In our review of the Chinese media this week, we have three somewhat ‘heavyweight’ stories, two about the USA and one thoughtful article about China’s approach to the rule of law.
China/USA ‘wolf wars’
China’s strong diplomacy is described as “wolf war diplomacy,” which gives unreasonable, arrogant, and aggressive negative connotations.
In the past 20 years, the United States has launched two large-scale wars. The purpose of the Afghanistan War was to eliminate the Taliban regime that supported Bin Laden and to get revenge for the Americans who died in 9/11. This could be defending the national security of the United States and protecting the interests of Americans.
But what about the Iraq war? It had nothing to do with US security. The US government and its allies fabricated lies about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction to provide an excuse to send troops to attack Iraq. The invasion action, dominated by US and British forces, had no legality under international law. It was a naked and illegal war of aggression. The eight-year war in Iraq caused nearly 600,000 casualties in the country. Later, ISIS flourished, so that more than three million people are still displaced and living in starvation.
As for Afghanistan, after the United States overthrew the Taliban and killed Bin Laden, it still sent troops in the country. Only this year will it withdraw its troops. The problem for the USA is that Afghanistan has no oil. The United States has fought a local war for 20 years. The only reason is to show the United States’ global power.
China’s military exercises and the tough stance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be called “wolf diplomacy.” When the United States sends a large force to occupy other countries, destroy people’s homes, and seize people in a war of aggression, it is surely qualified to be called “beast diplomacy.”
Nevertheless, the United States was so wasteful with its national power, it caused the domestic economy to shrink. It gave birth to the madman Trump, and brought about four years of chaos, deeply hurting the vitality of the United States. It has now elected the experienced President Biden. He wants to quell the serious internal divisions in the United States and demonstrate its status as the world’s top power.
However, the United States is no longer the original United States, and the world is no longer the original world. Russian national power is rapidly recovering. As for the sleeping lion, China, it has fully awakened.
Historically, when a country’s international trade reached its peak, it established a powerful navy and army to protect its trade. Strong diplomacy is the inevitable result of strong production capacity and economic development. Conversely, when economic power weakens, military power will also shrink; diplomacy then contains nothing but empty statements.
If Beijing did not make strong moves, it would be seen as a concession on sovereignty under pressure from the United States and Japan. Therefore, it can be expected that Beijing will speed up the increase of military pressure across the Taiwan Strait. High-profile propaganda for actual combat preparations will be very close to a state of war. I believe that, in the end, the United States has no other choice but to retain its dignity and make substantive concessions.
In short, Beijing’s actions must be fast and fierce, and appear in ways that are not easily anticipated.
In this next article the author gives reasons why China will not blindly follow the Western concept of an independent judiciary.
Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress, recently wrote an article reiterating that “we must never follow the path of Western judicial independence”. He wrote that, to build a rule of law China under the world’s unprecedented changes, it is necessary to coordinate domestic rule of law with foreign-related rule of law.
Wang Chen also served as the president of the Chinese Law Society. He emphasized that we must understand China’s national conditions and follow the rule of law that suits us. We must never copy the models and practices of other countries. And we must never follow the Western “judicial independence”.
There are voices in China that are pursuing Western constitutionalism. But China must reject the independence of the three powers and judicial independence. This is the strategy of the Party.
The Political and Legal Committee of the Communist Party of China once published an article explaining “Why China cannot implement Western judicial independence”. It emphasized that this violates the Chinese Constitution and is not suitable for Chinese conditions. This is because there is no profound relationship between private owners in capitalist society. However, in an integrated society like China, the fundamental interests of workers are the same. Therefore, there is no need to artificially divide political opponents representing various interests in the country’s political life and form a party system.
This article also criticized some constitutional experts in China who saw judicial independence as a breakthrough in China’s democratic constitutionalism. It emphasized that resistance to implementing Western judicial independence lies in the state’s need to distribute social wealth. Independence of the judiciary means that the economic and property fields are separated from the will of the people. Thus, social changes and social justice lose political guarantees.
Although the CCP’s propaganda party’s leadership has institutional advantages, China’s judicial practice has been criticized for excessive intervention, serious corruption, and ‘black box’ operations.
In his article, Wang Chen expressed his opinions on the rule of law concerning foreign affairs, saying that there are still many shortcomings and weaknesses. He proposed to use legislation, law enforcement, judicial and other means to launch foreign struggles to deal with challenges and prevent risks. Recently, China has engaged in multiple rounds of sanctions and counter-sanctions with the West, especially the United States. During this period, Beijing was accused of many problems in the rule of law concerning foreign affairs.
Finally, Wang Chen wrote, “We must focus on promoting the reform of the global governance system, actively participate in the formulation of international rules, and be good at making more Chinese voices and injecting more Chinese elements into the formulation of international rules.”
In this well-balanced article, the author recognises the achievements of ‘American Exceptionalism’. However, he notes that this has led to arrogance and failure to understand other cultures and nations. This needs to change.
The United States has dominated the world for more than a hundred years. It has unmatched superiority. In addition to the tangible strengths of its economy, technology, and military, the United States embraces values, operating systems and a creative culture, and talent. Although the U.S. hegemony has declined and its internal affairs are broken, it is like a declining aristocracy, still holding a strong sense of superiority.
If you want to be correct, you should call this American Exceptionalism. Based on this ideology, the United States of America is unique. Then there are noble concepts such as freedom and human rights, individualism, equality before the law, free capitalism. Many are unique in the world; the people benefit from these intrinsic values and are happy. With prosperity, the country is also particularly strong and stable, so it can lead the community, defend freedom, and be respected by all nations.
Biden vowed to rebuild America’s credit and moral authority. His main spiritual asset is American exceptionalism. However, the political and social crisis in the United States and its hegemonic behaviour in the world have long been perilous, and its proud democratic system is in chaos. The persuasiveness of American exceptionalism has weakened.
During the Cold War, American exceptionalism flourished and the ‘free world’ took on American values and lifestyles to compete with communism. The United States widely promoted these ideas and even imposed them on others.
American exceptionalism has made an indelible contribution to the practice and promotion of good values. However, since idealism and selfishness have always coexisted, the driving force for the export of United States values is linked to economic and military selfishness. Their purpose is to use ideology as a tool to shape the world hegemonic order.
The drawback of American exceptionalism is that it is lonely and arrogant. It cannot appreciate and learn the advantages of other value systems. The greatest harm is trying to transform others in accordance with its own ways, imposing its own values, ideas, and systems on others, sometimes with brute force.
American exceptionalism has contributed greatly to the progress of the world and the development of civilization in the past century. It has also caused a lot of harm and has stifled the formation of a multilateral world order and thus hindered progress.
Now that American hegemony is declining and multiple values are growing, it is time to look at the world and discard exceptionalism.