It seems 2020 will be known as the worst year for China in recent history. Going by the current trends, it seems Chinese President Xi Jinping may achieve a feat of making Europe an enemy of China with his policies and dubious acts.
President Jinping is trying his best to prevent the European Union from ganging up against China. He is expecting some breakthroughs at a joint summit with European Union leaders, which is slated on September 14th. Considering the changing global geo-political scenario past the Corona outbreak, China has sent its foreign minister, Wang Yi, to five different European countries to consolidate some sort of support, though it wasn’t much successful.
European Union Nations, usually are more eager to engage with China for commercial and business ties, however, this time Chinese Foreign Minister Wang experienced an unexpected resistance from all the European Union members and was shocked to see such treatment, and the feedback was shared with the President Jinping immediately.
China was furious and its Foreign Minister Wang was lashing out at the president of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, for taking a delegation to visit Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory. Wang threatened Vystrcil and said that they will be paying a heavy price for this betrayal. He went a step further and labeled Vystrcil as “an enemy of 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
Taking a strong objection to this, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas, who was standing next to Wang at their joint press conference, replied to his Chinese counterpart that “we as Europeans act in close cooperation and China should respect other nations and threats don’t fit in here.” He further added that the European Union wouldn’t become a “plaything” in the US-China rivalry. Chinese Foreign Minister was shell shocked as Foreign Ministers of France, Slovakia and other European countries quickly backed their German counterpart.
Here China is facing the heat from its long time allies and rather than understanding the root cause of this sudden resistance by EU nations. We feel this is a time to do some sort of introspection by China, that why and how its allies are behaving in an absurd manner all of a sudden or was it boiling for some time?
In April 2020, the Chinese think tank ‘China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations‘ released an internal report, which revealed that there is a rise in the ‘Global Anti China’ interest in the World and it is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
We are presenting 6 reasons, why China has lost trust and friends. We will try to understand if China is ready to learn its lessons, or is there any way out to counter this growing anti-china sentiment.
1. China’s Global Bullying and Military Expansionism – China has been preparing itself to occupy the position of the USA for a long. It has built its economy and military on the same line, it always wanted to be a Defacto Superpower of the World.
China has gradually expanded its diplomatic and economic relationships with several poor nations, it has given them loans at a high rate of interest and it in process occupies their assets in case of no payments. It has launched institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and donating money to poor nations like Pakistan and several African countries in the form of infrastructure investment through its ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative.
With the increasing influence of China, smaller countries have seen an increase in their concerns with its lack of economic reciprocity, dominant technological policies, regional military ambitions, and highly coercive foreign policy practices. China has started meddling in these countries’ local affairs and it has started influencing their government and other important institutions. Chia invests heavily in the Banking, Infrastructure, and Financial institutions of other countries so that it can use its influence to blackmail other countries at an opportune time.
China has conflicts with every of its neighbors. It has started bullying its neighbors and there are several Nations like Indian, Vietnam, Japan, who always remain in constant conflict with China, due to China’s ever increasing might.
China’s ‘bullying’ diplomacy has dented its credibility in the eyes of European Unions members. China has been pressurizing EU Nations give business to Huawei, however this move has been backfired big-time. Looking at these trends, European countries have already tightened their FDI rules to stop China from effectively buying up EU companies and other important institutions, and have put an unofficial ban on Huawei.
It is quite clear that China’s bullying nature, highly discriminatory trade practices, and economic policies coupled with its military expansionist approach have heightened this global push-back and scrutiny.
2. Mishandling of Corona pandemic – China’s botched up approach and lack of information transparency has brought a bad name for it across the World. The USA is openly accusing China of spreading the ‘Chinese Virus’ and seeking to punish it. Australia has called for an inquiry into the origin of the virus. Germany and Britain have shown hesitation while inviting the Chinese tech giant Huawei. Several governments want to sue Beijing for massive damages and reparations caused due to Corona pandemic.
There is a global backlash against China for its initial mishandling of the Virus in Wuhan and its inability to contain the spread. It has created a sort of polarization in the world and has dented China’s ambition to fill the leadership vacuum left by the United States.
3. Worst Human rights violations and Local crackdown – China is infamous for its hardline approach while dealing with its internal problems. Beijing is indulged in a massive domestic crackdown on millions of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Province and it is curbing the peaceful protests in Hong Kong.
More than 20 countries have issued a statement to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, slamming China’s cruel detention of millions of Muslims in Xinjiang. China also showed its evil intentions when it enacted a national security law in Hong Kong, which would undermine its commitment to the One China Two systems policy. This ugly step was condemned by major World Powers and multiple countries including US and UK have issued statements and slammed China for its betrayal. Now a few major countries have even begun pressing the UN to make necessary changes regarding Taiwan, a subject which is extremely sensitive to China and it never wants any country to make adverse statements on this issue. However, last month, thirteen UN member states, including few European countries have submitted a formal proposal to restore Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly, which made China very angry.
4. Chinese practices of limited market access for foreign firms – China is known for its highly biased approach of limiting market access for foreign firms. It has conceived its industrial policies in such a way that it explicitly displaces international competitors. It gives preferential treatment to its state-owned enterprises. It has denied entry of renowned organizations like Google, Facebook, and such biased treatment has pushed European countries like France and Germany to reassess and prioritize their own development.
5. Intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers – China is infamous for the unofficial state policy of abuse of Intellectual properties and reverse engineering and the creation of fake products. China has one of the worst track records of Intellectual property theft and that’s a big reason why the USA has to ban Chinese student’s entry to dismantle China’s dubious efforts to use its students to steal intellectual property and technology from America. European countries have taken the stock of the situation and have taken the appropriate steps to prevent China from doing any such acts with them.
6. National security vulnerabilities by Chinese Technology Companies and 5G concerns – China is promoting its 5G Technology as some earth-shattering phenomena and projecting its one of the largest IT organizations Huawei for the same. However, the track record of Huawei is not good, it was banned by the USA for violation of their NAtionals security concerns. European countries are also reassessing Huawei as a provider of 5G infrastructure. The EU has already unveiled a strategy to prevent Huawei from dominating Europe’s 5G markets and exploit their security vulnerabilities. Due to growing security concerns, several European Nations like Estonia, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, and Romania have signed agreements with the USA on 5G security, which will make Huawei irrelevant in those markets. Even the UK is likely to pass legislation to ensure no role of Huawei in the country’s 5G networks by 2023. The UK Government went one step ahead and proposed the formation of ‘D10’ the club of 10 democratic partners, which would include the G7 countries—USA, UK, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and Japan along with India, South Korea, and Australia. The collective goal is to create alternative suppliers of 5G technologies and other equipment to avoid reliance on China.”
In our opinion, China has crossed the line of decency way back, whatever is happening is on expected lines. Corona pandemic has only accelerated this process. European nations were used to be the biggest trade partners of China, however now the tide has turned and their is a seething dissapointment and anger against China all over. We dont know if China will ever take the stock of the situation and do some sort of introspection, because that’s a big No for an authoritarian regime like China. Well, what one can do if China has decided to destroy its own destiny.