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World View: Xi Jinping Invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to Justify Military Action for China’s ‘Rejuvenation’

President Xi Jinping is now China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong
AFP

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Xi Jinping invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to justify military action for China’s ‘rejuvenation’
  • Xi Jinping stokes China’s nationalism with harsh threats to Taiwan and Hong Kong

Xi Jinping invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to justify military action for China’s ‘rejuvenation’

Framed portraits of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping hang above a TV screen showing President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)
Framed portraits of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping hang above a TV screen showing President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)

Analysts are saying that China has entered a new era with the recent meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), with president Xi Jinping becoming a dictator and the most powerful leader in China’s history, possibly even more power than Mao Zedong.

The most significant visible change is that the constitutional limit to two terms as president has been removed, essentially making Xi Jinping a dictator for life. Furthermore, the constitution was changed to incorporate “Xi’s thoughts.” Less visible, but related, is that Xi has been able to purge the government of most of his opposition, by accusing them of corruption. Xi is now in charge of all organs and branches of government, and cannot be challenged. Many people are excited by this development because they say that Xi has done so much to make China more powerful, and now can continue to do so.

However, many other people are pointing out that absolute dictators are not infallible gods. Hitler was an absolute dictator, but the Holocaust was a disaster for Germany as well as the world. Mao Zedong was an absolute dictator, but Mao’s Great Leap Forward resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of peasants from starvation and executions, which was a disaster for China. The problem is that absolute dictators are no different than you and me in the ability to make bad decisions, but when you and I make a bad decision then someone stops us, but no one stops an absolute dictator. Just as Mao could launch the disastrous Great Leap Forward without being questioned, Xi could launch a disastrous war without being questioned.

A good example of how delusional Xi is can be shown from this claim in his final speech to the NPC:

China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants, noting that all power in the country belongs to the people.

This does not even make sense. China is a “dictatorship,” but there is nothing “democratic” about it. All of China’s elections are predetermined, and peasants and workers are permitted to vote only for the chosen candidate.

Xi talks about the “rejuvenation” of China through “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” He calls this a “New Long March,” alluding the Mao Zedong’s Long March that began in 1934 and marked the beginning of the extremely bloody 16-year Chinese civil war. According to Xi:

China has continuously striven for its dream of realizing great national rejuvenation for over 170 years.

History has proved and will continue to prove that only socialism can save China. Only by sticking to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics can we achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Turning the grand blueprint for China into reality is new Long March. We need to uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China’s goal is to build a socialist, modern country by the middle of the 21st century.

The reference to “170 years” is very interesting because it reveals the core resentment and bitterness towards the West that guide Xi’s thinking. Xi and many Chinese blame China’s poverty and backwardness on the Opium Wars with Britain in the 1840s, 170 years ago. According to this view, China would already be a great nation, if it had not been forced into submission by Britain at that time.

Once again, this is totally delusional on the part of Xi and other Chinese. Since the 1840s, China has had two extremely destructive generational crisis wars – the Taiping Rebellion and Mao’s Communist Revolution – both of them civil wars, both of them enormously destructive to China, and neither of them the fault of Britain or anybody but the Chinese themselves. But the delusion of blaming everything on a war that occurred 170 years ago is extremely dangerous because it can be used to justify such things as annexing other countries’ regions in the South China Sea.

Xi added the following:

Since ancient times, the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become the greatest dream of the Chinese nation. The Chinese people are indomitable, and will persevere. They have the courage for bloody fights against their enemies, and they are determined to restore their former glory. Today the Chinese people are more confident and more capable, and closer than ever before of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

This is extremely ominous since Xi is justifying in advance any pre-emptive military attacks that he may decide to make. And being an absolute dictator means that the decision will be entirely his. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and China Daily and South China Morning Post and BBC and National Interest

Xi Jinping stokes China’s nationalism with harsh threats to Taiwan and Hong Kong

According to a new “ethnic identity poll” by Hong Kong University, 68 percent of the respondents identified themselves as “Hongkongers,” while only 31 percent identified themselves as “Chinese,” down 7 points from just six months ago. Among young people aged 18-29, only 0.3 percent consider themselves “Chinese.”

In the past, we have described polls that show that support in Taiwan for independence from China is growing each year, as younger generations grow older.

Xi Jinping addressed this problem in his speech:

We will continue to implement ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong, Macao people governing Macao, and high degree of autonomy in the special administrative regions.

We should continue to stick to one-China principle, 1992 Consensus and advance the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relations and expand the economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides.

Safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity, completely uniting China are Chinese people’s common goal and the country’s fundamental interests.

Every inch of the Chinese territory absolutely cannot be separated from China.

All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history.

Of course, these remarks are directed at the United States, especially after President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act last week, which allows high-level visits between American and Taiwanese government officials.

But Xi’s remarks are really directed at Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. Their purpose is to stoke nationalism in the Chinese people in order to prepare them for preemptive military action.

In 2005, China passed the Anti-Secession Law, which orders the army to invade Taiwan if any Taiwanese official makes any move toward independence, whether by word or by deed. Since then, Taiwan has made many moves toward independence, and Xi is signaling that he is losing patience. He is aware that time is not on his side, as younger generations in Taiwan are increasingly pro-independence.

As I described last year in “24-Oct-17 World View – Xi Jinping’s ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ is identical to Hitler’s National Socialism”, Xi is following the same path to total war that the Nazis followed, with the same inevitable disastrous results.

Xi’s claim of China’s humiliation in the Opium Wars to justify any Chinese action is similar to Hitler’s claim of Germany’s humiliation in World War I to justify any Nazi action.

Xi’s use of the Opium Wars to blame Britain for all of China’s troubles is the same as Hitler’s blaming the Jews in World War I for all of Nazi Germany’s troubles.

China has been preparing for war with the U.S. in every possible way. They have built large, illegal military bases in the South China Sea, and repeatedly lied about them. They have developed numerous nuclear-tipped ballistic and hypersonic missile systems designed to successfully strike and destroy American aircraft carriers, American cities, and American bases. They have demonstrated a capability to destroy American communications and GPS satellites. They have thousands of missiles ready to launch against Taiwan, and they have large military deployments in western Tibet ready to invade India.

Xi’s speech advances China’s war preparations by providing justifications for future military action, and by stoking nationalism to prepare the Chinese people for war. This war could begin next week, next month, next year, or whenever China wants. As China’s dictator, Xi Jinping will decide when this war will begin, and when he decides, there will be no one to stop him. Hong Kong Economic Journal (28-Dec) and Hong Kong University (27-Dec) and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and BBC and South China Morning Post

Related Articles:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Xi Jinping, National People’s Congress, NPC, Mao Zedong, Great Leap Forward, Opium Wars, Britain, Taiping Rebellion, Communist Revolution, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, University of Hong Kong, Taiwan Travel Act, Anti-Secession Law, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, National Socialism, Nazi
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