Xi threatens bloodied heads for Chinese foes
By Ricky Browne
In case anyone was wondering, the sleeping dragon of China is fully awake now, and it is demanding respect from countries that were used to feeling superior.
The days of China being bullied by any foreign power are now over, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping, and China will deal forcefully with anyone who tries.
Xi threw down the gauntlet in a speech he gave in to mark the China Communist Party’s 100th anniversary.
“We will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us,” he said, according to The Guardian. “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 anyone to bully, oppress, or subjugate [China]. Anyone who tries will find them on a collision course with a steel wall forged by 1.4 billion people.”
The Guardian didn’t use the more colourful translation of that particular part of his speech, but instead followed the line from Xinhua – the official Chinese news agency.
But according to other sources, including the BBC, Xi actually went much further, basically threatening any foreign power that it might perceive as a foe
“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Xi said, according to the BBC and other media sources.
That comment was followed by great applause from the 70,000 people in the square.
Another subtle threat came later in the speech. “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Jinping said according to Xinhua.
“Long live the Communist Party of China” he said to even more applause.
SYMBOLISM OF TIANANMEN SQUARE
Jinping was speaking in Tiananmen Square in Beijing – the place where thousands of student protestors were killed by the Chinese Army back in 1989 – who were calling for democracy.
Up to 10,000 people died in the Tiananmen Massacre (referred to as the June 4 Incident by China) according to British sources – but only 200 civilians according to the Chinese government.
Tiananmen Square is also a very powerful location, with the main entrance to the Forbidden City, which was the seat of the Chinese emperor for centuries.
Chairman Mao China’s first Communist president attached himself to that royal lineage by having his portrait hung over that entrance – the Heavenly Gate – suggesting that he was the equivalent of the first emperor of a new dynasty.
Forget the Ming Dynasty or any other that you might have heard of. This is the Communist Dynasty and it could well be more powerful than any other.
In his speech to celebrate 100 years of glorious Communist rule, Xi trumped Mao by speaking from a stage that placed him above Mao’s portrait at the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
Even in his garb, Xi ditched his usual western suit with red silk tie, to replace it with a his loose drab, grey suit which suggested the kind of costume that Mao traditionally wore. All that was missing was the cap with the red star.
The speech, apart from anything else, was like a reconfirmation of Xi’s position as the most recent all-powerful Emperor of the Communist dynasty.
There is every reason to believe that China is willing to take a strong position against any foreign power that tries to put it back into a box – given the way it has been turning the screws on many of its own people.
First are the Uyghur people in the western region of Xinjiang, who have been undergoing what some people call a genocide, with hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, and reports of efforts to degrade and remove the Uyghur culture while lowering their population. Sterilization, slave labour, sexual abuse, re-education and intense monitoring are some of the crimes against humanity that the Chinese state is accused of doing to the Uyghur people. China denies all accusations.
Second are the people of Hong Kong, who are now having their freedoms removed despite protests – the most recent example being the attack by the state on the Apple Daily – one of the strongest voices against the Communist regime in Beijing. It is showing a breakdown of the principle of One Country, Two Systems, that China promised for the territory when it ceased being British and returned to China in 1997.
Next on the list is Taiwan – officially named the Republic of China – which China sees as a retrograde province that will return to the motherland. It has been showing the island its military muscle by flying military jets through its airspace. In his speech Xi said he wanted to achieve “complete reunification” of the country and would “smash” any attempts to make the island independent from the mainland.
Looking abroad — fourth on the list are its neighbours, who it is bullying to get them to recognize China as s controlling the East China Sea.
Fifth is Australia, which has had intensified trade sanctions from China (its largest trading partner) especially since daring to question call for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and human rights.
Sixth and perhaps most importantly is the United States. Relations were chilly with the US under Donald Trump, and weren’t helped when the president insisted on calling the Covid-19 virus that apparently originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan as ‘the China virus”. A trade war started between the two countries towards the end of Trump’s term.
But relations seemed to have got even more frosty now that Joe Biden is president – who himself is about 20 years off celebrating his centenary.
China may have hoped that it would be welcomed to the world stage with open arms after its successful staging of the Olympic Games back in 2008 – much as it did for Japan when Tokyo held the 1964 Olympic Games heralding its arrival to the group of the world’s leading economies
Beijing’s magnificent Bird’s Nest stadium turned heads, as did its proficiency in putting together the games after the more haphazard approach of Athens.
But China still saw itself blocked from the high table of the world’s most powerful economies – despite the amazing growth of its own economy.
NO ROOM AT THE G7 TABLE
Later, Russia got kicked out of the G8 over its move to take Crimea from the Ukraine. But there was no move to replace its seat with China – preferring instead to become the G7.
At the most recent G7 meeting hosted by the UK and its Prime Minister Boris Johnson – three non-member countries were invited to attend. Australia, who China is trying to get into line. India, which with a population almost as large as China’s has shown that democracy can work, and South Africa – a country that China believes is of little importance compared to itself.
It was the first international meeting for the new American President – and showed the prestige that they G7 group and the three invited guests are held.
One of the topics of conversation was what to do about China, its growing power and its non-democratic credentials. Its as if the stage is being set for a new cold war.
LOSS OF FACE
But then the loss of face was amplified when right after the G7, and a meeting with NATO, Biden went and met with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin – suggesting to the world that the fading power of Russia is of more importance than the rising power of China.
Meanwhile, aspiring nuclear power North Korea, which depends on China for its trade, gets a free pass – even when its dictator acts up by firing missiles over Japan and threatening the United States.
So it was always likely that China was going to demand greater respect on this day But the force of the statement may come as a shock to many.