The CCP may be filthy rich, therefore it believes it can do whatever it wants.
Warrior wolf diplomacy hence becomes the country’s new normal. On Oct. 8, two Chinese embassy staff trespassed the National Day Reception held by Taiwan’s Trade Office in Fiji, took pictures of the guests without consent, and assaulted a Taiwanese trade officer, who suffered from a concussion and needed hospitalization.
Warrior wolf diplomats' anachronistic way of handling international relations is mind-boggling. The transgressions also reveal how power dominates and corrupts the authoritarian CCP and why the regime must be contained.
“Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” when Xi Jinping presents himself as the rightful dictator of China and the rest of the world, his brownnose underlings kiss up by bullying around.
Xi deludes himself that the market of 1.4 billion Chinese is big enough to buy his way into doing whatever he wants, even to be the dictator of the human race. The fatal conceit made CCP everyone’s enemy, and China once again going down the path back to autarky.
China was once the world’s economic superpower. However, in the 15th century, the Ming dynasty embargoed all private maritime commerce, especially after the famous Zheng He’s expeditions. China missed the opportunity to modernize over the centuries of self-deprivation. Xi is leading China once again down the path to poverty and failure, isn’t he?
China’s gravest danger is the absolute dictatorship, which does not bear any institutional check and balance of powers. Even when crises are looming, the entourage will pretend business as usual, remain silent, and some might even squeeze smiles to console the supreme leader. It is no wonder Xi is full of confidence!
Suppressing the institutional checks and balance is just the beginning of the end. The zealous pursuit of a misplaced dream by putting the lives and liberty of 1.4 billion souls at risk is more than merely a dictatorship; Xi forces the world to watch his obscene soliloquy, a public act of mindfuckery.
Xi deifies Mao and idealizes his dreams. Xi also vows to finish Mao’s unfinished revolution, which is to lead China into a socialist utopia. We can see how exhilarating for Xi to think about the possibility of accomplishing what Mao could not. We also witnessed how Xi’s fantasy turned into overreaches, then into offenses, and eventually made the CCP the enemy of the world. The Brinkmanship of warrior wolf diplomacy, hence, China’s isolation, began with Xi crowning himself the dictator-for-life.
The superpower for anyone to decide for life or death, prosper or wither, of 1.4 billion people is compulsive, corrupting, and perverse. No matter how superhumanly smart Xi is, it is absurd to subject 1.4 billion people to the thought of a single person, as if he is an omniscient supreme being. Nevertheless, the CCP enforces social control and engineering, based on the idiotic assumption that the authoritarian knows best; for instance, there are more than twenty different types of censorship just for the movies in China. A dictator can assume all the powers in his own hands, but he can never control all the knowledge.
Every day the market mechanism and other social interactions guide us to discover and develop the network of knowledge through cooperation with others, sometimes strangers we never met. The network of knowledge, therefore, holds much more than the information all individuals possess. Although the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, everyone at any time can make use of and contribute to the network of knowledge. The evolution of knowledge happens all the time, and it almost has a life of its own. Authoritarians and dictators are destined to fail not only because they are limited by their partial knowledge and incentives but also their reliance on stagnant and defunct “dead knowledge.”
The CCP makes away with the living network of knowledge, leaving itself a zombie-like machine feeding on “dead knowledge” to suppress and control the living ones and fill the vacuum with nothing but fantasies.
All dictators make the same mistake about the relationship between individuals and knowledge. Everyone possesses unique knowledge. Through the division of labor, we survive and thrive, hence bonded into a community. Society is the free association of human knowledge. The information age brings competition between nations to an entirely different dimension, yet the CCP believes the thought of one man can trump all of the rest.
While the CCP is fighting on multiple fronts and inside out, the wolf warriors diplomats remain pompous and insolent as if they cannot reflect on why China becomes the enemy of the world. It is evident such a dictatorship that relies on the whim of a single one is beyond saving.
China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, openly threatened the Canadian government by suggesting that the safety and health of 300,000 Canadians were at stake if Hong Kong protesters were given political asylum. The nake political threat backfired. Canadian Conservative leader Erin O’Toole demanded Cong retract his statement and apologize; otherwise, the Trudeau administration should expel Cong from Canada.
Diplomatic misdeeds will fuel the populistic hostility against China and make it difficult for other nations to treat China with respect. Is it a kind of cult that fancies being demonized by acting erratically and anti-social?
The Western politicians' indifference, the greed of the corporate world, and the pretension and vain of the intelligentsia gave the CCP the opportunities to corrupt and change the market’s rules of conduct. Appeasing-China-as-a-norm went without question, as long as it remained profitable for everyone. Finally, the aberrations were so significant and evident that they became a concern of national interests and subsequently led to the trade war.
An authoritarian oligarchy with competing fractions has its balance of power, hence restraining outrageous, provocative behavior. Once a dictator controls all the powers in his own hands, the country will turn preposterously belligerent; the objective of diplomacy will swerve from peacekeeping to war-making. Xi exemplifies the above generalization of history. One does not need to know how to read the tea leaves to tell how ignorant Xi’s government is, how big the looming China crisis is, and how wrong it is to allow a dictator to lead China to the point of no return.
The U.S. Presidential election will take place very soon. Although there is a bipartisan consensus on containing China, the real issue lies in the substantial approach and measures. My hunch is Trump knows what he has been doing with China, while Biden is clueless. If Trump has four more years, his hardline approach may enigmatically ease the standoff between the two nations. To Trump, anti-China is a deal, but it is also an ideological battle. However, to Biden, China is just a tradeoff between interests and politics. Trump wants to change how China behaves. Biden wants to de-escalate the tension. Trump considers the long term relationship between the people of the two nations. Biden wants the problems before our eyes disappear. Trump is a statesman. Biden is a politician. Some people may have their prejudices against Trump. Nevertheless, I find a statesman more dependable than a politician, as I find a stronger sense of security in Trump.
(Jimmy Lai is the founder of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily and Next Magazine in Hong Kong and Taiwan.)
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