China contemplates its great power status

And what do we do when we get there?

To be a big power is not only a question of international status and reputation, but also an issue of international responsibility and obligation. A “big power” implies that we are required to pay more United Nations (UN) membership fees, have a bigger share of expenditures on keeping peace and other financial contributions. International status requires us to participate more in the endeavor to maintain world peace and security, including material, financial and personnel contribution and sacrifice. When we are heartily discussing “China’s rise”, are we prepared to undertake the responsibility and cost for China’s rise? [Peoples’s Daily]

6 thoughts on “China contemplates its great power status”

  1. The problem with China that it likes to play it safe. For example, as a member of the Security Council it, more often than not, chooses to abstain rather than vote yes or no on a resolution.

    If China wants to a player on the international scence, it needs to have more moral courage.

    This goes for India as well.

  2. “If China wants to a player on the international scence, it needs to have more moral courage.”

    I think Niraj may have gitten a couple of things mixed up here. What China needs is not moral courage but moral clarity. Courage isn’t scarce in the Chinese establishment. they have a reputation for doing what’s best in their national interest, unabashedly.
    India is the one that needs moral courage, we have oodles of moral clarity at home. We need to be unabashed in the pursuit of our national interests.
    China’s record in propping up dictators (N Korea, Pak, Burma, Vietnam), legitimisng brute force (Tiananmen) and oppression (Tibet and Xinjiang), open brandishing of coercive tactics (Taiwan, the Spartley Islands, Hong Kong), even condoning genocide and slavery (cosying up the Arab govt of Sudan, yemen and Ethiopia looking for lucrative contracts) clearly demonstrates amorality that puts Machievili to shame.
    India on the other hand, is adept at getting pushed around by countries a tiny fraction if its girth – witness Bangladesh during the infamous BSF- Bangladesh rifles slaughter, Sri Lanka – trying to help with the IPKF and getting kicked in the teeth, Singapore and Thailand – banning flights from india during the Surat plague scare etc.
    So much for India vs China!

  3. Sudhir

    That’s a very interesting comparison. I’m more inclined to remove the word ‘moral’ from in front of the ‘courage’ part. Simple courage will go well with moral clarity.

  4. The Chinese are very pragmatic and they do pragmatic things and when they do it they do it full-heartedly. Look at Burma; you accuse them of propping up SLORC (the military). Yes, they did that. They knew that under any other leadership (even Aung San Su Kyi), Burma would break up into unmanageable regions. This would be trouble not only for China (with massive drug smuggling problems in the bordering Yunnan province) but also to Thailand and the rest of the region. Even the ASEAN recognizes the SLORC and is happy to work with them.

    There are hospitals in Lao, built by the Chinese. In Fiji, Tonga and other little Pacific Islands, I have met Chinese construction workers building airports and stadiums. All these are Chinese aid projects. Now a lot of these came as a gift for switching their recognition from Taiwan to China. Also, China needs friendly nations in the Pacific when they expand their Navy. The important thing is that they are involved. There is a general awareness of the strength of China in these little countries. That is what India needs to do.

  5. Preetam,

    China has pragmatically pursued its national interest, no doubt. And India needs to learn that.

    But Myanmar is a problem because of military rule: a democratic Myanmar would probably have been able to better manage the frictions caused by diversity. The Myanmar junta has emasculated the country. ASEAN did recognise the SLORC; in spite of Asean’s non-interference policy, it is having doubts about the wisdom of Myanmar’s inclusion.

    The solution for Myanmar is democracy. Of all the regional players, India is best positioned to help bring that about. Not for its own sake, but because it is in India’s national interest.

  6. “The solution for Myanmar is democracy.”

    Well, in an ideal world yes. Just like early rebel movements in India, in the past, the fighters were fighting an honest cause – wanted more freedoms for their people. Not anymore. The groups splinter and rejoin based on personal agendas. Anyone will get tired trying to get them to talk together.

    I have been in Burma couple of times and met and spoken to a lot of people. It is totally like the Indian North East. A lot of time people have no idea who they are fighting with and what they are fighting for, they believe in some basic cause but in the end they are just pawns in the hand of the warlords who are forever manipulating the people.

    Secretly or overtly (Thailand with all those refugees and an overwhelming trade surplus and the new gas pipelines) and China (with HIV and Drugs on the border) and even the US (with Drugs) want a strong government. They feel that democracy is much too soft to get all these war hardened people together. If the Junta is gone, they will sit down for a while to share out the spoils; if it does not work they will again go back in fight. It is just like Afghanistan.

Comments are closed.