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Thursday, July 29, 2021

China and the Henry Jackson Society

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Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.

In life you know when you have made an impact – it’s that moment when your opponents turn their searchlight on you. They recognise you as someone to be taken seriously. You are making things happen. You are creating waves. They know they can disregard you no longer. Now they have to go on the front foot and try to belittle you, undermine you – even destroy you. 

In yesterday’s UK paper – The Mail on Sunday – three pages were given over to a full frontal assault on the Communist Party of China. This is what was said: “loyal members of the Chinese Communist Party are working in British consulates, universities and for some of the UK’s leading companies…a leaked database of 1.95m registered party members reveals how Beijing’s malign influence now stretches into almost every corner of British life, including defence, firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.”

We have been here before. In the 1950’s when the US was worried that it was being outpaced by the USSR, and, in response, started a campaign of fear and loathing aimed at Moscow. It was so intense that it attracted the slogan “Reds Under the Beds”. Communists were everywhere – in the schools, in the hospitals, in the companies, in the film studios, in the cinema, in the libraries, in the comics, in the universities in the tv stations, on the train, in the restaurants. The panic was enormous – for a reason. By ratcheting up fear, the US government hoped to ring fence the US from knowledge and information about the USSR. The US wanted to isolate and hurt the USSR into submission

The intention of UK foreign policy in the 1930’s was to encourage Germany and the USSR to go to war with each other and to damage and weaken both sides so seriously that the threat of Fascism and Communism would recede and leave the world safe for the UK – and the USA. In the event Germany turned on the UK before it turned on the USSR. The UK survived. Germany then turned on the USSR but was soon on the back foot after their significant defeat at Stalingrad in February 1943. Famously Uncle Jo (Joseph Stalin) was our coalition partner but only until 1945 when the West conceived of the Iron Curtain and the stage was set for a titanic struggle between the US and the USSR. Eventually the USSR crumbled as it was unable to deliver a policy of “guns and butter”. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union fell away and the US was safe from the “red menace”. US capitalism was internally strong and US Imperialism dominated the world.

And then along came China – the Sick Man of Asia in 1949. Nothing to be worried about because China was war ravaged, exhausted and demoralised. Today China is revived and revitalised. 500m Chinese citizens have been lifted out of poverty and in 2018 137m Chinese travelled overseas and all returned home. Life is improving for China and its citizens. It may lack one man/one vote and political parties and the separation of the judiciary from the legislature and from the executive. But the Chinese have never been better off and enjoy a life style so far away from that of their grandparents. China has come of age.

And the West is worried. Something significant is happening in China – and the West is dumbfounded and unable to understand. After all, the West says, “China is run by a Communist Party, just as the Russians were, and we all know what happened to the USSR. Surely China will go the same way. Communism will embrace capitalism, economic rights will mature into political rights and the Communist Party of China will be washed away as the people are given the right to vote for other parties who will eventually form the Government”. 

Well – No. It is not like that. China is following a quite different path and Western governments do not approve. They want to impede, frustrate and divert the Chinese pursuit of prosperity and stability. “De-coupling” is a major part of that policy. And so is the Red Scare or “Reds under the Beds”. No stone is left unturned in pursuit of a negative about China. China must be stopped so the West – led by Trump and Pompeo and using the Henry Jackson Society – have embarked on an aggressive policy designed to make people afraid of China, to fear its success, to be overwhelmed by its progress. If you examine the scare stories, the same names appear – Ian Duncan Smith, Tom Tugendhat, former foreign Office diplomat Matthew Henderson, and Sam Armstrong from the Henry Jackson Society.

They will continue with their work. They are on a mission – to save the World from China. They write, talk, lecture in the hope that they can turn the world away from China. It is right that people should read what they say because the overwhelming unintentional effect is to strengthen China and solidify interest and investment in China. In 2020 China’s benchmark CSI 300 index is up 27% in 2020. China’s bond market has been a big draw for investors during the pandemic as Chinese reforms open up the country’s financial system to attract investors. Since Trump lost the November election net foreign purchases of Chinese equities have reached $26bn.

Back to the beginning – to be attacked by your enemy is not a bad thing. China has enemies but China has friends as well. More importantly, China is on the right path for China. Life improves and China plays a bigger role in the lives of people all over the world. Nothing the Henry Jackson Society can do will reverse the process.

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