• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:47am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 3:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 5:53pm

China is not displaying contradictory impulses over its major policies

Many people look back longingly to China's recent past when it minded its own business and was too busy counterfeiting other people's products to worry about asserting sweeping territorial claims in maritime disputes with its neighbours.

It was following the famous dictum of Deng Xiaoping : "Keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead - but aim to do something big."

Not a few China "experts" in the West still hope Beijing hasn't completely turned its back on Deng's spiritual guidance. Among the more erudite of these experts is Christopher Johnson of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. In a new study titled Decoding China's Emerging "Great Power" Strategy in Asia, Johnson and his colleagues claim President Xi Jinping has no "fully fleshed out worldview" and that he is torn between making China the top dog in Asia and being a good neighbour. "The challenge is compounded," they wrote, "by the many seemingly contradictory policy inclinations that appear to be guiding Xi ... by the leadership's ostensible inability ... to sustainably reconcile the contending impulses to seek improvements in relations on China's periphery while simultaneously pushing hard to reinforce Beijing's sweeping territorial claims."

Actually, judging by China's recent behaviour in the East and South China Seas as well as the sustained crackdown on official corruption, Xi shows consistency rather than contradictory impulses. It's a deliberate move from a defensive posture to an overtly aggressive stance. That's pretty obvious when Beijing takes on Japan, the US, Vietnam and the Philippines. At the same time, Xi thinks nothing of cracking down on tens of thousands of "corrupt" cadres. In his China dream, he believes the nation deserves a far greater say in world affairs, especially in Asia, commensurate with its economic rise. He is taking enormous but calculated risks.

This has enormous consequences for Hong Kong. People like Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun may want Hong Kong to play chicken with Beijing, but their supporters should recalibrate their thinking in light of recent events and not blindly follow their leaders.

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This article is now closed to comments

impala
I am not sure how much more of this kind of stuff I can take before setting out, armed with a black marker, to newsstands all over Hong Kong. My mission would be to strike out the last three letters of the SCMP's masthead and replace them with [ropaganda].
Ant Lee
We all know why SCMP is wasting its space for this kind of twisted and untruthful article Only our corrupted communist party can feed people like you you Mr. Lo.
321manu
Xi is putting his foot down, and going on the offensive. But as Chaz suggests, some of it might come from some set of principles, but a good bit of it is just as a cover for purging political enemies real and imagined. It started with Bo Xilai, but hasn't ended there. Some of those being purged might actually be legit corrupt scuzbags, but I suspect corrupt but trusted friends of Xi are still sleeping well at night. SUch is the way of the CCP.
And to be sure, the CCP is taking over HK starting June 10. On the other hand, I don't expect dudes to get disappeared China style quite this soon in the process. Basic law is a fantasy, and the CCP dictate to the judges, but I doubt the CCP would unleash the full-on China treatment in the immediate future.
chaz_hen
The "Crackdown on corruption" is more like what happens when a new Mafia Don takes over the turf and begins eliminating the competition. Do you, Alex, truly believe the "crackdown" is going to really go after the truly filthy corrupt CCP goons (and family) in Zhongnanhai, like Grandpa Wen and Jia Qinglin?
What's more telling about Xi's attitude is the real crackdown: against human rights activists, lawyers advocating "rule of law" and constitutionalism, NGOs, independent religious organizations, and Hong Kong's "core values".
impala
Indeed. It is just the same old factional infighting. Although much better dressed up and thankfully not nearly as violent, it is not fundamentally different from the Mao-era purges. Kangaroo-courts, concerted media outrage, juicy details... it is all there again. Only this time, the excuse to put (perceived) enemies and competitors away is not 'counter-revolutionary ideas' but 'corruption.' How convenient.
johnyuan
Chinese culture loves contradiction. Chinese has a different value in seeing contradiction which almost embraces it as acceptable inevitability. Even Mao, a cultural revolutionist subjected to and embellished his thought upon the existence and acceptance of contradiction.
.
But the West political critics may should be more alert not to gross over China’s recent actions since Xi Jinping became its President. Xi definitely has a view of the world and China. Acceptance of conflict arises from contradiction as inevitable is definitely not so. Xi may very much like the West, contradiction is not to be embraced but to be removed (resolved). And I like it.
 
 
 
 
 

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