China, we’ve mostly all heard of it.
But where is it and what’s it all about? More importantly, what the hell does its communist regime, man-made military islands, trade economy, steamed pork buns and relationship with North Korea mean for the future of the living world? As tensions rise between China and the US, the two biggest trade economies in the world, we decided to find out.
It’s easier finding nude pics of Karl Stefanovic online than it is getting information about China. Largely on account of their heavily censored internet that has more than 60 government regulations on free speech, use and undesirable (see: true) information being posted on lifestyle and living conditions—punishable by 10 years imprisonment or more. In fact, so vigorous is their monitoring of content and personal use, that their policing of the net is considered the toughest in the world. And earned it the fun little name, “The Great Firewall of China”. The Chinese are single-handedly keeping Playboy print afloat.
Buy why? Communism (sort of)
Yeah, communism. That thing (see: political ideology) that every 80s and 90s action cop movie used as a plot device. Thing is, while China became a communist state in 1949, known as the People’s (ahem) Republic of China, it now in no way resembles the values of Karl Marx’ vision of a community-minded classless society, devoid of hierarchy. From an economic standpoint, the Chinese have in fact become capitalists and have the second largest economy in the world after the US. However, they maintain the strict governance of individual rights that harks back to communism, where individual freedoms and expressions are considered dangerous to the good of many. Basically, having their cake and eating it, too.
The Communist Ruling Party
Since 1950, China has operated under just one political party—the Communist Party of China. And though there are eight other parties in existence, they’re prohibited from challenging CPC policy. And bi-partisan leadership elections don’t exist. Therefore, China is an authoritarian country, run by a group of CPC elders and the Politburo—24 people (mostly men) elected by the party’s main committee. The party dictates what schools teach, what’s on TV, and how many children families can have—recently doubled from one to two. Worker and human rights barely exist, and the press is among the most censored in the world.
The One-China policy
You might remember this drama from the Olympics—what the hell are we allowed to call Taiwan? Is it Taiwan or the Republic of China? Quick history lesson: Taiwan considers itself to be the real leader of China, with elected officials and the good of greater China at its core. It came about as a result of the retreating forces from China’s civil war in 1949, where defeated Nationalists recovered and attempted to rebuild a free society in Taiwan’s capital Taipei. Problem is, the Communist Party continues to be far stronger and maintains control of the mainland. And as a result, they’ve refused to deal with international trade partners like Australia and the US if we recognised the Republic of China as a stand alone country instead of a province of the mainland. As such, for purely economic gain, the UN and majority of the free world have shunned Taiwan in exchange for trade with mainland China. It’s bullying at the highest level. Taiwan is effectively considered the Tasmania of China.
Trump’s rocky relationship with China
In the Great Orange One’s defence, Donald Trump has actually spoken out heavily against the One China policy under the veil of supporting Taiwan, when really it’s China’s monetary policies (the government sets its own exchange rate daily regardless of the market) and trade deals he’s not happy about. But, determined to get under mainland China’s skin, he’s threatened to send more arms to Taiwan than the US currently does and do more trade with Taiwan at the expense of Chinese deals. But tariffs such as those would hurt US jobs, because China would reciprocate.
Then there’s North Korea…
Of course, North Korea also identifies as a communist state. Unlike China however, North Korea has no ties to the US (other than human voodoo doll Dennis Rodman) and are military agitators, often threatening apocalyptic nuclear assaults on the US and even Australia. China has long held close diplomatic ties with North Korea, and is one of Kim Jong-Un’s only allies. Although, the relationship isn’t as strong as it once was and China has expressed concern over Kimmy’s nuclear program, prompting Fresh Prince of North Korea to call out China as betrayers.
What’s the US got to do with it?
Basically, Trump has told China’s leaders that he’s willing to continue brushing Taiwan in exchange for China placing sanctions on North Korea (like stop selling fuel) if Kim The Fat continues nuclear testing. This has pissed off Lil’ Kim, who now is angrier than ever and threatened to start WWIII—despite his missile tests all failing so far.
Problem is, the US still sees China as an economic, political and military threat. China knows this, and North Korea is their military buffer zone to the north, keeping the US at an arm’s length in South Korea. As it stands, China’s military pales in comparison to the US. But they’re modernising their force and ramping up international efforts. Especially in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea
This is the territorial struggle to the south. Beijing has been quietly positioning to occupy the barrier islands off the coast either side of the Philippines as far up as the Kuril Islands north of Japan. Known as the “First Island Chain”, they would serve as protection from a military attack from the US. More worrisome, is the fact they’ve been constructing artificial islands to turn into military bases. But, the US isn’t having any of it, and won’t allow Beijing to occupy other territories or oceans of other countries to become an arms force. This is a major source of contention between the two nations, because as it stands, America is capable of damaging China both economically (by ending trade) and with force. Trump calls it “island building” and has warned China to stop.
What’s stopping the US and China from going to war?
Money. They’re the two biggest trade partners in the world, and if either places tariffs on the other it will significantly affect the other’s economy. Meaning lots of job losses. China has acknowledged a trade battle would be bad for both countries. Ironically, the US exported more than $2.6 billion in nuclear reactors to China last year. But overall, the trade and territorial disputes aren’t severe enough to warrant either side going to war anytime soon. North Korea is the biggest concern given its grievances with both countries. But Kimbecile has nothing to gain by waging war on the world. His forces pail in comparison to the US, and he’d be quickly be revealed as a fraud to his people once they were introduced to the internet and realise all the so called “facts” about The Real Kim Shady are in fact lies—that he’s not a supernatural power, does use a toilet, isn’t a fashion icon, and is terrible at basketball.