Red Songs over China

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

For those who may have doubted the Chinese gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy, the cur­rent core lead­er­ship in Bei­jing is turn­ing in­creas­ingly to the stag­ing of reg­u­lar mass per­for­mances of so-called “red songs” across the nation.

The cli­max of this new daily af­fir­ma­tion of com­mu­nist fun­da­men­tal­ism took place June 29. That was when 100,000 peo­ple gath­ered in a packed sta­dium at the in­land me­trop­o­lis of Chongqing, with 108 singing groups from across the nation, to hear a recita­tion of the Com­mu­nist Man­i­festo word by word by young com­mu­nist as­pi­rants, while scores of com­mu­nist mu­sic clas­sics, or red songs, were per­formed.

Thun­der­ous ap­plause erupted over the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion clas­sic “The Sun is most red, Chair­man Mao is most dear.” The rul­ing Polit­buro gave its en­dorse­ment to the event.

Only one for­eign dig­ni­tary graced the event. Henry Kissinger was a fea­tured speaker at the rally. The for­mer sec­re­tary of state was iden­ti­fied as rep­re­sent­ing his con­sult­ing firm, Kissinger As­so­ciates Inc. lit­tle over two years to be dis­patched to an area far from Chinese ter­ri­to­rial waters, a truly im­por­tant strate­gic step in ush­er­ing in the age of a Chinese blue-wa­ter navy that is in­creas­ingly global in na­ture.

This naval group’s 900 mem­bers in­clude sur­veil­lance spe­cial­ists and he­li­copter-based com­man­dos who will join pre­vi­ously de­ployed PLA naval ves­sels pa­trolling the waters there.

Chinese naval ships have been re­mark­ably ac­tive in this area since late De­cem­ber 2008 when anti-piracy op­er­a­tions started. The Chinese gov­ern­ment claimed that its naval ves­sels es­corted close to 4,000 mer­chant ships, mostly oil tankers and con­tainer ships sail­ing to and from Africa, the Mid­dle East and var­i­ous Chinese ports. Some U.N. food aid ships also were given Chinese naval pro­tec­tion.

When this new group passed the hotly con­tested Para­cel and Spratly is­lands in the South China Sea, the Chinese cap­tain and his po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar aboard the flag­ship Wuhan sent spe­cial ra­dio mes­sages to PLA troops sta­tioned on var­i­ous iso­lated is­lands nearby with words of praise for the troops’ heroic ded­i­ca­tion to the moth­er­land and the Chinese Com­mu­nist Party.

These praised PLA sol­diers re­turned their mu­tual ad­mi­ra­tion for their com­rades aboard the pass­ing gun­boats. oil im­porters, and more than 80 per­cent of its im­ported oil passes South­east Asia’s Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest ship­ping chan­nels.

Yet un­like most other coun­tries in the world that rec­og­nize and ac­cept, with ease, joint man­age­ment of the strait by In­done­sia, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore, whose ter­ri­to­ries bor­der the 500mile-long chan­nel, China has ex­pressed feel­ings of ex­tra­or­di­nary in­se­cu­rity about those man­age­ment ar­range­ments. China fears other naval pow­ers, no­tably the United States and Ja­pan, will one day choke China to death by tak­ing con­trol of the strait.

Such strate­gic in­se­cu­rity cre­ated heated de­bates for decades within the of­fi­cial Chinese strate­gic com­mu­nity and re­sulted in two pro­posed al­ter­na­tives. One calls for China to work with Thai­land in dig­ging a canal through a Thai isth­mus to by­pass the Strait of Malacca. A sec­ond op­tion calls for build­ing a ma­jor over­land oil pipe­line from Pak­istan’s Gwadar port to China’s west­ern Xin­jiang prov­ince.

While these two al­ter­na­tives, es­pe­cially the lat­ter one, have re­ceived much at­ten­tion re­cently, one gov­ern­ment-con­trolled scholar, Xue Li of the Chinese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, on June 8 pub­lished an eye-catch­ing ar­ti­cle in the of­fi­cial Global Times news­pa­per that boldly chal­lenged ter­ri­to­rial claims made by In­done­sia, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore over the waters of the Malac­can Strait.

Xue stated that while the al­ter­na­tives might be at­trac­tive, they are too ex­pen­sive and may take too long to ben­e­fit China.

China in­stead should chal­lenge the three na­tions’ sov­er­eign claims over the ma­jor­ity of the waters in the strait and in­sist on hav­ing the right to send Chinese naval ships to the strait to “fight pi­rates” be­cause this area is “in­ter­na­tional wa­ter.”

The com­ments fur­ther high­light con­cerns and grow­ing ten­sions in the re­gion over China’s mil­i­tary ex­pan­sion amid claims to wide ar­eas of in­ter­na­tional waters.

Miles Yu can be reached at


Stand By Your Mao: Chinese se­cu­rity of­fi­cers stand against the Com­mu­nist Par ty’s em­blem while singing a patriotic song dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of the par ty’s 90th an­niver­sar y at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing on July 1.

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