The former CCP leader of the Xinjiang region of China, Zhang Chunxian, spoke to a group of deputies from the National People’s Congress in Hubei earlier this month where he touted the country’s “extraordinary accomplishments” and said that 2020 had been a “watershed year.” He said, “Since no country could escape the major test of the pandemic last year, this trend that the East is rising while the West is declining has become very obvious,” according to the South China Morning Post. He added that, “The phenomenon of China advancing and the US retreating has also been conspicuous.”
Zhang even cited a report from the French media which said the Chinese would soon have a higher average life expectancy than the U.S. “concluding that China’s rise was unstoppable.”
The sentiment among the Chinese of an ascendant China and a waning West has become quite prevalent among CCP leadership and nowhere was that more apparent than during the talks with U.S. diplomats this week in Alaska. In fact, one gets the distinct impression that the Chinese no longer feel equal to the U.S., but superior.
Separately, Guo Shengkun, party secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, told a group, “Chinese of all ethnic groups experienced the extraordinary accomplishments achieved by our party, the country and the public [last year]. This was especially seen in the striking contrast of the order in the East and chaos in the West, the rise of the East and decline of the West, and the ascendancy of China and fall of the U.S.”
The SCMP also cited an advisor to CCP leaders, Zheng Yongnian, who said “the US was ‘still developing but at a slower pace’ to other countries.”
Zheng did acknowledge that “the US was far ahead of other nations in some areas. ‘In areas like the economy, military, science and technology – and innovation – no other country can match it.” He also noted that “differences between the US and China were deeply rooted, and Beijing needed to ‘discard its unrealistic ideas and learn to live with the US.'”
He added that, “Realistically, China has risen to the point where it is regarded as a real threat by the US. The fact is, the US cannot contain China’s rise – but China cannot replace the US.”
The Chinese, at least among loyal members of the CCP, have a deep sense of national pride. They’ve clearly adopted a “China First” policy as every nation should.
China focuses intensely upon measurable economic goals. At the recently concluded U.S./China talks held in Alaska, Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi told the U.S. delegation that China had just “we adopted the outline for the 14th five-year economic and social development plan and the long-range objectives through the year 2035. … By the year 2035 China will surely achieve basic modernization. And by the year 2050, China will achieve full modernization.”
“China has made decisive achievements and important strategic gains in fighting COVID-19, and we have achieved a full victory in ending absolute poverty in China. China’s per-capita GDP is only one-fifth of that of the United States, but we have managed to end absolute poverty for all people in China. And we hope that other countries, especially the advanced countries, will make similar efforts in this regard,” Yang said.
They also focus intensely on their military goals which they track with the same precision as their economic objectives. According to an annual Department of Defense report to Congress released in September, “China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already surpassed the U.S. in missile development and its number of warships and air defense systems under the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to achieve dominance by 2049.”
The ultimate goal of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, is to “develop a military by mid-Century that is equal to — or in some cases superior to — the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat,” reports Military.com.
China is already ahead of the United States in certain areas” essential to its overall aim of progressing from homeland and periphery defense to global power projection.
The PRC has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines, including over 130 major surface combatants.
That’s compared to the U.S. Navy’s current battle force of 295 ships.
The PRC has more than 1,250 ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLBMs) and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers,” while the U.S. currently fields one type of conventional GLBM with a range of 70 to 300 kilometers and no GLCMs.
In some respects, China is also ahead on integrated air defense systems with a mix of Russian-built and homegrown systems.
Despite the advances, the PLA “remains in a position of inferiority” to the U.S. in overall military strength…
The Military.com article quotes retired Marine officer Chad Sbragia, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for China, who said, “the report does not claim that China’s military is 10 feet tall,” but the Chinese Communist Party wants it to be, and has the plan and resources to reach that goal.”
Following a report earlier this month that China has allocated “$208.6 billion for military spending for 2022, a 6.8% increase” from 2021 and their concerns over China’s increased aggression in the South China Sea and elsewhere, eight Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to Biden requesting he “increase next year’s defense budget by three to five percent.”
The lawmakers wrote:
“Years of Budget Control Act (BCA) related defense cuts undermined military readiness, set back efforts to modernize the force, and gave our adversaries the time necessary to gain significant advantages that now jeopardize our military superiority. … The Chinese Communist Party increased its defense spending by over 75 percent in the last decade. If we do nothing, over the next decade, China will fully modernize its military, potentially bringing it into parity with our own.”
The Chinese are power hungry, determined, disciplined, patient and ruthless. Biden Administration officials are power hungry, determined and ruthless, but they are undisciplined and impatient. And they’re starting to resemble the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
The near instant devolvement into acrimony that occurred between the U.S. and Chinese diplomats in Alaska this week highlighted one unmistakable fact: The Chinese neither respect nor fear the Biden Administration.
Rightly or wrongly, the Chinese related to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his delegation as if they were convinced they hold the upper hand. Their firm belief that ‘the East is rising while the West is declining’ was unmistakable. Their game plan is to simply stay the course and methodically move toward their goals.
Their unwillingness to make concessions or to yield to the U.S. even the slightest bit, will complicate future relations with the U.S. or may possibly prevent any meaningful dialog at all.
Regarding the tone set by the Chinese during the talks, Michael Pillsbury, a China expert at the Hudson Institute, told The Wall Street Journal, that “the thrust of Mr. Yang’s remarks presages difficult dealings ahead.”
Pillsbury said that “the tone seems to be different. Now China is not just equal to us, they are superior.” He added “the U.S. needs to find more leverage over China.”
And they better find it soon because, as I see it, China is starting to behave like Germany in the 1930s.