China’s economic rise to the top has been impressive not because of year-on-year economic growth, not because of rising GDP numbers nor impressive PPP numbers but because of what it has meant for the hundreds of millions of Chinese people that have been pulled out of poverty since the 1980s. And the Communist Party of China (CPC) isn’t finished; it has set a deadline of 2020 for the obliteration of poverty at home. This fact per se should be sufficient to give long pause to non-Chinese critics of China, especially when they compare China to their own backyards. China is still far from utopian, but its trajectory is transparent. The CPC remains steadfast in its stated commitment to the socialist path, and the success of its political economy has sanguine implications for the world’s 99%. Thus state capitalists have resorted to confrontation in the military sphere. It is a fatuous maneuver and reeks of a desperation born of an economic slide. Nonetheless, China is no longer militarily weak, and it is partnered with the military power of Russia. Regardless, the CPC frequently iterates its dedication to peace.
Most consequential about the rise of China is what it augurs for the world’s 99%.
This is the final part of the three-part interview with Jeff Brown (See Part 1 and Part 2). Jeff Brown is the author of China Rising and provides views not found in western monopoly media. In Part 3 we discuss China vis-à-vis other countries.
Kim Petersen: In China Rising, you point out the so-called 2014 Umbrella Revolution was a Georg Soros-, the notorious National Endowment for Democracy-, and US-financed “color” “revolution” meant to disrupt or overthrow existing authorities. That same year I had met a woman with luggage just outside Vancouver airport, and we struck up a conversation. She was a Hong Kong ex-pat, and she told me she had just returned from visiting family there. She mentioned that one young family member was participating in the Umbrella Revolution. When I proffered that it was CIA-financed, she laughed. She said her family member was only there because he was being paid well for being there. He also knew well the USA was behind it and didn’t support the “revolution” but it was easy money. Many of the people, though, undoubtedly resented Beijing’s role in selecting the chief executive for Hong Kong. But who selected the authorities in Hong Kong before the turnover from Britain? And how did Hong Kong ever come under British jurisdiction in the first place? Is this down the Memory Hole?
Jeff Brown: Kim, let’s start with a very brief, and for once, unvarnished, honest history of Hong Kong. After the West landed in China for the first time, near Hong Kong, in 1514, maritime trade commenced. But it was very one-sided, in favor of the Chinese. Why? Because Europe had almost nothing the Chinese wanted to buy: itchy wool, technologically inferior muskets, superfluous coal and scratchy linens. Yet, China had everything that affluent, luxury seeking Europeans wanted: silken everything, clothing, furniture, artworks, jewelry, ceramics, porcelain, antiques and more. Because of this, relatively poor Europe had to pay rich China in silver ingots for all these highly sought after goods, thus creating a massive trade deficit in the Chinese’s favor.
Western imperialists found just the thing to equalize this trade imbalance: pushing illegal drugs in the form of opium, and later morphine. China refused to buy it, so it was smuggled into the country up and down the coast, by the ton. The drug pushers got caught in a huge drug bust in Hong Kong. In response, being the typical, avaricious, unscrupulous, thieving capitalists we all know so well, Europe and America decided to invoke a literal trade war, by attacking China militarily. These were called the Opium Wars, starting in 1839. Some claim this is actually the origin of the term “trade war”.
Contrary to Western megalomania and myth making, the Chinese at the time were not technologically inferior to the imperialists. In fact, every innovation and engineering marvel White Man had at the time, which was needed to plunder and pillage Earth’s native lands and exterminate their peoples, came from China. This included moveable type, printing and paper; advanced navigational cartography and the compass; gunpowder, guns and cannons; high tech oceangoing boat hulls, sails, riggings and rudders. The difference was racist blood- and money lust on the European side, versus inertia and complacency in the Middle Kingdom. Greed trumps apathy any day.
Eurangloland was never able to completely colonize and exterminate millions in China, like it did in every other part of the world. This, in spite of the fact that China was at its deepest nadir in history. So, White imperialists did the next best thing. They occupied key maritime ports, to control the flow of goods in and out of the country, mostly hundreds of thousands of tons of opium entering and tens of thousands of tons of silver ingots stolen back to Europe and America. These conduits of crime were euphemistically called “treaty ports” and “concessions”, but they were in reality nothing more than glorified pirate operations dealing in illegal drugs. They included, from north to south, Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Xiamen and the granddaddy at the top of the crime syndicate, Hong Kong.
That is why if you know the true history of Hong Kong, it is laughable that some of its citizens think they should be an “independent country”, because they have a “unique identity”. In reality, that identity is fully founded on what is called “the world’s longest running and biggest criminal enterprise in human history”, i.e., the West forcing illegal opium and then morphine onto the Chinese people for 110 years. Hong Kong was the nerve center – ground zero – for the exploitation, addiction and humiliation of 25% (at that time, now about 20%) of humanity, for over a century. As far as Hong Kong is considered, it is a small archipelago of islands covering a little over 200km2, among many hundreds of others that grace China’s 14,500km long maritime coastline. Other than the pox of historically being a Western drug hub until 1949, the notion that it merits any form of independence, from its millennial attachment to the Chinese nation is delusional.
Under British dictatorship, the Chinese masses in Hong Kong were treated no differently than all the other black, brown, red, yellow and white (Irish) niggers in Western colonies, like subhuman dirt. They were subjects and slaves, not citizens. They had no right to vote and no due process. They were tortured, beaten, raped, imprisoned and killed at imperial will. The 99% were too poor and downtrodden to own much, much less prosper. Ten billionaire, dynastic families own Hong Kong, thanks to the West installing them as local compradors, to keep the masses enslaved, and the riches flowing upward and outward. Even today, almost every Hong Kong dollar spent ends up in one of their bank accounts. Ironically, most of these family dynasties came from Mainland China.
Conditions were so exploitive and hopeless for the common Hongkonger, that riots and strikes were routine. To try to diffuse the ticking time bomb, starting only in the 1980s, tyrannical rule from London was softened to allow neighborhood councils to be elected. A nominal legislature has been around since 1843, but like in other Potemkin “Western democracies”, it has always been and still is a ventriloquist dummy for Hong Kong’s owners and elites, who are now very closely aligned with Baba Beijing. These are smart, hard-nosed capitalists. They know that any talk of Hong Kong’s independence is fool’s gold and against their core interests – profit.
The Basic Law was signed in 1997, renouncing England’s 156-year dictatorial, colonial occupation of Hong Kong. Margaret Thatcher negotiated with Deng Xiaoping from a position of weakness, because of ongoing, often violent resistance against British colonial rule. The Brits were desperate to get out, because they knew they were hated by almost all Hongkongers, except fifth columnists and lackeys, who personally benefitted from colonialism. Statesman Deng knew all this, of course, and he was not a guy you wanted to go to the mat with, on a bad hand. Baba Beijing got essentially everything it wanted, including a 50-year delay in dealing with Hong Kong’s full inclusion back into the People’s Republic, thus exonerating China for any unpleasantries, as the gradual transition transpired.
As far as the West’s huge failure in trying to destabilize Hong Kong, with its bogus “Occupy Central/Umbrella Revolution” fiasco, it is a topic of conversation there, that the whole thing is a foreign managed scam. Last year, a member of the legislature wrote a newspaper article, stating that, to paraphrase, “it seems like the protesters go to work on the clock and stop on the clock”. As you said in your question, Kim, that’s because it’s true. The vast majority are paid hacks and the millions to pay for it are flowing in from Western/CIA so-called “non” governmental organizations (NGOs).
With this color revolution completely falling flat on its face, Eurangloland has shifted its destabilization efforts. Now, those millions are being spent on local propaganda and bought stooge politicians, to promote all this preposterous “independence” and “local identity” psyops. It will never happen, but it does keep Baba Beijing ever vigilant.
KP: By the way, an excellent book for those interested, is Drugging a Nation: The Story of China and the Opium Curse by Samuel Merwin — available free online.
A hypothetical for you, but I believe strongly grounded in an actuality. Imagine if a civil war broke out in the USA between capitalists and Communists and the capitalists (yes, capitalists are few in number, but I include the paid killers and the deluded underclass that side with capitalists in this grouping) began to rout the Communists. The Communists sensing defeat on the horizon boarded ships and escaped to Hawai’i. The capitalists were prevented from pursuing the Communists by the Chinese Navy. Hawaiians opposed the outsider Communists, but military superiority placed Communists in power. Sixty years later Hawai’i remained outside mainland US control and the Hawaiian people had grown used to their “independence.” Would the elitists in the US ever recognize such “independence/self-determination”? Ignoring the fact that Hawai’i was stolen by US treachery from Indigenous Hawaiians, I am sure you realize that this scenario bears a close resemblance to another “independent” island.
JB: Taiwan’s native people undoubtedly came from the Mainland before 8,000BC, when it was not an island and still a part of the continent, like the Asians who migrated across the land bridge of the Bering Strait, into Alaska and southward, from about 25,000-10,000 years ago. Later, others came from Austronesia. Mainland China has written records of commercial and fishing relations going back many hundreds of years and since the 17th century, except for colonial Japanese exploitation, 1895-1945, Taiwan, or Formosa, as it was formerly called, has been a part of the Chinese nation. Like Hong Kong, you really have to jump through hoops of absurdity to suggest that Taiwan is somehow independent from the Chinese people. What is interesting is that to this day, Taiwan’s KMT still officially claims to represent everyone on Mainland China, and that it is the legitimate leadership of the whole country. Conversely, Baba Beijing claims that Taiwan is an integral part of the motherland, and that it must and will return to the national fold. Your fans can just look at a map of East Asia and see how this arm wrestling match is going to end up, even if it takes decades or longer.
Taiwan is totally dependent on US protection, with their mutual defense treaty. Sooner than later, the US empire will falter, and with it, Taiwan’s precarious “independence”. But before then, Taiwan’s growing economic dependence on the Mainland and China’s growing competitive advantage against Taiwan’s traditional sector killers – silicon chips, computers, components, etc. – is putting increasing pressure on the island’s long term viability. A good friend of mine just spent several weeks in Taiwan touring all over the island and he was shocked at how run down and undeveloped the place is, compared to China. He said it was like visiting China back in the 1970s. The calligraphy of reality is written on the walls of time for Taiwan.
KP: The mega trading block of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) presents a potent challenge to an economic order controlled by the US, primarily targeted is US dollar supremacy. What does the coup in Brazil, where the president Dilma Rosseff of the somewhat leftist Workers’ Party found herself impeached but having broken no law and the popular politician and former president Lula, also of the Workers’ Party, is accused of corruption thus paving the way for a return to neoliberalism in Brazil under the presidency of Michel Temer also under a cloud of corruption. On page 259 of China Rising, you wrote, “Everybody knows that BRICS and NAM could decapitate this Western Hydra in a New York minute. All they have to do is collectively replacing their use of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency and stop using it for cross border settlement.” You make the case that it would be quick, but given what is transpiring in Brazil, how easy is it? And what import does the political turmoil have for BRICS?
JB: It is a footnote of irony that the acronym BRIC was created by a Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neill, in 2001. These countries sure took his concept to heart, especially China and Russia. They later added South Africa, to represent the Great Continent, thus BRICS.
I am always frustrated that countries like Russia and China, who obviously hate the West and everything it stands for, do not take more resolute countermeasures and rebuttals. But, diplomacy has always been more art than science. There is tremendous inertia to maintain the status quo. Diplomats and government administrators are by nature very methodical and conservative, except when a revolution or disaster forces them to act more forthrightly. Not to mention that Eurangloland does an excellent job of getting fifth columnists and imperial sycophants embedded in the halls of enemy power, even China, which helps explain Xi Jinping’s ferocious efforts to clean out the Communist Party of corrupt elements, both venal and political.
Furthermore, we have to remember that countries outside of the West have different philosophical perspectives. Buddhism originated in India and is widespread across Asia, including Eastern Siberia. Life, relations and diplomacy are more elliptical, cyclical, holistic and long term. Some anti-imperialists like Paul Craig Roberts are screaming bloody murder about Russia’s continued attempts to work with Eurangloland, in spite of being betrayed again and again. It is easy to forget that yes, the western one-fourth of Russia is Caucasian, Slavic and Orthodox. But, it becomes more Asian and Buddhism-influenced moving eastward. Even Orthodox Christians have a much different philosophical bent than Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism. Russia’s Minister of Defense, Sergey Shoygu is a Tuvan Buddhist. He doesn’t think like Ashton Carter, America’s Secretary of War, thank goodness. I do not need to remind your readers that the last two great world wars were started in the West, not in the Buddhist East, allowing for the fact that Japan’s military had been taken over by an atypically racist, martial Shinto Buddhist sect.
As well, why should Russia and China start a worldwide depression and most likely a world war, by overthrowing empire’s Bretton Woods, post-World War II financial architecture, when they, very Buddhist-like, are slowly winning, anyway? BRICS is a recognized entity. It has its own financing via its New Development Bank (vs. the World Bank) and its own emergency loan fund (vs. the IMF). It really just started doing business this year. They are meeting, collaborating and planning, all outside the house of imperial horrors. BRICS is also giving each member country and its leaders a platform to help shape domestic and international opinion. When South African President Zuma lays a broadside against colonialism, at a BRICS summit, is has more media reach, at least outside the Great Western Firewall, than if he were just holding a press conference on his own.
In my recent interviews with Godfree Roberts, he really does a good job of spelling out this Eastern-tortoise-versus-the-Western-hare dynamic. Definitely worth listening to.
India’s ruling local elite never left after independence, those compradors who helped maintain Britain’s genocidal, capitalist dictatorship there for 300 years. Brazil (as in all of Latin America) is very similar. The elite were and still are mostly European bloodlines, who lord it over the darker skinned Natives and former slaves. South Africa is a young country and whether the right or wrong decision, Nelson Mandela did not overthrow the existing internal capitalist order, so that like Brazil and India, local elites still own the country.
Kim, it is unfortunate that Eurangloland is clawing back again in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Let’s not be linear Westerners, but rather elliptical, holistic orientalists. “Eastern” Russia and China are in a fight for humanity’s consciousness, social justice and freedoms. It is a long, drawn out, millennial struggle of Good vs. Evil, a panglobal duel worthy of a Star Wars movie. Battles will be won and lost. In the end, may the Light vanquish the Dark Side.
KP: China has resolutely refrained from warring for several decades now. Xi Jinping is also adamant that peace is the path China wishes to tread. While not involved in actual combat, China is becoming involved. For example, China has sent advisors to help the government in Syria and is taking a more active role to fight ISIS. China has also iterated its support for Palestinian statehood with a capital in East Jerusalem. Can the world expect further assertion of China on the world stage?
JB: I think so, Kim. China already has a military base in Djibouti, to protect its maritime shipping industry from pirates, leaving and entering the Red Sea. China already has one of the larger contingents in the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, 2639 People’s Liberation Army personnel, compared to America’s 68, Britain’s 337 and France’s 867. China not only puts lives on the line. It is the #2 financial contributor for UN peacekeeping and #3 in overall UN budget expenses. China just contributed $100 million more, to help with all the NATO-caused refugee crises around the world. China and Russia routinely veto imperial motions on the UN Security Council, versus the three-headed, racist Hydra of America, Britain and France.
Like you, Kim, I’d like to see China and Russia do more for the genocidal, Zionist extermination of Palestinians. I suspect they realize that as long as America can keep its Bretton Woods dictatorship suspended in thin air, NATO can keep paying for Israel to be their imperial centurion in the Middle East. Israel will implode when Western empire collapses.
KP: A chunk of China Rising is devoted to western perfidy. You pooh pooh the “official” 9-11 narrative, you detail a history of false flags; you relate the violent lawlessness of the US throughout history up to the present. Today Russia and China find themselves ringed by US military bases, hardly an act that conveys friendship and cordiality. Nonetheless, you write Putin and Xi are “increasingly frustrating western imperialism…” (p. 370) Do China and Russia represent an alternative to the full spectrum dominance sought by US militarists? And how likely do you see an increased drifting of countries from the unipolarism of the US axis toward Russia-China? And what would this mean for socialism versus capitalism?
JB: It’s already happening, Kim. Look at ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), the anti-capitalist alliance in Latin America, and its even bigger anti-imperial bloc, CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). The venerable Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) just held its global summit in Western-besieged Venezuela. Russia has its CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and China has its SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). In my recent book, China Rising, I present a comparative chart of Western institutions and what China has created to counter each and every one of them. The list is long and encouraging, but behind the Great Western Firewall, you would never know it.
But Satan never sleeps, does he, Kim? He still has 1,000 military installations implanted like suppurating canker sores across the planet (I was shocked to just learn there are seventy in Latin America alone). The racist imperial devil is still working overtime to dominate our only home, exterminate the world’s dark skinned people’s and expropriate their natural and human resources. It is my fervent dream to see Eurangloland’s diabolical vortex of racism + capitalism, colonialism, empire, false flags, war + subterfuge, and fascism be shattered on the noble ideals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But I am 62 and thinking like a Chinese or Russian, I may very well not live to see that day happen. But it will. It must. It is humanity’s destiny to gain a just and equitable life for the 99%, and to live on a sustainable, habitable Planet Earth. Some call it socialism, others call it communism. Fill in the blank. Whatever the name, on with the good fight!