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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Opinion: Will China 'rule the world?'

July 29, 2010

PAT BOOTH
North Shore Times (New Zealand)
July 28, 2010

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OPINION: Napoleon was right. Okay, so he was
tragically wrong deciding to go on his long march
to Moscow. But over China he was spot on.

The actual words and the timing of his quote vary but they all match.

Example: Historians say that in 1803 he once
pointed on a map to China, then a distant and
little-known place, and said: "Here lies a
sleeping giant. Let him sleep, for when he wakes he will shock the world."

No question Napoleon was basing his concerns on
the reports of Jesuit missionaries who had then
been in China for two centuries, some of them
with the ear of the emperor as confidantes in the Forbidden City.

Their reports sound like medieval versions of the
modern world's financial pages.

In 1404, famed Chinese explorer-admiral Zheng-He,
a eunuch, led out a fleet of 317 huge junks, some
six-masted, more than 100 metres long, a total crew of 28,000.

The fleet travelled around Asia and Africa with
silks, porcelains and other precious cargo for
rulers before sailing home with full holds of
various needs for an already powerful nation. Six
others followed over the years.

More importantly, those old Jesuit parchments
make vividly clear that Peking's latest carefully
orchestrated world expansion has historic precedents.

China has been there before. Not junks now but a
string of vast Chinese-built container ports
across Asia and Africa, their prototype a huge
inland port 2000 kilometres up the Yangtze River
to service, among other things, a new
purpose-built electronics city built from scratch
over 100 square kilometres. It is expected to
produce 80 million laptops a year.

Super-speed trains, now in regular service, and
the world's fastest, built from dream to delivery
in three years, will criss-cross Asia, to link
with Europe at 350km an hour, others to take the faithful to Mecca.

It's a sequel to the events of the Opium Wars and
Boxer Rebellion in which a medieval society could
not cope with the policies and power of the West. Who is calling the shots now?

In the contest of this evolving phase of 21st
century history, one column reader has these concerns:

"Are John Key's advisers completely ignorant of
what China is doing in the rest of the world? We
are almost the last to be picked off.

"This is what is happening in the world beyond
these shores. China has taken advantage of
Greece's weakness and bought half of the ancient
port of Piraeus in Greece intending to develop it
into a port as big as Rotterdam.

"They can then inject their exports all through
Europe on the fast rail network they are building
in Europe. Piraeus will also give them access to
the Black Sea and into Russia. The Greeks are rioting about it.

"And they haven't yet had the experience of
China's domination. Africa already has though --
so much so that Prime Minister Mbeki has said
Africa is an economic colony of China.

"But as Martin Jacques, author of When China
Rules The World, has pointed out, with economic
domination comes cultural domination. China's
civilisation will also dominate the world.

"Michael Sata, opposition leader in Zambia where
there are 80,000 Chinese workers, says China has
`little interest in human rights ... they're only
interested in exploiting African resources,
bringing in their own workers and equipment and
paying no taxes ... We want the old colonial
rulers to return. They exploited our natural
resources too, but they took care of us, they
built schools, taught us their language and brought us British civilisation'.

"Already mine disasters have been covered up and
there have been riots all over Africa about
working conditions in Chinese companies.

"Anyone who has lived in a Chinese society knows
that Chinese culture is not interested in human
rights, or accepted world norms of behaviour in
trade and international affairs, is careless of
the environment and cruel to animals.
Desertification and pollution in China have so
diminished the amount of agricultural land that
the Chinese are buying up land in other countries
to feed their people. In Zimbabwe they are
acquiring the farms white settlers were expelled
from, and Robert Mugabe has been given, among
other titles, `China's No 1 Friend'.

"South Australian MP Robert Brokenshire has
talked of Chinese vultures circling Australian
farms, while in the US, they are buying up big --
time, both mortgaged homes and firms.

"Among six firms just acquired in Pennsylvania is
a wood industry where a Mr Yu was quoted as
saying he's bought because `Pennsylvania has good
hardwood resources and the aboriginal people in
the North Pennsylvanian woods are good workers'.
He was referring to the religious Amish people.

"Canada and the US ended their traditional trade
in beef and wood in 2002 to make trade agreements
with China. This thin end of the wedge has
prompted a worried reaction that there are only
30 million Canadians and the Chinese have an army
of two million if they wanted to dominate Canada more directly.

"Then there is China's so-called String of Pearls
all round Asia -- ports they've financed and
developed in Bangladesh, Pakistan, six in
Myanmar, more in Thailand and Cambodia, thus
ringing their rival India. These trade routes
between ports all the way back to China, not only
transport oil, but the ports can also be turned
into a military threat. The ports and their
routes spread across the Indian Ocean, to Sri
Lanka, Maldives, islands in the Arabian Sea, the
Persian Gulf, and up to Gwador in Pakistan.

"This list is only a cursory skim through all
China's interests spreading around the world.

"If we allow Chinese investment in New Zealand
land and farms, we give away our sovereignty over
them, because China simply ignores local laws and
customs if they don't suit them. We will be
unable to protect the animals or the environment
from their methods of ruthless exploitation.

"And when economic domination occurs, so does
cultural domination. We will lose our belief in a
compassionate society, where reverence for life
and respect for the environment will be a thing of the past.

"Waving flags to free Tibet will become
irrelevant if the spread of Chinese power goes
unchecked in this country." -- Name supplied
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