China’s Geopolitics: A threat to World peace?
It wasn’t very far from the settlement palace of the Dalai Lama, where two explosive bombings occurred near the jewel park. Everyone was scared to death. Just a few days ago, the Chinese had invited the Dalai Lama to China to watch a special show, but without any security. Was that even fair? But things were rather complicated now. They were already spread across the entire Tibetan valley. The State Oracle, for the first time now, said: “GO, Run tonight!” And then he ran in disguise through the indented rocks of Tibet to the mountains in the eastern Himalayas, all by foot, sometimes walking, sometimes running; with no food and shelter, he had to survive on insects. In the interiors of the scary night, he secretly ran off to finally reach India where he contacted Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru for help! This is not just a story, this is the reality of China’s international geopolitics in Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and so on. But why is China so aggressive in its policies, and not willing to give out the freedom to its people? Moreover, China is helping many countries build their infrastructures. Are these Chinese investments a threat to the global economy? A plethora of questions come to mind when we study China’s business and political interests. Let’s find out.
Background and history
China’s history dates back to the early 11th century, when China, unlike other European countries, was a leading global economic superpower, besides being a cradle of civilization. The dynasties ruling in China had discovered everything starting from Compass to Printing and making paper, gunpowder, etc. But the adversity brought about by Colonial countries like Britain, France, Japan, Russia, etc seized away the long-standing status of China. China became divided under imperial powers. Since then China has faced the worst of rebellions and wars, which led China to follow a strong aggressive policy in its international relations today. However, rising from a massive poverty-stricken country in the 1970s to a global economic power was not an easy journey for a communist-based country. The capitalist-experimentation technique followed by Communist China by focusing on small towns and building special economic zones has worked. It’s not surprising to see China come a long way, because today China holds a market share of around 19% of the world. Economically, China may be at its peak today, but the loss it’s rendering to the whole world is imperishable.
China’s two-faced diplomacy
It is no secret that China, despite being an economic Superpower today, is a suppressor of people’s rights. China has been infamously known for the atrocities in Tiananmen Square, suppressing the voice of democracy(1989); torturous activities on Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists; illegitimate claims of its sovereignty over Taiwan and threatening it with the fear of weapons; illegal and unethical occupation of Tibet and killing more than one million Tibetans; causing and spreading the release of the dangerous Coronavirus and leaving the entire world economy into a crisis; and many more incidents proves China to be a serial violator of human rights. China is also reported to be a serious violator of international law and national privacy. China’s manufactured handset products from companies like Oppo, Xiaomi, Huawei, etc have been often called out for destroying national privacy. For example, in 2019, the US accused Huawei of containing an internal secret microchip that steals consumer data from different countries. Many countries including India have banned several Chinese products thereafter. Moreover, any question raised against China by other nations is simply crushed by calling it an ‘interference’ in its internal matters. In whatever way it is explained, human rights violations, illegitimate interference in independent states that China presumably owns, and also occupying land and water territories in several countries are simply not internal matters. Moreover its policies of the Belt and Road Initiative, debt-trap diplomacy, infrastructure development in poor states, and so on are all deceptive and two-faced.
Imperialistic ambitions of China
China follows a policy of neo-political and neo-economic imperialism. It fools several countries into its debt trap and then indemnifies its share from them either by gaining land and water territories or by gaining political support or both. Poor countries which are already debt-stricken and have no infrastructural developments look for good proposals of investment and eventually fall into the trap of China’s lucrative offers. They are never able to return the sum of capital and therefore are forced to become an ally of China.
For example, Pakistan’s capital borrowings crossed almost 20 billion dollars, and since it couldn’t return the amount, it had to cede its land to China’s China-Pakistan Economic corridor. Overall, it seems to be a highly planned economic belt but is nothing more than a trading treasure for China. Another instance can be taken of Sri Lanka which had borrowed huge sums of capital from China due to its worsening financial crisis in lieu of which Sri Lanka had to cede to China its Hambantota Port, which China is now utilizing for making profits. A survey report revealed that countries like Djibouti, Laos, Zambia, and Kyrgyzstan have debts to China equivalent to at least 20% of their annual GDP. China accounts for around 28.7% of the global manufacturing output and sells all these goods at the lowest price possible in other countries which usually attracts consumers. Gradually, the markets are flooded with Chinese products thereby destroying the sale of local products. Especially in poor African countries, where per capita income is the lowest, China has been investing vast sums of money to buy the local market and set up industries, and infrastructure development projects, especially in sectors like energy, metals, infrastructure, IT, medicine, and so on. In Zambia, China is reported to have built industries but has ousted the local workers and replaced them with Chinese workers. This has led to terrible unemployment and caused the national per capita income to fall even more. India which maintained a long-standing friendship with China for years dealt with security problems in its border areas. In 2020, the “deadliest confrontation” occurred between the two countries when twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash on the Line of Actual Control(LAC), a notional demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the Sino-Indian border dispute. The foreign minister of India, S. Jaishankar said, “unless there is peace and tranquillity in the border areas… unless there is an observance of agreements and no unilateral attempt to change status quo… the situation cannot be, and is not, normal”.
China’s activities in the South China Sea
The South China Sea is a region rich in fish and natural resources, therefore is quite demandable in the region. But according to the International Maritime Law (admiralty law) originally signed in 1982 by 119 nations, every country gets a share of 200 nautical miles of the sea from its immediate land. However, China, quite dissatisfied with this law, demands more concerning its Nine Dash lines treaty which was signed centuries ago. Therefore, it ends up having maritime disputes with Southeast Asian nations. Conflicting claims over the Spratly islands by China and Vietnam have led China to take up military action several times. Defying the law, China is also reported to have been building islands all around the region of the South China Sea. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed the largest military buildup since world war two by the PRC”, said the US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John C Aquilino. The increasing Security dilemma posed by China has led to another Cold War once again involving the US in the war. Moreover, China’s interference in the internal matters of Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand has complicated the matter more.
To sum up, China’s policies have now reached the zenith of world threat with the Coronavirus Crisis in 2020 spreading horrible consequences all across the globe. Moreover, China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has a good record of environmental abuses. It is only theoretical how the US and its policies are trying to defend China’s stance, but in reality, today, the majority of the market is in the hands of China. China is a world superpower, economically, politically, and locationally and this fact can’t just be ignored. India, on the other hand, is also growing economically, however, our political and international stances have always been neutral, despite our harsh relations with China. It should be noted that even though India is a loan-payer to countries like Srilanka, that position is never taken disadvantage of. However, it is also argued that the US, which is also said to have invested sums of money and captured a lot of market share in poor countries, has brought about no real development. China, unlike the US, is said to be at least building the infrastructure and bringing in some employment in the poverty-stricken countries.
Author(s) Name: Pratyasha Chakraborty, (ILS Pune)