Weekend Edition January 4-6, 2013
What's the Big Deal?
The Irrational, Racist Fear of China
by ANDRE VLTCHEK
Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Libya are in shambles, crushed by the heavy boots of Western imperialism.
But we are told to fear China.
The entire nations of Indochina were bombed back to the stone age, because Western demi-gods would not tolerate, and felt they did not have to, tolerate, what some yellow un-people in Asia were really longing for. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos – millions of tons of bombs dropped on them from strategic B-52’s, from dive-bombers, and from jet fighters. The falling bombs rained on the pristine countryside, murdering children, women, and water buffalo – millions of people perished. No apologies, no admission of guilt, and no compensation came from the tyrant-nations.
Indonesia, the leader of the non-aligned world, with a huge constitutional Communist Party, was destroyed in the coup of 1965, through the alliance of Western governments, Indonesian fascist military and the elites, as well as religious bigots from the largest Muslim organization – NU. 2-3 million people died, including those belonging to the Chinese minority. Teachers, artists, thinkers – all killed or silenced. Here, imperialism created a submissive nation with almost no intellectual base; unable even to analyze its own downfall.
But now we are ordered to be conscious of China’s rise.
Latin America: raped again and again, from Mexico to the Dominican Republic, from Cuba to Granada, Panama, Haiti, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile. For years, decades and centuries. Almost all the countries in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, were ravaged at some point in history, by the racist and outrageous implementation of the “Monroe Doctrine”.
The latest coups against the progressive governments in Honduras and Paraguay were enacted under the ‘soft leadership’ of the liberal West’s supreme leader and ‘upholder of global democracy’ – President Barack Obama.
But it is China that has to be deterred, we are told! Not us – not the West – but China.
In the Middle East, entire kingdoms and emirates are bending over themselves, competing with each other over who will become the most subservient collaborator with Western business interests, who will place more US military bases on its soil, who will kill, arrest or torture more people – the opponents of global Western dictatorship.
But it is China, naturally, which is unacceptably endangering the European and North American’s inherited right, to reign over the world. Or to be precise, the ‘danger’ is shared among China, Russia and Latin America – three places that managed to wrestle themselves from Western shackles, and to embark on their own political, social, cultural and developmental paths. Whatever they are, but their own!
But China is the ‘worst’, because those Russkies and Latinos still look kind of white, or at least most of them do. But to imagine that the world’s most important country would be firmly placed in Asia would be unthinkable, unacceptable, and truly sacrilegious.
In Africa, which of course does not matter much, as it is, in the eyes of multi-nationals and the Western governments, inhabited by the lowest breed of ‘un-people’ (to borrow Orwell’s lexicon), entire enormous geographical areas and cultures had been plundered, divided, debilitated, virtually canceled. Ridiculous borders were erected, great people’s rulers like Patrice Lumumba of Congo, assassinated. Murderous maniacs such as Paul Kagame and Museveni were groomed in and by the West, armed and brought to power, then sent on various missions; to plunder and police on behalf of Western interests.
Congo lost some 10 million people during the reign of Belgian genocidal-king, Leopold II (now the national hero of Belgium, celebrated by countless statues all over Brussels). It is losing a similar amount of people now, as Washington and London’s military darlings from Rwanda and Uganda are invading freely, overthrowing governments and pillaging that vast and battered nation on their doorsteps.
Somalia is virtually no more – forcefully divided, and regularly invaded by Western allies – Kenya and Ethiopia. Europeans are dumping toxic waste near its coast and then appear to be outraged by the piracy – one more justification for the continuous militarization of the entire region. The proud ‘African Cuba’ – Eritrea – is being tortured by sanctions; while the country/military base called Djibouti has been glorified and pampered, standing as a polluted, frustrated and grotesque symbol of French and US militarism; of Western imperialism, in the region that gave birth to the human race.
In West Africa, in Algiers, in Angola and Namibia, in Congo and Somalia, and in dozens of other countries of Africa, tens of millions of people have been slaughtered by Western imperialists in the 20th and 21st Centuries. And the dreadful count was not any better in the preceding eras, with a direct holocaust against native populations, with genocides like the one performed by Germans in what is now Namibia, with slavery, torture, rape and the absolute disrespect for non-white human lives.
But would such a legacy make Western nations humble, reflective, and apologetic? Would there at least be some pathos of profound guilt that could give birth to hope for global reconciliation? No – far from that! There is no remorse in London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Washington, or in the French countryside, the US Midwest or South. Or if there is some, it is concentrated in small, mainly urban pockets, disconnected from the mainstream.
But it is China, which is now blamed for ‘doing business with African dictators’! And it is China whose guilt is being manufactured, inflated and implanted in the brains of people all over the world, by the Western propaganda apparatus, and by local media outlets, owned and ‘trained’ in the West.
For instance, a mining accident in Zambia, whenever some Chinese company is involved, the situation gets overblown to tremendous proportions. The result is that dozens of people who died due to negligence are put on the same scale as dozens of millions who perished because of savage Western imperialism, the slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism.
The same propaganda tactics are used all over the world. For instance, the Goethe Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia, not long ago, arranged a photo exhibition of Polish workers in Gdansk clashing with police, in the Solidarity days. Few people died then. But the Goethe Institute arranges no exhibitions commemorating the millions of Communists, atheists, intellectuals and Chinese people who died in 1965 and later, in Indonesia! It is almost like saying: “You see, those 3 million Indonesian lives had to be sacrificed, to prevent the scenario in which 30 people were later killed in Poland.” Interesting logic. But supported by mountains of cash, and it works!
In Oceania – in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia – the British, US, French, Spanish, German and other colonial masters, smashed and then reshaped the complex universe that used to belong to the proud people inhabiting tens of thousands of islands, islets and atolls of the South Pacific.
The local inhabitants were then pushed into slavery, effectively; their kingdoms, their geopolitical entities were first divided into colonies, and then into nation-states. Their leaders were killed, sidelined, threatened, and finally corrupted and bought.
Western nations fought battles over the islands, performed nuclear experiments on the local people, and then invented a so called ‘strategic deterrence doctrine’, making sure that no ‘enemy’ ships, no unsuitable ideas and anti-imperialist ideology would enter this tremendous universe, encompassed by an endless mass of water.
In the end, huge military bases were constructed; US, British and French; all sorts of toxic waste was dumped, and the pristine atolls like Kwajalein, were converted into missile testing grounds.
Waste, radiation, junk food; all led to countless medical emergencies, which became so great that only climate change and the consequent rising level of the seawater, could realistically be considered as a greater threat to the survival of the people and states of Oceania.
I lived in the South Pacific for more than 4 years, and I traveled and worked in all the countries there, except in Niue and Nauru. I wrote about the struggle of the islanders inhabiting the South Pacific in my non-fiction book Oceania.
Several countries – Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, as well as the various islands and atolls now belonging to other states – are rapidly becoming uninhabitable. The seawater is rolling over their low-lying land, and the vegetation is dying.
The West, which is responsible for most of the pollution, the carbon dioxide emission and global warming, has been doing close to nothing to save these countries from vanishing.
The foreign aid the US, EU, Australia and New Zealand are donating, is often as damaging as the poisonous gasses themselves. It is habitually being used to corrupt local government officials; to fly them around the world, embedding the so called ‘per-diem mentality’. Tamed and corrupt, the local rulers don’t demand real compensation and real solutions for their suffering countries. ‘Foreign aid’ is also being used to pay for foreign experts to visit, to ‘analyze’ and to write countless and mostly futile reports. All that, just in order to create the perception that something is being done: and just to make sure that nothing ever will!
The people of Oceania do not want to be evacuated; most of them want to fight for the survival of their islands. I talked to them: in Kiribati, Tuvalu, FSM, RMI and elsewhere. But the West and local governments are insisting on idiotic evacuation schemes, for many unsavory reasons.
At one point, China began helping, in the spirit of internationalism; the way a socialist country should. It rolled up its sleeves and started to construct schools, hospitals, government buildings, roads, and stadiums, as well as protective walls and other heavy infrastructure, designed to defend endangered populated areas.
The West immediately attacked all those efforts, injecting nihilism, dragging through dirt everything pure and decent. The first stage of Western propaganda, the same that has been used in Africa and elsewhere, consisted of the barrage of negative messages that China does ‘nothing altruistically, ever’; it simply follows its dark self-interests and designs.
‘Philosophical’ and propaganda punch lines are predictable and simple: “If we are shits, if our culture sends us to plunder and enslave the world, then humanity should be convinced that others have the same essence as we do. This way, what we are doing would not be seen as extraordinary. We are all human, all the same!”
It is rubbish, of course, and even people like Gustav Jung saw Western culture as exceptionally aggressive, as some sort of pathology. But, as was proven many times by Western propagandists like Joseph Goebbels and Rupert Murdoch, if propaganda is repeated 1,000 times, and if we corrupt/pay enough people all over the world to repeat what we tell them to, the rubbish converts itself to shining diamonds of truth, and eventually to unchallengeable common wisdom.
But back to China and Oceania:
When the blitzkrieg of discrediting China failed to work, or at least it failed in the countries benefiting from China’s assistance, the West invented a unique strategy: it went to Taipei and began ‘encouraging’ Taiwan’ to get ‘involved’. The Taiwanese were willing and ready, and began offering bribes to the leaders of Oceania, in exchange for the recognition of Taiwan as an independent country. Once Taiwan is ‘recognized’, something that even US or EU refuse to do, on most occasions China (PRC) retaliates by breaking diplomatic relations.
And that was, most definitely, the plan of the old sly colonial powers.
While countries that stuck with China, like Samoa, got their protective seawalls, stadiums and Parliament buildings constructed in solidarity and with socialist optimism, countries like Kiribati, a place that could be easily described as one of the true basket cases in Oceania, were flooded with Taiwan-inflicted nihilism. Cash flowed in, but not to the people; into the deep pockets of the government.
While entire small countries in Oceania are near extinction, their leaders, mostly groomed and trained in Australia and the US, are busy selling their UN votes: voting in support of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, in support of US invasions all over the world, or against the environmental resolutions that could have a direct and positive effect on the plight of their countries!
“One day I was besieged by an Israeli television crew”, I was told by a priest in the capital of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). “The Israeli public wanted to know: who are these creatures that are constantly voting in support of Israel, alongside the US and against the entire world?”
Well, the same ones that welcome Taiwanese battleships, and their crews that play national anthems on the beaches, and march all over the place like maniacs, holding flags!
And, by the way, those who think that China cannot act altruistically, should read Fidel Castro, and his powerful and grateful words, describing how Cuba got rescued by the Chinese nation, following Gorbachev’s fit of madness and Yeltsin’s Western-encouraged, glorified alcoholic orgy, with the destruction of the USSR and several dreadful years of unopposed plunder of the world by the Western Empire, as its aftermath.
When the Chinese media interviews me, I am often asked the same question: “What can China do to appease the West”.
And my reply is always the same: “Nothing!”
Western propaganda is not looking for objective ways to analyze China; it is not looking for China’s good-will. It is there, to twist and to harm any country that insists on its own development model, on serving its own people instead of submissively succumbing to the interests of the West, and those of multinational companies.
The West tries to destroy socialist China as it had been trying to destroy Vietnam, during what is called in Asia, “The American War”. As it expended a tremendous effort to ruin Moscow, right from the 1917 Revolution, till the very end. As it tried to destroy all the countries that insisted on their own principles: Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, Eritrea, and Iran before Shah, to name just a few.
Some, like North Korea, were first ravaged and then pushed to the extreme, forced to radicalize and then ridiculed and paraded on television screens as some freak example of Communist gaga-land.
What the West has in store for China is clear, and it is not much different from its designs during the Opium War. The perfect scenario would be a crippled, divided and submissive, West-admiring nation. The best ruler would be some Chinese Yeltsin who would agree to commit treason, break the country to pieces, open it to oligarchs and foreign interests, cancel all social aspirations and bomb the Parliament full of the people’s representatives that still believe in socialism.
Then we could ‘do business with China’, and give it full ideological and propaganda support.
My usual advise to the Chinese media is: “Use numbers! Numbers are on your side.”
But it appears that China’s propagandist team is no match to Western apparatchiks.
China is too timid, too soft, as actually almost the entire world is, compared to the Western political and economic gangsters.
In a series of deadly strokes, the West can bomb a country, poison its people with depleted uranium, impose sanctions that kill hundreds of thousand of defenseless women and children, then bomb the place once again, invade it, plunder it, and make sure that its own companies will make billions in a reconstruction process that actually shows no concrete results.
Such an approach cannot be matched by anybody; neither by China nor by the Soviet Union, which always made sure that its satellite states had higher standards of living than Moscow!
If China doesn’t do it, let me do it, in brief. Let’s use numbers and show to the world, especially to those ‘concerned’ Western citizens, how China is really doing. Let’s compare. And let’s do it on a per capita basis, the only fair way.
How many people were murdered by the West beyond its boundaries, since WWII; in the Arab World, in Asia Pacific, in Africa, Latin America, Oceania; actually almost everywhere. I calculated, and my conservative estimate is between 50 and 60 million. Well over 200 million in indirect actions.
China – a few thousand, during its punitive and erroneous invasion of Vietnam, after Vietnam liberated Cambodia from Khmer Rouge. But that was the worst China ever did! And it withdrew rapidly. And it never bombed Vietnam to the stone-age!
So if, let’s say, the Chinese invasion took 10,000 lives, the West killed at least 5,000 times more people than China. Simple math, isn’t it?
How many governments that the West overthrew, including those that were elected through painstaking and enthusiastic democratic processes? I don’t have the patience to go through all of them: Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Zaire, Paraguay, and dozens of others. Basically, any government that Western companies and politicians did not approve of, went up in flames.
The West really gave the world great lessons in democracy!
But let’s continue our comparisons.
Who is vetoing UN resolutions on Palestine and on other key international issues?
Who puts itself out of the reach of international courts of justice, even threatening to invade Netherlands in case its citizens are brought to the international court in The Hague?
Who is the greatest polluter, on a per capita basis? China does not even match the Scandinavian nations, and it becomes the number two environmental threat, after US, only if the absolute numbers are applied, a totally bizarre way to utilize statistics. To use the same logic, one would conclude: ‘there are more people smoking in France than in Monaco’.
Even the former US Vice-President, Al Gore, hardly a China lover, wrote that China has tougher environmental laws than US.
But let’s return to defense, to that ‘threat’ which China is allegedly posing to the rest of the world.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI 2012 Yearbook), The United Sates, with a population of 315 million, spends (officially) approximately 711 billion dollars on military expenditure. Many analysts insist that the number is really over 1 trillion dollars; others say that the amount is even higher than that, but incalculable, because of a complex and non-transparent interaction between the government and private sector. But let us stick to official numbers and accept, for argument’s sake, the lowest estimate of 711 billion dollars.
Close allies of US are all great spenders as well; they all zealously shop for their nukes, missiles and jet fighters: The UK with 63 million people spends 62.7 billion dollars on ‘defense’. France with 65 million people spends 62.5 billion. Japan with 126 million people, forks out 59.3 billion, although, officially it does not even have an army. Two of the closest Western allies in the Middle East, are even more radical:
Saudi Arabia with 28 million people spends 48.2 billion dollars, and Israel with population of only 8 million, spends 15 billion, proportionally similar amounts.
China, the most populous country on earth, with 1,347 million people, spends 143 billion dollars, approximately as much as UK and France combined, but with over 10 times more people to defend!
On a per capita basis, the US is spending over 21 times more on defense than China. UK more than 9 times and Saudi Arabia more than 16 times!
And one has to wonder: Who do France and the UK ‘defend’ themselves from? Could it be Andorra, Monaco or Ireland? Or maybe that outlying bit of Europe, Iceland?
In contrast, China, which was attacked on several occasions; which was occupied, colonized and plundered by Western powers, notably by the UK and France (whose barbarity in ransacking Beijing was legendary), now has hundreds of strategic bombers and nuclear missiles pointed at its face, from the directions of Okinawa and Guam, from the US fleets in the region, and from the bases in nearby former Soviet Central Asian Republics.
The US, in defiance of the constitution of the Philippines, is conducting military exercises at the Clark base and other military installations on the territory of its former colony. It has a heavy military presence in South Korea, just a stone’s throw from China, and is making overt and covert overtures towards Vietnam, trying to, bizarrely; lease some its old bases, which were last used during the war. And it is no secret that Mongolia is now one of the staunchest Western allies, with thousands of kilometers of a long border with China.
What justifies such contrasting military expenditures between the West and China?
The answer is – nothing! Like in the case of the “Monroe Doctrine”, the West does not need some silly justifications. Its presumption of racial and cultural superiority, unpronounced but assumed, seems to suffice in silencing all internal skeptics and critics.
The elites, ‘intellectuals’ and media in most of the world are trained and paid to kneel and bow to that obvious but unchallenged farce.
What I am doing here; asking all these questions, is not only unacceptable in Europe and US, it is considered impolite!
And China, many times a victim of Western aggressions, now finds itself on the defensive, accused of ‘flexing its muscle’, despite its disproportionally low defense budget and almost no history of invasions and imperialism.
China is portrayed as a threat, when shoulder-to-shoulder it stands with most of the progressive Latin American nations and with Russia, blocking UN resolutions designed to open the door to the Western invasion of Syria.
In the eyes of the Western regime, to try to prevent an invasion, amounts to a supreme crime, almost akin to terrorism. Countries that are standing in its way become vilified through the most vitriolic propaganda.
One has to recall that the same rhetoric was used by Nazi Germany, during the war. Members of any resistance, partisans, and opposing forces – were all called terrorists. And who can forget those colorful insults reserved for the nations that were about to be attacked! Or for the Soviet Union that faced Nazis, finally defeating them!
According to my investigations in the region, Western forces are training not only ‘Syrian opposition’, but also Saudi and Qatari jihadists and mercenaries, in so called ‘refugee camps’ in Turkey, near Hatay, and at the US air force base in Adana.
But who will forgive China, Russia and Latin America for trying to prevent yet another Libya-style, horror scenario?
And then, there are those Spratly Islands; that tour de force of Western propaganda!
The Spratly Islands could actually be the only proof that China is ‘flexing its muscle’, or that it is ready to defend its interests.
The Government of the Philippines, a former US colony, is at the fore-front of harsh criticism directed at China.
I went to talk to Philippine academia, to top scholars in Manila, and I managed to speak to several of them.
Opinions were generally similar, summarized by Roland G. Simbulan, Senior Fellow and Professor in Development Studies and Public Management at the University of the Philippines, explained:
“Frankly speaking, those Spratly Islands are not so significant to us. What’s happening is that our political elites are clearly encouraged by the US to provoke China, and there is also a big influence of the US military on our armed forces. I would say that the Philippine military is very vulnerable to such type of ‘encouragement’. So the US is constantly nurturing those confrontational attitudes. But to continue with this type of approach could be disastrous to our country. Essentially we are very close to China, geographically and otherwise.”
In Vietnam, the US clearly exploits old rivalries, pitching two socialist states against each other.
Then the human rights issue.
Again, let’s compare.
There are more people in jail in US than in China. Not just more, but incomparably more.
According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the US has the highest number of people in prisons, than anywhere in the world: 730 per 100,000 of population! Out of 221 countries and territories from which data was collected, China ranks 123th, with 121 prisoners per 100.000 of population. That’s six times less than the US, and even less than Luxembourg (ranks 120th with 124 prisoners per 100,000 of population) or Australia (ranks 113th with 129 prisoners per 100,000 population).
It is a known fact that in the US, many prisons are privatized and prisoners are basically held as free or cheap labor. If it is not a violation of human rights, to hold millions of people in jail, for minor offenses, just in order to keep the coffers of private companies full, then what is?
The use of torture is accepted and used by US interrogators all over the world.
China still executes more people than the US, even on a per capita basis, which is unfortunate, but the number of executions in China is decreasing, as is being reduced, the number of crimes punishable by death.
But while the death penalty in China is often mentioned in connection with human rights violations, it is rarely stated that the US is applying extra-judicial executions in several parts of the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it uses so-called drones, to arbitrarily target terrorist suspects, including women and children.
And what about the main propaganda chip – Tibet? If we compare the situation there to that in the territories ruled by the Western allies, like Indonesia and India, we come to very uncomfortable conclusions.
Indian rule over Kashmir can only be described as outright carnage; Indonesian rule over Papua, with over 120,000 people killed (a very conservative estimate) is nothing short of genocide.
But India and Indonesia are never described as nations that should be deterred because of the record of gross violations of human rights. Nor are the Western nations for their endless crimes against humanity on all continents.
Are human rights only for those at home? Are 50, 60 or even 200 million that West murdered mostly in poor countries, not ‘human’?
To claim that there is no racism in the way China is perceived would be ludicrous.
I have friends, otherwise sensible and progressive men and women, who, when China is mentioned, close their ears and begin to scream: “No, I never want to go there. It is terrible!”
Communist, socialist, or capitalist, the success of Asian nations is never taken lightly in the West.
Who can ever forget the sarcasm and ‘mistrust’ directed towards Japan when it bypassed, economically and socially, most of the European nations. And until now, when someone mentions that Singapore has many social indicators that are better than those in Australia, he or she is immediately countered by derogatory outbursts, directed at the tropical city state.
Both Singapore and Japan are staunch Western allies and highly-developed market economies integrated in the global capitalist system.
China is different. It is developing its own model; it is clearing and creating its own path through unknown territory. It is unwilling to follow orders from others. It is too big, its culture too old.
In the past, like Japan, China was closed, living in its own realm, never externally aggressive, with no expansionist ambitions.
Westerners arrived and forced it to open. What followed were bloodbaths and deceits, confusion and a long period of national humiliation and stagnation.
Then came the struggle for independence, and revolution. Not easy, not smooth, but China once again grew, began rising to its feet, educating its people, housing and healing the poor.
It went its own way; a complex way of balancing between its own culture and global conditions, between socialism and the capitalist reality that is dominating the world.
It experienced some setbacks but many more accomplishments. And it did not really ‘rise’; it just began regaining its rightful place in the world, the place that was denied to it for so long, after years of plunder and debilitating invasions.
It is generally a benign nation inhabited by kind hearted people. Almost all those that know China, agree on that.
But it is also an extremely determined and proud nation. It is wise, and in search of harmony, always willing to compromise.
To try to corner it, to provoke it, to attack it, would be insane, and almost suicidal. This time China will not yield, not when essential issue are involved. There is still the fresh memory there, of what happened when it did.
The West, blinded by the fear that it could lose the privileges of the dictator, is doing the unthinkable: sticking an iron rod into the dragon’s mouth. Here in Asia, dragons are respected and loved – mythical creatures of great wisdom and power.
But dragons can also be fierce when good-will is broken, and invaders are threatening to ravage the nation.
China is growing and trying to understand the world, to interact with it. Its people are enthusiastic about what they see; they want to make friends.
The West is acting in the most antagonistic way: once again triggering an arms race, spreading the most vitriolic propaganda, corrupting entire nations in Asia and Oceania into adopting an anti-Chinese stand.
Understandably, the West did not sacrifice all those millions of people, all around the world, just to abandon its dictatorial and exclusive grip on power. It did not destroy dozens of freedom-seeking countries; it did not bomb tens of millions to oblivion, just to back up now.
In the future, confrontation cannot be excluded, and it is clear who will be at fault.
China will not abandon its course. There will be no Chinese Yeltsin. By standing firm, China is showing an example to the world.
As these words are being written, Latin America is resisting and winning. Russia is resisting while searching for its own direction. And others may join. Africa is dreaming about resisting, but still does not dare; still too damaged. Arab countries dare, but have yet to decide in which direction to place their dreams.
But discontent with the boots crashing freedom is growing. And China is not the one who is wearing them.
The irrationality and racism of the West may backfire.
Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific – Oceania – is published by Lulu. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear” (Pluto). After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website.