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Inside China

- - Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CHINA WARNS LIBYAN REBELS

China's government on Tuesday issued a 13,000-word statement called "Chinas Peaceful Development White Paper," six years after Beijing issued its first similar statement. The purpose was to "respond to the worlds concerns" about Chinas rise as a military and economic power.

No country in the world has more territorial disputes with neighbors, arouses more concern and fear about its fast and large-scale military buildup, its increasingly assertive global behavior, let alone its persistently abysmal record of human rights abuses, than China.

The white paper stresses Chinas right to choose its one-party system and communist ideology as "an inexorable law of history," but it says China does not want to interfere with other countrys internal affairs, opposes "big countries bullying small countries," a euphemism for "American hegemony," because, the document solemnly pledges, "China will not seek regional hegemony and spheres of influence, will not make trouble for any country. And Chinas prosperity and political stability will be an opportunity, not a threat, to our neighboring nations."

Curiously, the same day these pledges were made, the Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper Global Times issued a rather hegemonic and fierce editorial threatening Libyas new government-in-waiting that disclosed Chinas substantial arms deals with the internationally discredited regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi as recently as July.

Titled "Libyan Opposition Group Must Correct Its Worldview," the editorial listed the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Councils misbehaviors in disrespecting China. It included claims that a council official publicly complained about Chinas stonewalling in efforts to unfreeze Libyas overseas financial assets, and for promoting what it said was the rumor that China is willing to sell arms to Col. Gadhafi. Chinese government officials, including Li Daguang of the National Defense University, recently announced that this rumor might well have been engineered by American and British intelligence services to harm Chinas relations with the ascending Libyan rebels.

The Libyan rebels, the Global Times editorial lectures, should know that since the end of the Cold War, several "little countries" have had regime changes, and those new regimes initially held unfriendly views about China but gradually they have all corrected their views and became friendly to China. The new Libyan government, the editorial threatens, should learn from these cases. Otherwise, "It will be necessary [for the new Libyan government] to pay a price," because China has its own standard to handle international relations, and it will never "bow to a little country like Libya."

COMMUNIST ANTI-LEAK CAMPAIGN

China is not a country governed by the rule of law — with at least one serious exception. One year ago, the communist government enacted what it calls "the Guarding State Secrets Law," and Beijing is without a doubt very serious about enforcing it. Starting last week, a 30-day nationwide propaganda campaign was launched to raise public awareness of the law. Government officials must attend an internal comprehensive exhibit now touring the country called "the National Warning and Educational Exhibit of Stealing and Leaking State Secrets Cases." Party officials high and low, from Politburo members to regional party secretaries, flocked, apparently on orders from on high, to view the exhibit put together by the country's vast intelligence and counter-espionage apparatus, including the State Security and Public Security ministries, and the intelligence and security wings of the State Council and the Peoples Liberation Army.

Coinciding with the propaganda campaign, and as a warning, China recently allowed Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan to disclose a few well-known, albeit embarrassing, recent cases of foreign intelligence infiltration among its highest ranks. The current exhibit apparently includes many more cases, mostly dealing with cyberspying.

True to its spirit, all details of the exhibit are classified as state secrets. Its contents were blacked out in party-controlled Chinese news media.

Miles Yu's column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.