Monday, July 5, 2021

China's Rise and Why China Won't Be Bullied

While Washington seems to be splitting its time deciding whether it hates/is more threatened by China or Russia, China's leadership has made it quite clear what it thinks about its role in the world and how it should be treated by the West.


The speech by China's President Xi Jinping marked the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China and looked back at the journey taken by the Chinese during their struggles of the past century and their prospects for the future.  Let's look at some key quotes as reported by the Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party's daily tabloid newspaper after we examine the historical background of the nation from the perspective of China's leadership:


Xi Jinping opens by noting that China and the Chinese Communist Party have been able to resolve the issue of absolute poverty in China and is now progressing toward building China into a great, modern socialist nation.  This is a significant accomplishment given that China was reduced to a "semi-colonial, semi-feudal society" after the First Opium War of 1839 to 1842 when China fought against Great Britain and the Second Opium War of 1856 to 1860 when China fought against Great Britain and France, ultimately requiring China to cede the territory of Hong Kong to the British.   Here is a map showing the location of China's treaty ports which were required under the terms of CHina's surrender to the colonial powers which put a quick end to Imperialist China:



These treaty ports guaranteed trade with foreign nations (i.e. enforced free trade) and gave special rights to foreigners operating within the ports, allowing British citizens to do whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted. 


In 1921, four years after the October Revolution in Russia, Marxism - Leninism was brought to China as quoted here noting that all bolds throughout this posting are mine:


"Then in 1921, as the Chinese people and the Chinese nation were undergoing a great awakening and Marxism-Leninism was becoming closely integrated with the Chinese workers' movement, the Communist Party of China was born. The founding of a communist party in China was an epoch-making event, which profoundly changed the course of Chinese history in modern times, transformed the future of the Chinese people and nation, and altered the landscape of world development."


Jinping goes on to outline China's long history with conflict in the 20th century and how these conflicts led to the establishment of the People's Republic of China:


"Through the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, and the War of Liberation, we fought armed counter-revolution with armed revolution, toppling the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism and establishing the People's Republic of China, which made the people masters of the country. We thus secured our nation's independence and liberated our people. 


The victory of the new-democratic revolution put an end to China's history as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, to the state of total disunity that existed in old China, and to all the unequal treaties imposed on our country by foreign powers and all the privileges that imperialist powers enjoyed in China. It created the fundamental social conditions for realizing national rejuvenation. 


Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the Chinese people showed the world that the Chinese people had stood up, and that the time in which the Chinese nation could be bullied and abused by others was gone forever....


By carrying out socialist revolution, we eliminated the exploitative and repressive feudal system that had persisted in China for thousands of years, and established socialism as our basic system. In the process of socialist construction, we overcame subversion, sabotage, and armed provocation by imperialist and hegemonic powers, and brought about the most extensive and profound social changes in the history of the Chinese nation. This great transformation of China from a poor and backward country in the East with a large population into a socialist country laid down the fundamental political conditions and the institutional foundations necessary for realizing national rejuvenation. 


Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the Chinese people showed the world that the Chinese people were capable of not only dismantling the old world, but also building a new one, that only socialism could save China, and that only socialism with Chinese characteristics could develop China....


Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the Chinese people showed the world that by pursuing reform and opening up, a crucial move in making China what it is today, China had caught up with the times in great strides."


Jinping goes on to thank key historical players in China's development as an advancing economy:


"We owe all that we have achieved over the past hundred years to the concerted efforts of the Chinese Communists, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation. Chinese Communists, with comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao as their chief representatives, have made tremendous and historic contributions to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. To them, we express our highest respect. 


Let us take this moment to cherish the memory of comrades Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, and other veteran revolutionaries who contributed greatly to China's revolution, construction, and reform, and to the founding, consolidation, and development of the Communist Party of China; let us cherish the memory of the revolutionary martyrs who bravely laid down their lives to establish, defend, and develop the People's Republic; let us cherish the memory of those who dedicated their lives to reform, opening up, and socialist modernization; and let us cherish the memory of all the men and women who fought tenaciously for national independence and the liberation of the people in modern times. Their great contributions to our motherland and our nation will be immortalized in the annals of history, and their noble spirit will live on forever in the hearts of the Chinese people.


The people are the true heroes, for it is they who create history. On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, I would like to pay my highest respects to workers, farmers, and intellectuals across the country; to other political parties, public figures without party affiliation, people's organizations, and patriotic figures from all sectors of society; to all members of the People's Liberation Army, the People's Armed Police Force, the public security police, and the fire and rescue services; to all socialist working people; and to all members of the united front. I would like to extend my sincere greetings to compatriots in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese. And I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to people and friends from around the world who have shown friendship to the Chinese people and understanding and support for China's endeavors in revolution, development, and reform."


He notes that there are nine things that China, the Party and its citizens must keep in mind:


1.) they must uphold the firm leadership of the Party


2.) they must unite and lead the Chinese people in working ceaselessly for a better life


3.) they must continue to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context


4.) they must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics


5.) they must accelerate the modernization of national defense and the armed forces


6.) they must continue working to promote the building of a human community with a shared future


7.) they must carry out a great struggle with many contemporary features


8.) they must strengthen the great unity of the Chinese people


9.) they must continue to advance the great new project of Party building


Regarding the issue of China's defense, Jinping makes the following key observations:


"A strong country must have a strong military, as only then can it guarantee the security of the nation. At the point that it was engaged in violent struggle, the Party came to recognize the irrefutable truth that it must command the gun and build a people's military of its own. The people's military has made indelible achievements on behalf of the Party and the people. It is a strong pillar for safeguarding our socialist country and preserving national dignity, and a powerful force for protecting peace in our region and beyond....We will elevate our people's armed forces to world-class standards so that we are equipped with greater capacity and more reliable means for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security, and development interests."


He also refers to China's commitment to a peaceful global community and its response to those who threaten China's existence:


"Peace, concord, and harmony are ideas the Chinese nation has pursued and carried forward for more than 5,000 years. The Chinese nation does not carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes. The Party cares about the future of humanity, and wishes to move forward in tandem with all progressive forces around the world. China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order. 


On the journey ahead, we will remain committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, to an independent foreign policy of peace, and to the path of peaceful development. We will work to build a new type of international relations and a human community with a shared future, promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative through joint efforts, and use China's new achievements in development to provide the world with new opportunities. The Party will continue to work with all peace-loving countries and peoples to promote the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom. We will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation, to open up rather than closing our doors, and to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games. We will oppose hegemony and power politics, and strive to keep the wheels of history rolling toward bright horizons.


We Chinese are a people who uphold justice and are not intimidated by threats of force. As a nation, we have a strong sense of pride and confidence. We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will. By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people."


Jinping makes special reference to Taiwan, one of the issues that Washington continues to fixate on:


"Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward "Taiwan independence," and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity."


China's struggles to modernize have indelibly marked the nation.  As in the case of Russia where tens of millions of Russians died during the First and Second World Wars, China has suffered the loss of tens of millions of its citizens during the 20th century's internal struggles and battles with enemy nations (i.e. Japan) which has formed the determination of the Chinese people today.  Modern China would not be what it is today without the Communist Party of China, no matter what the Western world and Washington, in particular, would believe or prefer and if the words of Xi Jinping are to be believed, China has no intention of being bullied by external forces again.

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