China’s reformist leader Deng Xiaoping famously counseled that his nation should “hide its strength and bide its time” as it grew to the top ranks of the global economy. President Xi Jinping has taken a different course. He is seizing the moment and baring China’s teeth.
Not unlike Ronald Reagan who declared in the 1980s that “America is back — standing tall,” Xi is signaling that the Middle Kingdom has returned and finally straightened its spine after being bent over by national humiliation going back to the Opium War, Western colonialism and Japanese occupation.
Xi’s stance was on display for all the world to see in the vast military spectacle on Tiananmen Square this week marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Japan in World War II. That President Xi appeared alongside Vladimir Putin — with no prominent Western leaders from the U.S., Europe or Japan in attendance — was not only reminiscent of the Cold War, but a worrying premonition that the world once again risks dividing up into geopolitical blocs.
Writing from Beijing, Qin Xiaoying argues that “Western indifference” to China’s commemoration “is a foolish mistake” that only convinces the Chinese that the U.S. is out to contain China’s rise. The PLA Academy’s Ma Jun says China’s unprecedented military parade was an “act of transparency.” Looking on from Seoul, Key-young Son cites editor Andreas Herberg-Rothe and argues “that any future war in Asia. . . will not be a war of conflicting interests, but ‘a cultural war for mutual recognition.’ From Hong Kong, Lawrence J. Lau says there have been enough apologies from Japan and what is needed now is simply to tell the truth about what —> Read More