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China: One Country, Two Sessions, Three Threats
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The annual meeting of the National People's Congress. Photo: Xinhua

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The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain.

In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget rise of a modest 6.6%; and governments at all levels committed to “tighten their belts.”

The focus, as predicted, is to get China’s domestic economy, post-Covid-19, on track for solid growth in 2021.

Also predictably, the whole focus in the Anglo-American sphere has been on Hong Kong – as in the new legal framework, to be approved next week, engineered to prevent subversion, foreign interference “or any acts that severely endanger national security.” After all, as a Global Times editorial stresses, Hong Kong is an extremely sensitive national security matter.

This is a direct result of what the Chinese observer mission based in Shenzhen learned from the attempt by assorted fifth columnists and weaponized black blocs to nearly destroy Hong Kong last summer.

No wonder the Anglo-American “freedom fighter” front is livid. The gloves are off. No more free lunch. No more paid protests. No more black blocs. No more hybrid war. Baba Beijing’s got a brand new bag.

The three threats

It’s absolutely essential to position the Two Sessions within the larger, incandescent geopolitical and geoeconomic context of the de facto new Cold War – hybrid war included – between the US and China.

So let’s focus on an American insider: former White House national security adviser Lieutenant General HR McMaster, author of the upcoming Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World.

This is as clear cut as it gets in terms of how the “free world,” in Pentagonese, perceives the rise of China. Call it the view of the industrial-military-surveillance-media complex.

Beijing, per McMaster, is pursuing a policy of “co-option, coercion and concealment,” centered on three axes: Made in China 2025; the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative; and a “military-civil fusion” – arguably the most “totalitarian” vector, centered on creating a global intel network in espionage and cyber-attacks.

Call these the three threats.

Whatever the spin across the Beltway, Made in China 2025 remains alive and well – even if the terminology has been skipped.

The target, to be reached via $1.4 trillion in investments, is to profit from the knowledge accumulated by Huawei, Alibaba, SenseTime Group and others to design a seamless AI environment. In the process, China should be reinventing its technological base and restructuring the entire semiconductor supply chain to be domestic-based. These are all non-negotiables.

Belt and Road, in Pentagonese, is synonymous of “economic clientelism” and a “ruthless debt trap.” But McMaster gives away the game when he describes the cardinal sin as “the goal of displacing the influence of the United States and its key partners.”

As for the “military-civil fusion,” in Pentagonese, that’s all about fast tracking “stolen technologies to the army in such areas as space, cyberspace, biology, artificial intelligence and energy.” It amounts to “espionage and cyber-theft.”

In sum: “pushback” is essential against those China’s commies becoming “even more aggressive in promoting its statist economy and authoritarian political model.”

Chinese diaspora speaks

Apart from this binary, quite pedestrian assessment, McMaster does make an interesting point: “The US and other free nations should view expatriate communities as a strength. Chinese abroad – if protected from the meddling and espionage of their government – can provide a significant counter to Beijing’s propaganda and disinformation.”

So let’s compare it with the insights of a true master in Chinese diaspora: the redoubtable professor Wang Gungwu, born in Surabaya in Indonesia, who will be 90 years old this coming October and is the author of a delightful, poignant book of memoirs, Home is Not Here.

For outsiders there’s no better explanation of the predominant frame of mind across China:

“At least two generations of Chinese have learnt to appreciate that the modern West has valuable ideas and institutions to offer, but the turmoil of much of the 20th century has also made them feel that the Western European versions of democracy might not be that important for China’s national development. The majority of Chinese seem to approve of policies that place order and stability above freedom and political participation. They believe that this is what the country needs at this stage and resent being regularly criticized as politically unliberated and backward.”

Wang Gungwu stresses how the Chinese think quite differently from the “universalist” trajectory of the West, and thus reaches the heart of the matter: “Should the PRC succeed in providing an alternative route to prosperity and independence, the US (and elsewhere in the West) would see that as a fundamental threat to its (and Western European) dominance in the world. Those who feel threatened would then do everything they can to stop China. I think this is what most Chinese believe is what American leaders are prepared to do.”

No US Deep State assessment can possibly stand when ignoring the wealth of Chinese history: “The nature of China’s politics, whether under emperors, warlords, nationalists or communists, was so rooted in Chinese history that no individual or group of intellectuals could offer a new vision that could appeal to the majority of the Chinese people. In the end, that majority seemed to have accepted the legitimacy of PRC’s victory on the battlefield coupled with the capacity to bring order and renewed purpose to a rejuvenated China.”

Remixed long telegram

Federal prosecutor Francis Sempa, author of America’s Global Role and an adjunct professor of political science at Wilkes University, has compared McMaster’s assessment of the China “threat” to the legendary “long telegram” written by George Kennan in 1947, under the pseudonym X.

The “long telegram” designed the subsequent strategy of containing the Soviet Union, complete with the building up of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was the prime Cold War blueprint.

The current, pedestrian long telegram remix might also have long legs. Sempa, to his credit, at least admits that “McMaster’s timid policy recommendations will not lead to the gradual break-up or mellowing of Chinese Communist power.”

ORDER IT NOW

He suggests – what else – “containment,” which should be “firm and vigilant.” And he recognizes, to his credit, that it should be “based on an understanding of Chinese history and Indo-Pacific geography.” But then, once again, he gives away the game – in true Zbigniew Brzezinski fashion: what matters most is “the need to prevent a hostile power from controlling the key power centers of the Eurasian landmass.”

It’s no wonder the US Deep State identifies Belt and Road and its spin-offs such as the Digital Silk Road and the Health Silk Road across Eurasia as manifestations of a “hostile power.”

The whole fulcrum of US foreign policy since WWII has been to prevent Eurasia integration – now actively pursued by the Russia-China strategic partnership. New Silk Roads across Russia – part of Putin’s Great Eurasia Partnership – are bound to merge with Belt and Road. Putin and Xi will meet again, face-to-face, in mid-July in St. Petersburg, for the twin summits of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and will further discuss it in extensive detail.

So presiding, in silence, over the Two Sessions, is the understanding by the Chinese leadership that getting back to domestic business, fast, is essential for a renewed push on the grand chessboard. They know the industrial-military-surveillance-media complex will pull no punches to deploy every possible geopolitical and geoeconomic strategy to sabotage Eurasia integration.

Made in China 2025; Belt and Road – the post-modern equivalent of the Ancient Silk Road; Huawei; China’s manufacturing pre-eminence; breakthroughs in the fight against Covid-19 – everything is a target. And yet, in parallel, nothing – from a remixed long telegram to stale ruminations on the Thucydides Trap – will derail a rejuvenated China from hitting its own targets.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. d dan says:

    What happens in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang – halfway around the world – are none of Americans’ businesses. By constantly interfering into how Chinese government takes care of their domestic issues, US government is unnecessarily antagonizing their government and their PEOPLE. It makes enemy out of ordinary citizens of the two nations, who should be living peacefully with each others.

    Chinese people are pragmatic and intelligent enough to decide what forms of government they want, how much autonomy is appropriate for each regions, and they are generally fair-minded to treat minority. They understand the histories of each regions better than even the best “Chinese experts” in Washington. In the worse situation, the Chinese people are brave enough to rebel or hold their government accountable if they feel necessary – as demonstrated by the countless rebellions in their thousands years of history.

    There is no need for Americans to be “concerned” about their welfare, free speech or democracy. Take care of the many US issues first.

  2. @d dan

    Very nice, did they pay you to say that or do you just assume everybody is an idiot? You sound like a commercial for China. And in regards to the Chinese people, they did try to overthrow their current fascist government but unfortunately they were unsuccessful in their last attempt.

    • Troll: d dan
  3. Biff says:

    From McMaster:

    For developing countries with fragile economies, Belt and Road sets a ruthless debt trap. When some countries are unable to service their loans, China trades debt for equity to gain control of their ports, airports, dams, power plants, and communications networks.

    Even if this is true, I wonder where they got this idea from?

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @Curmudgeon
  4. The West’s MIMIC (i.e., Military/Industrial/Medical/Information/Complex) definitely has China and Russia in their gunsights, but the real question for all us commoner plebes is whether the PTB of the West will ultimately resort to low yield nukes on China (not Russia, which has wisely developed their defense capabilities to, for now, avoid being as vulnerable as China is on this front) if all the hybrid warfare on the PRC fails to achieve the desired results: capitulation.

    It seems that no matter what the PRC and Russia do, short of voluntarily bending over and spreading wide (as Russia initially did during those wonderful Yeltsin years), nothing less than full surrender will appease the zionist-anglo war machine before it goes nuclear looney-tunes and puts the survival of the planet at risk to achieve absolute hegemony over the world. Power sharing is not on the menu. It’s pure Samson Option thinking: if we can’t win on our terms, we’ll make damned sure everybody loses.

    The West has donned the ancient Tribal mindset for some strange, inexplicable reason, and we shall see where that leads us all. (Hopefully not a one-way ticket to Hell……. )

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  5. @Critical Thinker

    Oh, just admit it — the rise of China, of Eurasia as a coherent entity is anathema b/c it will likely stymie US & Western gun boat attitudes. Simply — the US can NOT tolerate equals, let alone a superior. The US just can’t comprehend a multipolar world where it has to actually consider the interests of others.
    And you have the gall to talk of Chinese “fascism”.

  6. oh Pepe – More copy-and-paste from China Daily?

    “The majority of Chinese seem to approve of policies that place order and stability above freedom and political participation. They believe that this is what the country needs at this stage and resent being regularly criticized as politically unliberated and backward.”

    old Mr Wang conveniently ignores the elephant in the room: no Chinese are allowed to state their true opinions on this or on any other issues!

    • Troll: d dan
  7. Chinese people are pragmatic and intelligent enough to decide what forms of government they want, how much autonomy is appropriate for each regions, and they are generally fair-minded to treat minority.

    Perhaps a select few are able to think for themselves despite generations of CCP lies, but those people would never be able to speak out to ‘decide what forms of government they want”! Hilarious to even write such a thing.

    In the worse situation, the Chinese people are brave enough to rebel or hold their government accountable if they feel necessary – as demonstrated by the countless rebellions in their thousands years of history.

    Can we include the Tiananmen Square Incident, 六四事件 , among those? You certainly are not allowed to commemorate on June 4.

    • Troll: d dan
    • Replies: @Bob Gwen
  8. “The business of China is business while the business of America is war” Gerald Celente of ://trendsresearch.com

    If history is any guide, the Thucydides Trap that doomed the United Kingdom and Germany to fight the mutually destructive WWI/WWII will repeat itself between China and the USA unless the MIC and the bankers are kept under a short leash.

  9. Bob Gwen says:

    Your typical American will say that they don’t hate the Chinese, But they hate the Chinese government.

    It’s through decades of propaganda that they’ve been led to believe that by destroying the country in which others live, then they are helping those people. It’s just a more insidious and evil form of racism that masks as love.

  10. Bob Gwen says:
    @Hong Kong Awake

    It’s amusing that a couple of hundred dead Chinese 30 years ago have become the rallying cry of the West, yet a hundred Americans killed by police each month are completely OK.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  11. China could yet become the first country to land a man on the moon

  12. @Critical Thinker

    Whether he was paid or not, is irrelevant. My guess is that you would be at the head of the line objecting to the Chinese telling Americans what form of government they should have, or what freedoms they should be concerned about.
    His point is simple. Non Chinese can express their opinions to each other all they want, but do not pretend opinion is concern. Their internal affairs are their business, not ours.

  13. @Biff

    That would be completely different from the John Perkins model, obviously.

  14. @d dan

    You are correct – but this has been the western way with China since the 1800’s… The US just took over the mantle in the 1940’s. There are some who just believe it is their divine right to tell the rest of the world how to live. In the case of China – which is such an outside portion of the globe’s population – a strong China is not in their interest.

  15. @Mustapha Mond

    But that is why Beijing and Moscow are collaborating so much. They are both building currency options apart from the US dollar… Russia is also helping China build a missile warning system.

    • Replies: @Mustapha Mond
  16. @Bob Gwen

    Good point. In just this year there were plenty of conflagrations in numerous “democracies” where many civilians were killed – in India South America – Iraq. Not much of a peep. There will be no constant mentioning of them either.

  17. @showmethereal

    “Russia is also helping China build a missile warning system.”

    I hope you are right. But everyone watched as Russia took the up-front payment of one billion dollars for the S-300 system from Iran, then withheld the system, apparently at the behest/insistence of the zionists.

    One trusts the Russians will be wise enough to finally realize the West is not their friend, nor Israel, and thus it should stop trying to curry favor and join that elite “Western” club.

    But the Chinese have hurt Russia, too, with their illegal logging in the far east causing unbelievable forest fire losses to much of Russia’s far eastern heavily wooded virgin territory, and other slights over their long border and history, so maybe caution on all sides does make sense, ultimately.

    Let’s just hope this ends well for all concerned…….

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  18. @Mustapha Mond

    Well yes Russia had a different calculus regarding Iran… Though they sold the S400 to China already… The missile warning system is different. It is for detecting nuclear ICBM launches.

  19. mijj says:

    the US’s Coronavirus attack on China backfired. I wonder what the next cunning plan to backfire will be.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  20. @Critical Thinker

    Are you sure you can think? Let alone critically?

    🤣

  21. @mijj

    The next escalation would be nukes. It is why Chinese think tanks are voicing nuclear parity for China.

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