Late last week, as veteran China-watcher Katsuji Nakazawa of Nikkei Asia wrote:
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to freeze the ratification process of an investment pact with China — a deal that Beijing six months ago considered a big strategic victory.
It has sent shock waves throughout China, with only one month and change before arguably the most important event in President Xi Jinping’s era, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s establishment, on July 1.
Some party members are worried that the centenary’s festive mood will be dampened by the harsh diplomatic reality. Not only are China’s relations with the U.S. bad, but now EU relations are stuck in a ditch.
At this rate, not many Western leaders are likely to phone or telegraph congratulatory messages to Beijing for the party’s 100th birthday.
President Xi does not appear to have many cards to play.
It is not just the U.S. and the E.U. that China has alienated. The entire world has been traumatized by the COVID pandemic that we now know (after over a year of media and tech complicity in pushing the cover story of wet market origins) came out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s lab.
And we know that when people got sick in Wuhan, China shut down travel to the rest of China while allowing Chinese to travel overseas, a near–smoking gun bit of evidence that China saw it as a bioweapon, whether or not it was deliberately engineered as such.
Australia has had the effrontery to demand a reckoning from China on COVID’s origins and has been mercilessly bullied by China for doing so.
China’s neighbors in Asia, with the sole exception of North Korea, have been deeply alienated by China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea, creating artificial islands, building military installations there, and claiming sovereignty, including the right to control seaborne commerce through the busiest and economically most critical trade routes in the world. America’s challenge to those claims is drawing support even from former enemies like Vietnam, along with the rest of coastal Asia.
India, China’s neighbor and the only other country with a billion-plus citizens, is fighting a war with it in the Himalayas and is mobilized against China. …
Why is China so inept at diplomacy and just getting along with others?
[A] reason that I predict China will have grave difficulties in leading the world into a post-American new world order with itself at the top is China’s own multiple millennia of history.
Until its abrupt decline and fall that began when Westerners forced China to accede to mass importation of opium (enforced via two wars in which Western gunboats defeated China’s traditional armaments), China had no experience at all of diplomacy as the relationship of sovereign states with equal standing as such — the so-called Westphalian state system.
China was the “central kingdom” to which all others paid tribute as vassals of a sort if they wished to engage in relations. …
Xi’s and China’s inability to deal as equals with the rest of the world, its predatory theft of intellectual property — no longer casually accepted as the price of doing business there — and its destructive Belt & Road initiative that has already bankrupted or deeply indebted countries that received its “aid” all are contributing to a pariah status for China.
Most of all, China looks to have imposed on the rest of the world a pandemic that has been a catastrophe of the first order.
Sounds like Han supremacy might be a problem. Or is it Marxist supremacy?
China must assert itself more effectively on the world stage to strengthen its voice and status, President Xi told the country’s leaders yesterday. …
With the right communication tools, China would have more friends and be seen around the world as “credible, loveable and respectable”, Xi claimed. …
Wow, good one:
Budapest has renamed streets around the planned site of a top Chinese university to protest against an “unwanted” project forced on it by Viktor Orban, the prime minister.
Four street signs at the site now bear the names Free Hong Kong Road, Uighur Martyrs’ Road, Dalai Lama Road, and Bishop Xie Shiguang Road, referring to a persecuted Chinese Catholic priest. The area, at present derelict, is to house Fudan University’s first European campus.