Sunday, December 31, 2006

[china] the scope of the threat

According to Deng Xiaoping, in order to eventually overcome, China should adopt the ancient maxim of "hiding brightness and nourishing obscurity," and Beijing adds, "to bide our time and build up our capabilities" and again - "to yield on small issues with the long term in mind."

The Warring States era in Chinese history was the age in which the classics of Chinese statecraft were produced and Colonel Liu Chungzi of the National Defense University Strategy Department states that "in the 1990s, the world entered a multipolar era very similar to the time of Sun Zi."

To dismiss China’s fixation with its destiny in terms of its ancient warlike past would be an incalculable mistake for the west but one which it’s quite likely to make in its arrogance. And arrogance with the Chinese never washes. They have their own in good measure.

I once “under-headed” a college half full of Chinese boys and the most poignant memory was that they had their own hierarchy, their own summary justice system, their own quiet insolence and arrogance which never confronted the British pattern and order but neither did it embrace it.

An older member of staff advised me one evening, over a game of snooker, to run with the Chinese and let them feel you were onside, however much it galled. “Don’t ever pull rank,” he warned or strange things would start to go wrong.

I mentioned this to another colleague who was apoplectic at their insolence – this was the Britain of the late 80s after all and he was a member of the greatest empire the world had ever seen and supporter of the greatest team – Man U.

Continued here

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