When the Lion Wakes: The Global Threat of the Chinese Communist Party

When the Lion Wakes: The Global Threat of the Chinese Communist Party. By Aaron Sarin.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, 40 percent of all the economic growth in the world has occurred in just one country: China. Allison quotes Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, for the coup de grâce: “It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of the world.”

If Lee was right, then there can be only one outcome. “This world will be China’s,” says the brother of Ye Cheng, the Communist Party billionaire who now controls Australia’s Port Darwin. It is time for China to “change the world where rules are set by foreigners,” according to Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group and China’s second richest man. China will “lead the entire world on political, economic, military, and environmental issues,” in the words of president-for-life Xi Jinping. But when men like this use the word “China,” they mislead us. It will not be the Chinese people who rise to inherit the earth, who wake to shake the world. It will be the Communist Party. …

Today, the Communist Party stifles criticism and dictates policy far beyond Chinese borders, controlling NGOs and businesses, silencing dissidents, and filling Western university boards with CCP sympathisers. Academic institutions are increasingly reliant on Chinese money — $12.55 billion in student tuition fees in 2016 — and so it’s easy to buy their silence. …

The Party’s iron grip extends to society far beyond academia. Many foreign companies with business interests in China have been forced to apologise for referring to Taiwan or Tibet in the ‘wrong’ terms. The German manufacturer Leica made the mistake of referring to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in one of its adverts, and was forced to issue a full apology. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz was forced to apologise for quoting the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post. The quote itself was as banal as you might expect: “Look at the situation from all angles, and you will become more open.” But Party stooges quickly registered their displeasure online, and so Mercedes-Benz deleted the offending post, adopted the penitent posture, and issued the ritual confession: “We will promptly take steps to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, our international staff included, to help standardise our actions to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again.”

This craven behaviour is making the Party confident — so confident, in fact, that it has begun arresting the citizens of other countries. A Swedish citizen was abducted in Thailand and flown to China after publishing books critical of the Chinese authorities, and a British citizen from Hull was snatched in Beijing airport and jailed for comments he’d made on Facebook. He was on his way from the Philippines to the UK and only stopping off briefly in the airport, but he ended up spending two weeks in prison for the crime of “not being a friend to China.” The Party’s thugs have physically assaulted journalists in the US for publishing anti-CCP content, they have kidnapped and tortured booksellers in Hong Kong, and they have attempted to murder independent journalists in Australia. They locked British businessman Peter Humphrey into an iron chair inside a steel cage and drugged him in order to elicit a confession. They hounded New Zealand academic Anne-Marie Brady, punishing her for researching the CCP’s foreign influence by sending their goons to break into her home in Christchurch, tamper with her car, burgle her office, and send her threatening letters. …

The Chinese authorities apparently believe that the citizens of all countries come under their jurisdiction. This is more than aggressive nationalism, this is imperialism. …

If the cowardice and appeasement continues, then soon enough the lion will sink its claws into Western countries. Indeed, this is already the plan: He Yafei, deputy director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, told senior Party cadres that “China” (by which he means the Communist Party) will “carve out a bloody path and smash the West’s monopoly and public opinion hegemony.”

So what kind of world can we expect to live in, once the CCP is in control? We might get some idea from the social credit system that Jaushieh Joseph Wu mentioned. An increasing number of Chinese citizen — by 2020 it will be all citizens — are subject to a rating system whereby their behaviour dictates their score … The Party monitors individual behaviour through extensive surveillance, both on and offline. All manner of innocuous activity can drive down an individual’s score — even playing video games. When a declining score passes a certain threshold then travel plans and bank loans are blocked. Citizens with low social credit scores were prevented from buying airline tickets 17.5 million times in 2018. Those with the lowest scores simply vanish into the labyrinth of the Communist Party’s internal security system. …

journalist Martin Jacques … foresees a tributary system based on a romanticised view of the Qing dynasty, which was the last of the old empires in what we now call China. Representatives from surrounding regions were required to make regular journeys to the court of the Qing emperor to pay tribute. The twenty-first century version would involve national leaders journeying to Beijing once a year to perform the same ritual kowtow. …

Graham Allison knows of a Shanghai deputy mayor who says he looks forward to the day when every upper-middle class family in Shanghai has an American houseboy. This unlikely vision begins to look less unlikely when we remember the power and influence such visionaries hold—power and influence that is growing rapidly.