How Panda became the Dragon
History should be studied dispassionately. If you start living with history, you will ruin your present and destroy your future. The historical reminiscences will definitely shape a country’s domestic as well as foreign policy. China, today’s second-largest economy and dreaming of becoming the first, had a very disturbing past. The biggest enemy of China in the region was none other than arrogant and imperial Japan. There were numerous wars fought between them. China was not as strong as it is today and it lost most of the wars.
When the industrial revolution was in top gear in Japan, its mind was itching with the thought of Imperialism (a policy of a country to expand its power and influence through brute force). Japanese war behaviour was very despicable and reprehensible. One can easily quote the example of Rape of Nanjing aka Nanjing Massacre to truly portray the Japanese soldier’s inhumanity. Japanese spirits were brought down only after the nuclear bombing by the US.
The wars with Japan, opium wars, and other wars with western powers brought fundamental changes in thought of the Chinese. Internal inequalities and external humiliations led to a rise in nationalism and communist ideology. The leaders of China started to believe in Realism.
What is Realism?
According to Realism, countries work only to increase their own power relative to that of other states. Realists claim that survival is the real goal. Chinese started to believe that Hegemony in the region is the only way to survive. This thought was carried by successive communist regimes.
Revolutionary stage of Panda
With help of a great civil war, the cult leader of China, Mao Tse Tung founded the People’s Republic of China (a communist country) by driving away Chiang Kai Shek to Taiwan (Republic of China) on 1st of October, 1949.
Mao was a cult figure in Chinese politics but he was not a visionary leader. He knew how to lead a revolution, but did not know how to run a country. He always tried to control people through a barrel of guns. Some of his policies like one furnace per house, cultural revolution, and so on frustrated the people. The economy of China was in a really bad situation.
Emergence of Dragon
In 1976, Mao passed away. This became a boon in disguise for the Chinese. A new leader, though not as a cult figure as Mao, surely visionary and thoughtful Deng Xiao Ping took charge as the President of PRC. Deng was very progressive and he did not believe in strict communism. He began liberalizing the economy of China.
He started SEZs on the east coast cities of China. Also, appealed to various MNCs to set up plants in China, bought cheap and skilled labour from rural areas of China to SEZs, and provided various tax exemptions. Deng always believed that people think of revolution only when they are hungry; if people are well fed there is no revolution. The economic foundations he laid in the ’80s is the reason for China’s swallowing money muscle today. The dependence of the world on China started during his days. The successors of Deng also continued to walk the same path as Deng did.
Diplomacy – Silent butterflies to Wolf Warriors
Diplomacy involves negotiations, bargainings, persuasions, threats, and compromises. China’s diplomats under the leadership of Zhou Enlai were very skilled and calm minded. They used to shake with one hand and hold a stone in the other and rarely offended others or boasted about China. In addition, they always hid their capacities, maintaining a low profile and seduced their opponents first and then made their threats. This led to an increase in the global goodwill about China. China was viewed as a real partner by every country (not to some). The best example of their capacity can be seen in the issue of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. When the US imposed sanctions on China, they were able to convince the US within a week to lift all those sanctions.
After Zhou Enlai, the face of diplomacy of China was completely turned upside down. With the confidence that their economy has given them, the modern diplomats of China wanted to occupy the center stage. Arrogance replaced humility. They started boasting of their strength and started threatening others. They started to see any constructive criticism of China as a humiliation of China. Chinese diplomats started aligning with CPC’s propaganda in the lure of occupying the higher cadres. This kind of diplomacy may satisfy certain aspirations but on the whole China’s diplomacy might be a sinking ship.
China’s Entry in WTO
Initially, China was not a member of the WTO. It was the US that persuaded China to join the WTO in the hope that China would open its economy furthermore and at some stage, Democracy would prevail in China. Instead, the opposite had happened. With all the incentives that are offered by WTO under the category of “Developing country”, made China much more powerful in terms of economy and trade. This is one of the important accusations of Donald Trump about China.
There was heavy criticism of J Nehru on offering a permanent seat to China in the UNSC. But as I mentioned earlier, we can not dwell in the past and judge someone on their action. We can only act in the present and plan for the future. Some of the above behavioral shifts of China are proving costly to some countries and maybe China would also bear the brunt of the world in the future, if not immediately.
The one obvious fact is India shares a 4000km border with China. India was and is being a victim of spits of fire from this Dragon. One should acknowledge that India is no small power when compared to China and is well in its capacity to give a bloody nose when required. We can change our friends but we can not change our neighbors. China should understand it.
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Guest Author – Atreya A
I am Ek aam aadmi who likes normalcy. Teaching is my passion and being a teacher I experience a sparkle in my students’ eyes that only a teacher can see. My dream is that someday people study about me.