China uses economic retribution to control other countries

By Claude Arpi

Everyone knows that China is an irritable country. And if you irritate China there is a price to pay.
This was openly asserted on a blog published recently by The People’s Daily. Chinascope, the website which translated the posting into English, explains: “The People’s Republic of China often chooses economic retribution as a means to control other countries actions.” Let us not forget that The People’s Daily is the mouthpiece of the Communist Party and every word published in its columns has the sanction of the authorities in Beijing.

This particular posting shows the Chinese regime’s way of behaving with ‘recalcitrant’ States: “The French President came to China and took a big package, a huge present, back to France with him. When the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang went to Germany, Germany also received benefits. At the same time, the United Kingdom is just able to watch from the sidelines.” Explanation: In September of 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama, Beijing was then forced to ‘retaliate’: “Of course, China would get angry,” says the blogger.
To punish the ‘culprit’ Angela Merkel, China ‘Got close to the British and the French’ and as a result the Germans were alienated; they ‘had a tough time’.
But, says The People’s Daily: “Merkel learned her lesson” and after her re-election, she did not dare to meet with the Dalai Lama again. “Since then, she has managed to maintain a fairly good relationship with China,” comments the blog. Then the French: In December of 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the Tibetan leader. It set a precedent for France (though the meeting was discreetly arranged in Warsaw, Poland, to not anger the Chinese), affirms the blogger who adds that during this period, Sarkozy had a ‘double identity’ (France held the Presidency of the European Union for six months). So, it doubly angered Beijing. And obviously, as the blogger explains: “Coupled with the bad role Sarkozy played before the Beijing Olympics, China’s revenge against France was much more violent”.
Remember, Carrefour shops were burned. Beijing had to “give (sic) sweetness to the British and the Germans and let France suffer”. Sarkozy did not have to be punished for long, he flatly apologised to President Hu Jintao (‘France was forced to give in and issued a joint declaration with China’). But Beijing still remembered ‘the affront’.
Though Sarkozy repeatedly ‘tried to appease China’, it took some time for Beijing to show its magnanimity; by the time China was ready to forgive the ‘hyper-President’, he had lost the Presidential election. His successor got it straight right away. Hollande’s Sherpa, Jean-Paul Ortiz, is a known ‘China expert’, he must have explained to the French President, no more ‘T’ word, no more encounters with the Dalai Lama.
That is how Hollande got ‘a huge gift’ with Beijing (purchase of Airbus).

Video credit: Euronews
Foolishly, the British Prime Minister David Cameron did not read the message on the wall. In May of 2012, he received the Dalai Lama at 10, Downing Street. The blogger of The People’s Daily comments: “This time it was Britain’s turn to suffer. Meanwhile, France and Germany got the sweet treatment from China.” Though other British leaders had met the Dalai Lama before (I remember in the 1990’s seeing John Major’s photo on altars in monasteries in Tibet), but Cameron did not realise that the times have changed. Today China is a powerful, very powerful nation.
His punishment: “Cameron still cannot make a visit to China that he has always wanted to make”. And there is a collateral, Britain will lose billions of pounds of China’s investment because its Prime Minister’s audacious gesture.
The blogger asks: “Should he refuse to admit his mistake and save face or should he get the all-important money? This really is a question for the British.” Right, London should decide if it wants Beijing’s friendship or not. The inheritors of the British Empire should know that ‘in the front of today’s God of Wealth–China’, one has to bow. No bowing, no business. They have to make “some kind of gesture to obtain China’s forgiveness”, says the blogger.
Interestingly, when the EU decided to slam duties for ‘dumped’ Chinese solar panels, Li Keqiang managed to convince Angela Merkel and Fran├žois Hollande to object to Brussels decision. They announced that they don’t agree with Brussels’ decision. Berlin and Paris have learned the ‘correct’ way to deal with the Middle Kingdom. But as the European Commission is insistent on charging duties on what it considers as unfair practices (the solar panels are subsidised by the Chinese State to capture the European market), Beijing preemptively retaliated, it launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe in European (read French) wines. That’s not all. The Chinese authorities announced that they had destroyed an unspecified amount of Belgium chocolates because they contained toxic substances. Belgium media was rife with speculations: “Could it be a coincidence that the latest trashing of the national delicacy comes as the EU pursues import tariffs on Chinese solar panels.”
China is said to have identified disunity between the EU countries, in particular Germany, France, and the UK, to be the most effective way to impose what they call ‘economically divisive tools’. When the United States were irritated with the PLA’s Black Visitors regularly hacking into the US defence computers, the US President planned (without informing Beijing that the issue was the first on the agenda) to tell his Chinese counterpart what he thought about stealing others’ properties. The Chinese got deeply irritated to be pointed a finger.
As Obama and Xi were to going to seat on a redwood bench at Sunnylands, ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden suddenly emerged in Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of China. Was it a miracle or just a coincidence? Or perhaps a retaliation? An interesting question: What would happen if China irritates India? Take the example of the Chinese camping in the desolate Depsang plains of Ladakh; it was really irritating. But don’t ask silly questions!
Delhi can’t demand a gesture from China to obtain India’s ‘forgiveness’? India automatically forgives and forgets, it is her way of doing things these days.

NOTE— Claude Arpi is a French author, Tibet-China expert and a freelance based in India. This article is republished from NITI CENTRAL

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