China, the new enemy, the new Nazi-style fascist state

This extremely tendentious screed from Bill Gertz in the beloved Moonie Times is going to raise a lot of eyebrows today. It’s practically a declaration of war against China.

China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.

U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.

China’s military buildup includes an array of new high-technology weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on Taiwan.

…The combination of a vibrant centralized economy, growing military and increasingly fervent nationalism has transformed China into what many defense officials view as a fascist state.

“We may be seeing in China the first true fascist society on the model of Nazi Germany, where you have this incredible resource base in a commercial economy with strong nationalism, which the military was able to reach into and ramp up incredible production,” a senior defense official said.

For Pentagon officials, alarm bells have been going off for the past two years as China’s military began rapidly building and buying new troop- and weapon-carrying ships and submarines.

The release of an official Chinese government report in December called the situation on the Taiwan Strait “grim” and said the country’s military could “crush” Taiwan.

A first-rate alarmist, Gertz goes through a laundry list of China’s dazzling new weapons and military capabilities, leaving the reader wondering whether an oil-crazed Beijing isn’t about to invade its oil-rich neighbors later on this week. He also trots out an array of military experts most of us have never heard of, each expressing more angst than the last about the imminent threat China poses to the American Way.

U.S. officials have said two likely targets for China are the Russian Far East, which has vast oil and gas deposits, and Southeast Asia, which also has oil and gas resources.

Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China’s military, said the internal U.S. government debate on the issue and excessive Chinese secrecy about its military buildup “has cost us 10 years to figure out what to do”

“Everybody is starting to acknowledge the hard facts,” Mr. Pillsbury said. “The China military buildup has been accelerating since 1999. As the buildup has gotten worse, China is trying hard to mask it.”

Richard Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said that in 10 years, the Chinese army has shifted from a defensive force to an advanced military soon capable of operations ranging from space warfare to global non-nuclear cruise-missile strikes.

“Let’s all wake up. The post-Cold War peace is over,” Mr. Fisher said. “We are now in an arms race with a new superpower whose goal is to contain and overtake the United States.”

Let me be blunt: This is incendiary propaganda. There is no balance to this piece, no consideration of other viewpoints and absolutely no sense of perspective. By that, I mean looking at it from the Chinese perspective — if they were to do any of the things the article makes us think are imminent, their economy would instantly go to hell in a handbasket.

Just look at this crazed assertion:

“It is their surface-to-air missiles, their [advanced] SAMs and their surface-to-surface missiles, and the precision, more importantly, of those surface-to-surface missiles that provide, obviously, the ability to pinpoint targets that we might have out in the region, or our friends and allies might have,” Gen. Hester said.

The advances give the Chinese military “the ability … to reach out and touch parts of the United States — Guam, Hawaii and the mainland of the United States,” he said.

This leaves the reader with the distinct impression that China threatens US territory. Is this rubbish or what?

Needless to say, Instapuppy sends his lemmings to read this trash just in case they’re not feeling militaristic enough toward China yet.



I got an email from a reader today that I want to reprint here in full (except for the sender’s name of course).

I’m writing to express my thanks in making pekingduck available to all. I’ve been following your blog for about a year and I’ve enjoyed your posts and the comments from readers. The varied thoughts and opinions give me pause and usually have me gasping, China, what a country! What I enjoy the most is your passion for ideas – this is more than evident in how you express yourself. Your blog has become a daily read for me; with each entry I learn more about this country I’ve decided to call home for a few years. And for that I express my thanks.

Some of your constant readers share this passion for freedom of expression and sharing of varied and diverse ideas, and most of these contributors are insightful and informed people. I enjoy reading their posts, especially when their ideas contradict your own.

However, lately I’ve been noticing that a good deal of the comments are beginning to border on the inane and adolescent, and this in my opinion tends to cancel out your own hard work. Sure enough, there’s nothing wrong with some silliness – I’d be the first to encourage it – but given the content of some of the “adolescent” posts in contrast to what prompted the comments, I’ve been left disappointed as a reader.

This is only one reader’s opinion. Pekingduck is yours to have and hold – it’s your baby – and I’m sure you wouldn’t want it to decline in quality and substance. I look forward to your next post . . .

I didn’t post that to congratulate myself for getting such complimentary emails, but to raise the issue of comment quality.

The very last thing I want to do is to discourage anyone from commenting. It’s the comments that have allowed my blog to morph from a personal journal/soapbox to a community. Because of the niche appeal of this site, it’ll never have huge site traffic, but it does get a lot of comments and people tend to stay at the site a long time. Those two factors — “stickiness” and level of participation — are more important to me than the number of hits, which can be manipulated easily simply by putting up some strategically titled girlie pictures for the Googlebots to find. The big numbers look good, but if people stop by for 5 seconds, their visit doesn’t mean much.

So comments are, to me, the heart and soul of Peking Duck. When we get a really great thread going, with informed and intelligent participation, there’s really nothing like it.

It’s important that I’m clear: I love the chatting and the sharing and the ongoing conversations about multiple topics as we’ve been enjoying in the open threads. What I’m enjoying less is the cheap shots and insults we saw in the new mega-thread two posts down. Some commenters are incredibly creative and hilarious. Please, don’t go away. But also, please don’t insult Chinese people and turn them away from my site. We can be critical with compassion and funny with empathy. This site is for them more than anyone, even if they disagree with me violently on certain issues. Their contribution is absolutely essential, and if I lose them this blog will be a failure.

Earlier, before the comment level was so high, I was able to interject my own comments and try to steer the conversation, telling people to soften their language or to get off their high horse. But when I wake up like this morning to more than 200 cumulative comments, I can’t even read them all let alone try to police them.

So please, don’t lose your energy, your enthusiasm or your humor. Just realize that what’s hilarious to us isn’t always that funny to someone from a very different culture, and that they’re an important part of the dialogue as well. Thanks a lot for letting me express that.


More on Chen Yonglin

An Australian editorial bemoans that country’s callous treatment of the Chinese spy who came in from the cold, and says the government’s willingnewss to turn its back on a pontentially invaluabl;e resource borders on the bizarre.

CHEN Yonglin, the Chinese diplomat who has been trying fruitlessly for a month to defect to Australia, gave a press conference last week that was bizarrely under-reported.

Chen provided more detail about his sensational claim that Chinese government agents have been involved in kidnapping in Australia and these, whether they have any substance or not, surely deserve thorough investigation. He also claimed that when Australian officials interviewed him about the information he had to offer they did not even take down names.

Chen’s experience with officialdom is so bizarre it would make a good Monty Python movie were it not so serious. That he has still not been granted a permanent visa is humiliating and disgraceful. But of even more interest was Chen’s description of Chinese strategic policy towards Australia. The Chinese Government, he said, “wants to use economic means to compel Australia to give ground on issues like security and human rights”.

…Chen’s fascinating interpretation of Chinese policy, and its success in muting Australia on human rights and moving us away from the US on some key security issues, is shared by high-class analysts in the US and Australia.

Canberra has many sources of information about China and it believes that the Chinese military judges Australia to be permanently wedded to the US, but the Chinese foreign ministry believes Australia can be partly prised away, again a view consistent with Chen’s interpretation.

We have had a tiny window opened into the activities of China’s vast intelligence service by Chen’s statements, even if they are exaggerated.

Canberra’s shabby treatment of Chen validates the account he gave this week.

The article is rich in criticism of Australia for its hypocritical attitude toward China, bending over backwards to please the rising juggernaut.

I can’t say I’m a student of Australia’s relations with China. But if this topic interests you in any way, this is a commentary you have to see. Very outspoken, bordering on the angry. Does it reflect a popular feeling in Australia that Canberra is handling the Chen affair disastrously?

Update: I presume you’ve all by now seen this rather extraordinary post about Chen, which certainly raises all kinds of questions. Good post, good comments, but it only leaves me more uncertain of what’s actually going on.


Chinese students and the questions they ask

This article focuses on a topic we’ve discussed before, sometimes with a great deal of passion. I find it intriguing. My apologies in advance if I paste a lengthy chunk. It is so relevant to so many of our recent discussions.

At a recent lecture at a Beijing university, students politely lambasted this correspondent – and by association all other foreign journalists – for painting too negative a picture of China.

“Why,” asked one questioner, “do you keep writing about the Tiananmen Square incident and the Cultural Revolution? The past is the past. China has changed. It is time to move on.”

He had a point. The world’s most populous nation has indeed been transformed in many ways since the dark days of Mao Zedong and the massacre of civilians by the People’s Liberation Army in1989. But the same could also be said of Japan since the second world war, yet many of the students had a very different view about the value of history when it came to the atrocities committed by their neighbour more than half a century ago.

“Why,” asked another questioner, referring to the massacre in Nanjing in 1937 and the imperial army’s use of sex slaves, “can’t Japan face up to the past?”

Such double standards are, of course, not limited to China. Nor does everyone in Beijing accept that Tokyo has a greater responsibility to grapple with unpleasant past episodes than their own government.

Yet the events of the past six months suggest that the education and media systems in China are exacerbating knee-jerk nationalism and choking critical self-reflection in a way that augurs badly for the country’s bid to become a world leader in ideas as well as exports.

This is a refrain I’ve voiced before, that when the world sees the faces of rage, the random assaults on Japanese businesses in China, the seething fury, it’s hard to reconcile it with China’s aspirations to be a global leader; something seems “off.” And people are reminded about their worst fears of years ago, about a vitriolic China ready to lash out over old grudges (and whether those grudges are legitimate or not isn’t the issue).

So what about in Japan? Is there this monolithic xenophobia that unites just about everyone as iit seems to in China? Do the people all applaud Koizumi’s pilgimage to the Yasukuni Shrine and think in unison about their history? The writer says no.

[A]t least there is a public debate in Japan about such issues. Mainstream newspapers such as the Asahi Shimbun are sharply critical of Mr Koizumi’s visits. Left-leaning weekly magazines and the communist newspaper “Akahata” are legally free to publish criticism of the government’s failure to face up to the past.

On the anniversary of the end of the war every August, pacifist demonstrators are able to protest outside Yasukuni even as war veterans and ultra-right gangs honour the fallen soldiers enshrined inside.

There are unofficial restrictions on the media in Japan. Many newspapers self-censor negative reports about the emperor. Gangs of nationalist thugs attempt their own form of control through intimidation, with sometimes murderous attacks on left-wing journalists and cinemas that show pro-China films about the Nanjing massacre or unit 731.

But this is nothing compared to the systematic government blocks on historical debate in China, where schoolbooks ignore or gloss over the famines of the Great Leap Forward and claim that it was Mao Zedong’s communists – rather than American nuclear bombs – that defeated Japan in 1945. Most texts make no mention at all of China’s failed attack on Vietnam in 1979.

In the media and higher levels of academia there is some discussion of more contentious aspects of history, such as the struggle with Taiwan, the invasion/liberation of Tibet and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, but nothing like the range of opinion to be found in Japan, where some scholars and journalists are brave enough to say – and write – heretical truths about the emperor, such as that he is descended from Korean stock….

The tale of the two massacres is revealing. In Japan, the extent of the killings in Nanjing almost 70 years ago has been the subject of countless documentaries, symposiums and books. In China, discussion of the killings in Tiananmen 16 years ago is entirely taboo. A search on the English language website of Xinhua – the Chinese state news agency – over the past month showed 30 articles relating to the Nanjing “massacre” and only one that referred to Tiananmen, which was described as an “incident”.

Of course, there are important differences between the two. As well as the vastly different scale and temporal distance, the crimes of Nanjing have been judged by an international jury (albeit one comprised mainly of its former enemies during the Tokyo war tribunal), while the rights and wrongs of Tiananmen have never been assessed in any meaningful legal and public fashion. In other words, Japan has been found guilty and a right-wing minority is now trying to lodge an appeal in the court of domestic and world opinion. China’s communist party, however, believes it has no reason to stand trial….

Compared to 25 years ago, China is more open, but there is still a knowledge gap between the two countries that reflects badly on Beijing. Students in Tokyo (or London for that matter) are taught a sanitised version of their nation’s history, but at least they can read an alternative view in the domestic media. Such is the degree of censorship in China, however, that some of their counterparts in Beijing admit sadly that they have to rely on overseas reports.

“I never knew before about the Tiananmen killings,” one student told me. “At first I didn’t want to believe it. But I checked everything I could find on the internet and now I think it’s true. It is a shame that we have to learn about what is going on in our own country from foreigners.”

Again, I apologize for the long snip, but so much of it ties into our recent discussion points — TS, the rape of Nanjing, censorship, challenges teachers in China face, the CCP’s silence over its past sins compared with other nations. It also drives home, to me at least, what a disservice the government in China does to its people by controlling information and committing a form of brainwashing. If China can really rise up to global stature and gain true respect, its people will require depth and perspective. It takes more than manufacturing capabilities for a nation to achieve real greatness.


They’re baaaack!


The Justice Goddess’ boobs, I mean. Gonzales may be just as much an asshole as his predecessor John Ashcroft, but let’s give him credit where it’s due: the infamous curtain the sex-obsessed Ashtray insisted be used to cover up the “obscene” statue of the goddess of justice has been unceremoniously removed.

Remember, Ashcroft shortly before 911 wanted to cut money spent on terrorism prevention and increase spending on the real threat to our lives, pornography. A lot of us forget what the Bush administration’s priorities were pre-911, and that they ignored all the warnings and chose to focus instead on the stuff that really matters.

Via slimeball Matt Drudge.


China’s Hopes and Dreams

As expressed by various Chinese bloggers. This was an inspired idea and one of the most interesting posts I’ve seen in our community to date. A must-read.


Blind Shaft — Inside China’s Coal Mines


I finally saw this great movie and want to recommend it to everyone. Dark, grimy, grim and gritty, Blind Shaft is a microcosm of the lives led by China’s migrant workers: the poverty, the living conditions, the treachery, the corruption, the food, the prostitutes, the dangerous work… I won’t go into the plot, except to say that I was surprised by its relatively upbeat ending, a brilliant blast of irony. It’s not a sentimental ending, but it definitely leaves you feeling good. Every other scene, however, is harrowing and anything but feel-good.


Field of Dreams

Build an open thread and the commenters will come. Don’t prove me wrong.


China’s anti-Japanese patriotism set to soar

Just what we need. This blogger is the latest addition to my blogroll.


A very bad man. No, seriously – I really mean it.

As you know by now, last night Bush’s deputy chief of staff Karl Rove said that while conservatives wanted to deal mercilessly with the 911 terrorists, liberals like me wanted to offer them sympathy and therapy. And that we are placing our troops in danger by being critical of them.

I keep saying there have to be some limits, some point at which human decency impels people like Rove and Delay to measure their words and show restraint. But I’m constantly proven wrong. What Rove did today goes beyond slander. To say that literally half of the nation wanted to coddle the murdering 911 terrorists — it’s simply unthinkable. Here’s the president’s own spokesperson, in a moment of equally reprehensible sleaze, during today’s gaggle:

Q So will the President ask Karl Rove to apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course not, Jessica. This is simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches. And I think you have to look at it in that context. If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that’s their business. But it’s important to point out the different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And that’s all he was doing.

This is the man who speaks for our president telling us that the liberals’ “philosophy” is to coddle terrorists and encourage the deaths of our soldiers. With no facts and no conscience, he is calling me and all liberals traitors — saying that our very philosophy is one of treason. I expect it from Ann Coulter. When the top people in government say this with no shame and as a matter of fact, leaving all liberals subject to hatred as treasonous swine — well, to call it inexcusable is way too mild.

Too many bloggers have written about this already today, and I know most people here want to talk about China. Let me just quote from my favorite of today’s posts about Rove’s criminal remarks:

I guess we needed more evidence that Karl Rove is the most despicable man on the American political scene today.

I remember talking last year to a guy who’d been on shows a few times with Rove. And he told me how when you talk to the guy there’s nothing in his eyes, no soul. Just a machine, an animal

Read this piece in today’s Times, absorb it, give yourself 90 seconds for outrage, then rededicate yourself to wresting a great country from his hands.

Two examples: “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers … Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”

Don’t forget that these statements are meant to outrage you. You’re a targeted audience They’re meant to perpetuate a state of maximal polarization in this country — the state of affairs most suited for vampires like Mr. Rove to suck the nation dry.

And please don’t come back and tell me Michael Moore says terrible things, too. He’s not running the controls of the world’s most powerful nation.

Update: As Atrios shrewdly observes,

For the record, my motives aren’t to get more troops killed. If those were my motives I’d ship them off to a war on false pretenses without sufficient equipment to keep them safe.