Updated: Mar 9, 2021
The author is a former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China.
In 1946, the American diplomat George Kennan wrote a lengthy cable to Washington—since dubbed the “Long Telegram”—laying out the basis for the next several decades of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. He published his work as an article under the simple pseudonym “X.” In that spirit, a former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China has published with the Atlantic Council a bold and ambitious new U.S. strategy toward its next great global rival. It is similarly delivered anonymously, which the author requested, and POLITICO granted. Here the author describes the broad outlines of the strategy. The full memo is available here.
The single most important challenge facing the United States in the twenty-first century is the rise of an increasingly authoritarian China under President and General Secretary Xi Jinping. As Joe Biden assumes the presidency, it might be easy to see China as an obsession of Donald Trump that he’d do well to move past. If anything, the opposite is true: The American approach to China needs more and more focused, attention, than any White House has yet given it.
This might seem like overstatement, given the scope of challenges this country faces, but it’s not: Because of the scale of China’s economy and its military, the speed of its technological advancement and its radically different worldview from that of the United States, China’s rise now profoundly impacts every major U.S. national interest. This is a structural challenge that, to some extent, has been gradually emerging over the last two decades. The rise to power of Xi has greatly accentuated this challenge and accelerated its timetable.
At home, Xi has returned China to classical Marxism-Leninism and fostered a quasi-Maoist personality cult, pursuing the systematic elimination of his political opponents. China’s market reforms have stalled and its private sector is now under increasingly direct forms of party control. Xi has also used ethnonationalism to unite his country against any challenges to his authority, internal or external. His treatment of recalcitrant ethnic minorities within China borders on genocide. Xi’s China increasingly resembles a new form of authoritarian police state. And in a fundamental departure from his risk-averse post-Mao predecessors, Xi has demonstrated that he intends to project China’s authoritarian system, coercive foreign policy and military presence well beyond his country’s own borders to the world at large.
To read the article in full, please click on this link:
Here is an article for the Telegraph on the 4th February 2021 by Charles Parton who is a senior associate fellow of RUSI. He spent 22 of his 37 years as a diplomat working in and on China.
He begins his article with these words:
Ofcom, the body which ensures that media companies follow the UK’s law on broadcasting, has revoked the licence of CGTN, the overseas arm of China Central Television (CCTV). The reason is that CGTN and CCTV belong to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), through its Central Propaganda Department. Licence holders are not permitted to be controlled by political bodies.
Worse, if you are sitting in the Central Propaganda Department, is that Ofcom is also considering cases against CGTN/CCTV for other abuses. Several involve complaints about CCTV’s participation in, and broadcasting of, forced confessions under conditions amounting to torture. Another breach of the Ofcom code was a failure to preserve “due impartiality” during coverage of the Hong Kong protests. Ofcom has adjudged CGTN/CCTV to be guilty in these complaints, too, and has promised to “reach decisions shortly” on sanctions.
and he ends with these words:
When the Covid travel ban is lifted, I for one will not be visiting China. I have no wish to join my friend Michael Kovrig as a hostage in the next-door cell – or eventually to be seen on CGTN/CCTV “making a confession”.
For the full article in pdf, please click on this link:
In addtion to the above articles, here is one by Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph 05.02.21 entitled "Our government has left Britain at the mercy of Beijing – and time is running out" which begins with these words:
In the end, it wasn’t the airing of forced confessions, or its manifest propaganda on Hong Kong that did for CGTN, the Chinese state broadcaster. It was the little matter of its licence ownership.
Ofcom stripped CGTN of that license this week on the basis that the media outlet is a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), making it illegal for it to use a UK broadcast license. CGTN is still free to publish online, like anyone else, and it never had a vast UK television audience, but the significance of this move goes beyond that. For one thing, it shows one way in which our norms and rules are simply incompatible with many aspects of the Chinese system. More importantly, it illustrates yet again the need for a government-led strategy to defend our society from CCP interference, rather than continuing with the chaotic and dangerous approach of leaving our institutions and citizens to navigate this quagmire on their own.
For now, it looks like we’re on our own. With clockwork predictability, Beijing has denounced Ofcom’s decision and threatened retaliation against the BBC. It’s not surprising if Xi Jinping finds the BBC’s recent China coverage inconvenient. The corporation’s reports in the past month alone include a damning investigation into forced labour in China’s cotton industry and new testimony by survivors of Beijing’s “re-education” camp system in the province of Xinjiang describing systematic rape and torture.
For the full article in pdf, please click on this link:
Photo attributed to Ju Peng Xinhua via AP