A China-led World Order
How China is trying to rule the World
“Listen to the party, be grateful to the party, and follow the party,” they shouted. “Let the party rest assured, I’m with the strong country!”
For the Chinese people, CCP may be an avatar of hope and prosperity; an organization working arduously for the betterment and development of the Chinese nation. However, for its detractors, CCP is more a criminal organization than a political entity. They assert that the CCP works on the canons of fascism, totalitarianism and Bonapartism. In such a regimented milieu, dissention is no longer allowed to evolve and is, hence, nipped in the bud. Those not in consonance with the dispensation as practiced by CCP are suddenly vanished, never to be seen again
CCP believes “Whatever is yours is mine and whatever is mine is not yours.” It takes over successful businesses from billionaires (Alibaba Group from Jack Ma), enslaves entire communities (Uyghurs), and generally behaves like a bunch of goons.
Political cognoscenti have strong apprehensions about China’s rise under the CCP umbrella. They believe that China is gradually moving towards global dominance and thereby replacing America as a global policeman. They contend that a China-led world order is in the offing.
How much is it true? Has China really embarked on a plan of ruling over the world? Is it really smoothening its way to clinch the slot of global leadership? If yes, then how is it going to happen? In this very piece, I will pinpoint some of the key features of China’s grand strategy to subject the world to its sway.
Propaganda warfare is one of the key features of China’s grand strategy to bring the world under its yoke of domination. China is found to be exploiting the freedom of speech as propagated by the Western world. It enjoys free access to Western media but denies the same to that in its own country. This very strategy enables China to successfully launch its propaganda warfare abroad and, at the same time, inhibit its tentacles inside its frontiers.
To this end, in 2009, the CCP launched its 6 billion dollar ‘Grand External Propaganda Campaign’ to spread the reach of the official mouthpieces of the party like Xinhua. They simply decided to use their financial prowess to exploit the freedom of speech in the West to spread their own propaganda. For instance, they put huge paid inserts in Western newspapers that are indistinguishable from real news. These paid stories talk about how good is life in China and how freedom flourishes there!
The other way in which the CCP controls what is said about China is by clamping down on all foreign media reporting in the country. China’s strict media policy, for sure, has done a great damage to the ongoing campaign against Covid-19 as well. The CCP has foxily manipulated international media in its favour. Resultantly, the press, rather than censuring China for its spread of coronavirus, started lauding its efforts for keeping the deadly pathogen under control.
China’s debt policy is, in fact, a debt peonage which it uses as a tool to exert its influence around the world. China while doling out money to any state takes three things into account.
Firstly, the target country must possess land that is of strategic interest to China. Basically, it should fit in with China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build infrastructure around the world. The BRI’s objective is to transport goods and gain strategic influence for China, and also grab the land that is of strategic military value to it.
Secondly, the country that is the recipient of Chinese money must be indigent so that it has to welcome funds to do some massive projects and have officials dying to accept bribes.
Thirdly, the project shouldn’t be feasible from a financial angle. It must have no chance of generating income to help the target nation pay off its loan to China. If all these factors are in place, China will go ahead with its biggest financial con.
The Sri Lankan port of Hambantota is a pertinent example in this case. The Chinese were interested in getting this port as it is strategically close to their rival India, and is also helpful in their BRI projects. Chinese offered to help Sri Lanka to not just build the Hambantota Port, but also give them an 8 billion dollar loan at 6 percent interest to finance its construction. Once the port was built, Sri Lankan authorities realized that the port’s location was not near international shipping lanes. So, it wasn’t going to generate revenue enough to help them pay off the Chinese loan. Of course, the CCP already knew this and it presented a readymade solution: a deal in which the Chinese received a debt-for-equity swap along with a 99-year lease to manage the port.
The predatory nature of China can also be seen in how it has targeted poor countries like Laos and Cambodia in Southeast Asia, Montenegro and Kyrgyzstan in Europe and Central Asia, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, Pakistan in the Indian Subcontinent, and almost all of impoverished Africa.
Additionally, China’s ingress into Africa is also not bona fide. It does not intend to help the impoverished nations of Africa, but it just wants to control their resources, people and potential.
Further, Chinese projects don’t create jobs for the impoverished locals. The Chinese firms bring in their own drivers, construction workers and support staff, and live apart from the local societies.
In short, China is colonizing the world of its choice through its diabolic policy of debt trap. It is startlingly reminiscent of how the British colonized India for nearly 200 years.
Intellectual Property Theft
The theft of intellectual property is yet another tool used by China to dampen its rivals financially. Surprisingly, if a Chinese company steals your product idea or your product branding, there’s no Chinese court of law that you can knock at for justice.
Take Google and Amazon, for example. China has casually cloned them with their own versions. Google was replaced by Baidu and Amazon by Alibaba. Both of them are now huge brands in China, and neither has paid a cent to the originals. Likewise, you can find rip-offs of all major brands. Be it Gap, Nike, Bose, or any other major brand in the world, you will find a fake equivalent in the Chinese markets.
What’s worse, if a company wants to do business in China, they must give China the right to steal their technology – that’s legalized theft!
Unethical Ways to Achieve Ends
The CCP is fully conversant with the fact that civilized nations have ethics and they play by the rules. So, if you have no sense of honour and accept no rules, you will have a huge competitive edge over your rivals. Simply put, the CCP’s philosophy is, ‘What is mine is not yours, but what is yours is mine.’ Law courts exist in China, but only to be used by the CCP against its detractors.
One such example of China’s unethical modus operandi to achieve its ends is “hacking”. Though unethical, it is a favourite weapon of war for the CCP. The party employs an army of hackers, who are at its disposal from dawn to dusk, looking for vulnerabilities in every institution in the free world. When they find one, they exploit it ruthlessly.
One of the most notorious of these hacks happened in 2007 when the airplane major, Lockheed Martin was targeted. Chinese hackers stole technical documents related to the F-35, the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. Experts have argued that the design of China’s stealth fighter, the J-31, as well as that of the Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, is in part influenced by the F-35 designs. This was simply a state-sponsored theft.
Foreigners visiting China need to be very cautious as the CCP is always setting honeypot traps. It is believed that the CCP has incriminating videos of top Western figures, and it blackmails them to support China when and wherever needed.
Seeing how well surveillance program was working inside China, the CCP decided to export it to the world via Huawei, whose hardware is omnipresent in the networks all around the globe. Once the West realized what was going on, the crap hit the fan. The US banned Huawei from its 5G networks over concerns of security, and the UK also followed the suit.
Although CCP does not admit publicly that it has any design to conquer the foreign land, yet its military expansionism is in full swing. President Xi Jinping, in 2015, during a press talk with Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House, promised that “there is no intention to militarize” a collection of disputed reefs in the South China Sea known as the Spratly Islands. But since then, Chinese dredgers have poured mountains of sand onto Mischief Reef and six other Chinese-controlled features in the Spratly and have added at least 3,200 acres of land, and militarized the whole place to its teeth. The islands can now host long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
To sum it up, what can be learned from this is that China is fully determined to rule the roost in the world and, for this purpose, it is ready to do whatever is possible regardless of what is right and what is wrong. The apothegm “Everything is fair in love and war” best defines China’s contemporary international demeanour.
The author is an Advocate-cum-columnist based in Quetta.