The Neo-Economic Imperialism of China and an Attempt to Unfold the Folded Passages of Story -By Tansen Rose


China has already taken the second position in the world economy ranking in 2011 and will overtake the USA by 2030 according to economists. It has the highest foreign exchange reserves that support its strength of the economy. The leading position of China in agriculture sector, readymade garments sector, steel industry, electronics industry, software industry, and automotive industry may turn the world into new polarization. China has world’s third ranking in military power and it is the largest military in terms of raw-manpower. Its development in making weapons has been vastly increasing for some decades which made it immense mightier in military field. It also has the second largest tank fleet behind Russia and the second largest submarine fleet behind the US. For the third world countries, China sometimes is seen blessing for their economy as it invests to develop them, But most of the time it expresses itself as a quinsy for poor countries. Since the country is flourishing in every sector, there is a possibility for china to rapture the lordship from America. The world has been experiencing massive bloodshed for almost 70 years in Korea, Vietnam, and Middle East throughout this US regime. Will Chinese ruling tranquillize the world from blood shedding? Alternatively, will it be more disastrous than today? It depends on the Chinese past policy for world as well as for itself.
China was one of the economic superiors before British imperialism and had excellence in different sectors. As early as 1078, China was one of the major steel producers whereas it surpassed Britain. It had the technical innovations in textile manufacturing before Britain’s textile revolution in 18th century. China was the leading trading nation in the middle age when it traded reaching long distance with Southern Asian countries, African countries, European countries, and Middle East. Its innovations in the production of paper, book printing, firearms, and tools led to a manufacturing superpower whose goods were transported throughout the world by the most advanced navigational system. It became acquainted with making ship, and owned the world’s largest commercial ship in 1588. Banking, a stable paper money economy, manufacturing and high yields in agriculture resulted in China’s per capita income matching that of Great Britain as late as 1750s. At the end of eighteenth century, British imperialism challenged Chinese domination of the world and emergence of colonialism declined Chinese strength. At the turn of the eighteenth century, Britain invaded China in opium war and grabbed Hongkong from it. Downfall of Chinese Qing administration started the new era for China by which it entered semi-colonial age. Gradual development of china started by its dynasts was trespassed by British, though Britain provided modern system in every sector. In addition, the semi colonial age was continuing in China until the communist revolution started.

The success of Chinese communist revolution in 1949 made possible to become the second largest economy in the world and turned the country into new era. The People’s Liberation ‘Red’ Army defeated first the invading Japanese imperial army and later the US imperialist-backed ‘comprador’ led Kuomintang “Nationalist” army. After almost 150 years of infamy and humiliation, the country recovered their pride and national dignity by the hand of Mao Zedong. Although some economists demand that Chinese development age started in 1980, the history negated their opinion and claimed that their new dynamic growth began in 1950s. It boomed itself through what is now called “human capital” and gigantic social mobilization, the Communists built roads, airfields, bridges, canals and railroads as well as the basic industries, like coal, iron and steel, to form the backbone of the modern Chinese economy. Communist China’s vast free educational and health systems created a healthy, literate, and motivated work force. When the prosperity of communism had been collapsing, the government initiated a dramatic shift for its economic power because of getting bitter experience in Russian communist government continuous declination. It opened its market for foreign direct investment at the large scale and emphasized for privatization of the firms that fetched it toward the capitalism. Chinese ruling political class embraced the idea of “borrowing” technical expertise and accessing overseas markets from foreign firms in exchange for providing cheap, plentiful labor at the lowest cost. The regime’s initiatives made its growth sustainable and its dynamic export strategy helped to become one of the largest creditors in the world especially for the USA. By 2010, the country displaced America and EU as the main trading partner in many countries in Southern Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Today, China is the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, dominating even the US market, while playing the role of financial lifeline as it holds over $1.3 trillion in US Treasury notes. China has been growing at 9% rate and its product’s quality and value have been increasing proportionately. In 2013, the Chinese paramount leader Xin jinping proposed new initiatives that focused on connectivity and cooperation between China and other different countries. He named it one belt and one road initiative that expressed hungriness for leading earth of the country. Asian Infrastructure Invest Bank was born also by China in 2014 by which it expects to encounter with the World Bank and cut down the power of the west. Their eagerness for developing infrastructure system in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America let the people understand that China would challenge the world very soon. China has been fostering latent desire for ruling the world for many years and it has already went ahead to prove itself for becoming worthy of it. The world might see a new captain for it within next few decades. The people are tired of watching bloodshed in different countries like Middle East, Libya, Afghanistan etc in the age of western era. Will China be able to provide us a peaceful world? The answer depends on Chinese past behavior to the world and itself.
After the revolution, China intervened in Korean War in 1950 with a view to helping North Korea with crossing the border and sending troops under the name of Chinese people’s volunteer army. It frankly received North Korean students and refugees and aided them financially during the war. Though it seemed that this assistance for North Korea was for protecting a country from destruction, they have personal interest for long period. When the world is against North Korea for its continuous nuclear missile projection, China provides shadow support for that country so that North Korea can be used as a threat for the western countries and their allies. Why do China keep helping North Korea? Although china says that it embraces North Korean Because of security concern and ideological policy, some intellectuals claim that Chinese support for North Korea is totally for Chinese business interest. In spite of having sanctions because of gradual missile testing on North Korea , it remains 118th exporter of products in the world and it exports 83% to China at less than fair price and imports 85% from that particular country according to OEC. At the same time, China goes against the world and supports North Korea in order to take an advantage from weaknesses of North Korea and have an unfair trade with that country. In 1950, China took over Tibet in the name of “peaceful liberation” and slaughtered its army and civil people. It not only ousted the Tibet government but also abolish Tibet’s history, tradition, and culture. Though China signed a seventeenth point agreement with Tibet that they provided an autonomous government led by Dalai Lama, they forced Dalai Lama to flee to India in 1959 breaking their agreement. The ICJ human rights reported  after taking into account the human, economic and social rights, they found that the Chinese communist authorities had violated Article 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Tibet. Chinese argument for their invasion over Tibet is that this country is the part of China and China ruled it more than 800 years. However, truth is that Tibet maintained a unique culture, spoken and written language, religion and a political system for centuries. China claims that their intention to rule Tibet is to make it prosperous and happy under its rule while Tibet was struggling because of backward economy and political system. It is trying to legitimate its invasion over Tibet, though no regulation can permit for attacking other country for this type of illegal cause.
China is not only spreading political interest but also its economic interest and it plays the role of neo imperialistic approach in African area, South Asia, Latin America. Zambia is third prioritized company in which china invested for infrastructure development. After making a deal with Zambian government, Chinese immigrant moved to Zambia and built hotels, restaurants, schools, colleges started construction companies, opened copper, coal, and gem mines. Then instances of corruption, labor abuse, and criminal cover-ups began to set the relationship between the Chinese and the Africans aflame. Chinese companies used to force the people to work more than legal time and pay minimal to employees and it does not provide standard safe workplace, security, insurance etc according to Human Rights Watch. Its entrance to any country might seem blessing but soon the local country oppressed by China. “China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured products. This was also the essence of colonialism,” Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, wrote in the Financial Times earlier this year. The hallmark of resource-based imperialism in colonial Africa was imbalanced trade in which one country is used to harvest raw materials and then they have manufactured goods sold back to them by the imperialist country. This type of imperialism was maintaining by Europe during middle age but it was eradicated the African countries earned independence. China is doing same thing like same wine with a new bottle and their neo imperialism is not only stuck in Zambia but also extended in different countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya etc. China is adamant in every sector where it has minimum possibility to lose its interest whether it is right or wrong. In South China Sea, China is claiming the sea based on nine-dash line without harkening the Philippines, Malaysian, Brunei, and Indonesian demand. The South China Sea is full of natural resources like crude oil, natural gas, fish etc. In the 1970s, however, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries began referring to the Spratly Islands as included in their own territory. The Philippines filed a case against China in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for occupying its rights on the sea. Most notably, the tribunal ruled that China might not claim maritime entitlements beyond those permitted by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and found that China’s nine-dash line claim is thus invalid. In addition, the tribunal greatly limited the scope of the maritime rights permitted under UNCLOS by ruling that none of the Spratly Islands is legally “islands” under the Convention – meaning none of the features is capable of generating a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. From beginning of filing the case, China claimed that the tribunal has no jurisdiction and the arbitration is invalid because the Philippines filed it unilaterally. To rule the sea, China started for man-made island project and derived the natural resources from that particular area. It showed the thumb to the world and did whatever it wished to do for its personal interest, and it did it fly in the face of other right holders.
China is heading toward becoming the new possible ruler of the world, some countries see it as a blessing for them, and some fear. The history or activities of China might support the later one. In North Korean history, it is taking chance of the country by purchasing goods at improper price and in return, it provides protection from other country’s action. Sometimes it threatens North Korean, but at the same time, it continues business with that country. This might be a double standard policy of China. Its occupation of Tibet and South China Sea might support the logic that it always tries to down other countries if they become the barriers of Chinese interest. However, China is helping for infrastructure development in many countries; it is actually controlling those countries and giving pressure when these countries deny helping China. It collects raw materials at minimum costs and later sells it at higher price. Providing debt for underdeveloped countries means they would be docile to China and never raise voice against for its action in that country. Neo economic colonialism and imperialism of China may become threat for peace of the world and turn the world into devastation. But if China learn from the past, and behave differently and work for bringing peace in the world, that would make it the superior for centuries.

The writer is a student of Marketing Department, University of Dhaka. You can reach by

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