What is China doing to jeopardize international security? How is it destabilizing the power balance? The answers to these questions lie in six significant factors.
At present, the world is suffering from the tremendous challenge of Covid-19 pandemic but a challenge more serious than the pandemic, is the rise of communist China as a superpower. The magnitude of this challenge will continue to increase as China becomes more and more powerful each day. But how is China a danger to world peace and stability? What is it doing to jeopardize international security? How is it destabilizing the power balance? The answers to these questions lie in six significant factors.
1. Iron Curtain of Secrecy
Communist China is a land behind the iron curtain of secrecy; what China is planning and how it is going to execute its intentions remains hidden until its impact spills over to the world. As is well known, in China, the freedom of expression of the individuals and freedom of the press is entirely in the hands of the Chinese Communist government. The authorities ruled by Communist Party continue to silence the voice of citizens and curb press freedoms
according to their comfort. As a result, it is difficult to get independent accounts of any event or incident in China. An excellent example of this was seen in the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic. China pushed the entire humanity to the brink by not warning the international community about the outbreak of coronavirus. At the same time, the claims of artificially created pandemic can not be fully refuted. There are enough claims that Wuhan Virus leaked from Wuhan Institute of Virology and spread across the world. Further, the efforts of Chinese authorities to hide all news and information related to coronavirus looks sinister. When doctors like Li Wangliang tried to bring the outbreak into notice, Chinese authorities pressured them to into silence.
Communist China is the epitome of expansionism. It strongly believes in expanding its land and sea frontiers to the maximum. This is the reason that it claims territories of 18 neighboring countries. Currently, China has maritime dispute with Taiwan,
Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Singapore and Brunei while land dispute with India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Russia. To strengthen its position and occupy surrounding territories, China is also expanding its military might. The result is a 'security dilemma' in east China Sea, south China Sea, south Asia and Indo-Pacific region. This is a condition in international relations when a country increases its military capabilities, thereby, posing a serious threat to the sovereignty and integrity of other countries. In response, these countries too scale up their military power and join military alliances for better balance of power in the region.
To counter China, several countries are gradually joining hands. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and India have established cordial military relations with United States. The recent military agreements of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) in 2018 and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020, signed between India and US are noteworthy to mention here. Moreover, Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between US, Japan, India and Australia has been formed to check Chinese aggression.
3. Capture the Market
China is pushing the world towards neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism by destroying local markets, using debt trap diplomacy, and through Belt and Road Initiatives. While it is a fact that neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism are the fallout of today’s globalized-capitalist economies but China uses this in a strategic and calculated manner to increase its entrenchment and control of markets. For example, China sells its goods at the cheapest prices that a consumer cannot ignore. It then gradually it occupies the entire market while flooding its items and replacing indigenous products. In this process it totally destroys local
supply chains of poor and developing countries making them completely dependent.
Additionally, China offers debt to poor countries at attractive rates ensnaring them into a debt trap. When becomes difficult to repay, the countries are then compelled to follow Chinese diktats and plans. In many cases, these countries have to relinquish land and sovereignty to Chinese aspirations. In lieu of its $20 billion debt, Pakistan is implementing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) ignoring the fact that China has colonized it in many ways through this corridor. Sri Lanka has surrendered its Hambantota port on lease for 99 years and Tajikistan has ceded 1000 square kilometers land to China in exchange of waiver of outstanding debt of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Furthermore, China has unveiled its Belt and Road Initiative to rejuvenate ancient silk route but in reality, it is nothing but a tiny episode of a larger picture of China to execute its policy of neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism to Asian, African and even European countries.
The emergence of China as a superpower is a threat to democracy. It is evident that communist China never accepted democracy in its country and crushed every voice raised for democracy. The horrible suppression of demand for democracy at Tiananmen Square in 1989 is just an instance. Recently, China illegally occupied Hong Kong and crushed the democratic voices. China today stands against the most accepted form of government. It attempts to present economic growth and personal freedoms in an 'either-or' equation setting a precedent for dictatorial formats of government and showcasing them as desirable.
5. Cyber Bully
China is a threat to international security as it is dragging the international system into
cyber warfare. According to a report of Foreign Policy magazine, the number of hacker army
personnel in China is estimated between 50,000 to 100,000. This hacker army performs cyber intrusions and attacks across the globe. Hackers placed in China disrupt the functioning of institutions and steal sensitive information of government and private organizations. During ongoing epoch, the data is the ultimate asset and China is also armed to steal it through its mobile companies and apps. Chines mobile companies such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and mobile apps developers, design the configuration and functioning in such a manner that the gadgets and apps do not work unless consumers agree to conditions. Hence, the data of customers becomes easily accessible to these apps and mobile companies. Numerous reports reveal that the companies provide this information to Chinese government that forms policies in consonance with such data. Similarly, these companies have devised ways like microchips, to steal customer data.
Recently, US administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese Tech giant Huawei amid allegation of spying. The Indian government banned more than a hundred Chinese apps because they were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, public order and defense of the country.
6. Serial Violator of Human Rights
China holds Human Rights in complete disregard. Leon Trotsky once said: "The
dictatorship of the Communist Party is maintained by recourse to every form of violence.”
This statement summarizes the case of present communist party regime in China. The communist party government uses every form of violence to gain, retain and expand its
power. The atrocities on Tibetan Buddhists, repression of Uighur Muslims and now choking the voice of dissent in Hong Kong are well known to the world. The communist government violates the human rights with impunity in the form of privacy breach, arbitrary arrests, restricted freedom of expression, association and profession of religion, maltreatment
in custody including abortion, torture and forced sterilization. Indeed, Chinese government
sees human rights as the existential threat.
At the domestic level, the communist Chinese government is violating human rights and at the international platform it is using its economic power to silence its critics thus, carrying out the most intense attack on global system of enforcing human rights. In fact, China has become a threat to world peace because of its apparent disdain for human rights.
Today, China stands as one of the most powerful countries of the world. But even superpowers do not exit in a vaccuum. If China does not respect international law, territorial integrity of countries, human rights and world peace, then the international community must unite against the dragon and rein it in.
(The author is a Research Scholar at UGC - Centre for Federal Studies, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi)