In 1936, 30-year-old American journalist Edgar Snow spent three months in the Chinese Red Army-controlled northwest region of China. His extensive interviews with Mao Zedong and other Chinese Communist Party (CCP) top leaders led to the book Red Star Over China a year later.
This book was lauded by the communists. “I want to urge you with all my force to read this new book by Edgar Snow,” wrote Victor A. Yakhontoff in the Marxist magazine New Masses in 1938.
Although the narratives were biased, general readers were unaware of that until many years later. “And because Mr. Snow became the associate editor of the Saturday Evening Post, its readers were therefore completely disarmed,” wrote John T. Flynn in the 2018 book While You Slept: Our Tragedy in Asia and Who Made It.
Snow’s book was first published in London in October 1937 and was so popular that it was reprinted many times. Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold in the United States. It became one of the most influential writings at the time in swaying Western opinion regarding the Chinese Communist Party. It was the most successful public relations event in CCP history.
After reading the book, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Edgar Snow three times between 1942 and 1945. After that, most Western countries adopted an appeasement policy toward Communist China. By admitting China to the World Trade Organisation in 2001, many believed that the economic development of China would promote political reform that would eventually bring democracy to China.
Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the case.
The CCP Threat
Snow was not alone. There were other authors, including journalists, who not only ignored the brutalities in the Soviet Union and communist China but also defended the regimes. These writings are “utterly and shockingly wrong and… detouring this country down the road to the most terrible disaster in its history,” wrote Flynn.
After China became the world’s second-largest economy in 2010, however, its global ambition began to surface. This includes the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in regional strategies, “Made in China 2025” in the manufacturing supply chain, money diplomacy on financial influence, and the “Wolf Warrior” style of diplomacy. Together with Unrestricted Warfare and overwhelming overseas propaganda put out by the CCP, the entire world has now awakened to the CCP’s ambition to dominate the global stage.
U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said early this year, “As China grew richer and stronger, we believed, the Chinese Communist Party would liberalise to meet the rising democratic aspirations of its people… this miscalculation is the greatest failure of American foreign policy since the 1930s.”
In a remark on July 16, 2020, Attorney General William Barr warned that the global ambition of the CCP is the most important issue for the world in the 21st Century. “China is no longer hiding its strength, nor biding its time…The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic blitzkrieg,” he said. As China became the world’s largest manufacturer, the CCP has become the world’s “arsenal of dictatorship.”
It took the international community several decades to finally see the true nature of the CCP and recognise the threat it poses to the free world.
Chinese Communist Party Facing Global Resistance
China has been exerting its influence through the United Nations for a long time. Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed the notion of a “community with a shared future for mankind” in a speech to the World Economic Forum in January 2017. The phrase was even included in a U.N. Resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space that year.
It was not until September 2020 that, due to the adamant objections of six countries including the U.S. and India, the UN General Assembly president did not include the phrase in the resolution of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75). These countries believe the phrase reflects the CCP’s foreign policy aspirations to spread communism worldwide.
Also at the UNGA 75, U.S. President Trump said, “We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.” He also criticised the CCP for rapid economic development at the expense of the global environment.
In the past, European businesses and politicians had worried that they could not afford to lose the Chinese market, thus self-imposing many limitations to keep from alienating Beijing. For example, they avoided openly criticizing Beijing’s human rights records.
But things have now changed dramatically and Europe is taking a firmer stand on China’s human rights abuses. French President Emmanuel Macron asked at the UNGA 75 for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit Xinjiang to address concerns regarding the situation of the Uyghur Muslim minority.
When Czech Republic Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil visited Taiwan in August this year, China retaliated by canceling a 5.3 million Czech crown sale to Czech piano maker, Petrof. But this failed to intimidate Czech officials. Karel Komarek, a wealthy Czech businessman, instead bought the 11 pianos from the cancelled order and donated them to schools. “The Czech Republic is a free country. This is what I value most, and I simply want to remind my fellow Czechs of this,” Komarek said.
Unfavorable Views of China Reaching Historic High
The Pew Research Centre conducts public opinion polls on global issues and trends. Since 2002, it has published a yearly “International Image Survey Report” on major industrialised countries including China.
The latest 14-country survey showed that the negative view of China has reached a record high since the Centre began polling on this topic 18 years ago. The finding is based on surveys of 14,276 adults from June 10 to August 3, 2020, in U.S., Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
Surprisingly, the countries with the most negative views of China are Japan (86%), Sweden (85%), and Australia (81%), the ones with close ties with China.
Japan has taken a clear stand on holding the CCP responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent alliances with the U.S., Australia, and India, and the visit of Prime Minister Suga to India all reflected Japan’s deep distrust of the CCP. Early this year, the Japanese government proposed investing 243.5 billion yen ($2.2 billion) to help companies shift production out of China.
Sweden’s response is even tougher. On October 20, Sweden officially banned Chinese telecoms groups Huawei and ZTE from its 5G mobile networks following advice from the country’s armed forces and security services. It becomes the first EU country to completely cut off Chinese telecommunication companies. It is interesting to note that Sweden was the first Western country to formally establish diplomatic relations with China decades ago. The first Confucius Institute in Europe was established in Sweden in 2005.
Australia’s relationship with China continues to deteriorate. China blames the souring relationship on Australia’s criticism of China’s human rights record in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, its lobbying for Taiwan to be admitted to the WHO, its calls for an independent international review of the origins of the coronavirus, and so on.
EU countries with a high negative view of China included Germany (71%), Britain (74%), and France (70%), following the trend in recent years. Their foreign policies regarding China also reflect that view. Many countries have realised that being overly dependent on China can be dangerous. For example, China is the largest manufacturer of medical protective clothing and masks, thus playing a vital role in the global medical supply chain. However, during this pandemic, China has been shirking its responsibility and playing mask diplomacy.
Decoupling from the China Market
At the Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) on October 19, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged German companies to find new markets and to become more diversified in the Asia-Pacific region without explicitly mentioning China. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier expressed a similar view. He called on German companies to avoid relying on a single supply chain, citing the COVID-19 outbreak as an example of the risk of relying on a single chain.
The German government announced a plan in early October to introduce the Communications Security Act, which will require telecommunication equipment providers to pass technical and political reviews. Most analysts believe that Huawei will not able to pass the review once the bill goes into effect.
In addition, Britain signed an agreement with NEC to develop its 5G mobile network after banning Huawei. Italy also banned Huawei equipment from its network. On October 23, the U.S. signed a 5G security deal with Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Kosovo as part of the “Clean Network” initiative.
Massive Withdrawal of Foreign Companies
China’s role in the global supply chain in the world economy has helped it grow tremendously over the past few decades. Now, many foreign companies that contributed to that prosperity are looking to exit China.
According to the latest Standard Chartered survey of businesses in the Greater Bay Area of China, 43% of businesses are seriously considering moving out of China because of the U.S.-China trade war and the pandemic, while another 25% of businesses are considering it for other reasons.
The survey also showed that Vietnam has become the preferred destination for businesses because of its diversified production ability and labor advantages. Many large companies, such as Philips, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, and Seagate, etc., have closed their factories in China and moved them to Vietnam, India, and elsewhere. As a result, more and more Chinese are leaving China and choosing to work in those neighboring countries.
The Chinese Communist Party, the only ruling political party in China today, does not represent the interests of the Chinese people. With the disintegration of the CCP, the Chinese people will regain their freedom, and the world will once again head towards prosperity and peace.