Opinion | 'Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow?' -- sleepwalking into another war
By Philip Yeung, a university teacher
Australia is a weird and wonderful country. Within 15 years, it elected two national leaders who are both fluent Chinese speakers, Kevin Rudd and now Anthony Albanese. No other Western country boasts this kind of China expertise at the very top. Boris Johnson's mumbled Chinese is only for saving his skin in parliament. Between the two China experts, Australia's Scott Morrison behaved like he was born to hate China, a figurative "bull in a china shop". He has the tact of a barroom bouncer.
Albanese's election has no doubt cheered Chinese hearts, especially with a new foreign minister Penny Wong by his side, who is of Chinese descent. Except in the West, high officials with Chinese blood carry an unwanted political baggage. Automatically, they come under suspicion as being pro-China and must constantly prove their anti-China credentials. Just ask Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of International Trade who when recently visiting India pointedly declared that from now on, India will replace China as Canada's major trading partner. Canadian ministers of Indian descent are never required to pass the litmus test of loyalty to their adopted country. What a sorry fate for their Chinese-born peers.
For Australia, any leader is better than Morrison. Albanese can even swear in Chinese, but his Chinese linguistic skills had made him an easy target for Morrison who accused him of harboring Chinese sympathies.
Even as China experts, Kevin Rudd and Anthony Albanese don't possess 20-20 vision on China, because the speed of the country's utter transformation has baffled many specialists. The China of today has never existed in its 5000-year history.
China is a complex country. It is much more than the sum of American accusations. But this doesn't stop Western leaders from gorging on America's anti-China untruths. They see China as one-dimensional, communist, and therefore a threat to world peace, when China's only sin is in being too successful for America's liking. Number One begrudges the success of an upstart Number Two, pure and simple. China has altered and authored its own destiny. The rest is just American jealousy.
Gullible Western politicians take to calling China a threat to the global rule-based order. This is utterly ridiculous. Whose rule-based order is it? And which rule, specifically, has China breached?
The answer is: none. It is the only major power not to have invaded another country, or annexed an inch of foreign territory. Its soldiers only go overseas under UN peace-keeping flags. China has a squeaky-clean record as a global player.
That being the case, America and its allies can only go after China's soft underbelly, its domestic politics—funding unrest in Hong Kong whose umbilical cord to Britain has never been cut, alleging oppression in Xinjiang and trying to taunt China into war over Taiwan. These three domestic pieces fit into one sinister geopolitical puzzle.
The truth about language is that once you have coined a concept, it has a body. The trumped-up charges are given a name, and that name sticks and stains like mud. Words like "genocide" packs an emotional punch. All you have to do is to point and paint China as an oppressor and a menace to world peace. America is the ticking time bomb—it has been ticking and exploding, all over the world, for more than half a century. If it is not naked invasion, it is euphemistic "regime change". The US tears up the world's rule-based order. The accused has become the accuser.
The UN Human Rights Chief is finally making a visit to Xinjiang. But, even before she sets foot in China, cynics are sneering that she is part of China's "white-washing" effort.
China can't do anything right. It's damned if you do and damned if you don't. China is right to be wary about foreigners poking around in Xinjiang. Who knows what more lies America will cook up, if the visits are totally unsupervised. Besides, opening up your territory to external inspection is itself a national indignity, as if to say, you are guilty until proven innocent. Would America tolerate foreign investigations into its racist killings in Buffalo and other cities?
Already, Biden is throwing a grenade into Asia-Pacific relations, whipping up war hysteria, pow-wowing with AUKUS and QUAD allies for its next mischief. He has crossed a thin red line and provocatively declared that the US would come to Taiwan's defense if it is attacked.
The last half century proves that the backbone of Chinese policy is defensive neutrality. Trigger-happy America is the bully trying to goad China into war. Wherever the US pivots, trouble follows.
NATO and EU are barking up the wrong tree. It is blood-hound America that must be kept on a very short leash. Don't learn the wrong lesson from the Ukraine war.
So much for rule-based behavior. A country at peace is painted as the aggressor-to-be, and the serial aggressor can sit in judgment and go full-throttle in war-mongering. The blood of a million dead Iraqis is barely dry on America's hands.
The deep-seated mistrust of China is partly due to its ideological label and partly because of the East-West culture divide. China is communist, but people forget it is also bone-deep Confucianist and ultra-rationalist. China is a major power, but it has no interest in being the top dog. China is not in a race against America. It is in a race against itself.
Reject the devil's logic against China. One day, the world may wake up to a far greater threat from a nuclear-armed India with a big-power complex than a China minding its own business.
Can Albanese be the voice of reason and short-leash America? Can Australia be the umpire keeping peace rather than an American accomplice in another needless war? Is he up to the challenge of the century? The next Nobel Peace Prize awaits.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
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