Observations of an Expat: Happy Birthday CCP

There were massed choirs, bands, marching soldiers, clapping children, thousands and thousands of red and yellow balloons and a military flypast. Some 72,000 hand-picked and thoroughly vetted party members packed into Beijing’s Tianmen Square to perform a carefully choreographed warm-up act for a speech by President Xi Jinping to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party.

The main thrust of Xi’s address was that the Communist Party was now China and China was the Communist Party. The two entities have been declared indivisible. The Mandate of Heaven has fallen on the shoulders of the party’s leadership and that the only way that China can continue to develop and take its natural leading place in the world is through dogged loyalty to the diktats of the Chinese Communist Party.

And beware, warned Xi, of anyone who gets in their way. “We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China. Anyone who tries will find themselves on a collision course with a steel wall forged by 1.4 billion people.”

The threatening passage was clearly aimed at the US and its Allies. It won the biggest cheer of the day. It was meant to.

It was preceded by a sister passage that painted a picture of a benevolent Chinese Communist Party (China) on the world stage. “We have never,” said Xi, “bullied, oppressed or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will.”

Rubbish. And if you want testimonies to that effect go to Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, The Sino-Indian border, the South China Sea, the East China Sea….

The Chinese have been oppressing and subjugated other cultures and countries since The Shang Dynasty sprang into being in the Yellow River Valley roughly 3,000 years ago. Since then, a series of Emperors have claimed cultural superiority to justify an almost continuous expansion of their borders.

Xi does not call himself an emperor. He is a president, but that is mere political semantics. In the eyes of the Chinese people the mandate of heaven has fallen on his shoulders just as it did on the shoulders of the Shang’s first emperor Cheng Yang. An emperor, after all, rules over an empire. And an empire is defined as a political unit in which one country rules over others.

Possibly one reason that the Chinese Communist Party (China) does not think pf themselves in imperial or oppressive terms is that they were themselves victims of European imperialism and the Chinese Communist Party is viewed as the political antidote that saved them from the Western oppressors. Also, in pre-colonial days the Chinese saw themselves as bringing the fruits of Han-inspired Chinese civilisation to benighted barbarians. Now they convey the joys of Chinese socialism.

Another factor is that the Chinese Empire is contiguous. They weren’t global colonisers in the same way as many of the Europeans. They were expanding their borders and civilising their neighbours.

In that respect the Chinese have much in common with arch enemy America. They both claim to be anti-imperialist while having created contiguous empires. They claim that they don’t subjugate or oppress. Tell the Native Americans that. Archaeologists and Anthropologists reckon that there were 15 million Native Americans in North America when Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. At the end of the 19th century there were 385,000 consigned to wretched poverty on government reservations.

The Americans invented a name for their actions: Manifest Destiny. It was their destiny to rule the continental United States and to bring the benefits of civilisation, Christianity, democracy and capitalism to the Red savages.

Both countries are endowed with a strong self-belief backed up with success stories to justify those beliefs. The danger is that unless a political understanding can be reached which accommodates the two countries they will inevitably and violently clash. The United States already dwarfs every other country in the word in military power. Xi Jinping told his audience in Tiananmen Square that China would be able to match America’s military might by the end of the decade.

* Tom Arms is the Foreign Editor of Liberal Democratic Voice. His book “America Made in Britain” has recently been published by Amberley Books. He is also the author of “The Encyclopaedia of the Cold War.”

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13 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 3rd Jul '21 - 9:07am

    Interesting article. However I do think your view that Taiwan falls into the definition of ‘any other country’ is not borne out by the reality of the situation. Taiwan, in those days called Formosa, was the one part of China not to be taken over by Communist forces when the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949. The previous Chinese government continued to claim to be the legitimate government of the whole of China from its base on the island and continued to occupy the Chinese seat at the UN for over two decades after the revolution. The Chinese Communist Party continues to view Taiwan as a rebel province that is part of China and have made it clear that any Declaration of Independence will trigger war.

  • Paul Barker 3rd Jul '21 - 10:05am

    Also when we talk of the CCP, the millions of Members dont have any say in its policies, China is ruled by, at most, a few hundred very Old Men.

    A slight quibble on North America, the vast majority of the deaths among the Pre-Columbian Population were down to disease & would have happened even if the Europeans had stuck to peaceful trade. With a couple of very minor exceptions The Americas were cut off from Eurasia/Africa for 10,000 Years, maybe a lot more. The larger landmass bred a lot more disease variants & developed wider immunities. It was a Historic Tragedy waiting to happen.

  • John Marriott 3rd Jul '21 - 11:03am

    Check the label on your t shirt or the small print on that electrical appliance you recently bought – and most other things for that matter – and the chances are it will say ‘Made in China’. Surely THAT’S the real problem. Put aside the geopolitics and the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan and the people of Tibet for a moment. What OUGHT to worry us is how much in hock we literally are to Communist China. Even that stylish new MG 4×4 was made there, the manufacturer having acquired the intellectual property rites to Rover/MG a few years ago from those asset strippers who picked it up for a song when the successor to British Leyland went to the wall.

    We could start the fight back by insisting that all British made products are clearly labelled as such. Why not with a Union Jack thus giving the customer a clear choice? Better still, we could once again start making more things over here and not charging the earth for them. I grant you that it will be difficult to match China for price, or any other Asian country for that matter; but perhaps a dose of patriotism would not be misplaced for once.

    With China attempting to buy up all the precious minerals in continents like Africa, it’s time the west, and the US in particular, woke up to what has been happening. It used to be the Japanese undercutting home grown products. Now things have moved on. Authoritarian government allied with ruthless capitalist efficiency equals, it would seem, an unbeatable combination!

    You have been warned!

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Jul '21 - 12:03pm

    @John Marriott
    “What OUGHT to worry us is how much in hock we literally are to Communist China.”
    I think we should worry about this as well as China’s authoritaranism/totalitarianism.

    The great deity of the free market seems to have resulted in countries ignoring almost totally security of supply issues.

  • Yeovil Yokel 3rd Jul '21 - 12:09pm

    If one assumes that the phrase “….on a collision course with a steel wall….” is an accurate translation of President Xi’s words, then I wonder if this is a coded warning to the British Govt. in particular. During the 1839-42 First Opium War (which gave rise to the establishment of Hong Kong as a British colony and set a precedent for growing Western domination over China for the rest of the 19th century), the Royal Navy thoroughly humiliated the Chinese Navy, Emperor and nation. The current Chinese Govt. are clever strategists and think many decades ahead about the future global role of their country – they also have very long memories.

    Now, some 180 years after their first one-sided encounter, and as the Royal Navy carrier group tasked with projecting ‘Global Britain’s’ power and reach approaches the disputed waters of the South China Sea after a long absence, could the Chinese take the opportunity to manufacture a military skirmish in which the Royal Navy are portrayed as the weak agents of a much-declined former Western imperial power? As John Marriott writes above, China is now a global superpower and THE regional superpower, and it could bolster its reputation relatively risk-free by humiliating one of its former masters.

  • Ronald Murray 3rd Jul '21 - 2:49pm

    I saw the whole thing as a sickening performance in a totalitarian state. Reminiscent of the Nazi’s the goose stepping the flags. While the Tibet is occupied and oppressed along with the Muslim minority along with Hong Kong reputed execution vans touring China to harvest organs from prisoners. While massacring wildlife and donkeys in Africa.
    The other great problem has already been mentioned the way British and other Western businesses have transferred and sold off all our manufacturing to China. As an apprentice all the telecom and electrical systems I worked on were made in Britain and later jobs Germany. Now all gone and made in China. They own us even from a strategic point of view it hobbles us.

  • John Marriott 3rd Jul '21 - 3:51pm

    @Ronald Murray
    You are SO right. So why on earth have we allowed ourselves to get into this position? Two reasons might be greed and complacency. Is it now too late to reverse the process?

  • George Thomas 3rd Jul '21 - 4:03pm

    “We could start the fight back by insisting that all British made products are clearly labelled as such. Why not with a Union Jack thus giving the customer a clear choice?”

    The UK government sponsored The Royal Welsh Show and did that raising concerns about “muscular unionism” or, asking another person, making one nation subject to the dominion of another. Perhaps not in the same style or league but a risky path to go down.

  • John Marriott 4th Jul '21 - 12:48pm

    @George Thomas
    I see that Labour’s Rachel Reeves is now banging on about ‘Made in Britain’. She would appear to be talking about big contracts etc. I’m talking about the little things. I’ve just bought a step counter from you know where. It cost around £19, the firm selling it claimed to be British; but guess where it was made?

    Why are you so afraid of ‘flying the flag’? Is that too ‘illiberal’? What I’m advocating isn’t ‘My Country Right or Wrong’ (Mr Arms might remember those fender stickers from the early 1970s in the country of his birth) but rather ‘My Country can’. And why not?

  • David Sheppard 4th Jul '21 - 3:02pm

    John Marriot as a Business owner It sickens me to see how much product is sourced from China. It’s not right and down to the greedy idiots that are allowed to go to the cheapest source of product totally without any care or thoughtfulness. I’m all for free trade but it has to be on the basis of China Changing to a multi party system if not we should introduce staged withdrawal of good Will and trade.

  • The well-known use of the term “new world order” was in connection with the Fourteen Points by Woodrow Wilson after the World War I and during the creation of the League of Nation. The World War I had highlighted the need to create a safer world for democracy. Wilson proposed a new world order which was to transcend the usual great power politics. He emphasized the need to collectively enhance security, democracy, and self-determination.
    The United Nations was at the centre of the post 1945 settlement. With the end of the cold war and the Liberation of Kuwait from occupation by Iraq, Bush senior proclaimed a new world order. Bush seniors idea can be summarized into three major aspects; the offensive use of force, collective security, and great power cooperation. The Gulf Crisis was seen as a major contributing factor to the development and implementation of the new world order. Before then, the concept of new order remained complex and unproven. The Gulf War was considered a test case for the UN’s credibility and a model for countering the aggressors. The US was to act in a way that the rest of the world would trust during the war and thus get the support of the UN. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the new world order became more prominent, and was an important factor in the Bosnia intervention.
    The detente reached between Gorbachev and the US administration ignored the events of 1989 in Tiananmen square when the Chinese Communist Party clearly displayed it was intent on going its own way.
    More than a century on from Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points at the Versailles peace conference, we are still struggling to create a safer world for democracy.

  • John Marriott 4th Jul '21 - 6:15pm

    Joe Bourke’s reference to President Woodrow Wilson conveniently ignores the fact that, between his Fourteen Points and the founding of the founding of the United Nations after WW2 came the League of Nations, which, following the US decision to revert to isolationism by refusing to join, was left a virtual toothless tiger, which, together with the injustices of what many now regard to be the unjust settlement of the Treaty of Versailles, made it impossible to avoid the conflict of 1939 to 1945.

    Since then, many of the events on the world stage could be viewed as largely missed opportunities, not unlike those between the two world wars.

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