China, Refuted

Re-Examining one of the world’s superpowers’ role on the world stage

China, Refuted

Presently, China is the world’s single biggest threat to world peace.

China, as we know it today, was founded in 1949, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ruled over China for over 71 years to the date. Their government is undoubtedly a dictatorship. Suppression of numerous people groups have led to uprisings, especially amongst the younger generation.

The CCP was created in 1921 by Mao Zedong, an often-overlooked tyrant in history. During his reign over China, he was determined to make China an industrious and prosperous country, creating a program known as the “Great Leap Forward”. Cheap, plentiful labor combined with a dead-set goal of rapid industrialization caused a blatant catastrophe.

What followed next was a disregard for human life, killing 45 million people in a span of four years, from 1958 to 1962. For comparison, the most conservative estimates say that around 11 million people died in the Holocaust. Mao committed, at least, the equivalent of four Holocausts combined.

Mao and similar Communist leaders are revered among the CCP. In true totalitarian-style, the CCP has hung a large portrait of Zedong himself in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Tiananmen Square. Many people have heard of the incident which occurred there in 1989. This is one of the best examples of Chinese oppression over its own citizens.

From April to June of 1989, nearly a million students showed up to Tiananmen Square in China’s capital city, Beijing. The students called for basic human rights, such as democracy, free press, and things similar. There was little to no aggression from the students, but freedoms undermine the communist party. To show this, the government sent in an entire police division to calm down the protests.

A while later, more police were sent in. The protesters began to march through the streets, remaining peaceful. The entry of police forces was frowned upon globally, even by the Soviet Union, another authoritarian communist state! After complete police brutality from the Chinese forces against the students, June 5th marked the end of the protests with Tank Man. The infamous photo shows a lone man standing in front of tanks rolling into the square, blocking them from preceding in protest. His fate and identity are unknown.

Yet another aspect of Chinese persecution is its constant threat to its ethnic minorities, including (but not limited to): the Uyghurs, Tibetans, the Taiwanese, anyone religious, anyone deemed a threat to the Party—the list goes on and on. Each of these groups have been heavily shunned by the Chinese government in one way or another. Let’s discuss.

The Uyghurs, a Muslim-oriented ethnic group in western China, are one of the most famous examples. They have very different traditions and culture compared to their Chinese rulers. They mostly reside in Xinjiang, a large region in China’s far west. The Uyghurs have vied for independence for decades, yet their queues are met with resistance.

The trouble comes in when the Chinese government set up RTL camps, or “re-education through labor camps”. As the name suggests, they are nothing more than labor camps where people against the government are sent. In order to make the ethnic Uyghurs compliant and loyal to the rest of China, they are brainwashed and even tortured, taken away from their families—sometimes never seen again. They are outside legal jurisdiction. China supports them.

Another group that is currently being ethnically cleansed are the Tibetans. Tibet is a vast, extremely mountainous region in southwestern China. The Tibetans have long since inhabited this land and made it their own, with their own individual culture, language, and more. Tibet was outright annexed by the People’s Republic of China in 1951, and since then, the Tibetan people have been forced to live under a society that demonizes them.

For example, China is trying to breed out Tibetans. Yes, that’s right: breed them out. The government of China began a program in which they specifically promote the marriage of Han Chinese (the main ethnic group of China) and Tibetans so that they may have Han children replacing Tibetan ones, not to mention the forced sterilization.

Another is the “sinicization of Tibet”, in which the government is sending waves of Han Chinese into Tibet to take residency—a more practical solution to the Tibet problem, minus the marriage and children. This goes without saying that China is displacing Tibetans, many of whom must take their culture with them.

More examples?

China has an intense rivalry with Taiwan, an island off China’s coast. To make a long story short, Taiwan is the current remainder of the Republic of China, the country that was overthrown by the CCP decades ago. They fled to Taiwan, where they remain to this day. China asserts that Taiwan is rightfully theirs, while Taiwan seeks to be seen internationally as a nation independent from China.

Taiwan is always under China’s thumb despite numerous reasons why this shouldn’t be. This rivalry is so contentious, however, that China has actively threatened war with Taiwan—a message that, at most, gets little to no response from Taiwan’s allies. Had it not been for their friendship with America and the West and their defense tactics, Taiwan would have long been invaded and their culture suppressed.

Next is China’s persecution of religion. We have already discussed their systematic oppression of Muslims, but other religions are by no means in the clear. First, let us talk about their persecution of Christians. Christianity was brought to China in the 600s, but nothing much came of it. Nearly a thousand years later, in the 1600s, Christianity was reintroduced and rooted its place alongside Islam in the western half of the country. It did not age well.

According to the Chinese government’s own numbers, there are over 38 million Christians in China alone. The government has decided to tear down crosses on churches, rewrite stories in the Bible to fit their narrative, confiscate Bibles, shut down Christian groups, and more. Chinese Christians have heavily resisted, refusing to change their faiths.

Other countries bend over backwards to appease China’s fragile ego. Apple removed the Taiwanese flag emoji from all users in Hong Kong and Macao, the Internet must be heavily censored all the time, even a museum in France stopped an exhibition related to Genghis Khan because it went against Chinese culture. Not doing so would result in China potentially banning one’s product, and who could risk missing out on over a billion customers?

Even now, we can see China blaming others for its own misdeeds. Like most other authoritarian dictatorships, all of their shortcomings are the result of not them, but in their eyes, everyone else. When other nations rebuke China for their aggressive foreign policy, China immediately gets defensive and either plays the victim card or, in a simpler way of putting it, puts that nation on their “naughty list”—because, of course, it can’t be them.

Coronavirus is undoubtedly China’s problem, yet everyone else has to deal with it because of their complete and utter inability to contain their own epidemics. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of pandemics that came from China is truly staggering: coronavirus in 2020, avian flu from 2013 to 2018, yellow fever in 2016, the actual plague in 2009, SARS in 2002, the list goes on and on!

China is, of course, trying their best right now to rectify the current pandemic. However, there are also top scientists from all over the world helping as well, having to clean up China’s mess. So what is China doing now to help the world push through this terrible situation? Why, going to the bottom of the sea and going to the Moon of course! Now is not the time to be going to the ocean floor or the Moon. Going to the depths of the ocean and outer space is not fixing the problem, going full steam ahead on creating a vaccine is.

Will China ever get better? Without radically changing their policies and opening up to foreign influence to an acceptable degree or their government completely falling apart at the seams, my personal answer is no. China is a country with a long history and wonderful, colorful culture. It’s a shame it’s being used as a political tool by a government to subjugate others.