Confronting China

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Vinod2070, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Confronting China

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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]How could ancient China’s worldview pose a threat to modern India?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]PREM SHANKAR JHA
    Senior Journalist
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]LESS THAN a fortnight ago, the Global Times — the English language version of People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper — translated and published an article from a pen-named author, who suggested that since India, unlike China, is ethnically heterogeneous, the ‘Great Indian Federation’ could easily be broken up with a little push from the outside. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]To anyone even remotely familiar with the sophisticated system that India has evolved over the past sixty years to fuse ethnic diversity with national unity, the idea is laughable. But the article is important for two reasons. The first is the light it sheds on modern China’s worldview. The second is what it portends for Sino-Indian relations in the coming years. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Illustration: UZMA MOHSIN[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In the Chinese worldview there is only one viable concept of the State – unitary, culturally homogeneous and necessarily authoritarian. Far from being a hangover from Maoist communism, the roots of this worldview go back two thousand years to the doctrines of Confucius and his disciples, as fused into a philosophy of state-society relations during the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago. It is now hardwired into Chinese thought. Communism only created a different set of sacred texts for the new mandarins to master, a new jargon to interact with the people. That is why its collapse in Europe found no echo in China. After crushing Tiananmen, all that Deng Xiaoping had to do was banish the imported texts and restore a modernised version of the originals. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Many western scholars have referred admiringly to China as the first modern state in history. By modern they mean a state with all the characteristics of a modern European nation state – a centralised seat of authority, cultural homogeneity imparted through education and hard national boundaries. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]If that were all there was to the nation state, their admiration for China for having ‘got there first’ would have been fully justified. But there is one critically important difference. The European nation state came into being under the spur of capitalism. Borders were first hardened by the capitalists to keep out competing products and later by labour to restrict the sharing of the gains in productivity to the nationals of the country. Education was homogenised to meet the technical and managerial skill-requirements of an increasingly nation-wide market and production system. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In China, the hard state developed out of a very different compulsion. This was the need to ensure the safety of the realm in a land that had no natural barriers to ingress. This required the State to ensure rapid mobility for troops and supplies and freedom from political obstacles inside the country. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In sum, while the centralising force within the modern European state was economic, in China it was political. Political institutions evolved in Europe to give the poor a measure of control over their destiny. In China, they evolved around the need to deny the ordinary people this control. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]An ingredient that was essential to the survival of the capitalist nation state in Europe was therefore absent in China. This was democracy. Democracy enabled the poor in European societies to make sure that they received a share of the increase in the national product. It therefore humanised the European nation state. In China, this crucial stabiliser, which reconciles the interests of the winners from capitalism with the losers is absent. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Confucian state did have means by which the subjects could seek redress. The time-honoured way was the right to rightful resistance. Individuals (and only individuals) who felt wronged by local officials had the right to appeal to those above them, right up to the emperor. The only way the Confucian state had for dealing with widespread disaffection was through reflection and self-correction. Discontent is widespread in China today because while capitalist greed has corrupted the rulers, especially in local government, the absolute power they enjoy has also all but destroyed the people’s right to rightful resistance. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In 2004, the government for the first time announced that there had been 74,000 incidents of ‘mass protest’ in China that year. This rose by an alarming 17 percent to 87,000 mass protests in 2005. This was ten times the number of protests in 1993 and involved sixty times as many people. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The figures were released officially to pave the way for an epic change in the thrust of government policy from emphasising growth at almost any cost to striving to create a ‘socially harmonious society’. Once its new policies were in place, the government stopped highlighting these figures, but other publications have shown that in 2006 the number of protests exceeded those that had taken place in 2005 and had crossed 80,000 protests well before the end of the year. What is more, they have become bigger and bigger. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Since the right to seek redress is limited only to individuals, the one type of disaffection to which the Chinese state has no answer is ethnic nationalism. The only way that the Confucian state knows of dealing with minorities is through cultural assimilation. Last year’s wide-spread unrest in Lhasa, Gansu and other parts of “Greater Tibet” and the outbreak of violence by Uyghurs against Han Chinese in Urumqi, Xinjiang province in July this year, shows that the policy of assimilation, through what the Beijing-based Gongmeng Law Research Centre called “the great destruction and great construction” — has not succeeded. In a courageous and detailed study, the Centre pointed out that most investments had taken place in a few large towns and cities and the benefits had gone to immigrant Han and Sui Chinese. This created feelings of impoverishment and deprivation, especially among young educated Tibetans, who lost plum jobs and economic opportunities to immigrants. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Beijing has rewarded the Gongmeng Centre’s courage by closing it down and seizing its computers, but it is safe to assume that the sudden outbreak of violence in Urumqi was prompted by the same combination of factors: first, a wholesale assault on traditional institutions and ways of life and second, a growing awareness among the Uyghur of being losers in the modern, capitalist world that has taken its place. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Greater Tibet and Xinjiang may account for more than a third of China’s territory, but Tibetans and Uyghurs make up less than one and a half percent of China’s population. Therefore, Beijing could perhaps have ignored their discontent – had it not been part of the colossal iceberg of social discontent lurking within the Han population. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In theory, Beijing has two choices: heed the dissenters and make the appropriate changes in policy, or suppress them. But the Confucian State that is hard-wired into the Chinese psyche has left it with only one response: since 2006, it has been cracking down harder on all types of dissent. Journalists have been jailed and Internet sites that championed peoples’ rights — tolerated and even encouraged before — have been shut down and their operators imprisoned. Mobile phones have been under blanket surveillance for some time and China changed its laws this year to compel all computer manufacturers to load software that allows the authorities to access every personal computer to monitor the sites visited and messages sent from them. [/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]BEIJING’S RESPONSE to discontent among the minorities has been single-minded repression. In March this year, it flooded ‘Greater Tibet’ with riot police three weeks before the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. It July, it responded to the rioting in Xinjiang by banning prayers in mosques. It seems unable to learn that that repression only breeds more resistance.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]What makes it unlikely that Beijing will ever learn is the support these policies are receiving from almost all Han Chinese. The overwhelming response to the Tibetan uprising last year was outrage. Website after website condemned “these people” for being so “ungrateful” after all that “we” had done for them. In the same vein, an anguished Han Chinese woman in Urumqi told the BBC (in a change of policy Beijing allowed foreign journalists into Xinjiang), “We have turned this place into a heaven. Why are these people destroying it?”[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The prevailing sentiment of China’s new urban middle class is that since the minorities are being neither ‘grateful’ nor ‘reasonable,’ they therefore need to be taught a lesson.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]These words should send a chill down every Indian’s spine because they are being applied with increasing frequency to us. Before the talks last week, Jiang Yu, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, urged India to seek “a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the issue.” And more than one of those whom the Washington Post interviewed for a story on China-India relations claimed that China had reacted with “kindness” to India’s decision to reinforce its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh. In the Confucian scheme of things, individuals and, by implication, states that are not “reasonable” and do not respond to “kindness” are not ruled by “virtue.” They are, therefore, fit subjects for “persuasion.”[/FONT]
     
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  3. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    An interesting formulation, linking the Chinese communism to the old Chinese civilization.

    Comments?
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    too bad with economic prosperity chinese communist hardline thinking has not changed, so in many ways Nixon's China experiment can be viewed as a failure.
     
  5. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    Just to clarify with the closing of the mosques..Not all of them were closed and neither was praying banned. A few mosques were closed due to government fear that more violence could spark, but most mosques were open.
     
  6. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    Airspace violations by Chinese choppers


    LEH: Two Chinese helicopters have reportedly violated the Indian airspace in recent months in Leh area of north Jammu and Kashmir during which they
    air-dropped some canned food in barren land at Chumar, northeast of this Himalayan town, along the border. ( Watch Video )

    The MI series helicopters were reported to the nearby defence post by residents of this high altitude area living along the Pangong lake, located in the lap of majestic hills, prompting the Army Aviation Corps to rush its Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

    However, they could only find tell-tale signs left by Chinese helicopters which hovered in the Indian territory for nearly five minutes dropping the food material on June 21 this year, sources said.

    When contacted, Army spokesperson for Udhampur-based Northern Command said that "there was a report of a helicopter flying in the area south of Chumar, where India and China have differences in perception on the Line of Actual Control. It was reported by grazers."

    A confidential defence document shows that Chinese helicopters entered into Indian air space along Damchok area and Trig Heights in Ladakh and air dropped canned food containing frozen pork and brinjal, which had passed the expiry date.

    Chinese People's Liberation Army has been crossing over into the Indian side in this region quite frequently with August reporting the maximum number of incursions.

    Trig Heights also known as Trade junction, which connected Ladakh with Tibet in earlier days, is an area where Chinese patrol have frequented this year in June, July and August.

    Chinese Army patrols have made 26 sorties in June, including two incursions by helicopters, and 21 in July.

    In August this year, Chinese patrols have entered into the Indian Territory 26 times and walked away with Petrol and kerosene meant for jawans of the border guarding forces. The Chinese army had made 223 attempts last year and left tell-tale signs.

    The Army spokesperson, however, tried to downplay these incursions attempts saying "there are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of the LAC. Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of LAC."

    "Due to perceived differences in the alignment of LAC, the Chinese patrol does transgress beyond our perception of the LAC in a few areas. The pattern of transgressions has remained similar over a long period of time," the spokesperson said.
     
  7. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    The Chinese article exploring the break up of India was from some obscure corner. Such mental mastubatory articles are written world over by think tanks all over the world. Any debates and discussions on this matter results in blowing a non existent situation out of proportion IMHO
     
  8. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think the Chinese situation is different from the Western world and such things can't be published in a semi-official site without at least a degree of official patronage.

    I remember a furore some time back about a similar US article that talked of how to banlakanize India by promoting secession among states. The USA explained that as a research effort that was not supposed to be implemented.

    In China's case, I would take it a bit more cautiously.
     
  9. advaita

    advaita Regular Member

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    My understanding is this not a formulation, this is the reality.

    The agression directed against there own populations is merely agression driven inwards (self perception not in consonance with ground realities and no soft/intellectual churning to reconcile this difference). Something of the same sort is what happened in the Islamic societies which resulted in Islam not being able to provide good political support for unity of the countries starting from India's western borders right upto the Mediteranean. Exactly the same happened in USSR. But unlike the Chinese and Islamic civilizations, the soft/intellectual content of the civilization could do justice to the self perception of the Russians and they could survive communism.

    Indians because of there inclusiveness (in Vedic Dharmic religions and Non-Vedic Dharmic religions and something of the same sort in Abrahmic religions too) were able to identify easily with the Unitary part of the Indian state. The federal structure of the socio-economic basis of the nation also helped in protecting the interests of the various groups. That is why even though the mixing of the various regions was not much in earlier times we could still provide the basis for a Nation.

    They can try and perhaps...just perhaps even succeed in bringing down the protests a little (in terms of quantum and frequency) but they will simply not get any long term solution till they can ensure that the executive, judiciary, legislative are properly defined and the umpire is not the player when it comes to businesses.

    Such societies can easily turn from agression against its own citizens to agression against outsiders.

    Operessive authoritarian rule (against own people) = Middle Kingdom syndrom (against outsiders)
     
  10. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    For all that great article the premshankar jha wrote ( with all respect ) , notwitstanding, every chines who has the opportunity wants to emigrate out of china as soon as possible, preferably to usa , if not europe , if not even north africa will do ....there are lots going to algeria, morrocco ....so much for the great china
     
  11. advaita

    advaita Regular Member

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    Even most Indians want to go to US or Europe (North Africa...somewhat doubtful)
    Trying to get out to other shores for better prospects may or may not mean abandonment of ones origins. In fact some years back I read that the median stay period for an Indian in US is considerably more then that of some sinic people.
    Premshankar Jha is focusing on the ruler-ruled relationship from the identity perspective.
     

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