In Response to the Open Letter “China is Not an Enemy” Addressed to President Trump and Members of Congress
Recently over one hundred mostly American scholars, former diplomats and military officials, and business leaders wrote an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress, titled “China is not an enemy,” claiming that “making China a U.S. enemy is counterproductive.” This letter makes seven propositions on “the problems in the U.S. approach to China and the basic elements of a more effective U.S. policy.”
As a China insider, a former research fellow of The Development Research Center of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, this is what I have to say in response to the above-mentioned open letter.
1. It is true that “China is not an enemy,” but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is. It is disappointing to see that so many prominent scholars, former diplomats and military officials, and business leaders failed to differentiate China and the CCP, when more and more politicians and China experts are doing so.
We must understand that as the CCP is the only and absolute ruler of China, so it is the CCP that we are dealing with when discussing “the U.S. approach to China” most of the time.
And the essential precondition for us to find out the right approach is a clear understanding of the CCP: its nature, its thinking, and its goal. In other words, how do we define the CCP? Failing this, it is impossible to come up with any right approach.
Judging from Communist Party’s own manifesto and its bloody history, we can easily come to this conclusion: The CCP is by nature an evil party that never hesitates to mass murder; and its goal is to destroy existing human civilization and all of humanity.
It was clearly stated in the “Communist Manifesto” published in 1848: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
Back in 2003 and 2005, two speeches allegedly made by the CCP general Chi Haotian (Minister of Defense, 1993-2003), “The War Is Coming to Us” and “The War Is Not Far from Us; It Is the Midwife of the Chinese Century,” were widely circulated on the internet. While it is difficult to verify their authenticity, critics generally believe that the speeches represent the true mentality of the CCP.
In these speeches, apart from advocating war for “the Chinese Century,” Chi also discussed the reasons behind it. He allegedly claimed that in order to gain more living space for the Chinese nation, and for the CCP to maintain its ruling status, it must “lead the Chinese people to go out of China, and to expand the development to overseas countries.”
Similarly, in 2005, Chinese General Zhu Chenghu threatened to launch nuclear missiles at the United States, warning that hundreds of American cities could be destroyed.
In recent years, the threat of war has been replaced by the seemly less harmful and more “peaceful” “China Dream,” or “the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation.”
However, the goal and the mentality have never changed. The CCP wants to overturn or replace the existing world order, and to install its own order and rule, as expressed in its early, and very famous claim, “The proletarians can liberate themselves only by liberating all humanity.”
If we understand the mentality and the goal of the CCP, we won’t harbor any unrealistic illusions that the CCP can become part of the civilized international community.
2. After 40 years of “engaging China”, the biggest and bitterest lesson for the United States and the free world to learn is that “engaging China” has not brought about changes inside China that the world wants to see. This view has been expressed by many U. S. politicians and China experts. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a long-time friend of former CCP head Jiang Zemin, expressed her disappointment that the decades-old “hope” for a good relationship with China has begun to “come apart” in a Senate hearing on Dec. 12, 2018 on “China’s Non-Traditional Espionage Against the United States: The Threat and Potential Policy Responses.”
Like the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” We don’t need to spend any more years repeating the mistakes.
3. The above-mentioned open letter said, “Although its rapid economic and military growth has led Beijing toward a more assertive international role, many Chinese officials and other elites know that a moderate, pragmatic and genuinely cooperative approach with the West serves China’s interests. Washington’s adversarial stance toward Beijing weakens the influence of those voices in favor of assertive nationalists. With the right balance of competition and cooperation, U.S. actions can strengthen those Chinese leaders who want China to play a constructive role in world affairs.”
As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that there exist so-called “Chinese leaders who want China to play a constructive role in world affairs.” There are indeed different fractions within the CCP that fight fiercely against one another.
However, we must realize that all these internal struggles are only for the purpose of maintaining or gaining power. They are not struggles between pro-democracy leaders and those that are against it.
If we look at the history of the CCP, we can find these two facts:
First, no one has ever successfully changed the party from within, even a few former top heads of the CCP, including Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, who were once regarded as “reformers” inside the party, failed to do so. Both of them died in misery without being able to bring about much change.
Whoever tried to make any positive changes ended up becoming outcasts, or even dying in misery.
The reason is, if the degree of evilness of an individual cannot meet that of the party, that person can hardly be maintained as the head of the party, and will be eliminated from the party.
Therefore, any imagination that “good forces” within the CCP can work from within the party to push for positive changes is only illusory, and very harmful.
Second, too many top level intellectuals and ordinary Chinese people have been killed by the CCP after they chose to join the CCP, or to return to, or to stay in China after the CCP took power, because they had believed in the CCP, or the “good leaders” within the CCP.
Again, bloody lessons paid by countless lives should be heeded and learned.
4. The open letter said, “Many Chinese officials and other elites know that a moderate, pragmatic and genuinely cooperative approach with the West serves China’s interests.” This might be true in a certain period of time, and under very special circumstances, when the CCP faced life-threatening economic crisis, especially after the Culture Revolution. Deng Xiaoping, the then CCP leader was forced to adopt the “reform and opening up” policy as China’s economy was on the verge of total collapse.
However, things are totally different today.
After China was allowed to join the WTO, its economy had maintained a double-digit growth for many years. As a result, China’s GDP of 2018 is more than 200 times higher that in 1979, when the “reform and opening up” policy started.
The reality is, the CCP has taken advantage of the West as much as possible to gain economically. And as soon as it had the means, it has already started to “reshape” the world order with its “One Belt, One Road,” “Made in China 2025,” “Corner-overtaking Strategy,” and many other initiatives.
So, the purpose for the CCP to “temporarily” cooperate with the West is to benefit from and to take advantage of it, not to grow together with the world. When the CCP’s economic power is strong enough, it will certainly and surely push forward its own agenda, instead of that of the West.
Stewart Paterson, author of “China, Trade and Power: Why the West’s Economic Engagement Has Failed” drew this conclusion after studying all the economic aspects of the World Trade Organization since China’s accession in 2001:
“Economic engagement was supposed to induce political change in China but it is actually threatening the political system in the West.
“Worse, economic success cemented the CCP in power.”
5. Why did economic engagement fail to induce political change in China? It is because, for one, the CCP is very much determined, at all costs, to keep its power and current system. It never wants changes whatsoever, as Deng Xiaoping had famously expressed, “If we have to kill 200,000 people in exchange for 20 years’ stability, kill we will.”
For two, because of the extremely tight information and ideological control, general Chinese public don’t know much of CCP’s astonishing crimes, especially the on-going ones. In the meantime, they are instilled with ideas such as, “The West always wants to knock China down,” “China cannot do without the CCP,” “All the crows in the world are as black as one another. The West is also doing all sorts of bad things. The West is no better than China,” and so on.
Because of information and thought control, it is very hard for the so-called newly formed “middle class” to proactively seek or even to long for democracy and freedom in China.
After long-term, and to a degree very successful, brainwashing of the entire nation, many Chinese are now satisfied with “As long as the Party feeds us, as long as we are allowed to make money, everything is just fine,” “Although the Party does have many problems, China won’t do without it,” and so on.
So, if the free world really wants to induce positive changes in China, the first priority should be focusing on breaking through the CCP’s control of information and ideology, and helping the Chinese people to gain free access to the Internet.
6. It is very important to keep on the “maximum pressure” strategy with the CCP. President Trump’s trade war and other strategies have already shown their effectiveness and possibilities to bring about real and structural changes in China. “Maximum pressure” is the only way to force the CCP to listen to what the United States has to say, and to take actions accordingly.
7. Targeted sanctions against individual CCP officials can also be very effective and won’t hurt the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The CCP officials won’t feel that much pain if the nation’s interest is harmed. However, what they care most about is the wealth they have accumulated through all sorts of immoral and illegal ways during all these years. Many of them have transferred their money to the West, with some also having sent their wives and children to overseas countries, because they know more about the true situation of China, and have no confidence in the CCP’s future.
If the Trump Administration can start seriously investigating and targeting individual CCP officials who violate human rights or other international treaties, it can not only bring tremendous pressure to the CCP officials, but also win wider support both domestically and internationally.
All in all, never go back and repeat the “engagement” mistakes we’ve made; never harbor any unrealistic, or, may I say, stupid illusions towards the CCP, as the “Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party” has put it so wisely:
“History tells us never to believe any promises made by the CCP, nor to trust that any of the CCP’s commitments will be fulfilled. Believing the words of the Communist Party—no matter what the issue may be—will cost one one’s life.
Originally published at https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-is-not-an-enemy-but-the-ccp-is_2999069.html