By Dr. Jaber Ibrahim Selman
• First: Changes in China’s Domestic Policy
• Second: Changes in China’s Foreign Policy
• Third: China’s Future Role in International Politics
• Fourth: Conclusion
The first recorded history of China dates to the 4th millennium BC (2), making it one of the world’s oldest civilizations (1). The common cultural identity of China—the backbone of its people’s civilization—is the result of the gradual accumulation of various primitive cultures.
Despite such rich history, the people of China were subjected to various forms of economic, social, and political slavery (3). Emperors were treated like demigods and surrounded by a class of opportunistic politicians and priests who controlled the trade of opium and drugs. A minority of conscientious citizens tried to challenge the status quo, but their efforts remained largely ineffective, as they had no faith in their ability to implement such a radical change (4).
In the mid-20th century, the socioeconomic structure of China witnessed major transformations that led to a true revolution of political modernization. The latter increased the efficiency of the political and administrative system in the country (5). Also, around 1949, the Communist Party of China began relying on the then-nascent general popular sector and on the support of the Soviet Union and other countries that embraced the notion of people’s democracy (6).
Industrialization, which means “liberating social forces and changing the methods of production” (7), was late to arrive into China. However, it eventually encompassed the production lines and tools and the structure of the labor force, a matter that impacted the political structure and transformed it from a totalitarian, dictatorial system into a people’s democracy whose goal was to develop social functions, meet the needs of the people, and ensure wider political participation.
The liberation of the production power of the Chinese society was the fruit of the Common Program of the People’s Political Consultative Conference which set the 1949-1952 reform agenda for the country. The plan regarded the development of production capabilities and the creation of a thriving economy as the cornerstone of the country’s economic reform. It also aimed to protect public and private interests, achieve the desired benefits for both the labor and the capital, ensure cooperation between urban and rural areas, and advance domestic and international trade (8). Furthermore, land reform led to the rapid increase of agricultural investment (9).
The Opening Up program brought about more interaction with foreign cultures and expectedly more diversity that flourished within China’s traditional culture (10).
In this study, I attempt to focus on the most important milestones in China’s domestic and foreign policies and dedicate the third chapter to probe into its future role in international politics.
First: Changes in China’s Domestic Policy
The process of transformation in China seems to always occur in line with Mao Zedong’s idea the Marxism can be succinctly described as a true rebellion (11). For Mao, rebellion means a constant reformulation of the self in the course of struggle (12).
Since the most controversial ideological, economic, and social transformations took place after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 and to achieve the desired benefit, this study is concerned with the post-Mao period and limited to providing a general idea about China’s domestic policy in and its societal impact.
Changes in Party Politics
In February of 1978—before Deng Xiaoping officially assumed power—the National People’s Congress adopted a new constitution. Article 25 gave people the right to freedom of expression and debate and to protest, go on strikes, and write wall newspapers (13).
Supporters of democracy embraced this article and saw it as a gleam of hope ushering in a new age. They thus began writing in favor of inaugurating Deng Xiaoping, who then was the deputy prime minister, as the symbol of China’s democratic movement. One of the wall newspapers wrote that Xiaoping had achieved harmony between heaven and earth and accomplished order, peace, and great democracy. Another newspaper praised his greatness, beauty, and success in assuming the Chinese throne. It was further stated that the Chinese people were praising such a move and that under his leadership the nation would become rich and powerful, as he was able to move the economy forwards in the right direction (14).
In the same year (1978), the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was held. The session marked an increased popular interest in reforming socialism and getting rid of ideological restraints, an aspiration that would successfully come to fruition by establishing a new historical basis, dealing flexibly with the trials of that period, responding positively to the challenges of modernization, and catching up effectively with the process of international development (15).
In 1979, underground press thrived in China, as the number of underground newspapers in Beijing alone reached 55 out of more than 100 in total in China (16).
After 10 years, and exactly in the early months of 1989, Chinese students—encouraged by the enthusiasm for freedom among some members of the ruling elite (18)—became more adamant in their demand for political reform (17). They called upon the party and the government to start a dialogue with their union (19) regarding corruption and reform. However, their demands fell on deaf ears, as both the government and the party refused to acknowledge the students’ union, fearing the emergence of a parallel movement like the Red Guards (20).
The government further called for a political purge among students, a move that proved unsuccessful due to the lack of support from party members (21). The Chinese leadership eventually changed its tactics and began a public campaign to polish the image of the party by exposing corrupt and underperforming officials and holding them accountable. By 1992, 733 thousand officials were disciplined, 154 thousand party members were expelled, and 2 ministers were sacked along with the Governor of Hainan (21).
The death of Deng Xiaoping on February 19, 1997, at the age of 92 marked the end of an important chapter of the history of the Communist Party and the beginning of a new era under the leadership of Jiang Zemin whose rule came to be known as the Third Generation Leadership (22). This era witnessed the emergence of collective leadership within the party with the main aim of maintaining political stability (23). To Jiang Zemin, political stability was a prerequisite for the processes of reformation, opening up, and economic development (23).
In the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2003, Jiang Zemin named Hu Jintao as his successor for the leadership of the party. In October 2003, Hu Jintao (24) started effectively leading the fourth generation (25), thus ushering China into the 21st century. The country, thanks to the opening up policy and economic reformation of the 1980s and 1990s, achieved the highest economic growth rates in the world.
It is worth noting that the rapid, qualitative changes in the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party impacted the security doctrine of the country, which was described by political and military analysts as regional rather than international or global (26). The role of the armed forces was mostly concerned with the political and security ambitions of the ruling party (26).
Changes in Military Policy
The Chinese political doctrine under Mao relied more on quantity rather than quality. In the post-Mao era, however, and exactly in 1990, things began to change, as the focus shifted towards building a smaller but more capable and better-equipped army (27). Hence, the number of active personnel was decreased by 25% and so was the number of the members of people’s militia. Also, the number of military regions was downed to 7 instead of 11.
Professional specializations were given priority. Military conscription was forsaken in favor of a ballot system that relied on merit and demand inspired by the idea that the army should be properly structured from a political angle and strong from a military perspective (28).
As a result, military spending rose to $89 billion in 1997 from $80 billion in the mid-1980s, amounting to one-third of that of the United States and 75% of that of Japan (29). Such positive changes underscore the significant role the Chinese military institutions play in domestic affairs, especially concerning preserving territorial integrity and sovereignty, maintaining domestic order, and defending the country against foreign aggression (30).
Changes in Economic Policy
As the second-largest country in the world and a large continental nation, China is endowed with many natural resources (32). Expectedly, the country’s economic achievements had a significant impact on its foreign policy which became free from previous domestic, regional, and international restrictions (33). Additionally, reforming domestic and economic policies empowered China and furthered its aspirations to be an influential power in the international arena.
China’s future role is largely shaped by economic ambitions supported by military capabilities (34). Economy is a top priority for China, especially considering the rapidly-growing global competition and formation of new economic blocs. Despite these economic achievements, it can be argued that the country still faces serious and alarming challenges (35), especially in regions that, in the context of domestic competition, began devising their own policies to develop and protect their local industrial sectors (36).
China’s economic transition began in late 1978 following the meeting of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The committee then decided to reform the economy, improve the living standards and productivity of the people, and revitalize trade (37). Such goals required the overhaul of the structures of the economy, administration, supervision, and organization, as well as the modification of the industrial infrastructure, the attainment of economic responsibility, fixing labor laws, and improving the salaries and pricing systems—among other reforms (38). By doing so, the government hoped to initiate all-encompassing social and political reforms that would contribute to the crystallization of a new democratic system.
China’s economic transformation was the result of a deep, careful understanding of the international landscape. Three political movements focused on reform were thus born:
• The first movement adopted the principles of Marxism-Leninism, called for activating the notion of socialism, and fully opposed the other two movements.
• The second movement—led by Deng Xiaoping—was a moderate reformist faction that called for less centralism in the Chinese economy and more cross-fertilization between the notion of socialist economy and certain elements of market economy. Such a view paved the way for the emergence of a socialist market economy, one that was fully Chinese. This movement did not place a lot of emphasis on political reforms.
• The third movement emphasized the connection between economic and political reforms and called for establishing a liberal, pluralist regime, signaling a desire for a transition.
In the end, the second movement was most successful and implemented a two-phase reform agenda:
• The first phase was accompanied by two major events: the convening of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the rise of Deng Xiaoping to power. During this phase, the notion of socialist economy was cross-fertilized with some elements of market economy. Also, some forms of private ownership began to emerge; a policy of opening up was pursued; foreign investment saw some new prospects; and freedom of pricing was granted in the agricultural sector.
• The second phase began in 1992 when the 14th Congress of the Communist Party of China gave its approval to the leadership to accelerate the process of economic reform. During this phase, the concept of market socialism (or socialism with Chinese characteristics) was espoused. The movement was spearheaded by Jiang Zemin, the then General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, and Deng Xiaoping who was not ideologically driven but instead prioritized the development of the Chinese economy. Moreover, this period witnessed the transfer and localization of modern technology in China and the establishment of joint companies between the Chinese state and its enterprises, on one hand, and foreign companies, on the other (39).
Changes in Cultural and Social Policy
China has one of the world’s most capable cultures, one that is flexible, materialistic, self-organizing, and able to adapt and perpetuate itself (40). The Chinese society evaluates political phenomena through this culture and its precepts.
The Chinese Culture is an amalgam of Confucianism, Marxism-Leninism, and modern liberal thought. Such a pluralistic view of culture was largely neglected during the rule of Mao because it was regarded as harboring nationalist sentiments that could reinvigorate the relevance of ancient historical figures.
Once the Chinese accepted modernization, new blood poured into the cultural landscape (41). Historical national symbols were brought back to the forefront upon the initiation of the opening up and reformation process in 1978. Before that, such development was hampered by obstacles stemming from the psycho-cultural nature of the society.
However, with respect to the cultural aspect, the leaders of the cultural movement in the communist party overcame such difficulties and took practical measures to revive the ancient culture of the Chinese nation. In June of 1997, the party announced a plan to construct 100 national education centers to teach individuals about the glory of Chinese culture; the science and technology committee also launched a research project focusing on the country’s ancient culture which dates to 2200 B.C. (42).
As for social services, it is worth noting that until the 1980s free and affordable housing was an essential part of state policy, as lodging was given to employees for free or for symbolic amounts (43). Some companies even gave extra compensations to their low-paid employees (44).
It can be concluded that the sociocultural structure of China was heavily impacted by political and economic reforms. This began by reviving the heritage and history of ancient China to crystalize a cultural initiative that constituted the cornerstone of a national identity that encompassed the glory of the past. Hence, the search for commonalities between the workers and peasants was given up in favor of creating national awareness, one that belongs to a nation that had unique sociocultural characteristics—class struggle was replaced by an ethnocultural identity.
Accordingly, party literature began to change, and the ideas of its founders about class struggle within the same society were overshadowed by the pursuit of a shared basis for joint defense, national unity, and group solidarity. In other words, the shift was from the concept of class struggle to the notion of peace based on common historical ties (45).
This was concurrent with several material and societal changes that eventually shaped the national abilities of the Chinese nation, most notably:
A) The geographical changes (geographical location) in the light of which the vital and strategic interests and threats to the state were determined;
B) The available economic, natural, and human resources—the material backbone of economic growth; and
C) The societal changes and their subsequent cultural values, traditions, and historical experiences along with the nature of the regional political system and its prevailing ideologies and parties (46).
Second: The Changes in China’s Foreign Policy
Some observe that the change and modernization China underwent occurred due to a clash with Western civilization and a consequent process of cross-fertilization and exchange (47).
The fact that the Chinese espoused the spirit of social change and economic reform, did away with traditional cultural systems, and understood the reasons behind the rise of Western culture and its technology all played a major role in the unprecedentedly-flexible approach to dealing with the international community. This tactic was based on pursuing common interests and expanding the country’s political, economic, and social relations (48).
The early beginnings of China’s modernization, reform, and opening up can be traced back to the late mid-19th century after the end of the First Opium War (49) in 1842. That war brought China out of its isolation and made its people realize that there was no alternative to benefiting from Western culture and embracing its sciences while preserving their own traditional culture (50).
This revivalism guided the forces of enlightenment and modernization in the country, thus destroying the old regime, revitalizing Chinese nationalism, and spurring self-knowledge and accountability (51). Coexistence between modernity and tradition was then born out of the need for confronting Western cultural hegemony, preserving the nationhood of China, and enabling the resistance against Western colonialism.
The first major shift in the Sino-Soviet relations happened under Mao, as the two major powers had different interpretations of communism. The Soviets took a more lenient approach to communism, whereas Mao was a hardliner whose approach was more prone to violence (52). The dispute was kept lowkey by the Chinese until the death of Stalin in 1953.
In 1956, during the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev presented “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences” (also known as the “Secret Speech”), a report in which he sharply criticized Stalin. In response, Moa denounced Khrushchev and questioned his ability to lead the communist bloc (53).
The National interest was the gold standard for China’s foreign relations before 1949. But as the structure of the international system began to change, China started to base its policy on a balance between the short-term benefits of violating international law and the long-term ones resulting from abiding by it (54).
Under Mao’s rule, however, China’s foreign economic policy was limited to the mechanization of agriculture and industry, especially by relying on other socialist countries. This may be attributed to the country’s obsession (which lasted until the mid-1970s) with fixing its own economy, improving its domestic affairs, and drafting economic policies to improve the living conditions of the citizens.
Such an economic approach stems from the desire to maintain self-sufficiency and avoid any infringement upon its national sovereignty that could have resulted from foreign economic relations. The main concern was to avoid economic and political dependency. Some claim that this Maoist policy was imposed by external factors due to the Sino-Soviet split that began in the 1960s and then Western boycott of China (55).
In the summer of 1966, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution began with its impact extending to the United States and Europe (56). The cultural revolution also led to major changes in the structure of the political leadership within China (57).
In the 1950s, the Chinese leadership relied heavily on the Soviet educational system, which was heavily focused on the technical specializations required for industrial modernization. Around 30 thousand Chinese were sent to the Soviet Union for training (58). In 1960—and despite the split—7500 Chinese students were attending Soviet universities (59).
The Political and Military Changes
Since its establishment in 1949, China’s foreign policy was focused on dealing with international affairs independently, opposing any form of hegemony and power politics, preserving global peace, establishing an international environment suitable for the process of national modernization, and building relations with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence) without neglecting the need for bolstering cooperation and solidarity with developing Third-World countries and maintaining good neighborly relations (60).
After 1978, China adopted a more realistic foreign policy based on the idea that countries had the right to choose the social and political systems they deemed suitable, ones that are in line with their national circumstances and characteristics. China further rejected coercing other countries to embrace partisan ideologies and ready-made development methods. It viewed such actions as a breach of sovereignty and a form of political hegemony (61). Eventually, 153 countries established diplomatic relations with China, indicating the success of the new policy (62). For example, the United States formally recognized the People’s Republic of China on December 15, 1978, and diplomatic relations between the two were established on January 1, 1979 (63).
The United States took advantage of the deteriorating Sino-Soviet relations which reached a very low point in the 1960s and early 1970s; the Sino-American rapprochement paved the way for normalizing the relations between Europe and China in 1979.
Nevertheless, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Sino-American relations witnessed a period of significant strain with the US eventually severing diplomatic ties with China, citing the latter’s violations of human rights. But, because of the increasing globalization, this rift did not last long, and the West resumed its relations and even further developed it, especially in the field of economy.
When trade deficit with China rose to unprecedented levels, the United States preferred to protect its interest by maintaining good relations with the People’s Republic of China.
After the return of Hong Kong to China in early July of 1997, the Sino-American relations improved dramatically, as China grew stronger and more stable (64) and eventually was able to obtain advanced US technology and gain favor with the world’s most major power.
Two major diplomatic visits marked China’s improved foreign relations, especially those with the US: Jiang Zemin’s visit to America on October 1, 1998, and that of Bill Clinton to China from June 25 to July 4 of the same year (65).
As for the military and national security, China, as mentioned previously, preferred to be a regional power rather than a global one. Hence, the leadership turned its attention to the armed forces and their use as an important player in foreign policy. This became quite apparent in the comprehensive reformation of the military structure of the country, a matter that sparked the concern of neighboring countries, like Japan and Taiwan. This happened despite China’s constant attempt to maintain good neighborly relations based on cooperation and coordination instead of conflict and disputes (66).
The Economic Changes
According to Harvey Feldman, an analyst of the American Heritage Foundation, China does not need the USA to be accepted in the international community, for the future is wide open for China as an emerging power (67).
One can infer from Feldman’s quote that China’s mighty economic power is very effective on a global level. The country’s attempt to attain such status began in 1978, a year of economic, cultural, and social changes (68). Since then, China’s reform program has led to improved interaction with the global community, which was especially reflected in the field of economy and foreign trade (69).
The first Sino-foreign enterprise was established in 1979. In 1999, the Chinese government and its American counterpart concluded an agreement according to which China was to join the International Trade Organization (ITO) (70). Upon joining the latter in 2001 (71), the country began reaping the benefits of membership, particularly by finding new foreign markets for its companies and products, a matter that bolstered its ability to face the ensuing challenges, such as foreign competition in the domestic market. The ITO obliges its members to gradually reduce customs duties on foreign goods.
Furthermore, to accelerate its integration into the global economy, in 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2004, China made various efforts to reduce customs duties on imported goods. The country constantly works on improving the competitiveness of its companies, safeguarding the prosperity and stability of the economy, achieving the utmost degree of integration into the global economy, and bringing its laws and regulations in line with those of the ITO.
Foreign investment in China surged. The number of foreign companies investing in the country reached 504568 by the end of November 2004; contractual foreign investment reached 1078 billion and 168 million USD; and actual (utilized) investment totaled at 599 billion and 230 thousand USD.
The development of the Western regions in China receives special attention, as the government grants special facilitation and support to potential investors.
The authorities in China encouraged national companies to invest abroad. On September 6, 2004, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a statistical report showing that the direct investment of Chinese companies abroad increased by 5.5% by the end of 2003 compared with the previous year. The statistics also indicated that the direct foreign investment of these companies totaled at 33.2 billion USD, less than 0.5% of the world’s total foreign direct investment.
Half of the investment of Chinese companies is in Asia with state-owned companies accounting for 43% of that. In the first 10 months of 2004, China invested USD 1.8 billion abroad, mostly in Latin America (72).
On September 14, 2004, the charter of the Chinese-Arab States Cooperation Forum was signed in Cairo, Egypt (73). Its third chapter emphasized the need for devising the necessary commercial and economic cooperation mechanism in line with equality and mutual benefit to achieve tangible results and diversify the forms of collaboration and joint development. Joint investment was also encouraged, especially in small and medium businesses (74).
Finally, it is worth mentioning that since 1985, China’s policy regarding foreign investment and trade has largely been decentralized, notably indicating:
a) A GDP increase from 9.9% for the period of 1981 to 1988 to 11.5% in 1997;
b) An increase in the GDP per capita (76); and
c) A flow of capital and foreign investment (77).
The Cultural Changes
The opening up policy of China reflected on its culture and educational system. From 1978 to 1999, the number of those studying abroad reached around 320 thousand in various specializations. Most of them were self-financed with a limited number receiving state scholarships. The United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany were among the most popular destinations for those seeking to advance their higher education. From 1978 to 1999, around 10 thousand Chinese students attended universities in Germany alone.
Only 110 thousand out of the 320 thousand students returned to China, as many decided to work in the countries where they studied and get lucrative salaries. According to statistics issued by Shanghai, those who returned, however, established around 758 high-tech (IT, biotech, etc.) companies by 2000 (78).
Some have argued that China’s cultural transformation was slower than its economic one and that the country tried to adjoin two different cultures, capitalism and socialism.
The Chinese cultural identity in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s underwent a period of transformation under the influence of a bigger global change. The result was a nationalist revival with the historical Chinese identity and ancient culture at its heart (79).
The 4th chapter of the charter of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (held in September 2004 in Cairo) focused on social, cultural, and media cooperation.
Some of the chapter’s highlights regarding culture include:
a) Emphasizing the importance of cultural exchange and contributing to global cultural diversity;
b) Promoting dialogue between the world’s civilizations and working towards finding more cultural and intellectual understanding by holding seminars and conferences;
c) Implementing Sino-Arab joint cultural exchange agreements and their work plans, as well as holding related events, such as culture weeks and art festivals;
d) Increasing cooperation to protect cultural heritage and artifacts given its importance to the advancement of both Arab and Chinese cultures and ensuring mutual support to prevent the theft of artifacts and repatriate what has been stolen;
e) Enhancing common understanding and communication on matters of culture to further its development on both sides (80).
In the early 2000s, China accomplished a quantum leap in terms of holding cultural events to reflect the interest of its people in establishing a productive cultural dialogue with the rest of the world. The Syrian cultural week in China which commenced on June 22, 2004, signaled a new beginning in the Sino-Syrian Arab relation, constituted a new opportunity to introducing Syrians and their culture to the people of China, and advanced communication across cultural lines (81).
Finally, it should be noted that the transformations in China’s foreign relations were the outcome of the new international regime that was formed after the fall of the bipolar system. The sleeping Asian giant was then awoken to partly occupy the international place of the former Soviet Union.
Third: China’s Future Role in International Politics
Observers in Asia and Africa have set their hopes on China’s international policies (82). In fact, international relations are the sum of the foreign policies pursued by individual states worldwide (83), and foreign policies usually reflect the internal states of affairs.
To have an objective and complete view of China’s foreign policy, one must understand the country’s relations with its immediate neighbors and with other regional countries. Since 1971, China has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and can veto. In addition to its nuclear arsenal, the country has a significant arsenal of manpower, economic might, and cultural influence. All of that has factored into endowing China with an effective and dominant presence on the world’s geopolitical map.
China took a neutral approach to the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States during the cold war, one that stemmed from Sino-Soviet ideological differences. However, China and the United States often clashed, especially in Korea and various other Southeast Asian countries. By implementing an agenda of reform, China avoided the fate of the USSR and maintained its international role despite the latter’s collapse, turning itself into a superpower competing with the US on a global level.
China–United States Relations: Status and Future
Relations between the two countries began prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. In 1944 and 1946, two American generals, George Marshall and Patrick J. Hurley, initiated marathon negotiations with the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party as they mediated between the party and the Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party (84). The Americans then realized that the Chinese communist leaders displayed a nationalist sentiment, a matter that impacted the way the US shaped its relations with China.
In the beginning of the 1960s, after the Chinese leaders began using nationalist rhetoric, US congressmen and diplomats took a softer stance on China—different than the one they took in 1949 upon the establishment of the People’s Republic. Careful reconciliation thus ensued after a period of hostility to drive China away from Moscow.
In 1926, during the Council of American Ambassadors in Asia under the presidency of W. Averell Harriman, the possibility of revising America’s policy towards China was discussed for the first time. This development was the result of China’s new attitude towards the Soviet Union and the hostility its leaders displayed towards the latter.
In December of 1963, Roger Hilsman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, proclaimed that his country would pursue an open door policy towards China. He also voiced his country’s intention to keep that door open to better serve the interest of the US. This declaration constituted a turning point in mutual relations between the two countries.
As China escalated its anti-Soviet rhetoric, in mid-1966, President Johnson announced his Pacific Ocean Creed or the Asian Creed which specified the main goals of the US foreign policy in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia. Johnson deemed the areas as one of interest, called upon regional countries to reconcile and end existing conflicts, proposed the establishment of an international security association in the Asia-Pacific region, and invited China to join the latter.
When Nixon came into power, Johnson’s Asia policy was pursued and further developed. On February 25, 1971, Nixon submitted a report claiming that the differences between China and the US are less compared to those between the USSR and China. He also emphasized his administration’s realistic approach towards China, demanding that the latter’s leadership take the necessary measures to improve mutual relations (85).
The China–United States relations took a positive turn after the death of Mao in 1976 and Nixon’s visit. Thus, the Asian giant joined the capitalist market economy and eventually achieved the highest growth rate in the world (86).
When the Cold War came to an end, the global power dynamics changed, and China lost its strategic importance for the US. America then accused China of human rights violations to justify severing diplomatic ties. That period of strained relations eventually ended, and the increasing globalization began to positively impact the Chinese economy.
After the death of Deng Xiaoping in February 1997 and the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, America’s relations with a more stable and stronger China continued to flourish (87). Upon China’s request, the US adopted a softer approach to mutual relations, thus turning a blind eye to supposed Chinese human rights violations and diffusing the tension (especially regarding the issue of Taiwan (89)) that followed the April 2001 Hainan Island incident when a US Navy reconnaissance aircraft and a Chinese fighter jet collided in mid-air over the South China Sea (88).
Yet, the foreign policies of both countries still depend greatly on four main factors:
a) The security in the Asia-Pacific region, an area of huge interest for US foreign policy, as it is the destination of one-third of the country’s exports.
b) Liberalization of trade and global economy rules; to bolster its hegemony over the World Trade Organization, the US supports such measures and promotes the idea of open markets. On the other hand, China views such policies as hegemonic.
c) Arms control and non‑proliferation of nuclear weapons, a concept that the US used to maintain its dominance and protect its interests and those of its allies by controlling arms dealing.
d) China’s support for Arabs and their causes, which has become a point of contention between the two major powers (90).
China aims to develop and invest in its socialist market economy; modernize a viable, modern, self-reliant state; obtain the necessary industrial, agricultural, and technological means to advance; and build its scientific and military capabilities. Such aspirations require an extensive network of international relations, one that—if successfully established—could turn China into a world power that would compete with other global superpowers, especially the United States of America.
This is, indeed, a long-term goal that China desires to achieve by 2050, and therefore its leadership must do the following:
a) Securing the country’s regional and global role in a way that would facilitate the process of modernization and reform;
b) Strengthening economic, scientific, and technological cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, in particular, and with the Asia-Pacific countries, in general;
c) Establishing a security buffer zone along its own borders, particularly after the return of Hong Kong and the prospective return of Taiwan;
d) Working towards creating a long-lasting peace suitable for achieving China’s ambitions; and
e) Contributing to the formation of a new political and economic world order other than the one the US desires to achieve.
The abovementioned policies may create a conflict of interest between China, on the one hand, and Russia, Japan, and the US, on the other, and make it problematic for the country to balance its regional and international interests.
In general, China’s foreign policy is marked by calm diplomacy based on the recognition of the US as a superpower whose interests must be respected without infringing upon the sovereignty of the People’s Republic and its right to safeguard its national unity and territorial integrity. Cooperation with the US, from a Chinese perspective, remains the best option to achieve mutual benefits and maintain regional and international security and stability.
Although it recognizes the US as a superpower, China is still pursuing its agenda to be a rivaling superpower and takes into consideration that a conflict of interest may be inevitable. Diplomacy, nevertheless, is still viewed by China as the best way to resolve disputes and avoid confrontation and war (91).
The future China-US relations, therefore, may range from conflict to careful cooperation, as each country will try to steer them into the direction it deems most beneficial based on its own strength and capabilities and the useful weaknesses of the other (94). These power dynamics will result in a new bipolar world order where China’s role is secured.
The shape of the future relations between the two countries is largely related to the history of the Sino-Soviet relations and the Sino-Russian relations since 1991.
The relations between China and Russia are more than 300-years old and have been subject to periods of straining and temporary severance—but no military confrontation has happened between the two (93). The two countries always made sure to maintain good neighborly ties based on mutual interests and benefits.
After the 1917 October Revolution, the mutual relations between the two countries started anew. From the early days of the revolution, the Soviet government, then headed by Lenin, denounced the policies of its Tsarist predecessors in East Asia, especially in China. Because they were unfair to China and infringed upon its national sovereignty, previously signed treaties were abrogated, signaling the coming of a new era of equality and respect.
Despite occasional setbacks, China and the Soviet Union kept good relations until the late 1940s. In 1958, a disagreement erupted when Mao said that Khrushchev, who became the Premier of the Soviet Union after Stalin, was not the right man to lead the communist bloc China had joined (94).
The divide further deepened in November 1997 when China proposed the Three Worlds Theory. The theory divided the world into three worlds: The First World, comprising the Soviet Union and the United States; the Second World, which included Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan; the Third World, encompassing Africa, Latin America, Asian countries, and China. According to this concept, the USSR and the USA were a source of threat to all other nations (95).
Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union (approximately in 1989), the Sino-Soviet relations began to witness some improvement, one that became more noticeable after the fall of the USSR. The ideological conflict between the two ended, and the world order became unipolar rather than bipolar.
In 1992, border issues between the Russian Federation and China were resolved, playing a role in improving mutual relations. The resulting 1996 Beijing Declaration underscored the importance of the cooperation between China and Russia and marked their opposition to America’s foreign policy, such as the enlargement of the NATO, the security alliance between the US and Japan, and the increase of US regional hegemony.
Consequently, in the same year, the two countries made a joint statement calling for a multipolar world. In 1997, the two countries signed a treaty to decrease the number of armed forces along their shared borders, forbid the use of force or making threats to use force, and share military information (96). In February 2005, cooperation in the field of energy began, as China gave Russia a $6-billion loan to support its oil sector (97).
The improved relations between the two after the fall of the USSR can be attributed to the following reasons:
a) The strategic importance of each country to the other;
b) Russia’s desire to curb American influence and halt the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe and China’s fear of a potential NATO expansion beyond Europe;
c) The tendency of both countries to keep their borders and the larger region stable and focus on their internal affairs;
d) China’s need to deal with the renewal of the Japan-USA security pact, especially since China views Japan as a regional rival;
e) The mutual desire to prevent the USA from unilaterally forming a new world order; and
f) China’s need for Russian military technology and Russia’s need for new markets; Russian arms export to China from 1991 to 1996 totaled at $5 billion or 2% of its total military exports (98).
Some observers, nevertheless, expect the Sino-Russian relations to witness some setbacks or lack of development in the future. They cite the following as some of the main reasons:
a) The potential technological slowdown in Russia’s military industry if the country’s economy continues to deteriorate, which can force China to improve its own production or seek some other partners;
b) China’s growing military capabilities (bolstered by advanced Russian weaponry) have begun to worry the military leadership in Russia about the situation along the common borders, which may reflect badly on their mutual relations; and
c) The negative effect the growing Indo-Russian cooperation may have on the Sino-Russian relations due to the ongoing dispute between China and India (99).
Although periods of stagnation and setback remain probable, cutting diplomatic ties or engaging in armed struggle is not possible, for the Sino-Russian relations are deeply rooted—they are more than 300 years old. Also, the two nations have traditionally formed military alliances during different periods of their history.
In modern times, Russia stood by China whenever the latter was subject to foreign aggression or threat of invasion. For example, Bolshevik Russia was one of the first countries to support the Chinese people against the Japanese invasion of 1931 (100).
Some argue, moreover, that severance of diplomatic ties remains very unlikely due to the common economic, cultural, and social overlap between the two countries. This overlap is the result of geographical proximity and common borders and shall prevent any attempt to negatively influence mutual relations.
The Future of Sino-European Relations:
The history of Sino-European relations remains tumultuous and fraught with incidents of struggle and wars—especially with Great Britain (101). In the 1840s, the British amassed a military fleet in the Pacific Ocean and mobilized a massive number of troops in India to attack China. That conflict, known as the First Opium War, took place between 1839 and 1842 and ended with the siege of Chinese ports, the occupation of Shanghai, and the surrender of the Chinese emperor. The latter then signed the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 under which China was forced to pay war reparations, open five cities for British merchants, and agree to the cession of Hong Kong (102). The Second Opium War (1860-1857) then ensued between China, on the one hand, and France and Britain, on the other (103).
The Chinese initially realized that force was the only way to resolve disputes with Europe and the regional countries and then move towards peaceful coexistence with these countries as Deng Xiaoping would later propose (104).
Hence, the first Sino-French rapprochement began in 1994 and further developed on May 16, 1997, when the then French president, Jacques Chirac, visited Beijing and called upon the countries of the European Union to expand their dialogue and enhance their cooperation with China as a major Asian power with a promising role in the international arena (105).
Considering the growing American influence, it can be predicted that China will be a more effective player in Europe, especially in the fields of economy, science, and technology. This may come as a welcomed development due to the damaging strategy the US has undertaken in Europe. It is clear even to the average European that the policies of the US in the continent do not only constitute an attempt at increasing influence but also a desire to weaken the continent and burden it with unnecessary economic reforms.
The Future of the Sino-Southeast Asian Relations:
It is rather a grave mistake to think of China as a new military power whose goal is to control Asia (106). In fact, China’s objective in both Asia and the larger world is not military domination but peaceful coexistence in addition to accomplishing the highest degree of global market penetration to amass maximum profits.
By establishing itself as a major military power, China aims to repel foreign threats, safeguard its unity, and maintain its domestic stability (107). Although it employs its military power to defend itself rather than to expand or attack other countries, it should be noted that China still aspires to play a leading role in Asia, especially in the absence of the USSR. The backbone of such policy is the “Asia for Asians” mantra (108), one that emerged in response to America’s policy of using Asian proxies to fight on its behalf in Asia (109).
China’s relations with Southeast Asian countries, especially with the Four Asian Tigers, are regulated by several councils and regional forums, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which China joined in 1986 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum which China joined upon its establishment in 1992. The latter endeavors to regulate conflict resolution in the regions (110). Also, a network of governmental and non-governmental organizations is added to encourage cooperation among them.
In conclusion, Sino-Southeast Asian relations are subject to economic considerations. The West perceives such economic integration as a threat, as it fears the centralization of the global economy in Asia and the resulting tipping of the scales in favor of China (111), thus making it the leader of the new global economy.
China and the United Nations:
Good and functional relations are established by conducting productive dialogue which leads to mutual understanding and coexistence based on respect and common interest. And when war is necessary to defend the country’s unity and sovereignty, the people must be well trained to avoid unnecessary destruction and suffering. The Chinese usually operate accordingly, relying on Confucius’s quote, “To lead uninstructed people to war is to throw them away” (112). To them, the “uninstructed people” are those who are not properly trained for war. Thus, preparedness is essential to the Chinese.
The United Nations was established after the Second World War in 1945 in San Francisco to maintain international peace and security. Since it joined the UN in the early 1970s, China has been aspiring to help the organization in its mission (113).
The communist giant strives to create a new world order that harbors security, justice, and equality and steers away from the rhetoric and ideology of the Cold War and any international division and factionalism. China, hence, places a huge emphasis on international law to attain such goals (114).
Finally, China is a serious contender to be (at least) a superpower in East Asia and a rival of the United States to control the world’s energy hubs, especially in the Middle East (115). It is very unlikely that the US would be able to contain the emerging Asian giant and remain the sole power in control of the world and the destiny of its nations. Moreover, America will not be able to prevent the Cross-Strait unification between the People’s Republic and Taiwan.
If the rate of growth continues to rise, the Chinese economy will surpass that of the US by 2041, thus being the world’s biggest (116). In the present century, American, Japanese, Asian, and European companies will be competing against giant Chinese companies for the control of the main industrial sectors and markets (117).
The future of China in international politics depends on its economic policies and an uninterrupted development process; its ability to create social awareness regarding the domestic, regional, and international circumstances; and its self-reliance. China must also avoid any economic ties with foreign powers that may be used to influence its decision making and impact is national sovereignty—consequently rendering it unable to face the challenges facing its economy and production capabilities.
By opening up to the outside world and unleashing the full potential of its people, China managed to achieve unprecedented economic development, create beneficial international relations based on common interest and mutual respect, and implement major political, military, economic, cultural, and social changes locally and internationally.
Lastly, it worth mentioning that the unique role of China in the international arena indicates that the country has become an economic giant and an effective regional and international power whose interests must be taken into consideration.
Declaration of the China–Arab States Cooperation Forum (*)
The People’s Republic of China and the Arab States represented by the Arab League (hereinafter referred to as the “Parties”);
In recognition of the close and historical cultural and civilizational ties they share; their great mutual contributions to human civilization; and the resulting strong friendship;
Upon reviewing the Sino-Arab relations in the past 50 years and finding them generally satisfactory and upon considering the commendable efforts of both Parties to improve these relations;
Believing that the important and cordial cooperation between them has strong foundations and great potential; recognizing that enhancing such cooperation is desired by both parties and achieves their long-term and short-term goals and further highlights China’s constant desire to develop its relations with the Arab States as a pillar of its foreign diplomacy; and given the desire of the Arab States to develop and bolster their relations with the People’s Republic of China as evident in the decisions of the Arab League;
Further confirming their status as developing countries who must play a major role in supporting international peace, security, and development;
As they look forward towards establishing new lines of cooperation in governmental and non-governmental sectors;
As both Parties highly esteem the continuation and enhancement of close and mutual coordination and consultation regarding international affairs as an essential part of their attempt as developing countries to establish a new and just international political and economic order;
In appreciation of the contributions of each party towards achieving peace and security in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf, in appreciation of China’s principled approach towards the just causes, rights, and legitimates interests of the Arab nations, and in recognition of the positive efforts made by the Arab States to face challenges, enhance common solidarity and cooperation, and advance their economic and social development;
Based on their conviction that the continuation of the enhancement of the dialogue between the two Parties to advance coordination and develop cooperation on international issues;
Based on the above, the two Parties have decided the following:
Establishing the China–Arab States Cooperation Forum as a reference frame for dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit. This shall further enrich Sino-Arab relations, bolster cooperation in all fields and on all levels, and take these relations to a new level of equality and comprehensive collaboration.
Sino-Arab cooperation rests upon the following principles:
1. Respecting the objectives and the charter of the United Nations and the Arab League and the principle of peaceful coexistence; working towards the democratization of international relations, committing to the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference; upholding the right of each state to equally participate in international affairs despite its size, military strength, and/or wealth; emphasizing the rights of people to be free, independent, and have full sovereignty over their land as guaranteed by the international law, the rules of international relations, and the resolutions of the UN;
2. Emphasizing China’s support for the peace process in the Middle East according to the land-for-peace principle and the Arab Peace Initiative declared at the Arab League summit in Beirut;
3. Stressing the support of the Arab States for the One-China policy;
4. Working towards achieving international peace and security and stressing the importance of adhering to the peaceful resolution of international disputes through dialogue, consultation, and all other peaceful methods based on equality and common understanding without resorting to using force or threatening to use force;
5. Reiterating the need for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and respecting all the other international rules, regulations, and agreements relating to the non-proliferation of nuclear and all mass destruction weapons;
6. Stressing the importance of respecting the UN and enabling it to practice its duties to maintain international peace and security and deal with international and regional issues;
7. Underscoring the international community’s need to make joint efforts to reinvigorate the communication between the South and the North and using key principles to improve cooperation to reduce the gap between them and push the process of globalization forward towards achieving prosperity and calling upon developing countries to enhance mutual solidarity and cooperation to positively and effectively face the challenges resulting from globalization;
8. Respecting cultural and civilizational differences among nations, working towards preserving multiculturalism, and maintaining dialogue and communication between cultures to create an international environment of cooperation and cordiality to achieve global peace and development;
9. Striving to enhance mutual dialogue and cooperation and intensifying communication, coordination, and consultation regarding regional and international issues to protect the legitimate interests and rights of both parties; and
10. Initiating Sino-Arab States cooperation in all fields in line with all the common goals and principles listed in this declaration and the agenda that will be adopted by both Parties to bolster joint development.
The forum aims to improve Sino-Arab relations in all fields and especially strives to achieve the following:
1. Achieving international peace and security;
2. Democratizing international relations;
3. Coordinating policies and stances in all international organizations and events to serve mutual causes;
4. Coordinating mutual efforts to positively and effectively deal with issues stemming from globalization;
5. Enabling both Parties to conduct effective inter-civilizational dialogue to achieve a deeper understanding at a global level;
6. Intensifying joint efforts to attain sustainable development;
7. Supporting and developing economic, commercial, and financial cooperation;
8. Encouraging and protecting joint and mutual investment;
9. Furthering cooperation in the domains of education, culture, and human resources;
10. Supporting and improving common understanding and dialogue;
11. Moving scientific and technological cooperation forward, especially in applied research;
12. Synchronizing efforts in the areas of environmental protection and heritage preservation; and
13. Coordinating efforts regarding any other mutually interesting issues.
This declaration was signed in Cairo on September 14, 2004, and issued in two original copies in Arabic and Chinese.
(1) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed. Translated by Abdul Aziz Hamdi. Kuwait, Al Maaref Series, issue 201 (1996), page (85).
(2) The Great Wall of China Book Series: The History of China, Vol. 1. Building China Magazine, Beijing (186), page (2)
(3) Frank Owen. China: The Past and Present, London, page (55).
(4) Abdulsalam Al-Adhami. The New China (Under Socialism), Beirut, Dar El Ilm Lilmalayin, 1st ed., 1954, page (15).
(5) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed., previous reference, page (183).
(6) Sladkovsky et al. Contemporary China. Muhammad Al-Joundi, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1975, page (18).
(7) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed., previous reference, page (204).
(8) Sladkovsky et al. Contemporary China, previous reference, page (204)
(9) Previous reference, page (26).
(10) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed., previous reference, page (204).
(11) The Great Sociocultural Revolution in China, Damascus, Damascus Publishing and House, page (335).
(12) The previous reference, page (334), cited from the 17/08/1966 editorial of Beijing Jiao.
(13) Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power. Translated by Sami Chamoun, 1st ed., Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 2003, page (327).
(14) The previous reference, page (324).
(15) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed., previous reference, page (291).
(16) Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (325).
(17) This demand was made under Gorbachev’s rule of the USSR and in light of his promise to reconstruct Perestroika.
(18) J.M. Roberts. A Short History of the World. Translated by Fares Qattan, ed. 2, Ministry of Culture Press (Damascus), 2004, page (965).
(19) The movement was known as the “Students’ Union” and was a newly-formed non-official organization.
(20) This was the movement led by students between May and October 1996 when they divided themselves into revolutionary groups across all Chinese cities. The movement was later known as the “Cultural Revolution.” For more information, please see Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (233-239).
(21) Previous reference, page (348).
(22) In October 1997, after the election of a new political office, the 14th National Congress appointed the permanent committee for the political office which was supposed to lead China after Deng Xiaoping. The seven members were:
– Jiang Zemin (1926): General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, and President of the People’s Republic of China;
– Li Peng (1928): Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (1998—2003);
– Zhu Rongji (1928): Premier of the People’s Republic of China (1998–2003);
– Hu Jintao (1942): General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Vice President of the People’s Republic of China (1998—2003);
Seems odd not to mention that he was also the Chinese president from 2003 to 2013!
يبدو من الغريب عدم ذكر أنه كان أيضًا رئيسًا للصين من 2003 إلى 2013!
– Li Ruihuan (1934): Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference;
– Wei Jianxing (1931): Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection; and
– Li Lanqing (1932): First Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China in charge of education and foreign trade. See the previous reference (pp. 391-392).
(23) The previous reference, page (400).
(24) On Sunday, March 3, 2005, the National People’s Congress of China unanimously decided to appoint Hu Jintao as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission in addition to his position as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. It is worth mentioning that the party, in its September 19, 2004 session, approved Jiang Zemin’s resignation from his position as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, replacing him with Hu Jintao, the then Chinese president. Please see page (2) of the September 19, 2004 issue of Al-Bath Newspaper (Syria) and page 13 of the September 20, 2004 issue of Tishreen Newspaper (Syria).
(25) Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2004, Milestones in Modern Chinese History, translated from French.
(26) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Issue 42, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (Abu Dhabi), 1st ed. (1), 2000, (pp. 70).
(27) The previous reference, page (51).
(28) The previous reference, page (53).
(29) The previous reference, page (53).
(30) The previous reference, page (55).
(31) The Russian Federation is the world’s biggest country with a size of 17075400 km2—around 1/8 of the size of the populated areas of the earth.
(32) Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer. Big Dragon: The Future of China. Translated by Shawqi Jalal, 2001. Alam Al Maaref Series (Kuwait), issue 271, July 2001. (pp. 221).
(33) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (7).
(34) The previous reference, page (8).
(35) The previous reference, page (71).
(36) The previous reference, page (71).
(37) Weiwei Zhang. Economic Reform in China and its Political Implications. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (Abu Dhabi), page (10).
(38) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese. Previous reference, page (294).
(39) Muneer Al Hemesh. People’s Republic of China: A Giant Rising from the East. Al Ahali Publishing (Damascus), 2000. (pp. 41-44).
(40) Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer. Big Dragon: The Future of China. Previous reference, page (207).
(41) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese. 2nd ed. Previous reference, page (271).
(42) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China in the International System. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (Abu Dhabi), 1st ed., 2000, page (14).
(43) The system was abolished in 1998. Please see Philippe Pataud Célérier, “Shanghai: No Limits, No Law.” La Diplomatique, March 2004, translated from French.
(44) The previous reference.
(45) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, page (14).
(46) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure, previous reference, page (14).
(47) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese. 1st ed. Previous reference, page (238).
(48) According to J.M. Roberts, the author of A Short History of the World, the first Sino-European agreement was concluded in 1685 for the demarcation of borders with Russia. Please see page 539 of Roberts’ book.
(49) The war happened between China and Britain in 1839 because of the constant deficit in Britain’s trade with China. Britain wanted to compensate for that by smuggling opium into China, a substance that had been banned since 1800. The European power then started dealing with a network of local Chinese smugglers. The US also joined the British-led operation. Please see Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (100-107).
(50) Wu Ben. Contemporary Chinese, 1st ed. Previous reference, page (8).
(51) The previous reference, page (8).
(52) Some attribute this disagreement to China’s refusal to be subjugated to Moscow.
(53) Edward Crankshaw. The New Cold War, Moscow vs. Pekin. Commercial Office Publications (Beirut), 1963. Series 20. Page (17).
(54) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure, previous reference, page (18).
(55) The Chinese delegate to the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (February 23, 1965), Nan Han-Chen, discussed this policy. Please see Hashim Bahbahani, China’s Foreign Policy in the Arab World, translated by Sami Musallam, Beirut, Lebanon, Arab Research Institute, 1st ed., 1984, pages (14-15) and Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (303).
(56) Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (231).
(57) The previous reference, page (231).
(58) Shadi Murad. The Chinese Attitude towards the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Al-Wihda Magazine, issue 69, June 1990, page (68)
(59) Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (204).
(60) Chen Che, China 1997, Beijing, Al-Najim Al-Jadeed Publishing House, 1997, page (60).
(61) Ahmad Sidqi Al Dajani. Spotlights on China Today, 1st ed. Dar Al-Bashir, Amman, Jordan, 1995, page (34).
(62) The previous reference, page (36)
(63) The People’s Republic of China, a study prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, 27/12/2004, the archives of the ministry.
(64) Fawzi Al-Jawdah. “Where are US-China relations Heading?” Al Munadel Magazine, issue 294, January-February (1999), pp. (11-12).
(65) The previous reference, page (12).
(66) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (54).
(67) Mohammed Khalifa (UAE), “China and Becoming an Empire.” All4Syria, 15/2/2005.
(68) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (56).
(69) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, page (77).
(70) Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asia Directorate, People’s Republic of China: A Study, archive # 27/12/2004.
(71) China joined the World Trade Organization during the 4th Doha Ministerial Conference in November 2001.
(72) For more information, please refer to the 18/02/2005 report # 119 of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about China.
(73) Please Annex (A).
(74) The 18/02/2005 report of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about China.
(75) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (61).
(76) The Gross domestic product increased from $253 billion in 1983 to $658 billion in 1995, reaching $663 billion in 1997. This translated to an increase per capita from $243 in 1983 to $571 in 1997. Please see the previous reference, pages (62-63).
(77) China’s capital reached $396 billion in 1997 from $18.8 billion in 1992. The previous reference, page (63).
(78) Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, pages (306-307).
(79) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, pages (29-30).
(80) The 18/2/2005 report # 119 about China of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(81) Tishreen Newspaper, 23/6/2004, Syrian Culture Week in China, pages 11 and 15.
(82) Ahmad Sidqi Al Dajani. Spotlights on China Today, previous reference, page (13).
(83) Muneer Al Hemesh. People’s Republic of China: A Giant Rising from the East. 1st ed., page (65).
(84) Also known as the Nationalist Party of China. The party was established in 1912 by the United Allegiance Society led by Sun Yat-sen. Various factions representing various segments of the society later joined in. The party came into being after the August 10, 1912 elections of the national parliament. Participation was limited to the educated and property owners. The elections, therefore, lacked representative popular democracy. Please see Conrad Zeits. China: The Return of a Global Power, previous reference, page (137).
(85) Albert Farhat. Spotlights of the Sino-American Rapprochement. Al Farabi (Najah) Publishing House, Beirut, page (23-28).
(86) Fawzi Al-Jawdah. “Where are US-China relations Heading?” Al Munadel Magazine, issue 294, Damascus, Syria, 1999, page 11.
(87) The previous reference, page (12).
(88) Ahmed Sayyed Abdul Wahab. American’s Changing Policy Towards Asian Powers: China, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. International Politics Journal, issue # 147, 2002, page (81).
(89) Some see that America’s policy regarding Taiwan lacks insight and rather contradicts its intention to improve its relations with China. Hence, the US needs to revise its policy and role in East Asia. Please see Sung-Bum Ahn. China as Number One. Translated by Abdulhadi Abla. World Culture Journal, issue 141, September-October 2002, pages (139-140).
(90) Muneer Al Hemesh. People’s Republic of China: A Giant Rising from the East. Previous reference, pages (68-75).
(91) Mohammed Saad Abu Amoud. “Sino-American Relations.” International Politics Journal, issue 145, July 2001, pages (98-99).
(92) The previous reference, page (101).
(93) Rayisa Vyrovitskaya and Bori Simonov. The Soviet Union and China: A Historical Review. Novosti (Moscow), 1981, page (5).
(94) Edward Crankshaw. The New Cold War, Moscow vs. Pekin. Previous reference, page (18).
(95) Sami Musallam. China and the Palestinian Cause (1981-1979). Institute of Palestinian Studies, Beirut, 1st ed., 1982, pages (16-17). Also see Hashim Bahbahani, China’s Foreign Policy in the Arab World, translated by Sami Musallam, Beirut, Lebanon, Arab Research Institute, 1st ed., 1984, page 17.
(96) Muneer Al Hemesh. People’s Republic of China: A Giant Rising from the East. Previous reference, pages (66-67).
(97) As report by Al Jazeera in its 2/2/2005 night economic news segment.
(98) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, pages (168-169).
(99) The previous reference, page (170).
(100) Rayisa Vyrovitskaya and Bori Simonov. The Soviet Union and China: A Historical Review. Previous reference, page (28).
(101) Britain had always, just like the United Stated, advocated for freedom of trade and investment, globalization, human rights, and open global democracy. A strong economy, national wealth, natural resources, and unique geopolitical and geo-economic positioning are all prerequisites for embracing or dealing with such concepts. Please see Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer. Big Dragon: The Future of China. Previous reference, page (130).
(102) The previous reference, page (53). See also J.M. Roberts. A Short History of the World. Previous reference, page (748) and Chung Chin Che. Everything about China. 1st ed., Beijing, 1988, pages (37-38).
(103) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, page (147).
(104) The previous reference, page (148).
(105) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (29).
(106) Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer. Big Dragon: The Future of China. Previous reference, page (159).
(107) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (55).
(108) The Japanese had previously embraced this mantra shortly before the Second World War, particularly after the agreement concluded with The Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) in 1941.
(109) Some see that the two mantras have the same purpose, isolating Asia from the rest of the world. Those further speculate that these mantras are a common point of interest for both China and the US. Please see Albert Farhat. Spotlights of the Sino-American Rapprochement. Previous reference, pages (34-35).
(110) Walid Salim Abdel Hai. The Future Position of China, previous reference, page (179).
(111) Philip S. Golub. “Asia’s Return to the International Arena.” Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2004, translated from French.
(112) China and the United Nations. Dar Al Hayat Foundation (Damascus), page (22).
(113) Abdul Qader Muhammad Fahmy. China’s Role in Shaping the International Understructure. Previous reference, page (18).
(114) The previous reference, pages (19-20).
(115) Mohammed Khalifa (UAE), “China and Becoming an Empire.” All4Syria, 15/2/2005.
(116) According to Le Monde Diplomatique, the international ranking will be as follows: China, USA, India, Japan, Brazil, and Russia. Please see Ignacio Ramonet, “China: A Major Superpower.” Lo Monde Diplomatique, August 2004, translated from French.
(117) Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer. Big Dragon: The Future of China. Previous reference, page (125).
(i) Wu Penn, Contemporary Chinese, Vol. 1, previously cited, page 183.
(ii) Sladkovsky et al., Contemporary China, Mohammad Aljundi (Translator), Progress Publishers (1975), page 18.
(*) Source: Report # 119 of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18/2/2005.