The world vs China?

In a story in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post (and a second story there), and The Age talks of China's military build up and what it means for the USA.

In the comment list for the Washington Post story, it seems that many people have missed the comments on China possibly moving to threaten Japan.

My question is, would the world just stand by and watch if China took action against Taiwan? Would it make any difference if it were Japan? I can understand that the Chinese might feel the need for some retaliation, but my personal hope is that the world is becoming a more peaceful place. Of course this would appear at odds with the current Bush administration in the USA but I'm not a supporter of what the USA has done in invading Iraq or Afghanistan. Is there a chance that the next world war will be everyone vs China just in order to hold the Chinese back?

As an Australian, I don't beleve that China is far enough away and worry that their greedy eyes see the vast natural resources (iron ore, copper, uranium) there, with a miniscule population (by comparison with theirs) as being ripe for invasion and conquering. Maybe that is just paranoia on my behalf.

Could or would China use its economic strength to prevent others from entering into any fray it found itself in?

Maybe there is a lesson in the Iraq invasion for China: when you invade a country that does not want you, it is not enough to just conquer them militarily. And so if China did invade Taiwan, would that be the start of endless civil unrest? Is that what China would want as the outcome? Would the public in Taiwan take up the call of being a martyr? Of course it seems that America is unable to learn lessons like this or else Vietnam should have been the lesson that said to them "do not invade Iraq."

My only hope is that the desire for everyone to live peacefully outweighs whatever personal or political objectives someone might have. In the end, it should not matter whether Taiwan is independant or not. What matters is if they are forced to change the way they live because of who governs them. The only real difference is to the egos of a handful men, both in mainland China and Taiwan, about who gets to tell who what to do.

Can't we all just live peacefully and get along?


could you please persuade your goverment pull out australian troops from IRAQ first? don't trust every report from a government even democratic as US. is there a CIA report said IRAQ had many mass destructive weapons?

Posted by Henry on May 24, 2006 at 04:14 PM PDT #

I would very much like the Australian government to pull its troops out of Iraq.

I have voted with my feet and joined a protest rally against sending troops to Iraq before they went there. Had I the chance, I would attend more.

When was the last time you joined a protest against something your government was doing that you thought was wrong?

Posted by Darren on May 24, 2006 at 04:50 PM PDT #

In the spring/summer of 1989.

Posted by Henry on May 24, 2006 at 05:17 PM PDT #

Regarding Taiwan, we Chinese won't let it go independence, not because we want to "govern" them, but because the ideological confrontation will assure that Taiwan will go against China if it gets independence. Just like you Australian, or any westerners concerned about China military power, we concerned about your westerners'(and Japan) military build up around China more! No need mentioning you westerner's and Japs' track record of using military agaist other countries in history: Can you name even one decade in the past 150 years without a western country (mostly USA) involved in a war? On the contrast, can you name a war involved China since 1990s? Your fantacy about china invation on Australia is way too day-dreaming! You westerners always talk about credit, what is your country's credit ratings on war? What is China's? That is why we emphasis on keeping the status quo for Taiwan: "No independence, No war". As china more developed, economically and politically, to the point that China is democratic and prosperous, we will let all Chinese, both mainland and taiwan to decide Taiwan's fate: independence or unification, peacefully. Before that, (in 50 years, I guess)we will focus on development of China, again economically and politically. If you go China, ask a common Chinese on the street, he or she will tell you our goal: by 2020, we will double our GDP twice, become more open to the world! That is a crystal clear focus of modern China.

Posted by Fu on May 25, 2006 at 01:07 AM PDT #

My question for Chinese people, given my limited understanding of the Taiwan-China issue is this: Is Taiwan part of China or is China part of Taiwan?

Should China rule Taiwan or Taiwan rule China?

If you're all part of the same country, does it matter who it is? Surely not, but does anyone want to give in to the other?

I've talked with people in Taiwan, I know their view. I've talked with people in China, I've heard their view. Maybe you're both wrong and both right, at the same time? I agree that the status quo for Taiwan seems a good thing.

The China invasion of Australia might be fantasy to you, but to me it is different. As a Chinese person, maybe you cannot understand it, like you say I cannot understand the Taiwan problem. So we talk about our fears and what is on our mind and try to develop understanding. But it is important to keep an open mind and listen, not just decide someone is wrong because they do not agree with us.

I do not want the USA to be the global policeman and I do not want China to be the global policeman.

Reading "Unjustified Concerns", I would agree to a large extent with the China view. But what it does miss is that if a large country, like China, has a large army, then other people will feel threatened, regardless of whether or not they are a peaceful people. There are other problems with the view in this paper and it is clear the person writing the column does not like America (justified) but unfortunately this thought clouds his thoughts about peace.

Posted by Darren on May 25, 2006 at 09:22 PM PDT #

"if a large country, like China, has a large army, then other people will feel threatened, regardless of whether or not they are a peaceful people." If so, Are you Australians feel threatened by America? Are people in New Zealand feel threatened by Australian since New Zealand is a much smaller country? Compare above threaten levels to the one toward China, do they proportionate to the size of the miliary differences? What are the other factors in this equation other than "sizes"? Size does matter, but it is not the only factor for people to fear, and NOT even the most important one. That is why we emphasis on peaceful people. Needless to say, a peace keeper needs to be strong, moraly and militarily. "this thought clouds his thoughts about peace." Peace is not "no-activity", "no-confrontation", it is all about balance. Two policemen (cold war) are bad, but one policeman (US/Britain invade Iraq, by pass UN security council) is no better (at least, for people not in the western world). What China proposed is a multi-polar (not just US, EU, Russia, China, but also Africa countries, Midle east countries, South America countries, of course: Australia etc.) world, where UN is the place for negotiation and reconciliation. In order to achieve this goal, all those countries mentioned above should focus on develop their societies,(economically and polically) and become strong enough to be a truly meaningful stake holder. Right now UN is more like a dummy is because it is a single polar world, it is imbalance and thus unsustainable. For those people fear about China's develpment (economicaly and militarily), we won't shut our doors and will be more open to the world. We will continue to develop peacefully. And we want the world know, to achieve world peace, all countries need be developed, not just those already in the elite clubs. It you feel threatened, I hope your feeling is not because of your selfish to refuse other countries become developed. Just like a new comer (especially a "large" one) in the community, it will likely recieve doubts and concerns from those established neighbours, what we Chinese will do is telling them: we want to be a good neighbour and respect common rules, but we are here to stay, and oh, more (other developing countries, such as India, Vienam, Brazil etc.) are comming. The trend is inevitable and it is good for the world peace.

Posted by Fu on May 26, 2006 at 03:11 AM PDT #

There is something that perhaps many Chinese people can have a hard time understanding and that is the fear you have of saying the wrong words.

When I go to China, I am afraid to say anything bad about the country/Government and I am afraid to say anything bad about the Government in my blog because I want everyone to read it and to be able to visit China. It is not because I know something might happen, it is because of what I read happens to others and I do not want to be put in a prison just because I think differently.

A person does not have this fear in Australia or America or the UK. We can criticise our government all we like. This fear of thinking or talking about certain things is constant. It is like a shadow that always haunts you, a shadow that you can never turn and capture. But it is a shadow that can become real and devour you.

But if China wants to become a nation of innovation then people must be allowed to think anything and everything and say anything and everything. This is why Western countries succeed in innovation - free thinking and no reason to be afraid of free thinking.

Posted by Darren on May 28, 2006 at 04:51 PM PDT #

There is for sure a long way for China to improve on freedom of speech. Though things have been improving, if you speak hush or hate words about China government at a bar or with your friends in private places, we do not have to fear about jailing, a lot of us express criticism toward our government very frequently (10 times more than you thought!) in this way, while not in "public" places: such as news paper, TV, radio station, class room, web sites,(we do post on forum, it is left to the government to block it). While, I strongly do NOT agree this "shadow" will never disapear, pressure will build up and government will have to concede under the pressure of people. We, common Chinese, will contribute to this progress and win more freedom for ourselves. Anyway, you have shifted the topic of military development to freedom of speach. On the latter topic, you have the right and capital to be proud of yourself, while we are improving and will do it in our ways. On the former (original) topic, it is all about national interest, you concerned about your country, I concerned about mine. Look at the case of Russia, Russian people can criticise their government, but I highly doubt you do not have fear with Russia military power, at least you think Russia differently as against UK, USA, or Australia! That is National interest. The sad fact is: our words will be discounted by you westerners due to our goverment's tight control on freedom of our speech, all our thoughts, if different than yours, will be labeled as "framed or brain washed by our government". I know we can not blame you about your discount or distortion of our thoughts, I just want to let you be aware of the existence of this distortion, and more importantly, we will do our jobs to fight for our own freedom.

Posted by Fu on June 02, 2006 at 01:26 AM PDT #

I am from the U.S. It is fascinatiing to read both of your views on this matter. Perhaps the cetnuries of more powerful countries invading surrounding lands to conquer (Rome, Germany for example) lead to the natural tendency for someone in say, Australia to be uneasy about its much larger neighbor's military build up. If you look at countries like North and South Korea you can see that military build up is sometimes a predecessor to military action. On the other hand, I would not expect a country as large as China to allow themselves to become weak militarily -- just would not make sense. Speaking strictly as a citizen and not a member of the government, I would say that many times the fates of nations are not determined by its citizens but rather by the few men who rule them. For all of the good intentions of the Chinese people, or the U.S. people, or any other -- in the end we will pretty much be in whatever situation our governments get us into. There is little helping it I think. It is much better if we as citizens strive to build bridges with our neighbors (as you two seem to be doing)and hope that the goodwill of the people may outweigh or at least soften any terrible actions our governments may take. Thanks for the interesting posts.

Posted by S Cunha on June 02, 2006 at 12:57 PM PDT #

Darren, You must be in fantastic dream world if you tink that your goverment (whether australian or american) is allowing you free speech. Brainwash is very good in western country. America is turn to police state. If there are difference opinion and it affect powerful people immediate, do not think they would not jail you. What about stolen election in 2000 and 2004. You call yourself a free thinker living in country which is free, ha ha ha. You make me laugh. The country which was founded on prisoners and killing your own people (maori and indians). Torchuring blacks, and claim without laugh liberty and equality? Why the world does feel thretened by global police? Why global police put military bases near iran and china? Why they try to turn Japan, India, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam against China? Why they try to turn Russia against China and the China against Russia. Game is over you lie so many times, people know now, when you lie, always you lie, maybe pepole have to think when you not lie. Go tell some body in your own country about how free is your adopt country. You know about your spy agency monitor your email, webpage and you talk free? Don't talk about free, here in third world ALL know our goverment is bad. Many of you dumb people tink your goverment is excelent. And you call us backward? Please no sarchasm like that. no persunal attack please, just frustated.

Posted by ananymous on June 13, 2006 at 05:09 PM PDT #

I agree completely that America is turning into a police state, as do a lot of people I know. And you know what? We speak out about it. People in America spoke out about the results of the elections in 2000 and 2004.

The problem is not enough people are worried about this loss of freedom compared with the induced terror from terrorists (Bin Laden, etc.)

America is a becoming a very dangerous place to live with laws such as the patriot act, but we don't need you to tell us that.

What America needs is a revolution from the grass roots that ignites the country with pride of its heritage and has roots in the desire for freedom, independence and distrust of government. Something to shake off the shackles of fear that it has become encased in more recently.

So despite what you may write or think, many people, know that the US government is bad. More than half of Australia disagrees with various aspects of its foreign policy (but yet the idiots vote them back...)

And we openly criticise our government, both on the web and on the TV and radio. If you could watch Australian TV, you'd soon see that interviews are rarely kind to politicians - their lies get exposed and hard questions that make them squirm like worms are asked. That is the difference.

Posted by Darren on July 06, 2006 at 05:50 PM PDT #

p.s A lot of us are also unhappy with America's efforts to try and pretend they are the world police, with their spying, etc. Some of us regard America to be similar to the Germany of the early 20th century and following in many of the same footsteps as did that country with nazis. And you know what happened there, with history, don't you? I'm not someone who believes America is God's own country here on earth, or that it is perfect and I feel afraid when I am there too - because it is a terrorist target. But that is a different fear to the fear I feel in China. In China I feel afraid to speak, afraid to think. That's a much more powerful and subversive fear.

To be honest, I don't like either place, very much, but I have to live with both of them. I can write what I think here in my blog so you can see inside my mind. That I have to deal with both are a result of choices I have made and continue to make. My idea of a perfect life is in another place and this is what I must go through if I want to get there. Afterall, it is the journey that defines us, not the destination.

Posted by Darren on July 06, 2006 at 06:00 PM PDT #

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