (Korea). The king has to send two of his sons as well as ministers’ sons to Qing as hostages, he had to provide armies and warships to aid the war on the Ming, Chosun is to honour Qing as a tributary overlord, the king is to kowtow to Qing, etc.

            even that the figure of 800000 killed in Yangzhou is probably a huge exaggeration.

            Yes, that was a trap for you. I used the largest claimed number to see how you’d respond. You responded much like a Holocaust minimiser and communist apologist who quibbles over numbers of the dead. “It was only three million! Holohoax!” Whether eight-hundred thousand or four-hundred thousand, it was a massive massacre, was it not?. But, if you want to keep downplaying it or even denying it, but my guest. You’ve accepted what comes with doing so.

            modern Chinese ideology

            Yes, ideology. Both the Nationalists and CCP assert Qing is Chinese because this allows for the largest territorial claim by both Beijing and Taipei. Under Qing China was never larger. And the Nationalists really depend on Qing conquests because without the claim to Formosa they’re swimming to Luzon.

            In the end, the Manchu, British, Dutch, Spanish, Ottoman Turks, and many others were imperial powers who conquered others. Their borders waxed and waned. From your comments, I see you wave away Manchu colonialism. For what reason? Because they are the same colour as the Han? You hold the Russians and British to standards different, and higher ones to boot, than those of the Manchu, or any other Chinese imperial dynasty. Why is that? I think the most plausible explanation for this is your racism, be it willfully chosen or knocked into your head by anti-colonial studies lecturers.

          • mitchellporter says

            Testing to see where this reply is displayed…

          • mitchellporter says

            “Yes, that was a trap for you. I used the largest claimed number to see how you’d respond.”

            Naively, I thought we were having an honest discussion. You seriously claim that you deliberately used an unreliable number in order to test my character? What if I hadn’t replied at all? Were you planning to eventually add an explanatory postscript to the discussion, so that FUTURE READERS OF THE PAGE wouldn’t be misinformed?

            Or maybe you just use “the largest claimed number” if you can get away with doing so, and then if it’s called in question, this is your preplanned counterattack – compare your critic to a holocaust revisionist? Is this some conversational gambit you have developed from arguments about the actual holocaust?

            You’ve wrecked this debate for me by being dishonest. Now, rather than focus on the facts and how to respond to them, I have to consider, is this person an outright propagandist, do they have some highly personal motivation and if so what is it, just how unscrupulous are they, and similar considerations I did not expect to face when talking with one of the best-known Quillette commenters.

          • Heike says

            The guy just handed you your ass on a plate with an incredibly well-researched reply, and all you can do is screech that he played you so thoroughly that you retreated into what is essentially Holocaust denial? Downplaying numbers is precisely what denialists do.

          • mitchellporter says

            @Heike may I recall the sequence of events?

            ga gamba says, Yangzhou Massacre, 800,000 murdered. No qualifiers or anything, just 800,000

            I look it up in Wikipedia, where it says that is probably a huge overestimate

            ga gamba says, ha ha, I tricked you, I deliberately quoted the highest number so you would show your depravity by trying to lower the number

            I say, wtf, how can we even have a discussion when you act so ridiculously

            and you show up and declare ga gamba the comprehensive winner.


            You mention the length of his reply. Well, I will have some more to say in response. Meanwhile, I do not wish to focus overly on this number, but as I am apparently accused of being a denier of massacres or an apologist for Manchu colonialism (!), because I pointed out a potentially inaccurate statement, I had better say something.

            First of all, I hold no particular brief for the Manchus; I called the Qing dynasty a case of minority conquest just the other day. But as I learn more, it turns out the relationship between Manchu and Han is more complex than I knew. Second, I had no intrinsic incentive to minimize the size of the Yangzhou Massacre, to me it’s just another terrible event from Chinese history, which has seen far worse.

            ga gamba made a post; I consulted Wikipedia on a few of his assertions, and found they could be challenged. With respect to this contested number, there has been no attempt to defend the accuracy of the original remark, just attribution of invidious motives to myself for challenging it.

  21. soviet says

    If you’re going to be a leftist, be a real leftist like Lenin, Mao or Stalin.
    You cannot separate militant atheism from true leftist thought.
    In America, there are no leftists, just spoiled, multicultural friends.

  22. Stephanie says

    This is the most important article I’ve read in a long time. There is no greater geopolitical threat, to the West or to anyone, than the CCP.

    I was not aware that they were actually importing Uyghurs from other countries: kind of contradicts their claim that internment is only meant to prevent terrorism. I wonder what is said about the Uyghurs in official circles, and how it compares to how the Nazis spoke of Jews. Everyone likes to think that if they lived in the Nazi era, they would have opposed them with everything they have, but the lack of outrage over treatment of the Uyghurs shows we really don’t have such an impulse except in hindsight.

    Meanwhile, half the West is moving rapidly to the left, and is more interested in vilifying the other half than living up to their own stated morals of “fighting fascism.” I have faith a united West could free China, but as is it seems like a longshot. We’ll probably do the same thing we did with the Nazis and let China have Hong Kong and Taiwan before finally doing something about it.

    • dirk says

      There is a big difference betwee how the Nazis saw the jews, and the Chinese their Uyghurs. Cui Hongjian of our Chinese embassy on this: “Xinjiang is of special concern because of terrorism and anti- nationalism. We just want them to feel Chinese citizens first, and only second, a part of their regional identity, as the French also like it. Some years ago, we had too much clemency with their culture and belief (compare US and Canada with their indigenous also), and national security there went down a lot. We don’t want terrorism to flourish in our nation, like happens e.g. in Brussels”.

      He also thought that Europe is less and less interesting for Chinese investments due to that terrorism here, and the immigration problems.
      So, they have to solve these problems first for us, before the Chinese hegemonial trade and economic order can reign.

    • Zac says

      Salient point Stephanie, it is all too easy to say “I wouldn’t have put up with that” but all to often I think people fall into line with group think. People make their statements without any consideration of the context of the time they are talking about.
      The analogy of the Uyghurs is appropriate too, perhaps 60 years from now people will comment on. The ambivalent attitude of people of the day allowing it to happen on their watch.

  23. mitchellporter says

    The Nazis wanted to purge Jews from German society and ended up trying to exterminate all the Jews of Europe. The Communists say that the Uyghurs have been part of China for thousands of years and want them to assimilate. It’s a rather profound difference if you ask me!

    As far as I know, the Uyghurs being “import[ed]… from other countries” are actually Chinese citizens being repatriated to face charges of supporting separatism. Shall we compare the legal basis for such acts, with the legal basis for Canada’s detention of the daughter of Huawei’s CEO?

    Yes, China is engaged in a vast and harsh exercise in social engineering, in order to suppress “separatism, extremism, and terrorism” in Xinjiang. Shall we compare it to everything that is being done in the west, in order to pacify opponents of multiculturalism and mass immigration?

    Do you believe in the righteousness of your own society, which though it has long since rejected the ideals of imperialism, continues to uphold a world order in which one great power arrogates to itself the role of world policeman? Do you believe that the west’s new enthusiasm for criticizing China is fundamentally about morality; or is it fundamentally about sabotaging a newly potent geopolitical rival?

    • Stephanie says

      Of course the CCP offer the terrorism and integration excuse, but even that is not far off from the Nazi handbook. Recall that the excuse for Kristallnacht was a 17 year old Jewish boy whose family had been deported shot up a German embassy (ironically killing an ambassador who sympathized with the Jewish plight – terrorism is bad no matter who does it).

      The Chinese want to keep Xinjiang , which is 45 % Uyghur, so they can’t handle the Uyghur exactly like the Nazis handled the Jews. But the concentration camps and mass surveillance are ominous signs. Recall mass killing of Jews didn’t occur until the war was underway – there were several approaches to solving the Jewish problem before the “final solution.” The disdain for Uyghur culture and willingness to take extreme measures to stamp it out is a sign that all China needs is some stress and things will turn bloody.

      Don’t know what kind of red flag you’re expecting that’s more ominous than concentration camps.

      • mitchellporter says

        “red flag… more ominous than concentration camps”

        How about – kindergartens? This was revealed in VICE journalist Isobel Yeung’s recent infiltration: Uyghur kids being led in chants which encourage them to think of themselves as Chinese.

        • Harland says

          So the atheist government is crushing a bunch of backwards religious hillbillies? And it’s teaching them that their religion is silly, pointing out all the parts that contradict the others, and at the same time teaching them moderninity and retraining them with job skills they’ll need when they get out? What’s not to like? Honestly the USA could use a lot of that. Imagine the backwards religious hillbillies of Appalachia convinced that their religion is silly and being retrained.

  24. Jack Dee says

    This is some very turgid prose pushing a scatter shot of weak ideas.
    “the Communist Party routinely conjures serious charges out of thin air” Who is this David Copperfield ? The party is “Drunk” The Lion is “sinking it’s claws in”, “those with the lowest scores simply vanish into the labyrinth..” Does this mean that they will be eaten by the Minotaur or that they are forced to star in a delightful 1986 fantasy movie with David Bowie and Jennifer Connolly ? Or does it mean that recidivist offenders will spend a long time in prison ?
    In my experience the more purple the prose the weaker the thesis. I don’t want to have to Fisk out every lurid claim made here but I can’t let this one slide,

    “No one takes the Party seriously when it claims (as it often does) that China is a country ruled by law: the claim is fatally undermined by a 99 percent conviction rate.”

    Is this a general rule or just one that applies to China ? Japan has a 99.9+ % conviction rate. The court is the final stage after a long process, many US jurisdictions have an 80 + % conviction rate. More lawyers and longer proceedings doesn’t mean more justice, it just means more legal fees. Surely the best measurement of the justice system is the amount of crime committed not the percentages of acquittals ?
    There is one very important word missing in this mess of an article, Confucian. The CCP is not some radical Bolshevik cadre. They are the inheritors of the very long tradition of an educated Confucian bureaucracy. Their style, manners and projects are old school, very old school indeed. And what[‘s your main objection to them ? Is it that it can’t actually work and they’re all lying or that it will work and they are telling the truth ?

  25. Mark Matis says

    Many of the “leaders” in the US are fully willing to let China be China.

    And that is from BOTH parties.

  26. Kauf Buch says

    “The United States of America is the WORST PLACE ON EARTH to live…except for all the others.”
    – Churchill (paraphrased), if he were alive today

  27. martti_s says

    If anyone of those present could please name one superpower that plays fair and follows international contracts and legislation.
    It is funny how shocked people seem when China does not respect the rules and does what it pleases. It does so because it can. It can because it is strong. Its strength comes from centralized, ruthless govenrment who think like Napoleon: ” What is good for us is good for the State. We Are the state”.
    China is a Fascist state.
    Should we let Antifa loose on them?

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO martti

      You mean, let fascists loose on fascists? Well, that would be good for about the 3 minutes it would take for the Chinese military to FRY all the KLANTIFA soyboys. But: look at the bright side! They’d make great organic fertilizer for the rice fields.

    • Taylor says

      Anatifa are far left anti West anti capitalist facists; they’re not interested in China.

  28. Harvey says

    Don’t understand the critical comments. The essay is thoughtful and even provocative. Apart from the issue of China’s expansion and suppression of Tibetans and Muslims, are the critical commenters not at all concerned with the brutality of state control of individual expression that all Chinese citizens are subject to? How does the President-for Life, surveillance and social-credit system differ from Orwell’s then-fictional government, Big Brother? Maybe, China committed social suicide with the one-child policy, but I wouldn’t bet my salvation on that.

    • mitchellporter says

      The essay is propaganda meant to make us join the coalition devoted to overturning China’s social system. It can be understood in terms of concentric circles.

      At the center is the author, who has his private ideology of abolishing national identity and national sovereignty everywhere, in favor of a melting-pot “global citizenship” whose inspiration is America. (All that is not mentioned in this article, you have to look up his other works to discover this.)

      The next circle around that would include the essays about China that Nick Taber has published on Quillette, They present a similar view, and as of this writing, one of them (“China is Gearing up for a Long Fight”) even features exactly the same photo of Xi Jinping.

      For the next circle, I would make a big jump out, and also include a lot of anti-China articles and op-eds that I now see daily in western media. For example, I read the Brisbane Times, a publication of Fairfax media (rival to Murdoch’s News Corp in Australia); and op-eds saying China is dangerous, and negative news about China (including the kind which focuses on some trivial or unusual event, and treats it as typical), are far more common than they were a few years ago.

      In the case of major news outlets, I don’t consider this trend a result of merely reporting objectively on the rise of China. Trump promised to make China a theme of his presidency, and under the shelter of his ambiguous friend-then-foe strategy, every faction of power and opinion in the west, that has been yearning to push back hard against China, or even to take them down, has felt unleashed. Not only that, but there is every likelihood that the resources of major state institutions in the west are now being deployed, on a greater scale than ever before, to promote anti-China opinion, subvert Chinese initiatives, and prepare the western public for a new cold war.

      Obviously the mass media are part of that. In some cases it’s obvious, as when journalists simply and openly report the China views of some think tank. In other cases there will be hidden ties too, as in the media campaigns that promoted Russiagate and the invasion of Iraq. And by the way I will acknowledge that there are still powerful western institutional forces opposed to confrontation with China, and of course that China, like other nations, itself contains a social apparatus in which political ideology affects the content of journalism.

      Now one question is, where does Quillette fit into this? Quillette is not mass media, but it has influence. It might be regarded as one or two steps removed from mass media, as one of several contending salons of opinion, representing different ideological and intellectual currents within western society. I cherish its existence, I have some Australian pride in its origins, but nonetheless, I note that alongside the critique of progressive excess in which it specializes, it is also occasionally giving voice to calls for regime change in illiberal states like Iran and China. This tendency is something to which I am personally opposed – though I would be less bothered if we were also seeing articles in favor of non-intervention, or even a devil’s advocate in favor of e.g. ‘illiberal’ Chinese, Russian or Indian conceptions of what the world order should be.

      Quillette regularly surprises or provokes its readers with an unexpected perspective, so it’s entirely thinkable that such articles will one day appear. But for now, the Quillette ‘foreign policy’ seems to be missionary liberal democracy. If that is by choice, rather than by default, so be it, but it means that Quillette is therefore part of the broader ideological offensive laying the ground for confrontation between Chinese and American blocs, and which I believe is motivated more fundamentally by considerations of national wealth and power, than by morality or ideology.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Considerations of national wealth (not to mention power and personal wealth) is why the Han Empire has engaged in wholesale intellectual theft, stealing the savings of its own people (via artificially low savings account interest rates), currency manipulation, massive subsidization of its export industries, ruinous tariffs against imports, ignoring the Law of the Sea and every other economic agreement it has made with the rest of the world, and so on. But it’s bad when the USA does it? And I won’t even get into the tyrannical nature of Han rule including the Social Credit system, the mass colonization of non-Han lands, and the paving over of some of the largest coral reefs in the world (about which the environmentalists are curiously silent and which Google has blacked out if you try to view with GoogleEarth).

        Nations and Empires have interests. Which Empire would you prefer to live in, the one that will censor you and de-employ you and jail you if you step out of line, or the one that allows you to openly verbally abuse them (within limits).

        Facts are stubborn things. The Han Empire, already a tyranny, is becoming even more so. The American Empire’s descent into despotism has been delayed for the moment despite all the efforts of its once and future rulers. May that delay be extended long.

  29. Nikita Nikki says

    I was in need of an urgent loan for my business and to settle a debt i owed a business partner in Europe, i tried to apply for a loan but was constantly declined because of my credit record until i came across WESTERN LOAN FINANCE, they offered me the business loan i needed. The loan approval was very quick, with minimum documentations and the loan was credit to my account within 2 business days. contact WESTERN LOAN FINANCE for more info.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO Nikita
      You forgot to post that in MANDARIN.

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  31. Mec B. says

    Here is a question. Who is loose the most when China decides it requires more resources? I’ll give you a hint…largest nation in the world with one of the longest borders on China? Russia!
    Russia’s precarious situation is that it has large swaths of resources especially in the east ready to be essentially passed to China as Russia can ill afford to hold it for themselves. If China were to really decide to push the needle and move for true superpower status, we will likely see the first real swing by the CCP on their weaker northerly neighbor.

    • dirk says

      What Chjna misses more and more, and Russia has in abundance, especially at their borders, is space and cimates favorabl for grass growth (thus for dairy). I wonder how this is going to develope in the near decades.

  32. Azathoth says

    Does anyone else remember when these articles were being written about Japan?

    There are entire genres of literature and film in which the west collapses because reasons before the Pan-Asain juggernaut led by Japan.

    There are reams of business literature detailing the power of the Japanese and how it would crush the west.

    Why, if you believe what was written in the late 80s and early to mid 90’s we should all be speaking Japanese right now.

    And now we should all be learning Mandarin.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO Azathoth
      “Ding! Ding! Ding! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!”
      Little more than FEAR-PORN.

  33. Jake Elwood says

    The party is not Confucianist, the cultural revolution treated it like garbage. Read Mao the untold story.

  34. Jackson Howard says

    So nice of the US to leave the global leadership seat open 🙂

    More seriously, China seems immensely powerfull, but it’s not all peachy. Runaway borrowing, junk bonds and zombie companies bonzana, crazy levels of pollution and immense economic gap between regions are all serious weaknesses. And let’s not forget immense capital missalocation produced by poorly chosen central planing invectives.

    A bit like in the US, but worse for most part except debt and the US mostly avoid central planning. Their financial system is so unregulated it makes look the one West look socialist.

    One thing for sure, they played the catchup playbook perfectly. Open the market, copy IP and force tech sharing. Strat from low tech /low cost manufacturing mastery and skill up / copy to get to high tech ones.

    Once in lead, start getting serious about IP protection (once you’re in the lead, they are usefull tools). The US did it, Japan did it, Switzerland did it and Korea did it. Seems like they where paying attention instead of listening to the West “advice”.

    The tricky part now will be navigating from the explosive growth path to the imperial path or a major power path. Empires are costly things after all.

  35. Max York says

    If I understand the author’s argument, it is the Chinese Communist Party that is our enemy, not the Chinese people. This, if we can convince the people that we are their friends, all will be well in the sweet bye and bye. This is naive and pointless, because the Party utterly controls the people.

    What mystifies me is that nobody seems to understand or analyze China’s agenda behind its Belt and Road project. It is assumed that the agenda is to gain access to raw materials. It should be obvious that the real agenda is to put in place the infrastructure for later Chinese military occupation. Building roads and railways will facilitate movement of troops and war materiel. Chinese control over ports; once achieved, will permit China to restrict or to shut down maritime shipping and gain an economic stranglehold over other nations. Also, such port will provide basing points and refueling stations for the Chinese navy.

    • Heike says

      B&R is nothing but an alternate land route for China’s trade. It’s crap, though. Land transport is 14 times more expensive than water. And who rules the waves? The US Navy. China’s oil all comes through the Strait of Malacca, a chokepoint. And who is right there squatting on the chokepoint? Singapore, a staunch US ally. Unlike the “allies” in Europe who are nothing but ungrateful freeloading jerks, Singapore actually takes its alliance seriously and pays its fair share.

      B&R is China trying to make the best of a terrible strategic situation.

  36. dirk says

    I just learn that China depends highly on the safe passage of oil in the Ormuzd street. So, will they join the European military endeavour to make that passage more secure and safe for sea traffic and trade? And, if not, why not? Have they been asked already, maybe?

    • dirk says

      Or, better idea maybe, China siding with Iran, and closing (or harassing) the street for all others.

  37. Mick Shadwick says

    China (the Communist Party) is a truly dangerous country. It will grow old before it even starts to match the standards of living of the West, but it will still then be a large and dangerous country.

  38. James says

    I read a lot of internet posts and watch youtube videos on Islamism as the greatest threat. But now it seems that China is the greatest threat to the West. Which movement is going to win, which is the most danger for the USA?

  39. Commercialism will eventually democratize China as it does everywhere else. Democracy is but the political veneer of a commercial society. Custom and established institutions may guarantee this political transformation is dragged out over a couple of generations and may involve some bloodshed. But, the Theory of Dual Morality explains that as long as China continues to develop its production and trade the eventual transformation from autocracy to democracy is inevitable.

  40. Ralph says

    I have never so much rubbish in one go as in the replies to this article. Does anyone actually refer to the article? Does anyone support their claims and accusations with anything but their own opinions literally spewing out of their arses? Commercialism leads to democracy? What kind of moronic opinion is that? What is there to support it? Referring to colonialism as if it had no real impact on people’s lives but just a word? Backed up with what? Nothing but more more more opinions. This is a read that certainly makes one despair over humans and western democracy.

  41. bill53 says

    The West is declining, we have our own “Chinese communists” called Progressives. China murders babies, the US murders babies. China jails dissidents, we silence them on social media. China surveils its citizens, the US surveils its citizens. China goes after minorities, the US is going after Christians. I really no difference between the two and we are becoming more and more like them.

  42. mitchellporter says

    I have written more under this article than ever before on Quillette, and I need to move on. So I will state some theses, tie up some other loose ends, and that will be it, the anti-China squad can have the final word.

    The prospect of the Chinese political system remaining in place does not bother me, and neither does the prospect of China becoming the chief economic and cultural hub of the world. I prefer to learn about all of that from Chinese sources rather than from anti-China westerners, and I look with suspicion on western criticisms of China that come from an adversarial stance. I have Taiwanese acquaintances and my alma mater just saw a student occupation of its Confucius Institute, so I have to live with some tension or cognitive dissonance, but at some level I am in favor of the People’s Republic, Belt and Road, etc, they are a world order I can live with and live in, and I see many of the anti-China talking points as being more about western self-interest and complacency, than about China’s own good.

    The Uyghurs are a favorite western cause (less so in the Muslim world, except for Turkey). Repeatedly on this page, the situation of the Uyghurs in China has been compared to that of Jews in Nazi Germany, even though the Chinese state regards the Uyghurs as part of China, whereas the German state regarded Jews as an alien element.

    If I wanted to play whataboutery with respect to the condition of the Uyghurs, I might start with Australia’s Aboriginals, who are 3% of the population but 25% of the prison population. Surely that makes Australia the Xinjiang of the Anglosphere, with a native population oppressed by a tidal wave of racially alien immigrants… There are some activists who can honestly say they are against both situations. But I am more of a law-and-order person, I don’t jump to the conclusion that Australian law enforcement is racist, and so I also won’t jump to the conclusion that the situation in Xinjiang is entirely wrong. I can sympathize with confined and suffering people; but also with the need to govern society according to rules and some concept of nationhood.

    Somewhere up above, @ga gamba posted a long comment, regarding which I promised a response. Basically he’s saying that the last dynasty was Manchu not Han, the Manchu kept themselves apart from the Han, and so today’s Han-led People’s Republic has no right to proclaim that its New China rightfully encompasses all the territories of that Manchu empire. Also, they have no right to complain about the unequal treaties because victor’s justice is the way of the world, and besides it’s the western powers which, by reforming themselves, have made imperialism a thing of the past.

    No doubt the depiction of Manchu-Han relations during Qing is broadly correct, though perhaps it neglects the ways in which Manchus did sinicize, and Han manchu-ized, the better to paint a picture of ethnic stratification. Nonetheless, the fact is that today’s China is officially the state of the Manchus as well as the state of the Han, and it could thereby claim continuity with Qing China, albeit in a new model of ethnic relations in which the Hui, Tibetans, Mongols… are equal partners, rather than subordinate peoples.

    For that matter, the claim that ‘to the victor belong the spoils’ can apply here, just as much as it can apply to Vladivostok. A Chinese nationalist might say, we won, the separatists lost, deal with it. And they could also question whether western imperialism is actually dead; every part of the Earth lies within the scope of a Pentagon combatant command. Is this American empire not the culmination of western imperialism, rather than its negation?

    And that’s the memo.


  43. Shlamazel says

    This is an excellent article and should be taken seriously. The distinction of being critical of the Chinese Communist Party as opposed to “the Chinese” is important. I live in Vancouver where the flow of money and persons from China has transformed the landscape. The majority of high end homes sold are bought by Chinese. The housing market is not compatible for the earnings of locals. Many suburbs and high end districts are now majority Chinese. Young people are leaving, small businesses are disappearing, a sense of darkness pops up in too many conversations too easily. I have said for a long time that this “invasion” is the CCP. The people who have the kind of money coming from China can only accumulate this wealth if they are in the favour of or a part of the CCP. Slowly, slowly, the public conversation manages to use language like “undesirable capital”, “foreign money”, “foreign ownership”, “international money laundering”. Somehow it is “racist” to say Chinese money, but when we understand it is CCP, we might begin to have a conversation. The federal government is beholden to the CCP and encourage this, so nothing will change. I have been to Tibet and travelled extensively there, to China and Vancouver. I have a good sense that the CCP is a malevolent force. We have 4 general major power groups in the world, which I break down as: the CCP, the Russians, the Islamic and the American powers. As much as I can be reviled by it, relatively, I will choose to live under American Imperial power.

  44. I studied a Masters degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing ten years ago and was amazed/amused at how complicit academia was in pushing a hard party line – as well as their cognitive dissonance as to their role as intellectuals. I recall one conversation with a department head in which he insisted that China had “freedom of speech just like the US”, at the same time defending the policy of not allowing any discussion of Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen in the classroom.
    I also agree with the author’s assertion that our beef should be with the CCP not China in general, which is an enormously diverse nation. That said, it should be remembered that the CCP is a complex organization of over 70 million members with its tentacles in every facet of the Chinese economy and culture; we’re not just talking about a clique of a dozen old guys in Zhongnanhai. The world should tolerate no Chinese aggression or malfeasance but reform of the system will have to come from within China itself.

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  46. mblanc46 says

    “We” are going to decouple the Chinese people and the Chinese Communist Party. Right. Get back to me when you’ve accomplished that.

  47. The article is a worst-case scenario. I agree the problems are great, and it could descend into another expression of tribalism (China vs the West/the rest). But it isn’t that bleak IMHO. Chinese people are very nationalistic, and the CCP has a very tight grip. Xi Jinping is very conservative and authoritarian. Yet Chinese people themselves are not generally militaristic nor aggressive.

    Importantly, if China is to continue to progress, the current increasing authoritarianism (politically) will need to be relaxed. It simply isn’t compatible with the great socio-economic projects underway, such as the Greater Bay Area Initiative and Jingjinji megapolis project. Education, media and society itself will need to be greatly transformed.

    The CCP and “China” are not as inexorably connected as some suggest. My experience teaching and living in China is that many here are highly sceptical and distrustful of the Party. But they tolerate it because it has delivered in making massive improvements in terms of material prosperity, infrastructure, livelihood and stability. The students I teach here are truly apathetic about CCP indoctrination classes. They generally loathe them.

    However, without getting into a more complex analysis, as soon as attention turns to China vs Anyone Else, this hyper-aggressive Chinese nationalism kicks in. That’s when the CCP=China equation becomes a truism. And it’s a big problem. You can see it with clashes between mainland Chinese and HK students at the university of Queensland, for example (there are endless examples). As soon as Chinese people see the issue as CCP vs foreigners/outsiders, most give unquestioning allegiance to the CCP-as-China. And all the Party has to do is blast out the old cliche about “Interference by hostile foreign forces” and they jump to attention. This is a reflection of national narrative. China is threatened, we are victims of evil foreign forces and we must rise up. The national anthem and an endless line of educational and media propaganda pump the story into Chinese heads on a daily basis.

    The story is historically valid. But all good stories must have an ending. What’s the new story? The old is story will not only hold China back, but exacerbate potential for international conflict.

    The CCP loves the story and pumps it out any time there’s an internal problem. Not that the ploy is unique to China. It’s one of the oldest in the book. “The Russians stole the election” comes to mind. I really thought westerners had become smarter than that.

    China remains unstable beneath its peaceful veneer. There are major civil disturbances once or twice a decade. Take a look at the HK situation. It’s just the most recent. A decade ago it was Tibet and Xinjiang. This is an internal problem that is not going to simply go away.

    This post is a bit of a mishmash, reflecting my own ambiguous understanding of China today. But as someone who works in the country and has the opportunity to make an impact, I remain positive. I’m careful not to get caught up in media narratives, which are increasingly propagandistic all over the world. I have the advantage of working with Chinese people face to face in the real world. And in the end we are all human beings, once you strip away these tribalistic narratives. There is a lot of good to be done. Let’s keep that as the focus, even while being mindful of the genuine problems. For all of those problems represent opportunities. And there are many of those in China today, and in the context of relations between China and the rest of the world.

  48. Peter lamb says

    “China thinks all World citizens are under its jurisdicción”, sounds like a certain country that likes to kidnap people around the World and sends them to blacksites to be tortured. I believe that country is called the USA. Of course it has its own imperialistic excuses which im sure to be bombarded with.

  49. Bruce Labrecque says

    Xi Jinping is one of history’s characters,such as Alexander, Hitler, and Napoleon. He is impatient and getting older .
    He will want to implement his plans, while “young”.
    I think we’ll see an increase in velocity of his “chess moves” and then the “trigger pull “ to action much sooner than later.

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