A PA­RADE OF PARA­NOIA

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Com­pre­hen­sive “en­gage­ment” has been a cor­ner­stone of U.S. pol­icy to­ward China since the Nixon ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But the bedrock of Bei­jing’s U.S. pol­icy is para­noia over what Chi­nese lead­ers be­lieve is a “peace­ful evo­lu­tion” con­spir­acy de­signed to over­throw the com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ship via the ide­o­log­i­cal and spir­i­tual in­fil­tra­tion of China’s so­ci­ety.

That para­noia was on dis­play in re­cent weeks in a 90-minute doc­u­men­tary on YouTube called “Silent Con­test.”

The doc­u­men­tary is the work of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Po­lit­i­cal Com­mis­sars com­mu­nity, and it was pro­duced by the Chi­nese Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity un­der the aegis of the PLA’s Gen­eral Po­lit­i­cal Depart­ment.

The film de­picts a sub-rosa strug­gle be­tween the U.S. and China — a bat­tle to con­trol the hearts and minds of the Chi­nese peo­ple. It casts vir­tu­ally all as­pects of U.S. en­gage­ment pol­icy with China — in­clud­ing cul­tural, aca­demic, po­lit­i­cal, diplo­matic, eco­nomic and mil­i­tary ex­changes — as a con­spir­acy by U.S. ad­vo­cates of “peace­ful evo­lu­tion” to con­trol China.

All supreme com­mu­nist lead­ers from Mao Ze­dong to cur­rent Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping have per­pet­u­ated such con­spir­acy the­o­ries against the U.S.

Mao wrote in 1949 that “for a very long pe­riod, U.S. im­pe­ri­al­ism laid greater stress than other im­pe­ri­al­ist coun­tries on ac­tiv­i­ties in the sphere of spir­i­tual ag­gres­sion, ex­tend­ing from re­li­gious to ‘phil­an­thropic’ and cul­tural un­der­tak­ings.” He ac­cused the Tru­man ad­min­is­tra­tion of “or­ga­niz­ing a U.S. fifth col­umn” to “over­throw the peo­ple’s gov­ern­ment led by the Com­mu­nist Party of China.”

Mao’s suc­ces­sor, Deng Xiaop­ing, also har­bored dark the­o­ries of the U.S. peace­ful evo­lu­tion. “The United States, other Western coun­tries, are en­gaged in a peace­ful evo­lu­tion tar­get­ing so­cial­ist coun­tries,” Deng said in 1990 in an ar­ti­cle from his “Se­lected Works.”

“There is a pro­posal in the United States now: to fight a world war with­out gun smoke,” Deng stated. “Cap­i­tal­ism hopes to de­clare a fi­nal vic­tory over so­cial­ism. In the past, it used weapons, in­clud­ing atomic bombs, hy­dro­gen bombs, which was op­posed by peo­ple of the world. But now it is en­gaged in the peace­ful evo­lu­tion.”

Deng’s suc­ces­sor, Jiang Zemin, was a more de­vout ad­her­ent to the the­ory: “U.S. pol­icy to­ward China has al­ways had two sides. A peace­ful evo­lu­tion against China is the long-term strate­gic goal of some peo­ple in the United States,” he wrote in his “Se­lected Works.”

“Essen­tially, they do not want to see China’s re­uni­fi­ca­tion, de­vel­op­ment … They will keep the pres­sure on China on the is­sues of hu­man rights, trade, arms sales, Tai­wan, the Dalai Lama, and so on.”

Hu Jin­tao, who suc­ceeded Mr. Jiang, car­ried on this mantra. “The ide­o­log­i­cal field has al­ways been the im­por­tant bat­tle front, fiercely fought over be­tween our en­e­mies and us,” Mr. Hu was quoted in the doc­u­men­tary “Silent Con­test.” “If prob­lems ap­pear in this bat­tle front, it may well lead to so­cial tur­moil or even the loss of our po­lit­i­cal rule. To cre­ate chaos in a so­ci­ety, to over­throw a gov­ern­ment, our en­e­mies usu­ally start with pierc­ing a hole in our ide­o­log­i­cal sys­tem, i.e., to first fo­cus on con­fus­ing peo­ple’s minds.” Mr. Xi, who took charge last Novem­ber, says in the doc­u­men­tary: “Western coun­tries’ strate­gic cal­cu­la­tion to con­tain our coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment will never change. They will never want a so­cial­ist coun­try like ours to carry out a smooth peace­ful de­vel­op­ment.”

By con­trast, suc­ces­sive U.S. pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tions have pro­claimed adamantly that China poses no threat and the U.S. does not want to “con­tain” China.

But the Chi­nese have their own logic: “Pres­i­dent Obama claimed that the U.S. does not seek to con­tain China. In fact, the U.S. has al­ways been con­tain­ing China,” army Col. Liu Mingfu wrote re­cently. “Is it not ‘po­lit­i­cal con­tain­ment’ against China to refuse to rec­og­nize China as a ‘demo­cratic coun­try?’ Is it not ‘eco­nomic con­tain­ment’ against China to refuse to rec­og­nize China as hav­ing ‘mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus?’”

Miles Yu’s col­umn ap­pears Fri­days. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @Yu_Miles.

“Silent Con­test,” the work of the Chi­nese army’s Po­lit­i­cal Com­mis­sars com­mu­nity, de­picts a sub-rosa strug­gle be­tween the U.S. and China — a bat­tle to con­trol the hearts and minds of the Chi­nese peo­ple.

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