No Minister

Democracy dies in Darkness

So in June we’ve had the 75th anniversaries of The Battle of Midway and the more-widely acknowledged D-Day, plus the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

The last event should be made to grow in importance as an anniversary, for two reasons. First because it’s important to show the Chinese Communist government that the old Memory Hole trick won’t work outside of China. Secondly because it’s a pointer to a rather ugly future, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Several years ago, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, James Fanell, the former director of Intelligence and Information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave testimony to the US House Committee on Intelligence Operations, in which he mapped out where he thinks China is going with all this over the next few decades. It’s 48 pages long but worth your time to read.
He talks about the slow, steady buildup of the Chinese military but more importantly about the reasons for it. His argument is that China is focusing on the year 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist takeover of China, and the desire to have Taiwan “reunified” by then, preferably without firing a shot.
And the strategy is based on what happened in Tiananmen Square and after:

For the last five years I have postulated a new theory entitled the “Decade of Concern”. Central to the theory is the belief that China has calculated a timeline for when they could use military force at the latest possible moment AND still be able to conduct a grand ceremony commemorating their national restoration in 2049.

I believe China’s leaders have a template for calculating that date and it is the time period from Tiananmen Square to the 2008 Olympics.

As you recall in 1989, the international community largely condemned Beijing’s actions of slaughtering its own citizens at Tiananmen Square. Yet, just 19 years later the world’s leaders flocked to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Remember the scene on August 8th 2008 at the Bird’s Nest stadium?

There were tens of thousands of people in the seats watching one of the most impressive Olympic opening ceremonies in history. There at the top of the stadium, in a cool, air-conditioned skybox were the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo (PBCS), looking down over the masses of humanity. At the center of the PBSC was President Hu Jintao, wearing his black Mao suit. President Hu was cool, calm, and collected and what did he see down in those seats, in the 95-degree temperature and 95% humidity?

Why, it was the President of the United States, with big sweat stains under his armpits, who later went on to describe the event as being “spectacular and successful”.

What was the strategic message from this event? I believe it reinforced a belief among China’s leadership that the West has a short-attention span regarding issues such as crimes against humanity and vicious misuse of military force.

In short, Beijing believes the West can be counted on to forget even the most barbarous actions after about a 20- year time span.

In other words, the Chinese Communist leadership have to make Taiwan part of a unified China by 2029.

One quibble I have with the analysis is that the leaders of the West didn’t even wait a few months, let alone twenty years, to begin ignoring and forgetting the Tiananmen Square massacre. Bush 41 quietly dispatched two top aides to assure Xiaoping that it was business as usual. The rest of the West followed the same path. Admittedly nobody saw the Warsaw pact collapsing less than six months later; Cold War rules still applied.

Bill Clinton condemned Bush for “coddling dictators” but as soon as he was President in 1993 he hailed China as a “strategic partner” and specifically announced that human rights would be “de-linked” from trade, and that continued with Bush 43. Chinese dissidents begged Obama to speak up about Xi Jinping’s ruthless crackdown on them, but the Obama administration just wasn’t focused on China. And while Trump has gleefully got into a trade war with them, he has shown the same lack of interest in their internal oppression as his predecessors did.

Whatever develops I doubt New Zealand will have much to say about it or “our friends in Beijing

National MP Jian Yang lied about his Chinese Communist Party past when entering the country, admitting that he did so on instructions from Beijing, and worked for the PLA’s Military Intelligence unit. Yet he is apparently a valued member who raises tons of money for National, speaks only to the Chinese media  in NZ and has never said a word against the PRC..

The Labour MP, Raymond Huo, follows a similar path. Chairing Parliament’s Justice Committee hearings on foreign interference, he initially opposed any public submissions, claiming government departments could say all there was to be said. How very Xi of him. He’s recused himself now, but, exactly like Yang, has solid ties to the PRC Embassy here, to various regime-affiliated United Front bodies, is on record about the opportunity being an MP gave him to champion PRC perspectives on issues like Tibet, and – again exactly like Yang – has never once in his years in Parliament been heard to utter a word critical of the PRC.

Is it any wonder that Bridges and Adern have virtually nothing to say about China’s moves. At least they’re in good political company locally and internationally.

But it’s not just the politicians. The title of this article is the slogan adopted by The Washington Post in the Age of OrangeManBad, and it’s the usual pretentious puffery you’d expect the MSM to apply to themselves – along with the word “brave”. The picture immediately below the title means the slogan is also a bad joke, as a recent article from the Human Events website, showing what has happened to that “respected” organ of the MSM, explains:

“Recently the Washington Post has started carrying China Daily‘s US edition as a physically separate advertising supplement to the printed paper, as described here. Fine: it’s clearly labeled, and we’ve all gotta stay in business. But now the Post is doing the same thing on its website. Look at this part of the “Washington Post“‘s site as it appears just now, and tell me how obvious it is that you’re seeing a paid presentation of official Chinese government propaganda perspective…”

As Federalist contributor Mark Hemingway said:

“Can someone tell me why a newspaper owned by literally the richest man in the world needs to take money from people running concentration camps?”

To be fair the WaPo’s crap reporting on China was strongly criticized by the paper’s own ombudsman in its own pages. But nothing changed. Aside from Human Events, the articles I’ve linked to come from the Croaking Cassandra blog and exceed in detail and relentless coverage anything you’ll find in the local reporting of the NZ MSM.

I did get a bonus black comedy laugh out of another WaPo-China Daily page that Human Events showed:

Whether it’s politicians or the MSM, China knows how to spend its money effectively to gain influence in foreign circles and create a soft propaganda wall of defence in the West against attacks on its military and foreign policy plans and objectives – whether their brutal suppression of the Uighur minorities, with Tibet as the template, the slow strangulation of Hong Kong, the bullshit China is pulling on Vietnam and the Phillipines in the-here-and-now, or with Taiwan in the coming ten year timeframe that so worries Captain Fanell.

I have no doubt what the veterans of Midway and D-Day would have said about how democracy dies, but they would be appalled at who is killing it, how it is being done, and that the anniversary of one of the worst examples of it is largely ignored by Western leaders at the same time that they make paens to those long-ago victories.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 25, 2019 at 8:50 pm

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