People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 40

October 04, 2009

 China-Bashing: Why? What For?


                                                                                      Ardhendu Dakshi


IN recent weeks there has been a sudden spurt of anti-China articles appearing in the print media in India, depicting China as an evil and a dangerous neighbour that is going to harm India in all sorts of ways, including dismemberment. Some of the regional newspapers have gone to the absurd extent of saying that China may be getting ready to invade India because it has an expansionist design. This �may be� of theirs is mischievous --- just to guard themselves from any demand for proof. But their purpose is served --- to raise a China-phobia, the reasons of which are not so secret.

No matter what opinion one has about China, one cannot deny China�s importance in the world economy and international politics, and has to reiterate the importance of healthy India-China relations again and again so that the process of improvement of relationship does not go astray. For, it appears clear that some elements have an interest in disturbing peace between the two great neighbours. That necessitates an assessment of China�s growth in an objective manner, in a clear perspective.




The China phenomenon is unique in world history. We are not aware of any two countries like America and China which are supposed to be the greatest adversaries and are at the same time on good terms. Their simultaneous cooperation and hostility have gone to such an extent as to baffle a student of world history. China could not become China as we see it today without the western investments, particularly from the US, which has at the same time the biggest arms build-up against China. Today China is the US�s biggest banker, a fact most of the Americans feel uncomfortable to admit. China has deposited in US treasury about one trillion dollars, equivalent to 50 lakh crores of rupees --- without which the US economy would have collapsed. Yet the US accepts this huge money from its sworn enemy without hesitation as this relationship benefits the former in more than one way. This is a strange kind of relationship, no doubt, but no one should forget that the recent form of US-China relationship was initiated by the US which is deriving all sorts of benefits from it. This US role of trying to isolate China and at the same time opening all the avenues for massive investment and increasing trade and commerce may look paradoxical. But, as its underlying principle, it is in the end profitable for any country to have friendship with China.

If only India could do half of that in building friendship with China, probably the world history would have been quite different from what it is now.

Some 50 years back, renowned journalist and author Edgar Snow had written a book titled Inside China Today: The Other Side of the River. Edgar Snow is not a familiar name to the present generation. He was in China through the years of the revolution and his first book, Red Star over China, gives a first hand account of the Chinese Revolution and of Mao Zhe Dong.

In the second book, by his judgement, he visualised that the US and China were not separated by the Pacific Ocean; the vast Pacific was rather seen as a river. �The other side of the river� suggested that, yes, bridges could be built across the river to join the two countries for mutual benefit, particularly for the benefit of the US of America. But there was no taker for his theory at that time. It took quite some time to get over the political inhibitions.

Twenty years later, Henry Kissinger, then the US secretary of state, a shrewd professor of political history, took President Richard Nixon to China uninvited --- mark it, uninvited --- and meet Mao. This was despite the strong bitterness between the two countries over the Vietnam war. Kissinger started building bridges while America had and even today has the biggest military build-up against China. There are 35,000 American soldiers in South Korea, 50,000 thousands in Japan, many more in the Philippines and in Thailand --- all ready with hydrogen bombs targeted against China. This relationship is strange and this development is unique. Of course, as far as India is concerned, it certainly does not need an arms build-up against China; yet one wonders why India has failed to build bridges with China with the same vigour and vision which the Americans have displayed, and why columnists in India indulge in China bashing. Why did we not build bridges with China?

China�s response in the face of the US arms build-up is also startling. Along with Russia, China is matching the US�s strength in all possible ways. Whether there will be a war or not, only future will say. But it can be safely predicted that, sooner or later, America will come forward with an arms limitation proposal to China, because the US expenses on arms to match the combined might of Russia and China would be a back-breaking burden on its economy. Hillary Clinton has already been to Moscow; Beijing may be the next stop. America goes by self-interest, and nothing else.

Five years back, when I was in Seoul, I found the Koreans fuming against the Americans. All these years since 1960, the Americans had told the Koreans that China was the most dangerous country, that China had to be attacked and defeated. All these justified an American base near Seoul with a huge arms build-up including hydrogen bombs. But suddenly the US companies started packing up and shifting to the �most dangerous� country. China needed investment and modern technology; and got these. America needed a vast market for their products; they got it.




Today, America and China are main players in the group of 20 industrial nations. Today, China is sending unbelievable volumes of money and goods to America. An American gets up from bed with a Chinese tooth brush and uses China-made bed switch before going to sleep. China today is an inextricable part of the world economy. America got over its political inhibitions and got the benefit. If India and China join hands, they may well dominate the world economy for decades. But India is missing the chance. What do we gain by China-bashing now?

Today, the Chinese economy, and particularly its manufacturing sector, has grown to such a level that is beyond our comprehension. Most of the Indians are unaware of the size of China�s production capacity; and the grumbling that China �is becoming� too strong signifies a delayed understanding. China has already become too strong to be compared with India. The table shows their growth in six areas of production in 2008-09.







million tonnes


million tonnes



million tonnes


million tonnes



million tonnes


million tonnes

Motor Car


lakh units


lakh units


724 billion

kilowatt hours

3100 billion

kilowatt hours


23 crore


53 crore

tonnes/year with less cultivable land


China added 52 million tonnes of steel production in just one year (2008) --- one million tonnes extra capacity every week. India took 62 years for that. It is a big mystery to me, as a steel worker. How did they do it? And what do they do with 500 million tonnes of steel when we find it difficult to sell only 50 million tonnes of it? Thus, a comparison of their relative industrial strengths is simply irrelevant.

There is still time to emulate the Chinese model of development; after all, the old dictum says: �Either lead or follow.� There is no the point in grumbling. But, above all these things, China�s efforts for human development are startling. One would know its real import in not so distant a future.




After many years, I visited the town where I spent 35 years as a factory worker. I was standing before a school building in my old locality; it was then closed and abandoned. It was getting dark. Through the broken doors and window panes I could see the moving shadow of human profiles with glowing cigarettes or whatever it might be.

I know many of my friends� children from this very school now hold senior positions in Microsoft, IBM or Grindlays, in universities in India and abroad. They grew up from such nurseries in the public sector companies and made India the intellectual �superpower� to take on the world. Now the same public sector company has stopped recruiting regular workers, jobs have been shifted to contractors, and the company has no liability to provide education to the contract workers� children. The company is now making profit, freed from the unnecessary (!) expenditure of such schooling. This is the story of all public sector enterprises across the country. The nurseries that gave brightest jewels to the world are now havens of people of a darker world who gather there after the sunset. The impact is that India is in a withdrawal mode in the world of intellectual jobs. Companies are making profits now but the country is heavily losing in human resource development --- an irreparable loss.

Last year I was in China for about ten days. In the free time in evening, I watched the TV: not to watch �Dance China, Dance.� There is no such programme in China. I found two channels continuously telecasting elocution contests of young boys and girls in foreign languages with correct accent --- mostly in English, but also in French, Spanish or other languages. After struggling for five minutes, a young girl correctly pronounced �kh� and got a pat on the back. I am sure thousands of boys and girls all over the region were glued to their TV sets and going through the same exercises. They are getting ready to take on the world in the next 10 years, or may be earlier. China is building new nurseries to produce bright jewels for tomorrow, while nurseries in India are wilting. Worse, managers say a large number of young boys and girls have certificates but are not �employable,� leaving a big question mark on quality.

The process is important. There must be a plan, enough fund, committed organisers, qualified trainers and, above all, an uncompromising stand on quality. The same process has lifted China from nowhere to become the highest winner of medals in the last Olympic Games. Today they command respect because they are achievers. One has to learn from their experience; what purpose will be served by bashing them? Can the children of the poor workers or those of the rich share market agents, moneylenders, corrupt contractors and politicians take up the Chinese challenge in the intellectual job market in the world tomorrow? The answer is obvious. The sudden anti-China campaign is baffling; it serves no purpose.

There can be only one plausible explanation to this orchestrated China bashing --- raising China phobia to make the Indian people feel insecure. Some developed countries, desperately needing money, may like to sell to India some military hardware, some fighter jets, some naval ships by cooking up a war hysteria to clinch a deal.

However, despite this game, a majority of the US policy makers still think in the Kissinger-Nixon mode. They are building bridges, new bridges, everyday --- like the one I travelled over at Xiamen harbour, wide, smooth, sparkling bright and long, with a clear destination of friendship to reach. India is losing the opportunity.

Once there was a highway for centuries --- the highway that took Buddhism to China --- which is now in disuse. They got a religion, India got their respect. Few Indians know how many thousands of Buddhist temples are there in China and how beautifully they are maintained.

In India those who want to look forward to the future, have to see that that highway is revived, and that it goes beyond Buddhism to take care of the modern day necessities. It has a purpose and a future. The unity of purpose can make us grow and grow stronger. China bashing, on the other hand, serves no purpose. Saner voices have to come forward to silence it.