China and Iran, a match made in heaven?

You can accuse the Taipei Times editorial writers of many things (I almost never cite it here, as I find them shamelessly biased, like Epoch Times and China Daily). You can’t, however, accuse them of not being outspoken. Today’s editorial is an example of their going over the top.

All in all, it seems, the Iranians are fundamentalists and the Chinese are godless pragmatists. Yet the present Iranian regime is more of a Beijing soul mate than perhaps Beijing would want the US to realize.

Iran is only interested in the fate of the Palestinian territories to the extent that it involves the humiliation or worse of Israel; the fortunes of Palestinians as a nation-in-waiting or individual Palestinians are of as much interest to Tehran as they are to Israel-lobby hardliners in Washington.

Iran’s dealings with China also turn a blind eye to the sufferings of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Iran’s would-be championing of the interests of Islam and Muslims rings terribly hollow the moment that it rubs up against Iranian national interests. In this, Tehran is not that different to the much more secular Iraqi regime under former president Saddam Hussein.

China, meanwhile, is doing everything it can to portray itself as a can-do country with economic clout and unlimited growth potential. But it is also delighted to do deals with the most vicious governments imaginable — Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Sudan, North Korea and many others.

There is an ugly truth that underlies this amorality. China has an object of zeal that is as fundamentalist and intractable as anything Iran can come up with: a race-based dream of global pre-eminence and a belief that it is entitled to far more than it is capable of achieving for itself. Taiwan is merely one of the non-negotiable elements in this sickly fantasy.

When we read of the Chinese president giving his Iranian counterpart a “warm welcome,” we can be sure of this: there was genuine warmth. Therein lies the strongest possible warning signal for the US and other nations who do not swallow the “peaceful rise” of the Central Kingdom.

A race-based dream of global pre-eminence
– are those fighting words or not? Sorry, but accusations like that, where you compare China rather obviosuly to those very bad people who ruled Germany for 12 years in the last century, need to be backed up. I’m not posting this because I agree with it, but rather because I’m a bit blown away by the unvarnished vitriol. It reads like a call to arms.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

The Taipei Times is definately, as you noted, very biased. The silly part is that cultural superiority is sort of built into Chinese culture – even the Fujianese on Taiwan, or the so-called Taiwanese, have blindely discarded as many western trapping and advisors as possible under the rule of the DPP, which the Taipei Times supports.

June 17, 2006 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Richard, hours ago China propaganda authority ordered all major BBS/forums to remove ‘unauthorized posts’ on SCO/US/Iran issues. Only wired news from Xinhua is permitted, and no comment is allowed to follow such news lead.

What do they fear? Certainly not a domestic revolt. It has nothing to do with riots. So?

June 17, 2006 @ 7:31 am | Comment

I’m going to go out on a limb here and mention that on various occasions I have encountered strains of antisemitism among CCP cadres.

Now before the CCP apologists jump on me for this,
let me clarify, that it’s not terribly common – I mean it’s not something they often talk about – but it does come up from time to time, and it always shocks me whenever I hear CCP cadres parroting standard antisemitic lines. I TEND to suspect that this peculiar strain of CCP mindlessness was imported to China from Stalin’s Russia in the early 1950s.

Those last few years of Stalinist Russia were a time of resurgence of antisemitic propaganda in the Soviet Communist Party – and those years coincided with Russia’s, um, “assistance” to China as China’s “Big Brother”, ie, the early 1950s were the time when China had a lot of “advisors” from Russia.

And so I’m not saying that there is any major theme of antisemitism in the CCP. But the minor strain of antisemitism in the CCP, does exist, and it’s too consistent to be disregarded. I mean it’s not big, but it’s not negligible either.

Thus, I do believe that the residue of Stalinist antisemitism in the CCP, has helped to render SOME CCP leaders more receptive to Iran’s Ahmedinejad than they otherwise might have been.

June 17, 2006 @ 8:22 am | Comment

Ivan, check out this wacko thread where the China Daily boys blame Iris Chang’s death on “the Jews.” Where is this coming from?

June 17, 2006 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Thanks for that link, Richard. So, can you see that I have some good reasons to make these remarks about a strain of antisemitism in the CCP?

June 17, 2006 @ 11:11 am | Comment

Unfortunately, yes I can. I need to know more about it before I make any judgment.

June 17, 2006 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

Bellevue, nice to see you back. Now, if only we can get Bingfeng over here to engage with you… ๐Ÿ™‚

June 17, 2006 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

With all the talk about the “China race” meme, it seems that the Taipei Times is trying to rally the indigenous Taiwanese against the “Mainlanders” yet again. Just in time for the lifayuan elections, too. What a coincidence.

June 17, 2006 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

A race-based dream of global pre-eminence – are those fighting words or not? Sorry, but accusations like that, where you compare China rather obviosuly to those very bad people who ruled Germany for 12 years in the last century, need to be backed up.

I’m kinda surprised by these remarks, Richard. Start with this lecture on the 19th century construction of Han as a ‘racial’ concept and its avowedly imperialist purposes. Lots of good stuff there. The Taipei Times is, sadly, dead on: China at the moment represents a national with a racial superiority complex, a constructed “victimization” history, an authoritarian regime overseeing massive economic change, tremendous unemployment and unrest, claims on many of its neighbors (and occupation of some), and so on. There are many reminders of that “12 year period” in German history — which itself was the culmination of a 200 year run of volkisch theorizing about race and power and “rightful places” in Europe and the world.


June 17, 2006 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Richard: You may be disppointed that bingfeng is not gonna show up any time soon – he is busy expecting I heard. It’s a good thing. I have nothing against his child but best wishes – it’s always great fun to see human evolution.

Now the Mamoud Ahmendinejad thing. The infidel Chinese ‘communist’ is just cynical about using Iran as a pawn in the great Game of oil and power against Yankees. I guess I have more simpathy on Khomeini’s revolution than they do. China can sell this lunatic out for a better price any time. That’s why the Central Propaganda Department does not want to rally the nationlist fenqing too much, and thus giving more room for future manuvre. Anyone in China long enough should recall that CCTV’s vehement support for Saddam Hussein didn’t rescue Beijing’s Baghdad darling from the foxhole.

I’m so wondering the antisemitic origin in China. My bet is it’s bundled with anti-American sentiment and typical chinese jealousness, the later runs deep than CCP rule. That said, Harbin and Shanghai were once home of tens of thousand jewish refugees such as Zbignew Brezinski. Those 2 cities are free from the sin back then, but I don’t know for now. After all, pro-communist blothugs like wangjianshuo wasn’t a Shanghaiist at all by then.

June 17, 2006 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

Michael, I’ve alluded to these similarities in past posts. I simply find it going overboard, however, to claim that China seeks to dominate the world as part of a “race-based dream.” That contention is up for debate, and I can point to many articles by respected historians who take a very different point of view. I could make the same claims about Bush, but I think it would be reckless and based on way too much speculation as opposed to what’s actually so.

June 17, 2006 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

Richard, if you dismiss the ‘race-based’ part too readily, you might risk having a hard time to understand Chinese mindset.

One community college teacher once wrote in her column: “For me, a Chinese-American from Taiwan, it is almost imperative for China to put Tibet under her yoke.” Why? The staunch Pan-blue supporter goes on: “Tibetans are probably the most peaceful race on Earth. If China can’t even conquer and rule such an innocuous ethnic, how will those white kids look on MY kids? MY kids will be looked down! Anyways, Americans canรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt tell Taiwanese from Chinese.’ She theorized convincingly. She is not even a genuine Chinese, from China nationalist point of view. But hers is typical Chinese thinking, usually kept only to themselves. A Chinese life, after all, is all about who-can-look-down-who.

It’s true that Mao’s ideology was not based on racial supremacy. But it also makes whole lot of sense for the post-Mao regime to base their legitimacy on racism. Hu knows it, and those young Chinese smashing windows of Japanese stores in Chengdu and Shanghai have accept their brand new meaning of life.

June 19, 2006 @ 7:14 am | Comment

I hear you, Bellevue, and I understand the raw racism running rampant amopng many in China (and may other places, I’m afraid). I’m just not ready for the comparisons to Nazism, as I haven;t seen enough evidence.

June 19, 2006 @ 7:38 am | Comment

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