China is a civilization that tries too hard to be a country. It has had a tumultuous past of being riddled with the history of Mongolian invasion, Japanese conquest, the opium wars and the so-called century of humiliation. China of the modern world is of course different, a far cry from Qin, Sui or Tang Dynasty China.
Former CCP Chairman (AKA Chinese President) Den Xiaoping defined China as “a democracy with Chinese characteristics”, which in other ways means a state-controlled capitalist economy. China thrives on Exports and litters the shelves of the world with its cheap products. China exports because the world buys, the world buys because the products are cheap, the products are cheap because labour is cheap and labour is cheap because well, China is a democracy with Chinese characteristics.
We watch movies about slaves and thank ourselves that we weren’t born in that era but China practices the most gruesome form of slavery without the world caring about it. Tibetans, Uyghur’s, Tajiks, Uzbeks, basically every non-Han in China is a potential slave. Slaves don’t have fixed working hours or minimum wages and hence China can produce virtually anything in the quantity that they desire.
The Miraculous Rise of China
China promises a world of opportunities. It is the biggest market in the world. And from French perfumes to German cars, everyone craves a piece of it however, the Chinese market remains a myth. China doesn’t believe in buying so much as it believes in selling. The miraculous rise of China was largely at the world’s expense and by the world, I don’t mean the underdeveloped or developing economies. It grew at the expense of the USA’s, UK’s and Japans of the world.
The undoing of China had to begin at some time and so it did. Fate had ordained Donald Trump to inaugurate the anti-China campaign in the world. What he started became a global movement and as the pandemic descended upon the world, every country started dismantling its China unit. China was suddenly at the mercy of the world.
China and Russia are considered best friends, however, that’s far from true. China and Russia are friends of convenience. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia became a minor power and since then its power kept on diminishing with every passing year. The rise of China’s economic might and the diminishing of Russia’s power were more like concurrent events.
Russia became a natural ally of China despite two wars, countless border skirmishes and a plethora of border disputes. Russia was reduced to a pauper state after it annexed Crimea in 2014. It needed China more than ever and on top of that, Beijing yearned for a big country that was a superpower of the past on its side. It was a win-win situation.
Coronavirus, the lab-created virus turned out to be messier than expected. And China became its biggest casualty. As the CCP hid China’s death counts and infection rates, the slow death of China’s economy became global news. An Export driven economy wasn’t exporting as much.
It had a trade war with the US and Australia, Japan was wrapping up its businesses in China, India was banning its apps like there is no tomorrow, EU inked a favouring trade deal with China and above all its investments in Africa and South Pacific were getting swallowed. China was getting pounded from all sides. And all it had was Russia.
China is a country that is born out of revolution. From the Tibetan uprising to the Tiananmen Square uprising, China has seen many revolts. So, the CCP chalked out an invisible deal with its people “You surrender your fundamental rights, and I will give you money”.
The larger Han community kept getting richer and richer, the money for which came from the massive exports. As the exports are drying up and the economy is faltering, China is faced with an existential threat for the first time in the last 30 years. It has many mouths to feed and doesn’t have enough money.
The solution – bow down to the west and make amends.
Kremlin, the new Adversary to China
China unequivocally slammed Russia for its aggression at the Russia-Ukraine border and ‘advised’ to withdraw its troops and reduce hostilities. This is China’s appeal to US and NATO; I am on your side, please resume business with us.
It’s funny because the Russia-Ukraine pseudo-war is being remote-controlled from the white house. Putin is not going to take it lightly. The friendship of convenience already had many cracks and fissures and China’s surrender to the west will simply distance Kremlin from Beijing.
So, the moral of the story is that the West won’t pay heed to China because they have burnt their hands dealing with them; at least they aren’t going to make it the factory of the world again. Japan will remain hostile to China. Australia will remain hostile to China. Germany doesn’t have Merkel anymore and France is already miffed at China. But an annoyed Russia will make life difficult for China.
Chinese exports to Russia amount to US$52.9 billion. Russia controls almost the entire Central Asia – the heart of Jinping’s ambitious BRI initiative. Putin has cordial relations in West Asia as well. And most importantly, Russia is China’s biggest defence partner. China is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its Jet Engine tech and naval tech. A miffed Putin won’t make a good partner.
He who wanders towards the unsure leaving the sure gets nothing in the end. China’s economic compulsions that could lead to a political crisis made Beijing toe the line of the west. And with that China has signed up for a more excruciating death.