The Chinese government has been making moves during the COVID pandemic that has numerous countries concerned. Even before the epidemic, the country had been embarking on a concerning path. Many in the western world are focusing inwards, yet events are growing in intensity in the Asia Pacific. The situation in Hong Kong has managed to recapture some of the focus that was lacking. Yet Hong Kong represents only one point of tension that has been created by the Chinese government’s moves. A new government building to stop rebels has been built across from the protest park, yet Hong Kong may act as the warning that can prevent future events from surprising us. This article details some of the points of tension that China has created.
Threats and fishermen:
The situation in the South China Sea had not improved during the current health crisis before it had been a source tension that only seemed to be getting worse. Numerous nations claim the area of the sea; however, China claims the most. International courts and agreements have failed to persuade China to drop the claims. The militarisation of the area has occurred with Chinese military bases being created to enforce the claim. An aim that has been discussed is that China would be able to seize some of the most profitable trade routes in the world. Numerous nations notable the United States has challenged this. Ships have been sunk as conflicts between fishers and the Chinese forces.
This premise that China can take over the trade routes and that no one will step in is flawed. Even the countries that stand to loose the most will want to ensure that their sovereignty can remain. Yet it would hurt China that relies on exports to fuel its economy. Another factor is the imports of food and fuel that at the moment have to come by ship. Even the plans in the belt and road initiative lack the ability to have all of the resources that are required for basic societal function. Some have said that the South China stance is relying on the cowardliness and appeasement of other countries. Others have said that it is a victim of the promote nationalism and that the country now finds itself compelled to take this position.
A Japanese Problem:
Another point of tension that involves the sea is with Japan. An isolated island with no real worth of the surface has been contested. It is believed that numerous resources lie underground in the area around the island. The level tensions have seen fighter jets shadow each other and engage in risky maneuvers. China has been firm in its belief that these islands are there as wells. Unlike the South China sea, this has not captured the attention of the Chinese high command.
Japanese rearmament can be mostly ascribed to the Chinese tensions and aggression that have forced Tokyo to meet them to prevent more bullying. Anti-Japanese sentiment has never entirely disappeared from China since before the horrific actions in the second world war. Despite this both where crucial trade partners of each other. Businesses that are seen as Japanese or too Japanese have been destroyed with the political police turning away. This has turned the forced pacifism of the nation to stop, and now the nation is standing up to Chinese influence.
Frozen War used to push interests and threats:
Korea has often been thought of as the most dangerous border in a region that has moved past the conflicts of the 20th. Despite this view underestimating some of the uneasy relationships that exist. It has been thought that China has not wanted to have North Korea make claims and to increase tensions. Under previous administrations, there has been a failure to change the behaviour of the North Koreans by the Americans. Yet for some reason, China has escaped blame as its failure to create a state that does not have horrific prison death camps and can actually act in a sane manner has continued. President Trump has tried to ease tensions, but now that China is demanding support on the new tension driven agenda, all of the progress made has been abandoned. Perhaps a peaceful, stable Korea is something that the Chinese have never really wanted.
Demands to Australia met with resistance:
With the moves in Hong Kong and the escape of a virus that has brought the world to its knees, China has been outraged by the Australian actions. The original point of tension was the request for an independent investigation of the virus and what has happened. That has been extended as concerns around the state of Hong Kong where voiced. China believed that Australia could be brought into line if threats of economic nature were made. These did not work, and Australia has, in fact, has opposed China on an increase matters.
This has seen countries allied or friendly with Australia be forced to act. New Zealand and the United Kingdom faced more demands for actions by their own people. Demands of the loyalty of allies have also been made if rumours are to be believed. This saw France demanding that the EU take more of a role in opposing China. It’s business and relationship with Australia being viewed as valuable but also protecting its influence in Africa.
Censorship leak from China:
The significant censorship that occurs in China is well known around the world. Yet this is extending outside of China with the technology and programs that are being offered to the developing world. While the west has the mainstay of technology that is used around the world, the Chinese efforts are notable, especially in countries where the market is unable and unwilling to accept American firms. This, however, is only the most apparent impact of Chinese resources.
Yet with an increase of money, the Chinese are buying influence. Hollywood is being purchased with the censorship reaching into how the films are made. In top gun, the flag of Taiwan was removed due to the certainty that the entire film would be blocked. In gaming, what images are used and also what content is supported now has to suit Chinese interests.
Other fronts of tension:
These are only some of the areas that China is creating tension and trying to influence the world. This does not mention its relationship with Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea, among others. While in the past China has been viewed on the path to becoming a regular member of the global community in recent time it has been sent on a path of conflict but a man who wishes to be its dictator.