Are five eyes better than two minds?
Recently the decision by the European Union (EU) to sign a compact with China known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, or CAI for short, has drawn an immense amount of flak. Critics of the deal thought the EU was out of their mind! Supposedly the deal will broaden the European companies’ market access in China and streamline the country’s regulatory environment while ensuring access to key European strategic markets for Chinese firms. Those critics of the agreement have variously accused the EU of:
ignoring human rights issues in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet
being complicit in forced labour practice such as for Volkswagon, etc
turning a blind eye to genocide against Uyghurs
not consulting with the U.S. first
....and the list goes on!
What Headlines to ring in the New Year!:
Europe's disappointing investment deal with China, Nikkei Asia, 1 January 2021
Germany’s drive for EU-China deal draws criticism from other EU countries, Politico, 1 January 2021
‘Rather Surprising’: New EU-China Investment Deal Causes Unease in India, Sputnik International, 5 January 2021
There are concerns that the CCP is highly unlikely to implement the terms of the CAI agreement in the way that they would be understood in a liberal democracy, especially given its track record of using propaganda and careful orchestration of workers and detainees during inspection tours of contested facilities. (RFA, 31 December 2020)
Now, many countries and individual businesses are necessarily of two minds about embroiling themselves in any alliance or dealings with China, with CCP.
Amidst the current Covid crisis and impending economic mess, quite a number of nations are having to weigh up the merits of maintaining trade with China and its government, CCP, or its businesses, to tap into its market. We note that the Chinese market is always touted as being bigger and more attractive than works out in reality. Sure, some of the bad press of the past may be unique to particular brands or certain nations, but other more recent China issues like forced technology transfer should not be ignored.
Thanks to the current state of geopolitics and the impact of Covid-19, decoupling from the totalitarian state, and taking necessary measures to diversify foreign trade are de rigueur. This can be as much about genuine selfish concerns for your own welfare, as it is about the welfare and rights of those suffering at the hands of CCP and Xi Jinping. It might even be about building an alliance with other like-minded nations, or maintaining the ones you already have.
So it is with the 'Five Eyes' alliance between New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States - all nations that could be described as democratic, and freedom-loving. So, none of them are perfect! But, hey, democratic development is a process, and WTPOHK believe that anything has to better than living in an authoritarian state ruled by a dictator and his band of criminal followers.
The Five Eyes nations have in the last 12 months incurred the wrath of China more than once, and have on many occasions been the strongest voices speaking on the global stage in support of HK and against CCP's unethical and sometimes illegal behaviour:
The Five Eyes Alliance’s statement supporting HK enraged the CCP, and Zhao Lijian used offensive language during press conference, GNews, 19 November 2020
CCP warns that it will remove the eyes of the Five-Eye Alliance, Todaysoon, 20 November 2020
China Lied, People Died: Five Eyes Report Details CCP Coronavirus Cover-up, Breitbart, 2 May 2020
At times the strength of the alliance may be called into question, but there is no doubt that there's a good deal of intelligence gathering and information sharing going on between the nations. They are always on the look out for dubious behaviour that might damage one another's best interests - and isn't that what friends are for? Globally, many nations both trust and depend on the will and leadership provided by strong nations like the U.S. and strong alliances too.
We note that New Zealand has something of a checkered track record, and is treading a fine line in maintaining some trading connection with China (perhaps because of a perceived necessity?):
New Zealand's Five Eyes membership called into question over 'China links' (The Guardian, 28 May 2018) [Note the date]
The dangerous new cold war brewing with China will test New Zealand even more than the old one, The Conversation, 22 July 2020
Opposition as NZ joins world's largest free trade agreement, Newshub, 15 November 2020
Australia also has a trade deal with China, but it also has complaints about China’s coronavirus transparency. The result: China slapped punitive tariffs on Aussie exports (including barley and wine) and imposed a de-facto ban on its meat, cotton, lobster, timber and coal. Beijing also published a 14-point list of grievances with the Australian government, including complaints about "antagonistic" reporting and Canberra’s ban on Huawei building 5G networks.
2020 is not the first year that Australians have been alerted to news that people with money and political connections to China have "infiltrated" the Australian political system:
A political system rife with Chinese bribery, coercion, espionage and blackmail, The Trumpet, 13 June 2017
Australia bans politically connected Chinese billionaire, ABS/CBN, 6 February 2019
Suddenly, the Chinese Threat to Australia Seems Very Real, The New York Times, 28 November 2019
What I wish to ask these nations, whether it's Germany, Australia, New Zealand or some nations on the African continent that cosy up to CCP is: What do they see in such relationships? Have they looked through rose-coloured spectacles at what CCP promises them, at the calculated benefits of such deals?
I would suggest that many nations are indeed myopic in looking at the current situation. They look through their microscope at the fine details, weighing up the pros and cons. I don't think they're completely gullible! Is the end of HK's autonomy, or CCP's clear breach of the Joint Declaration it signed with the UK in 1984 worth haggling about? They may think they have bigger fish to fry, like soaring Covid infection rates, unemployment in their own country, business foreclosures, rising debt levels, and their own political future.
The fact is, very few countries are exempt from economic problems arising from this Covid pandemic. We are ALL in this together!
I say that any nation in two minds about its relationship with CCP has to consider the bigger picture. It's a telescope you should be using! I am sure that some countries have looked into the forest for clues to build up a better picture of what it would mean to deal with CCP - but they just couldn't see the wood for all the trees!
The CCP is constantly projecting its own narrative
CCP may have infiltrated their own nation's government or its related institutions
Verifying information coming out of China is difficult if not impossible
Who do you trust? Your own eyes? Five Eyes?
At least the Five Eyes alliance, through the work of its agencies and international cooperation, has over many years build up a fairly detailed picture of what is really going on in China, a historical view that means your country does not react to CCP in an irrational way, a knee-jerk way to just a single incident. No one wants to cut off their nose to spite their face - to lose the benefits of trade with China, over minor diplomatic rows.
BUT, what's happening in HK is NOT a minor diplomatic row.
You have to see what CCP is doing in HK as part of the larger jigsaw puzzle that is the strategy, motivation and ongoing momentum of their coordinated global activity.
You cannot ignore that CCP has a distinct dislike of democracy as evidenced by the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. To this day the CCP still denies the historic facts of what took place, and why, and keeps the truth from its own citizens. On September 9, 2020, the CCP honored the centenary of the birth of Yang Baibing, the general who in 1989 ordered to shoot unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square. (Bitter Winter, 10 September 2020)
It's worth noting that Japan decided to oppose the placing of sanctions on China by members of the Group of Seven industrialized countries on the day of Beijing's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, according to diplomatic records declassified just recently. (Japan Today, 1 January 2021)
How different is Japan's view of and relationship with CCP and China today!
Headline: ‘Pack up and get out of there,’ Japan to spend $2.2 billion to get Japanese companies to exit China, (TFI Post, 9 April 2020)
How different is the world's view of the value and effectiveness of DIPLOMACY in connection with CCP? There has been a lot of water under the bridge since China was admitted to the World Trade Organisation. Global diplomacy has been rocked by many disruptive factors including China’s increasingly assertive rise, highlighted by its militarization of the South China Sea; Russia’s revisionist drive to carve out a sphere of influence, epitomized by its seizure and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine; and America’s refusal under President Donald Trump to honor agreements on Iran, climate change or trade to which his predecessors committed the United States.
Still, how any nation could be blind to the red flags waving is beyond me! [And there are alarms bells ringing too!]
Many people are wondering how CCP can be held accountable. While no one is wanting a blood bath in China, many are seeking a change in leadership, and a change in its style of governance.
It may be hard to conceive [and believe] that under CCP, MAO KILLED AT LEAST 77 MILLION CHINESE CITIZENS AND SOME SAY MORE! This is NOT just some empty claim.
The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a historical tragedy launched by Mao Zedong and the CCP. It claimed the lives of several million people and inflicted cruel and inhuman treatments on masses of its own people. However, 40 years after it ended, the total number of victims of the Cultural Revolution and especially the death toll of mass killings still remain a mystery both in China and overseas. Still, you can hardly say that the number is so small that it's insignificant, or unimportant!
What has the CCP done in Tibet?
In the early 2000s, the Free Tibet movement galvanized the world. From celebrity endorsements to Simpsons cameos, the media launched the plight of Tibet into the Western imagination; the suffering of Tibetans under a foreign regime became well known. But today, with atrocities in Xinjiang and HK dominating the narrative and Tibet now more sealed off than ever, news about the Himalayan region has been reduced to stray sentences in coverage on Chinese aggression. (Tibet Was China’s First Laboratory of Repression, Foreign Policy, 31 August 2020)
Cultural genocide? What China is doing in Tibet today, Fox News, 31 July 2020
What is the CCP doing in Xinjiang?
Multiple reports confirm that the Communist Party of China is currently enacting an Uighur genocide.
Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority group native to China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, are being hauled off to labor camps and forced to undergo sterilization procedures in an effort to cull their population. (China's Uighur Genocide: Here's Everything You Need To Know About the CCP's Human Rights Abuses, The Western Journal, 22 July 2020) [Note - MULTIPLE REPORTS. Is more evidence needed for your country, your politicians to take notice??]
In recent months a body of evidence has emerged linking the CCP to mass atrocities perpetrated against the Uighur Muslims. It is alleged that the CCP has organized the arbitrary detention of over 1 million Uighur Muslims and perpetrated killings in detention, torture and inhuman treatment of detainees, the forced separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, forced labor, forced organ harvesting, enforced disappearances and much more. The world has responded to these allegations with diplomatic engagement. However, there has been no improvement in the treatment of the persecuted communities. (The Chinese Communist Party’s Fall From Grace Over Mass Atrocities In Xinjiang, Forbes, 1 August 2020)
There are some individuals, organisations, businesses and countries siding with China, who prefer to portray CCP critics like me as extraordinary conspiracy theorists, racist haters, or even interfering busy bodies. The problem is that usually those who grasp at conspiracy theories have no evidence and their claims amount to speculation. We who object to CCP do not fit that mould.
The question is did WE allow some very bad things to happen in China, or was that YOU that turned a blind eye? Did WE conspire to make something terrible happen in China, or was it YOU or others that were the collaborators, the accomplices in awful crimes against humanity? Of course, it may be that the only people who ever read this blog are already on the same side as us, in opposition to CCP!
CCP tends to be divisive. It's a tactic that demands you take a side when we ought to be unified against the covid virus that is impacting everyone, everywhere. If you're not "with them" then you're seen as being against them and what they do. As a child I used to worry about "World War III", but the new reality is "Cold War III"!
I am not a diplomat. I apologise if I sound like a socialist, but the prosperity and stability that were once promised to Hong Kong don't have to come at the expense of its people. The government of mainland China should also be able to govern without going around killing off or incarcerating masses of the people living in its borders. Those who "have", should not be exploiting and enslaving the "have nots", as we clearly see in Hong Kong, where the wealth gap is a pressing livelihood issue. I like to think of myself as a humanitarian.
Thanks to Covid-19 there has been a paradigm shift, and nations and individuals cannot continue to think selfishly. We need to look out for one another. No man is an island.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced before Christmas that New Zealand had secured two additional COVID-19 vaccines. This means that the country now expects to have so many doses of the vaccine that it will be able to offer it to neighboring nations for free. (Business Insider, 20 December 2020)
CCP is the centre of our attention these days, and it needs to stay that way. To use a sporting metaphor, we must "Keep our eye on the ball, and our minds on the game!"
I don't understand how nations think they can 'play' the CCP game and 'not play' at the same time. It's never clear who is setting the rules of engagement, or what they actually mean in practice. You can't even count on a good referee these days!
Through our blogs we have variously seen CCP portayed as a fire-breathing dragon, as a parasite or as a plague spreading its virus upon the world. It might be more useful to think of CCP as something more like the Gorgon Medusa, or a writhing kraken - a massive octopus with lunging tenticled arms!
Sure as the CCP stands at your front door negotiating with you, its gang of thieves and other operatives will be plotting its way into your home. There'll be diplomats making their way in through the back door, and greedy, unscrupulous businesses climbing in through the bedroom windows. Just when you think it's Christmas, Santa in the form of Xi Jinping will be coming down the chimney to enter your home. He won't be saying "Ho, ho, ho!" - with its Chinese characteristics it'll be more like "Ha, ha ha!" Like CCP wants to rape Hong Kong's public purse, it will carry on the exploitation, pillage and plundering in whichever nation it is allowed a foothold in.
Winston Churchill once famously said "You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth."
Governments should not be gambling with the welfare of their people, with the economic wellbeing of their nation, and the survival of their political system at stake. We have to wonder how things will pan out for New Zealand, for the European Union nations, for Australia. Perhaps we should even wonder about the U.S. these days? Where will the Roulette ball land when it finally stops spinning and bouncing?
Enough of this play!
Are you an ally for CCP, a partner, a follower, an appeaser, or a nation with higher ideals and principles? WTPOHK look to courageous and strong Governments to act and speak up when it's called for. We look to human rights defenders like the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and IPAC (The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China). We look to you!
A million deaths means nothing in the Xi Jinping scheme of things. Some say he is a megalomaniac, others a narcissist. Hong Kong is a mere pimple, a blip in the road to glory, to global domination, to becoming the economic and political powerhouse of the world. Whatever happens in the coming months, CCP is sure to deserve at least as many lines in the annals of history as did the Nazi Party, and their genocides may also be on par. How many words Xi Jinping merits in comparison with Hitler yet remains to be seen.
Read our blogs on related issues:
Other Media on CCP's global manoeuvres:
EU-China Pact Sparks Concern Over Labor Standards, Human Rights, RFA, 31 December 2020
China divides and conquers democracies again, Politico, 4 January 2021
With Concessions and Deals, China’s Leader Tries to Box Out Biden, The New York Times, 3 January 2021
Xi’s human chattels, Apple Daily, 2 January 2021
China does not have allies, but has friends with partnership diplomacy, Aletho News, 26 December 2020
As Chinese businesses collapse, anti-Xi Jinping sentiment is rising and Xi is set to begin the Great Purge 2.0, TFI Post, 26 August 2020