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Perspective

Taking China from admiration to hate

China’s amazing progress from a ruined country at the end of 80s to a prosperous and the most admired country happened after Deng Xiao Ping took the reins and gave a message to his countrymen, “To get rich is glorious.”! With that, he unleashed a revolution that transformed the nation ruined under Mao into an admired and much written about nation.

The only national asset Deng Xiaoping had in 1984 was the disciplined and well educated young men and women who were rotting in rural China. He cleverly made them into his capital by offering to the world industry high quality work force at the cheapest prices. Slowly but surely growing number of industries around the world shifted their production to China. Multi-nationals, keen on pushing their profits, came in numbers. Along with the production, Chinese got, for free, the latest technology and modern manufacturing processes and practices. Young Chinese absorbed it all with zest. Unlike other countries, China paid no knowhow fees to anyone!

Deng was wise too. He only allowed young workers to come to city for work without their families. He also made compulsory for all industries to house and feed their migrant workers for free. Thus Chinese cities today do not have slums like we have.

I have more than 60 books written in 90s about China, one being my own. China’s was the 21st century’s most dramatic economic turnaround. It was extraordinary for a communist country. Today it is aiming to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy within this decade.

After Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin presided over China from 1993 to 2003 and Hu Jintao from 2003 to 2013. During these two decades China’s progress continued at an amazing speed. Through this period I was a frequent visitor to China. Both gave China world’s best infrastructure to support its industrial prowess. China’s nationwide highways and world’s best railway added tremendously to its efficiency. In these two decades China prospered in every way. During their times China was admired. Their relationship with the world was certainly not as inimical as today. China, till 2013, was much a matter of envy for many countries in the world than the hate of today.

The political system in China is opaque and therefore it has never been made public exactly how Mr Xi surpassed his rivals to become the country’s next president. Some believe that Xi was a behind-the-scenes compromise because Hu Jintao’s first pick was thought to be the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang.

However, Xi Jinping became the President of China and soon later the CCP made him the President for life. He also acquired all three leadership roles; head of the Communist Party, military and state.

President Xi, thereafter, jailed or threw out all his opponents on charges of corruption and established his supremacy. Many Chinese scholars outside China say the black jails, forced disappearances, secret police, surveillance etc. are not new in China.

China started changing rapidly under his leadership and within the next seven years of his monolithic rule, he managed to turn China from being a much admired nation before 2013 to a much hated totalitarian nation of today. How did he do it?

After he came to power, Indian Prime Minister invited him as a guest of honour in September 2014 and made a reciprocal visit to China. Ignoring these gestures, in the midst of corona crisis, China reignited the border crisis in Ladakh with PLA confronting the Indian Army. Whole world was surprised, trying to guess China’s intentions.

President Xi has conflicts with almost all nations. China’s tussle with the US has been continuous and varied. China’s dispute continues with Japan about the Sankuru islands. In South China Sea, China has disputes with almost every country in the region. It has today border disputes with several of its neighbours. Is this a wise diplomacy for a country that aspires to be a super power?

Australia declared that it wants an international inquiry into Corona Pandemic like there was in Japan after Fukushima nuclear disaster. This angered Xi no end and he retaliated by cutting down imports of barley and beef from Australia hurting its export. Why is he resisting the international inquiry proposed? What is he hiding? World also wonders about the closeness of WTO head with China. What’s the secret?

Then, in early 2020, arrived the Corona Pandemic with its roots in Wuhan and China informed WHO about the corona virus and its spread, causing pneumonia-like illness. Due to lack of precautions it soon spread all over the world like a wild fire. Chinese first took it to Italy. This is a unforgettable gift of Xi’s China to the world. Xi’s China made the pandemic a business opportunity by supplying substandard COVID Test Kits and other goods to the world.

Today the entire world is anti-China. They can’t immediately stop Chinese imports but everyone is planning to reduce its dependence on China. US

President Donald Trump wants US to isolate from China for business and produce all such goods within the country.

His Hong Kong policy is also strange. Hong Kong was China’s window to the world. It was benefitting both China and Hong Kong but now he wants to take away that freedom from Hong Kong with threats. Why would he want to close that window? What’s the diplomacy?

One thing is certain; post Covid the life will not be same. There would be a sea change in the way people live. World will always hold China responsible for this. Nations want to reduce their dependence on China and be self-reliant as much as they can. This obviously will hurt China’s export. Exports are the key of its phenomenal growth. Chinese people will eventually have to pay high price for President Xi Jinping’s handling of the world affairs.

In 1985, the author Deodhar was invited by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to take over as the Chairman of the Electronics Commission, Government of India and be with him as the Advisor to the Prime Minister on electronics. He’s a fellow of the IEEE, USA, and has been honoured with the prestigious US award “Engineering Manager for 1990” by the Engineering Management Society of IEEE, USA.