Former Australia Prime Minister, Mr. Paul Keating is right to point out that the rise of China as the world’s largest economy would be “altogether positive” to the world at large and Australia should embrace the rise of China as a super power.
After 30 years of economic reform, China has risen rapidly as a prominent world power. Especially after the 2008 global financial melt down triggered by the financial practice in America, Mr. Keating has no doubt that China will soon surpass America as the biggest economy after this crisis.
On 17th May 2009, British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband described China “as the 21st Century's "indispensable power" with a decisive say on the future of the global economy, climate change and world trade.” The world is looking up to China for a way out of this crisis: Mr. Miliband observed during the recent G20 submit: “… what was striking was that when China spoke everybody listened.”
While hoping that a strong Chinese recovery will pull the world out of recession, there are also worries in some countries about the long term “threat” from China.
At a time of a projected 2009/10 budget deficit of almost AUD59 billion , the recent White Paper released by the Australia Defence Department using “China Threat” as a justification for an additional AUD72 billion in military spending and expansion over the next 20 years to acquire a full spectrum of air, sea and land arsenal of offensive, long range advanced weaponry. 
The March/April Issue of THE DIPLOMAT magazine carried an article about piracy in Somali. Despite the fact that under the United Nation Security Council endorsement, Britain, the European Union, the United States and other countries such as Japan and China dispatched their naval vessels to combat the piracy disturbance, China contribution was singled out as a concerned by the West with editor highlight: ‘Why does China need a blue-water navy when the US Navy already polices the world oceans?’
So, is the assumption of China threat - fact, misunderstanding or simply paranoia?
William Polk, a Middle East historian stressed that: “knowing about events-over-time is crucial to a perception of the present.’ Therefore, it is important for us to understand China - its past and present in an objective way based purely on historical facts and events that may have affected its policies.
Over the last 100 years, the United State has a history of relentless persuasion of selfish national and corporate interest through endless military aggression and covert operations throughout the world. The overthrown of 14 sovereign governments from Hawaii Kingdom to Iraq including democratically elected governments in Iran, Guatemala and Chile and the eventual annexation of Hawaii as its 50th State in 1959 are just a fraction of its imperialistic history and behaviour. 
The Bush Doctrine known after 9/11 with a foreign policy of preventive war against foreign countries that “represented a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United State, even if that threat was not immediate”, China was amongst the list. 
The bombing of China embassy in Belgrade by NATO that killed 3 Chinese reporters in 1999 ; the mid-air collision between US spy plane and Chinese interceptor fighter jet during the ‘Hainan Island Incident’ causing the death of a Chinese pilot in 2001  ; and a series of recent intrusions by US Navy surveillance (spy) ship (USNS Victorious) within the exclusive economic zone of Yellow Sea without China Permission, are just a serious of unprovoked hostility by the US against China.
Contrary to the Rudd’s Government assessment of China threat, the two Australia's top intelligence assessment agencies - the Office of National Assessments (ONA) and the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) believed that “China's military expansion poses little threat to the nation's long-term security”. Both agencies interpreted “China’s military build-up as largely a defensive response to the perceived threat of US naval power in the Pacific.”
China, despite being the world largest economy in most part of the last 20 centuries with 3000 years of well documented written history, is an old civilisation almost ceased to exist after more then a century of colonial and imperialistic invasion and exploitation. Virtually every major power at the time (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Austria-Hungary, USA, Russia and Japan) was involved in varying degree in causing the century of dismay and turbulence in China.
It is only 60 years ago (1949) when the Communist Party began to pull the country back together and rebuilt its economy, social, health, education, science, technology and political system from a dire condition, and regained its territorial integrity. The average life expectancy of the Chinese people before 1949 was around 36.5 years. Today it is 73.4 years.
Almost immediately after the formation of the People’ Republic of China, China was drawn into the Korean War (1950-53) against the American lead Coalition. After the war ended in 1953, while America still have their military present in the Korean Peninsula till this day, China made a full withdrawal.
During the Sino-Indian War in 1962  over the ‘McMahon Line’ – a land dispute created by Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary for the British-run Government of India in 1914. As a victor in this war, China stopped it military advancement at it claim line, and then declared a unilateral cease fire. Militarily, no organized Indian resistance was left in either disputed sector after the retreat of the 48 Brigade at 3 a.m. on 20 November. The Chinese withdrew to the pre-war Line of Actual Control and returned all the territory they had captured during the war and moved back another 20km along the line. Over the following months, vehicles, weapons, and prisoners of war were returned by China unconditionally as a show of goodwill.  According to the recently declassified official document (January/1963), China hope for a negotiated deal with India to avoid long term hostility. 
On 29th Oct. 2008, Britain for the first time recognised Chinese sovereignty over Tibet in a written statement by the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. In the last two paragraphs of his statement he referred to a historic agreement dating back almost a century which acknowledged Chinese interest in Tibet but asserted that Tibet had never been fully part of the country as “anachronism” (historical mistake).  According to Robert Barnett, the director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia, the decision by the British Government has a wider implications as “India’s claim to a part of its northeast territories, for example, is largely based on the same agreements – notes exchanged during the Simla convention of 1914, which set the boundary between India and Tibet –that the British appear to have just discarded.” 
Over the last few decades, China had successfully negotiated and settled its land border dispute with all it’s neighbours except India. For examples, on July 2008, after 40 years of negotiation, Russia agreed to return 174 sq km of Chinese territory on the North West border to China in return China agreed not to claim on the 1.5 million square km of land taken from China before the USSR. The land border dispute with Vietnam has also been officially resolved on 31 December 2008.
The 2008 Chinese Defence White Paper called upon the world to work together to eliminate nuclear weapons, and unilaterally pledged to temporarily halt the experimentation of new nuclear weaponry and the conduct of Nuclear Test.
Noam Chomsky, a leading linguistic scientist and a long time professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) observed that: ‘of all the nuclear States, China has maintained by far the most restrained pattern of military deployment.’ Further more, ‘China has led efforts in the United Nations to preserve outer space for peaceful purposes, in conflict with the United States, which along with Israel, has barred all moves to prevent an arms race in space.’
China has been the first nuclear country pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapon in any conflict, and will never use nuclear weapon to strike or threaten to strike on any non-nuclear country. Beside, Indian, non of the other nuclear countries such as USA, UK, French or Russia, etc ever made that pledge.
The military and diplomatic behaviour of modern China is consistent with its ancient past. It is defensive in nature. The Great Wall of China is the best representative of China as a nation of peace. Unlike the history of most civilisations over the last 2000 years, China has been using its manpower and resources since the Qin Dynasty (BC 221) to built, maintain, and extent the Great Wall to prevent invasion. One should take note that for the amount of resources and man powers used to built the Great wall (approximately 7000km in total length), China could have conquered and exploited its neighbour like the Roman Empire or the Austria-Ottoman Empire.
1421 when China had a naval fleet with establishment in term of size and numbers the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. It has sailed around the world and ‘discovered’ America 70 years before Columbus and ‘discovered’ Australia 300 years before Captain Cook. The mission was to collect tribute from people beyond the seas’ and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. The Journey lasted two years and circled the globe without invasion of any kind. In fact, the maps Columbus and captain Cook relied on to ‘discover’ America and Australia were Chinese maps. 
It is worth noting that, the current internationally widely accepted “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” was initiated by China in 1954. These five principles include:
1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty
2. Mutual non-aggression
3. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs
4. Equality and mutual benefit
5. Peaceful co-existence 
In reality, the so-called China threat promoted by the Western media or right wing politicians has been an imaginary threat. As stated above, even the Australian own intelligence services (ONA and DIO) did not believe that China is of any threat to Australia.
However, the Western threat against China survival is in reality actual and real—then and now. I will find time to write an article on this part of the history some time in the near future. Meantime, if we read the content of China National Anthem written during the revolution before 1949, one will notice that, China is a country feeling insecure about its surrounding as a result of the past and present experience with the Western colonial powers and imperial Japan:
Arise! All who refuse to be slaves!
Let our flesh and blood become our new Great Wall!
As the Chinese nation faces its greatest peril,
All forcefully expend their last cries.
Arise! Arise! Arise!
Our million hearts beat as one,
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
March on! March on! On!(28)
The Roman Empire did not last forever; the Crusader was unable to hold on to Jerusalem; Spain was unable to prevent the rise of Britain; and Britain was unable to prevent the independent and rise of America. The world most powerful military coalition lead by America was unable to win the war in Korea, and was defeated in Vietnam. Again, besides causing millions of deaths, injuries, displacement, suffering and hatred, the show of forces and aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan did not make the coalitions any safer. If history is of any lesson to learn, the rise and decline of a nation is an inevitable process.
The world should learn to accept each other existence in the 21st century without prejudice.
(1)PM Kevin Rudd too defensive on China: Paul Keating- 3 July 2009- The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25726000-601,00.html
(2) The UK Guardian newspaper: ‘David Miliband: China ready to join US as world power’ – 17 May 2009 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/17/david-miliband-china-world-power)
(3) Same as Above
(4) SBS website: ‘Budget deficit ‘to stay long after crisis’: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1017747/Budget-deficit-%27to-reach-$59-billion%27
(5) Australia Defence’s White Paper – 2 May 2009: www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper
(6) ‘Horn Of A Dilemma’ by Graham Cooke in THE DIPLOMAT Magazine, March/April Issue, page 30 to 33
(7) ‘Understanding Iraq’ by William R. Polk (2005) - Preface, pg xi.
(8) ‘Overthrown’ by Stephen Kinzer (2006).
(9) ‘Bush Doctrine’ – Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_Doctrine#Preemptive__strikes
(10) ‘NATO bombing of the People's Republic of China embassy in Belgrade’- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_Bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade
(11) ‘Hainan Island Incident’ – Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainan_Island_incident
(12) ‘China asks U.S. to prevent illegal entry to its EEZ (05/06/09)’ Chinese Embassy in US: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/xw/t560898.htm
(13) The Australian Newspaper: ‘Spy chiefs cross swords over China as Kevin Rudd backs defence hawks’- 11 April 2009: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25319012-2703,00.html
(14) 八国联军 - Eight-Nation Alliance - http://baike.baidu.com/view/8712.htm and http://www.answers.com/topic/eight-nation-alliance Also, Opium War: http://www.answers.com/topic/opium-wars
(15) Korean War – 15 June 1950 – 27 July 1953: http://www.answers.com/topic/korean-war
(16) ‘Sino-Indian War 1962- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Indian_War
(17) 麦克马洪线: http://baike.baidu.com/view/6339.htm,McMahon Line: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMahon_Line
(18) Ceasefire- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Indian_War#Ceasefire
(19) 新解密外交部档案：中印之战胜利后为何主动撤军: http://news.ifeng.com/mil/history/200811/1126_1567_895949.shtml
(20) Telegraph- ‘UK recognises China's direct rule over Tibet’: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/tibet/3385803/UK-recognises-Chinas-direct-rule-over-Tibet.html Also: Written Ministerial Statement on Tibet (29/10/2008):http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=8299838
(21) Robert Barnett, the director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia: “Did Britain Just Sell Tibet?”, New York Time: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/opinion/25barnett.html?_r=3&ref=opinion
(23) China Defence White Paper (full Text)- 2008年中国国防白皮书全文: http://news.ifeng.com/mil/data/200901/0120_1574_977685.shtml
(24) ‘Failed States – The Abuse of power and the assault on democracy’ by Noam Chomsky (2006), pg 10.
(25) The Great Wall of China: http://www.crystalinks.com/chinawall.html
(26) ‘1421 The Year China Discovered the World’ by Gavin Menzies (2002).
(27) Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Principles_of_Peaceful_Coexistence
(28) China National Anthem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_of_the_Volunteers
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