''If China becomes the world's No. 1 nation ... ." That was the headline in the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, The People's Daily, on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington. The article went on to boast how "China's emergence is increasingly shifting to debate over how the world will treat China, which is the world No. 1 and has overtaken the U.S."
A story like this does not appear by accident in the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper on the eve of a state visit to the world's (current) No. 1 power, the United States.
It was a signal. The latest and boldest signal yet that China intends to become the world's No. 1 power.
President Obama took the occasion of his first visit to China to show "humility" and to assure his Shanghai audience that "we do not seek to contain China's rise."
The Chinese communists are taking the occasion of their first visit to the Obama White House - not to show humility, as Mr. Obama did to them - but to openly show their clear intention to dominate the world from the Middle Kingdom.
As Constantine Menges wrote in "China: The Gathering Threat," "In the traditional Chinese view, the world needs a hegemon - or dominant state - to prevent disorder. The communist Chinese regime believes China should be that hegemon." Traditionally, the Chinese communists have cloaked their hegemonic ambitions under the guidance of the late Deng Xiaoping to "keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead - but aim to do something big."
But in early 2010, cool heads and low profiles gave way to a senior People's Liberation Army officer openly calling for "China to abandon modesty about its global goals and sprint to become world No. 1," adding that "China's big goal in the 21st century is to become world No. 1, the top power."
Now we have the official state paper of the Chinese Communist Party openly discussing "China as the world's top nation" on the eve of China's state visit to the Obama White House. Why is this happening? And why now?
When Mr. Obama "arrived in China ... as a fiscal supplicant, not the leader of the free world," as stated in the Times Online, and bowed down to their communist premier, the Chinese communists took the president's gestures as the signs of weakness they were, and quickly made "radical departures from late patriarch Deng Xiaoping's famous diplomatic credo of 'adopting a low profile and never taking the lead' in international affairs" by unveiling China's new "ambitious agenda" to assume a more powerful stance on the world stage and "to become world No. 1, the top power," according to the Asia Times.
So, what kind of "top power" would China be?
China's totalitarian rulers and their policies have killed 73 million of their own people since 1949. That is several times more than the human destruction wrought by Hitler's holocaust. The Chinese communist government detains between 250,000 and 300,000 human beings in "re-education-through-labor" camps "on vaguely defined charges having never seen a lawyer, never been to a court, and with no form of judicial supervision," according to an Amnesty International report. Communist China also slaughters Tibetan monks, kills Falun Gong practitioners so their organs can be sold to transplant tourists, beats and jails environmentalists, and imprisons or "disappears" people for typing the words "freedom" or "Dalai Lama" into search engines.
And, while this year's Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, rots in a Chinese jail, last year's Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Barack Obama, hosts a state dinner in honor of Liu Xiaobo's jailers.
No wonder the Chinese communists are openly flaunting their desire to supplant America as the world's No. 1 power. Because, as Martin Jacques observed in the Guardian, they see an "American president in Obama who is prepared to take a conciliatory and concessive attitude toward America's decline."
As Gen. Sun Tzu wrote in "The Art of War," "To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." Today, the world's lone superpower is pre-emptively subduing itself through the words and deeds of its president, who clearly does not understand how the rest of the world looks at power. Here is a hint, Mr. President: They do not bow down and apologize for it.
Michael Prell is the author of "Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power" (BenBella Books, February 2011).
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