By Chris Fry
In March 2016, alt-right chief Trump adviser Steve Bannon announced:
We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years. There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.
In February that same year Bannon then lumped in this war threat against China with his anti-Muslim bigotry:
You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian west is on the retreat.
When Trump took office, he imposed huge tariffs on China. He boasted that these would massively increase jobs for U.S. workers. In fact, it did just the opposite.
Begun during the Obama administration, Trump also stepped up the U.S. Navy’s parades of warships just off the Chinese coast, proclaiming this as a “freedom of navigation” doctrine. But since it is commercial shipping to and from China that mostly goes through those waters, this was clearly a prelude for a military blockade of China. The Chinese navy has never paraded its fleet of warships off the coasts of the U.S., although it is legally entitled to do so, because it knows that this would be a provocation for war.
Trump along with his Democratic Party opponents and the corporate media supported the “independence” movement in Hong Kong, a territory seized from China in the first of Britain’s infamous “Opium, Wars,” designed to force China to import massive amounts of that addictive drug grown in then British Indian colony. Both Britain and the U.S. seek to recapture their commercial colony from socialist China, despite the pro-China stance of most of Hong Kong’s working class.
But the biggest flashpoint remains Taiwan, which historically belongs to China. It was seized from China in 1903 by Japan and occupied until the end of World War II. It was then returned to China. When the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under the leadership of Mao Zedong achieved victory in 1949, leaders of the old Kuomintang regime fled with a million of their followers to the island of Taiwan, murdered tens of thousands of Taiwan’s residents, and established a dictatorship called the Republic of China (ROC). They declared themselves the actual government of China. For thirty years, the U.S. backed up this fantasy with the Seventh Fleet ready to assist them with “regime change” in China that of course never happened. The U.S. even prevented the PRC from assuming their seat in the United Nations.
In 1979, the PRC, now under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, joined a “united front” with U.S. imperialism against the Soviet Union. That same year the PRC mounted a terrible attack on Socialist Vietnam. It also began to open its vast labor market to U.S. and Western corporations. In return, President Carter renounced the “Sino-American Defense Treaty” which promised the government in Taiwan military support. He recognized the PRC as the sole government of China and established diplomatic relations. In 1972, the U.S. had agreed to hand over China’s UN seat to the PRC. Despite appearances, this U.S. strategy was designed to undermine and destroy the socialist state in China., which ultimately failed.
In 1992, there was a meeting between officials of the PRC and the ROC in Hong Kong, at that time still a British colony. The results of that key meeting were called the “1992 Consensus”. The statement from that meeting stated:
Both sides of the Taiwan Strait agree that there is only one China. However, the two sides of the Strait have different opinions as to the meaning of ‘one China.’ To [sic] Peking, ‘one China’ means the ‘People’s Republic of China (PRC),’ with Taiwan to become a ‘Special Administration Region‘ after unification. Taipei, on the other hand, considers ‘one China’ to mean the Republic of China (ROC), founded in 1911 and with de jure sovereignty over all of China. The ROC, however, currently has jurisdiction only over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. Taiwan is part of China, and the Chinese mainland is part of China as well.
Talks held between the two governments continued in 1993. Visits by officials from both occurred in 2005. Airline flights were begun between the island and the mainland. Tourist visits began, and the PRC sent two pandas to Taiwan in 2008. It seemed that China’s reunification was definitely on the horizon.
But as the PRC became more and more developed, right wing forces calling for the “independence” and “sovereignty” of Taiwan, a clear violation of the 1992 Consensus, grew in strength. Their thugs physically attacked Taiwan residents who favored a negotiated peaceful reunification with the PRC. In 2016, the misnamed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which defined Taiwan as an independent country not part of China, won the Taiwan election. They renounced the “one China” agreements.
Just as the U.S. had created the puppet regime in South Korea in 1950 and fought a war to prevent reunification, just as it had violated the 1954 Geneva Accords by establishing a puppet regime in South Vietnam and waged a brutal but unsuccessful war against that small but determined country, the Trump regime, just as it did with Hong Kong, openly backed the Taiwan “independence” movement, to separate it completel;y from China.
During the Trump administration, for the first time in 40 years, high level U.S. officials made diplomatic visits to Taiwan, laying the groundwork for possible recognition of Taiwan as an independent country, a violation of the 1979 agreement declaring Taiwan as part of China, as well as the 1992 Consensus. A huge nearly $2 billion U.S. arms deal was signed with Taiwan, and the Pentagon began offering assistance with Taiwan’s offensive missile program. Fleets of U.S. Navy ships, bristling with guns and missiles, paraded between the mainland and Taiwan.
Trump’s foul racist attacks on China, accusing them of creating the Coronavirus pandemic, have sparked many attacks on Asian people across the U.S., which have continued into President Biden’s term.
Biden’s smooth transition to attack-China policies
While proclaiming himself the “orderly” and “competent” alternative to Trump, Biden has wasted no time in continuing the multi-front anti-China campaign on behalf of U.S. imperialism. Taiwan’s ambassador was invited to Biden’s inauguration. This is the first time for that since 1979. Biden’s State Department announced that the U.S. support for Taiwan is “rock solid”. In his April 28th speech to Congress, Biden marketed his “job, jobs, jobs” program to his Wall Street patrons as one designed to re-assert U.S. hegemony over China:
We’re in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century. We’re at a great inflection point in history. We have to do more than just build back better — than just build back, we have to build back better. We have to compete more strenuously than we have.
Biden has made no move to end the massive Trump tariffs on Chinese-produced goods. A March 25th CNN article states:
A report from Moody’s Analytics found that the tariffs cost 300,000 jobs and 0.3 percentage points in US GDP during the first year they were in effect.
Economists also assume that some of that cost is passed on to the consumer. An estimate from JPMorgan Chase found the tariffs cost the average household about $600 a year and a separate study from researchers at the NY Fed, Princeton, and Columbia University, estimated the cost at just north of $800 per household each year.
These tariffs, meant to hamper the Chinese economy, have failed to stop the Chinese economy from emerging from the pandemic with a high growth rate.
When Trump took office in 2017, he imposed travel restrictions on all persons entering the country from Muslim nations . This sparked massive militant protests across the United States, even shutting down some major airports against this anti-Islam bigotry.
Trump and Biden accuse China of genocide
Low wage workers forced to work grueling 10 hour shifts with so few breaks that they must pee on the floor or into soda bottles, forced to attend propaganda meetings where they are told they must not resist bad working conditions, always under the eye of TV cameras monitoring their unbearable work pace. Is this a “concentration camp” in Xinjiang province with the Uighur workforce? No, it’s what mostly Black workers face at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.
Wailing toddlers torn from their parents arms and placed in cages, women being raped and sterilized while in detention centers, all to instill terror in a people because of their ethnicity, which meets the definition of genocide under international law. Is this China attacking the Uighur people? Oh no, it’s Boss Trump and Henchman Steve Miller mistreating asylum seekers from Central America.
On Trump’s last day in office, his Secretary of State Pompeo made the false and outrageous charge that China’s treatment of the largely Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiangv province is genocide. On that same day, without any evidence or investigation, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken,made clear his and Biden’s agreement on this with Trump and Pompeo. This accusation has met universal approval by the entire U.S. and Western corporate media. An article in Greyzone in 2019 analyzed the source of this charge:
While this extraordinary claim is treated as unassailable in the West, it is, in fact, based on two highly dubious “studies.”
The first, by the US government-backed Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders [based in Washington, D,C,], formed its estimate by interviewing a grand total of eight people.
The second study relied on flimsy media reports and speculation. It was authored by Adrian Zenz, a far-right fundamentalist Christian who opposes homosexuality and gender equality, supports “scriptural spanking” of children, and believes he is “led by God” on a “mission” against China.
It must be noted that as recently as February 2, 2018, B52 bombers dropped bombs on Uigher camps in its war in Afghanistan, and it locked up Uighur people in the infamous Guantanamo concentration camp for years without trial. Certainly the U.S. is no friend of the Uighur people. This U.S. hypocrisy is clearly designed to slander the PRC and justify its threat of war to the U.S. populace.
In response, the Chinese Foreign Minister addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Feb. 22, saying “basic facts show that there has never been so-called genocide, forced labour or religious oppression in Xinjiang”.
“The door to Xinjiang is always open. People from many countries who have visited Xinjiang have learned the facts and the truth on the ground. China also welcomes the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang,” Wang said, referring to UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose office has been negotiating terms of access to the country.
Undiplomatic attacks against China
It did not take long for the Biden administration to make threats on the diplomatic front. In a speech on March 3, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said:
“Our relationship with China will be competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be. And we will engage China from a position of strength,” Blinken said in a speech laying out the Biden administration’s foreign policy vision.
“China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system — all the rules, values and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to,” said Blinken, who delivered his address at the State Department.
Two weeks after Blinken’s speech, he and a U.S. delegation met with officials from the PRC in Alaska. As a March 18th Politico report stated, the meeting was contentious from the start:
Chinese officials had earlier tried to cast the Alaska event, which is to consist of at least three sessions over Thursday and Friday, as the potential new beginning of a longer strategic dialogue.
But the U.S. side has described the gathering as a “one-off” attempt to convey American frustrations with Beijing and get a sense of where Chinese leaders stand on various areas of dispute.
Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi told reporters:
We do not believe in invading through the use of force, or to topple other regimes through various means, or to massacre the people of other countries, because all of those would only cause turmoil and instability in this world.
As we well know, U.S. imperialism, under whatever administration, has no such restraints.
To be continued in Part 2 – Pentagon gears up for war