Undemocratic China is a self-confessed dictatorship, practicing State Capitalism, growing well economically, politically and militarily. It nurtures ambitions to replace the US as the biggest superpower, even as other large world powers are sulking.
But unlike other world powers, China wants to play only zero-sum games. Only some countries may directly feel the pinch today and so major powers may want to keep a hands off policy with respect to China, but sooner or later every country will be affected.
Huge power in the hands of a non-democratic, power-hungry, territory-hungry China is a threat to world peace and prosperity.
An example is Sri Lanka which thought it was getting a good deal when China offered to build it a port at Hambantota. In the process, the island nation realised that it was about to lose control over the port under the existing conditions of collaboration. Public uprising made the country renegotiate the deal with China but even now, Sri Lankan Government has not made the reworked deal public. Wherever China has offered its collaboration on important projects, the client governments and people have not been happy with it. The Africans will have a lot to say on this.
With diminishing US interest in world affairs under an ambivalent Trump (as he looks at costs more than his leadership role), Brexit, weakening of the EU (which anyway doesn’t challenge China), and rising Chinese hegemony, the world is headed for extremely rough weather.
Understanding why the world should be worried about China’s aggressive attitude:
- Being a communist state run in dictatorial style, the checks and balances that prevail in democracies (like opposition parties, transfer of power across multiple ideologies, free press and open civil society) are absent in China. All the power struggles in China are within the ruling Communist Party; Tibet and Tiananmensquare are examples.
- China has been a rogue nuclear power with a poker face. It has facilitated transfer of nuclear technology clandestinely to Pakistan and North Korea, and has been cultivating these countries as its proxy terror-sponsor countries, making them a nuclear threat to world peace.
- Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. China blocked a UNSC sanctions resolution declaring him a terrorist. Paradoxically, China has summarily suppressed or killed large number of Muslims.
- China, despite its vast expanse of land, has never acted as a responsible neighbour, but has always been a bully, coveting neighbours’ territory (on land and sea). It has running land rights feuds against Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India, and even tiny countries like Bhutan claiming “undisputed sovereignty and sovereign rights” over land and sea, historically. Some neighbours had to settle their border disputes, even if unfavourably, out of fear.
- Right now, China is trying to build a road from Tibet (which itself is a disputed territory) to Doklam area (which it concedes is a disputed territory) which has strategic offensive significance to China. How long a tiny kingdom like Bhutan (which is in possession of the Doklam plateau now) can hold out against Chinese veiled and open threats, diplomatic offensives and inducements is anybody’s guess.
- China is building roads as part of its OBOR project, partly in disputed land between India and Pakistan, with the objective of dominating road route to further its own business interests, however projecting altruistic intentions. Though several countries have reservations about the it, they have obliged China in order not to antagonise it. Only India refused to join since the CPEC part of the project runs through disputed land between India and Pakistan.
- China became very rich by exploiting globalisation, keeping its currency Yuan artificially undervalued and massively exporting worldwide, while cleverly building non-tariff entry-barriers for imports into China. It has huge favourable positive balance of trade against America and other major powers. It uses money power thus obtained to execute projects which are nonviable to the host countries, which later find it impossible to pay back, and are forced to concede disproportionate economic and military favours to China.
- China, with its huge trade surplus (which it desperately needs to deploy somewhere), offers low interest trade credit to countries (which need finance for their projects), and not only gets huge orders without competition but also extracts political and military favours in return as a quid pro quo.
In sum, China is becoming an economic, political and military monster. Such huge power in the hands of a non-democratic, power-hungry, territory-hungry China is a threat to world peace and prosperity.
3 key things that can be done now to prevent China from becoming a Frankenstein monster
Responsible nations of the world should do three things to prevent China from destroying not just the rest of the world, but also itself:
- Prevent China from growing too big economically, where possible. All countries should force China to genuinely open its market for their products & services to help them balance imports with exports. Till China reciprocates, each country should impose similar barriers and avoid awarding projects (surely nonviable ones) to China, even politely refusing inducements like long term low cost credit; most often, Chinese debts are debt-traps in disguise, and their products are often junk.
- To prevent China from growing too big militarily, every country should challenge China whenever it flexes its muscles against any other country, big or small, extending support to the aggrieved countries. No single country may dare take on China. So, all of China’s adversaries (and even neutral ones) may form formal and informal alliances to protect themselves and their allies, against short & long term damage from China.
- To prevent China from growing too big politically, countries should support China in international forums only when China is genuinely on the right, and boldly oppose it politically, when it is not. Despite having the best of all worlds, China keeps claiming more and more from the rest of the world. It’s time for the world to push it back. For example, the world can start questioning its One Nation theory, and its brazen and unfair annexation of Tibet, especially since Tibetans want democracy and China is not a democratic state. It is time to re-raise all the issues where China has gained in the past, targeting China with media attacks from across the world.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Harvey claims second fatality, threatens catastrophic floods – Aug 26, 2017, Reuters
 Former Chinese Nuclear Engineer : ‘We’ve been transferring Nuclear Technology to Pakistan’ – Jul 05, 2017, Defence Forum India
 China again blocks move to name Masood Azhar a global terrorist at UN – Aug 3, 2017, TOI
 China wants to build motorable road towards Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction – Jun 29, 2017, India Today
 Your guide to understanding OBOR, China’s new Silk Road plan – May 15, 2017, Quartz