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Inside China: PLA hawks decry sellout by leaders

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2012

China's military is making bold accusations that self-described "heroic" anti-American hawks are being purged and betrayed by China's CIA-controlled civilian leaders.

Reports about the People's Liberation Army (PLA) hard-liners' theory are increasing.

Last week, China's best-known military commentator, Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong of the PLA navy, stated that there were more than 1 million Chinese traitors in China, including diplomats, economists and military personnel, working as spies for foreign governments - especially the U.S.

Encouraged by cheers for his statements, Adm. Zhang this week told the press that "some of our scholars are trained by the Americans. They read American books, accepted American ideals and they are now helping the U.S. to fool the Chinese."

This line of argument by anti-U.S. fanatics in the PLA reached a fever pitch last summer. In a lengthy article on the leading Chinese military website Leiting (Thunder), published Sept. 14, the CIA was cited as the main driver of a successful psychological warfare and disinformation campaign against China's civilian leaders, from Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao, to purge or suppress the PLA's "strategic hawks" from becoming influential in China.

Several "strategic hawks" were identified. Maj. Gens. Luo Yuan and Qiao Liang and senior Cols. Dai Xu and Liu Mingfu were named as the main victims of the supposed U.S. plot.

Reagan administration defense policymaker Michael Pillsbury, identified in the article as "a senior official in charge of U.S. strategy toward China" who closely monitors the PLA, was described as being "pleasantly surprised" by the downfall of one of such Chinese "strategic hawks."

BRITAIN SNUBBED OVER DALAI LAMA

British Prime Minister David Cameron last month met privately with the Dalai Lama, enraging China's communist leaders and contributing to what appears to be a deterioration of the two states' normal relations.

After the announcement of Mr. Cameron's decision to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Chinese government promptly snubbed the British by canceling Wu Bangguo's visit to London. Mr. Wu is ranked No. 2 in the Communist Party hierarchy and heads the National People's Congress.

China then unilaterally suspended nearly all exchanges at the ministerial level with Britain.

The British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported June 13 that British officials were snubbed by their Chinese counterparts. Trade minister Stephen Green and foreign minister Jeremy Browne were denied meetings with their equivalents in Beijing. Many meetings have been either canceled or pushed to junior bureaucrats.

This week, the Dalai Lama is invited again to Britain, this time by the private investment association Yorkshire International Business Convention to give a speech on business ethics.

But the Chinese government continues to bully the British over the Tibetan monk's visit.

Elected city officials in Leeds, where the speech is scheduled to be given, received a threat from the Chinese Embassy to relocate some 200 Chinese athletes training there for the Summer Olympics to other locales if the Dalai Lama's speech is not canceled, according to a report by British newspaper the Guardian.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said of the Dalai Lama's visit to Leeds: "We hope the British side stop making mistakes again and again, which undermine China's interests.

"China-U.K. relations have been affected by the recent meeting between the British leader and the Dalai Lama. The responsibility lies with the British side."

But will the Chinese pull out of the Olympics if the Dalai Lama keeps visiting Britain and giving speeches?

"The Chinese delegation is making preparations for the 2012 Olympics. I think politics and sport should be separated," Mr. Liu said.

China apparently is unable to separate the Dalai Lama from its politics.

CHINA DOUBTS ON SPACE PROGRAM

With the successful launch of China's manned Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its docking with the space module Tiangong-1 this week, the communist nation appears rife with self-congratulations over the mission, which includes China's first female astronaut in space.

But a surprise, albeit oblique, editorial from a key Chinese communist government newspaper, published hours after the launch, warned that China is essentially doing what the Americans and Russians achieved decades ago. It stated that China's space ambitions should be based on Chinese reality and should not waste too many resources.

"China should increase our presence in space ... but no matter how important it is to build a space station, its connection with the people's interests is not as direct and self-evident as building comfortable housing projects for the people," the Global Times, a subsidiary of the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily, said Sunday in a rare editorial.

"China is a big country with a considerable amount of realistic tasks for social development," the editorial said. "We must correctly balance the relationship between solving problems for people's livelihood and seeking a better future strategic position for our nation."

The editorial warned that "any imbalance in dealing with these two objectives will be myopic and muddle-headed."

It is rare for a party-controlled news outlet to challenge publicly an ongoing strategic program that has the publicized blessing of the top leadership.

The report prompted some speculation among analysts that it reflects internal disagreement among China's top leadership over the country's strategic priorities.

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

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