Lately we have seen China take the center stage in our national as well as in the international media. Here there has been much analysis of China’s role as the saviour for Prime Minister Najib Razak in the 1MDB scandal. It has led opponents of the Prime Minister to accuse China of having a hidden agenda and of wanting to subjugate our country so as to bring it into the Chinese sphere of influence now, and later into the new Chinese empire.
Although I am not a fan or supporter of the Prime Minister, I must say that I fully approve of Najib’s efforts to build a strong and durable relationship with China. He has lots of questions to answer in relation to 1MDB and other scandals plaguing his leadership. But on the China question, he is spot on in realizing that Malaysia must take a rational and fact-based rather than an irrational and fiction-based approach in dealing with the Chinese.
This approach must be based on our own historical facts in our relationship with China. It must also be based on the historical facts from the Chinese side.
What are these facts?
Firstly, China has never in the past tried to conquer or take advantage of the Malay states although she could have easily done so.
Secondly, China has never conquered any other country. Analysts have pointed out that it is the most populous country in the world and third largest in area. China also has the largest number of neighbours (14) sharing its 22,000km land borders with North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
There are two countries that China has gone to war with in recent times over border issues. One is India. Most experts agree that the initial provocation came from India.
According to Neville Maxwell the fault for the conflict lay with Jawaharlal Nehru and his clique. In his authoritative study he concluded that a ill-prepared Indian Army provoked China on orders emanating from Delhi, and paid the price for its misadventure in men, money and national humiliation.
The other country which has experienced border problems with China is Vietnam. After decades of tussle, a border agreement was signed in 1999. In 2007, the building of the Hanoi-Kunming highway marked a significant improvement in Sino-Vietnamese relations. Since then China has become the largest trading partner and the largest source of imports for Vietnam.
It is clear from all past and recent history that China is not interested in building empires, or going to war or conquering people.
This militaristic and aggressive behavior and history belongs to the European countries that imposed colonialism throughout the world. Japan which conquered large parts of China and Southeast Asia, including Malaya and Indonesia during the Second World War; and the United States which went to war in Asia against North Korea and Vietnam in the 1950s and 60s have been the main war mongers.
It is laughable and also disgusting that some people, especially in Japan and the US, are trying to paint China as an aggressive nation intent on being the dominant world power – a picture put out by American conservatives and hawks, and also subscribed to by some of the ‘ketuanan Melayu’ crowd here.
These enemies of China are now arguing that China’s rise to economic dominance is one part of China’s strategy aimed at world dominance. They see China as a new global “hegemon” that will export its anti-democratic political system around the world.
As someone who has personally experienced the impact of the Japanese occupation in Malaya and viewed the brutal and uncivilized Japanese military conduct in China and elsewhere, I can say that the Japanese people and leaders need to look hard into the mirror before they try to accuse China of any military ambitions.
The rape of Nanking by the Japanese stands out as an act of unspeakable brutality. The total death toll, including estimates made by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal was between 300,000 and 350,000, with between 20,000 and 80,000 women sexually assaulted.
I would also give the same advice to Americans especially since Donald Trump’s political talk during his presidential campaign tried to demonize China and called to question the one-China policy agreed to by previous US Presidents.
Please check on the US record of “foreign adventures” throughout the world and the millions of innocent civilians killed by the US and its proxy governments. The US for example dropped more bombs in Vietnam than they did during the entire 2nd World War. US military aggression continues today with the US dropping more than 20,000 bombs during Obama’s last year in office.
In fact, US attack Irag under the false pretence that Saddam Hussein had weapon of mass destruction (WMD). US also attacked Afghanistan, Iran and other Muslim countries. As a result, many Muslims whose parents were murdered, swore on their mothers’ graves to take revenge. US has created these suicide bombers.
Why the suicide bombers are not attacking the Chinese?
Throughout its long history China may have been a dragon state internally. But it has never used its claws against other countries or dropped its bombs over any nation.
At the same time, China has shown that it is not a paper tiger. Try to push China around and it will not back off from fighting for its rights, independence and long civilization. And the Chinese military as we know today is no pushover.
Fortunately President Trump has now seen the light and eaten crow after his long telephone conversation with President Xi. Hopefully Trump will also be educated on the true history of the two countries during times of war and peace.