Chinese Thinking on Crimea: Taiwan or Tibet?
…by Ulson Gunnar, …with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
[ Editor’s note: Ulson Gunnar has a very pointed article for us today exposing the hidden hand of various propaganda entities, usually intelligence agencies, State Departments friends, or the shadow government crowd who want to create false public impressions on Geo-political events.
This activity is an intense and ongoing attack on American democracy. Our Founding Fathers warned future generations that preserving the Republic they had created for us would depend on the public being accurately informed about events they were dealing with.
Disinformation has become literally an empire business which the major new conglomerates have been structured to take advantage of economies of scale and to leverage their power.
They are a double-edged sword. They can boost friends and tear down those they are assigned to target. And their customers fund the whole operation.
The model for this subversion was born out of our former “acting president” Ronald Reagan using the smokescreen of “free enterprise” to destroy American independent media.
Even though it was not his personal intention, Reagan is responsible for having been so easy to manipulate into going along with it. He was the schmoozer that got schmoozed. All aspects of our media were opened up to domination by multinational conglomerates, where it was then used as a tool to undermine the very democracy Reagan claimed to champion.
Business publications were not in the vanguard of this assault. Big money players bought these entities as stable self-funding propaganda platforms because they knew the public assumed they had no ideological bias due to their reputation as hard-boiled number crunchers, only interested in stable markets and a good business environment.
As you will read below, they are full partners in the spin machine. When it comes to corporate media, they have us surrounded. We independents sit here in the middle of their circle, firing in all directions, and never missing to hit a bad guy. It is the primary fun part of our work, and we enjoy it immensely… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published March 30, 2014 –
China has maintained a very careful and consistent foreign policy of non-interference. It has steadfastly condemned foreign incursions into other nations under any pretext.
In recent years, this has been extended to NATO’s adventures in Libya and Syria, where China has been vocal in its condemnation of foreign meddling.
This is not only because China believes in national sovereignty in general as the foundation upon which it is building its global influence, but also and perhaps primarily because it fears for its own territorial integrity at home.
When Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation, the Chinese were particularly cautious in how they responded diplomatically. China even abstained from voting on a resolution submitted to the UN General Assembly backing Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Their somewhat ambiguous statements and moves have given license to international press houses to portray China as opposing Russia. Headlines such as the Business Insider’s “China Doesn’t Back Russia’s Invasion Of Crimea — And That’s A Big Problem For Putin,” seem to describe Beijing as wholly abandoning Moscow over the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The Business Insider even goes as far as saying, ”Russia’s Vladimir Putin has committed a grave strategic blunder by tearing up the international rule book without a green light from China. Any hope of recruiting Beijing as an ally to blunt Western sanctions looks doomed, and with it the Kremlin’s chances of a painless victory, or any worthwhile victory at all.”
Another assessment, this time from Bloomberg’s Businessweek, strikes a little closer to reality. In an article titled, “Is China Siding With Putin in the Ukraine Crisis?,” Businessweek states, “The Chinese might naturally sympathize with Vladimir Putin, someone willing to stick it to Western leaders such as President Obama.
However, China has long opposed actions that smack of interference in other countries’ internal affairs, in part to keep outsiders away from such sensitive issues as Tibet and Chinese dissidents.”
In reality, Beijing has departed with Moscow in rhetorical terms only, and even still, only tentatively so. In reality, Beijing and Moscow are still working closely together with common strategic interests in mind, and China most certainly is backing Russia in regards to Ukraine, however subtly.
Editorial angles like those at the Business Insider, as well as Foreign Policy Magazine, and TIME, are attempts to stir up division if possible among the ranks of analysts and editorial boards prone to taking up sensational narratives.
This then helps build public consensus, however has little to no effect on the diplomatic ties between Russia and China, or each nation’s respective foreign policies.
While China persistently maintains its non-interference stance in all matters foreign policy, and many have tried to compare Russia’s involvement in Crimea as comparable to Tibet being peeled away from China, in reality what Russia has done is more closely an analogue of what China would like to see become of Taiwan and other disputed regions it has historical, cultural, linguistic, financial, and geopolitical strategic ties to.
In fact, what has created the Ukrainian crisis in the first place, namely US and European Union backing of opposition groups to overturn not only Ukraine’s political order, but Ukraine’s long standing relationship with Moscow, resembles precisely what the United States has been and continues to try to do in Chinese territory, particularly in Tibet and the western province of Xinjiang.
By supporting Russia on Ukraine, China will be able to ensure it too can reserve the right to protect itself along its own borders from foreign-backed upheaval.
The prospect of large scale unrest in China’s border provinces and the installation of a foreign backed government attempting to breakaway from Beijing would necessitate China to make moves very similar to what Russia has done in Crimea.
In many ways, China is already struggling along this path to maintain its territorial integrity, albeit on a smaller scale, attempting to check foreign funded independence movements by reasserting Beijing’s authority through a combination of soft power backed by security operations when necessary.
Despite the sensational headlines, the thinking in Beijing most certainly gravitates toward backing Russia on the Ukraine issue.
Its perceived ambiguous diplomatic stance on the matter affords it more room to maneuver, not just in regards to its subtle support for Russia, but in all matters regarding both foreign and domestic policy.
By taking too strong a stance now, Beijing might tie its hands in the future when it is their turn to guard their territory and their various spheres of influence.
This too might be what was intended by the West’s intentional twisting of Beijing’s statements, to garner from China’s leadership a more committal statement that can be used against it in the near future.
As one of China’s greatest strengths, opacity in all it does has left its competitors in the West confounded, and wisely, Beijing has denied the West this latest potential leverage by not taking a firmer stance on Crimea.
Determining what China’s leadership is thinking when they look at Crimea, either “Taiwan” or “Tibet,” is difficult at best and leaves China with the ability to pursue its agenda regarding both without any rhetorical commitments to tie it down regarding the Ukraine crisis or its support for Russia.
Ulson Gunnar is a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine, “New Eastern Outlook.”
Editing: Jim W. Dean and Erica P. Wissinger
Jim W. Dean was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022. He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.
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