The Middle Kingdom has struck hypocrisy again with its lofty ideals of equality, security, inclusive development, promoting respect for differences, and a greener environment. How can Xi Jinping Thought encompass these optimistic beliefs along with his socialism with Chinese characteristics? Since the two cannot merge, one strategy becomes dominant, while the other a façade. His speech to the UN in 2015 has become that falsehood. The loosely translated, the “Community of Common Destiny” plan will only work if Xi takes the biblical plank out of his eye.
Xi’s first request was of equality and mutual understanding. He claimed that conflicts should be resolved “through dialogue and consultation.” For the last four years, China has dredged, built, and created new land in its disputed Spratly Islands. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative confirmed military building on the land. Construction is also prevalent on its outposts on the Paracel Islands. Collectively they also encompass shoals, banks, and reefs, claimed additionally by Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and Brunei and Vietnam and Taiwan respectively. How are possible surface-to-air missile installments dialogue? The arguments for protecting its navy and shipping in a disaster are absurd. These are not the win-win outcomes he expressed; China one, Southeast Asia zero. Xi is clearly trying to make China the maritime hegemon that it was under the Great Ming.
Xi’s second desire was worse than the first, stating, “we should create a security architecture featuring fairness, justice, joint contribution and shared benefits.” This pretense is glaringly obvious with its maltreatment of Tibet and the Xinjiang Uighurs. The simple designation of autonomous regions is laughable. Tibet’s His Holiest, the Dalai Lama, is in exile. Children receive a mostly Chinese education with Mandarin as the language of choice. By 2020, it is expected the Han population will be 30%, clearly destroying the Tibetan culture. The Uighurs know this devastation all too well. Much more of a concern is how Beijing accepts their Muslim identity. They do not. They have restricted Hajj, forced men to trim their beards, denied certain baby names, and have claimed thousands as terrorists.
The third component of the “Community of Common Destiny” concerned “inclusive development that benefits all.” Again, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region remains under attack. It is a valuable province for Beijing with its swaths of fertile farmland and abundance of natural resources, including coal, oil, natural gas, copper, and gold. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps also known as the bingtuan was established under Mao in 1954. It controls the paramilitary, prisons, and the economic and agricultural output of the region. Under Jiang Zemin’s leadership, Han migration dramatically increased with his “Great Western Development,” “Go West” and “Open up the West” government sponsored programs. Not only is the population dominated by the Han, but so are positions within the bingtuan. The native Uighurs continually suffer political, economic, and religious persecution.
The next component of Xi’s address to the UN suggested harmony among the world’s people and promoting respect for differences. Not much needs to be addressed here as I would be repetitive. Nevertheless, the very name of China should be examined. Zhōngguó translates to “Middle Kingdom.” For more than two millennia the name represented the belief that the Han ethnic group were positioned on the earth between Heaven and all the other people. How is Xi not trying to live up to this history?
The final appeal was for a greener environment. This may be its loftiest goal yet. Do an image search of Chinese cities, and many will show people wearing face masks. No, they are not all trying to prevent the spread of a disease but are trying to keep their lungs clean from the “Shanghai cough” and other such pollution-born illnesses. When a nation needs to have a four-tiered pollution alert, compared to the US five-tiered terrorist alert there is clearly a problem. Smog has even closed schools.
Xi Jinping was born into an elite family of the Chinese Communist Party. He rose through those ranks and became the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping. Knowing this history, why would anyone believe in his “Community of Common Destiny” plan? Xi claimed that “history is a mirror.” Maybe he needs to purchase one.