China is a global superpower—an economic and political giant that is fast becoming the world’s most powerful nation. As of today, this country has the second-largest economy in the world, surpassing the EU. Experts predict that China will overtake the US economy by 2016. As such, it’s not surprising to know that many countries are starting to fear China.
Chinese government officials are well aware of the power and influence their country holds. They know that many nations are afraid of them. As a result, they have become abusive. China is using its resources, power, and influence to bully countries, organizations, and even individuals.
In this list, we’re going to discover some facts that prove that China is “The Big Red Bully” that needs to be disciplined, if not completely stopped, before it’s too late.
10. China Bullying Vietnam Over the Paracel Islands
In 2012, numerous protests were held in Hanoi City over China’s bullying of Vietnam. For many years now, China and Vietnam have been in conflict with each other over Paracel Islands, an archipelago located in the South China Sea. It is believed that this group of islands has vast reserves of oil and other natural resources hidden under it.
Tensions started when China announced its plan of developing the Paracel Islands into a luxurious tourist destination — a plan which the Vietnamese government greatly opposed. The conflict worsened when Vietnamese fishermen were imprisoned by Chinese authorities after they were caught fishing in the waters near the Paracel Islands. The conflict didn’t end there. In 2012, Beijing declared Sansha City, which is located on the Paracel islands, its newest town. This action greatly angered the Vietnamese people, resulting into numerous protests at the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi.
So, who really owns the Paracel Islands? Historically speaking, Vietnam was the first to lay an unofficial claim on the Paracel Islands. In 1974, it was invaded by China. Since then, it has retained de facto control over the said archipelago.
9. China Bullying the Philippines Over the Spratlys Islands
Another archipelago in the South China Sea that is claimed by China is the Spratlys Islands but, geographically and politically speaking, the Philippines is the rightful owner of this disputed territory. Just like Paracel Islands, this archipelago is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas. Just last year, hundreds of Filipinos protested in the nation’s capital over China’s bullying. The protests were attended by people from various walks of life. There were church officials, politicians, and even military officers. They protested what they called as China’s “gunboat diplomacy” over the Spratlys Islands. China is intimidating the Philippines with its superior naval forces.
Of the numerous islands in the Spratlys, only the Pagasa Island is inhabited by the Filipinos. It’s very small. It has a small town hall, an airstrip, a military base and a population of 60. Though there is tension between mainland China and mainland Philippines, the Chinese and Filipino residents of the Spratlys Islands are living peacefully.
8. China Bullying Taiwan Over Its Independence
This might come as a surprise to you, but Taiwan is technically not a country. Why? Because of China’s bullying. In 1949, Chinese Nationalists sought refuge in Taiwan after the Communists won and took complete control over mainland China. This event led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China—the China that we all know today. On the other hand, the Chinese Nationalists who retreated in Taiwan continued to operate its own independent government.
Mainland China (the People’s Republic of China) claims that Taiwan is one of its provinces and wants to be reunited with it. However, Taiwan does not one to be reunited with PRC and wants to be recognized as an independent state. Taiwan has all the requirements needed for a place or territory to become a country except for international recognition. Because of China’s influence and power, many countries are hesitant to recognize Taiwan. Currently, only 20 countries recognize the independence and sovereignty of Taiwan, and that does not include the United States. In addition, Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, despite the fact that from 1945 to 1971 the UN recognized this country as the only China.
7. China Bullying Japan Over the Senkaku Islands
Just last year, tension between China and Japan ignited when the Chinese government declared an “air-defense identification zone” over a region in the East China Sea where the disputed Senkaku Islands are located. Under this “air-defense identification zone” policy, all aircrafts are required to identify themselves or inform the Chinese of their flight plans. Failure to do so might lead the Chinese military forces to take necessary defensive measures, which basically means blowing them up. However, Japan is strongly against this policy since it claims sovereignty over the Senkaku archipelago, and as such, has control over the waters surrounding it and the airspace above it.
China and Japan both claim ownership of the Senkaku Islands (the Chinese call it the Diaoyu Islands), but who really owns this set of five uninhabited islets? Historically, Japan is the rightful owner of the Senkaku Islands. This country claims to have discovered this small archipelago and has added it to its national territory in 1895 when it defeated China. The Chinese government completely disagrees with this and says that Japan has stolen the Senkaku Islands from them. For many years, China has been silent about this issue. Only in recent years did it start to have interest in this disputed territory.
So, why is China becoming more aggressive in its claim of Senkaku Islands today? Just like the Paracel and Spratlys Islands, the Senkaku Islands is believed to contain vast reserves of oil and natural gas under it. Apparently, China wants to exploit these natural resources for its own economic advantage.
6. China Bullying India Over Its Own Territory
China and India have been in conflict with each other for many years now over territorial borders. There are some parts of northern India that China claims to be under its national territory, such as the Arunachal Pradesh, which China insists to be a part of South Tibet. However, India is the rightful owner of this disputed region according to various agreements like the “Guiding Principles” agreed upon by these two countries in 2005 and the 1899 Arrangement, which clearly defines the borders that separate India from China. However, China doesn’t completely agree with this and continues to bully India.
One example of Chinese bullying over the Indian government happened in 2011. During this year, the Dalai Lama was invited to a ceremony held in Kolkata. China didn’t want the Indian government to interact with the Dalai Lama, and as such, asked the local government officials not to attend the said ceremony. However, many of the officials defied this request and went to the ceremony.
This was not the first time that China tried to intrude with the affairs of the Indian government. Before the Kolkata incident, China wanted the Indian national government to call off a Buddhist festival held in New Delhi, which the Dalai Lama was invited to. The Indian government rejected China’s request and went on with the festival. These events greatly upset China, leading the country to tell India that their defiant actions would make their territorial dispute much worse.
5. China Bullying Central Asia over Ties to the United States
In 2005, General Richard Myers, a top US military official, accused China of bullying smaller nations in Central Asia, specifically Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It’s important to note, though, that these two countries that China was accused of oppressing are actually its own allies. According to General Myers, China was bullying these two nations because of their agreements with the United States. During the war in Afghanistan, the US Army established bases in these two nations.
Since the war was already over, China insisted that there’s no need for the American troops to stay in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In order, for the U.S. military troops to be forced to leave the two countries, China has ordered Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to support them in pressuring the American government to give them a specific timetable of their withdrawal. Gen. Myers implied in his statement that if these two countries didn’t agree with China’s request, they would have suffered grave political and economic consequences. Aside from China, Gen. Myers also accused Russia of bullying Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
4. China Bullying ASEAN Nations Over the South China Sea
We’ve previously talked about how China is bullying Vietnam and the Philippines over Paracel Islands and Spratlys Islands respectively. However, China’s oppression over territorial disputes in the South China Sea doesn’t end with these two countries. The Chinese government is also in conflict with Malaysia and Brunei — countries that are members of the ASEAN.
The source of conflict is China’s strong assertion of being the sovereign authority over the South China Sea. In other words, China is claiming the entire South China Sea as part of its national territory. If China does take complete control over the South China Sea, then ships and even fishermen from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia would have to ask permission from China before they can enter these disputed waters.
These four nations regard China’s claim to be in complete violation of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. This law states that a specific country owns the waters that are within its 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone. If the UNCLOS were to be strictly followed, then China’s claim of absolute sovereignty over the South China Sea is completely unlawful and absurd.
However, China’s actions clearly show that it is in complete defiance of the UNCLOS. They continue to assert their claim over the South China Sea, by intimidating the ASEAN countries with its powerful naval forces.
3. China Bullying International Brands
So far, we’ve discussed how the Chinese government is bullying its neighboring countries. This time we’re going to talk about how some Chinese businessmen are bullying international companies.
China is considered as the world’s biggest producer of counterfeit products. From 2008 – 2010, the UN conducted a study which showed that within this time period 70% of the counterfeit products confiscated from around the world originated from China. In the US, the figure is a lot higher. During the same period of time, US Customs estimates that around 87% of the counterfeit goods confiscated in America came from China.
This kind of subtle Chinese bullying is a big problem for many international brands. It is estimated that around 25 billion dollars worth of profits are lost each year due to counterfeiting. The Chinese government regularly conducts raids, but counterfeiting has become so big there that the government is having an extremely difficult time eradicating it. Furthermore, China is hesitant to completely stop this booming industry since it greatly helps their economy. Thanks to counterfeiting, millions of Chinese people have jobs, plus many corrupt government officials accept bribes from businessmen in exchange for tolerance, and even protection.
2. China Bullying the Nobel Prize Committee
China’s bullying of the Nobel Prize happened in 2010 when it pressured a number of countries to boycott the awards ceremony. For this particular year, Liu Xiaobo was named the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a human rights activist who has fought for the abolition of the one-party rule in China and advocated democratic reforms. He is the first Chinese person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to receive the award because he was imprisoned by the Chinese government, and none of his family members were allowed to travel to Oslo to represent him.
All in all, 16 countries obeyed China’s call to boycott the awards ceremony. Why did they succumb to China’s bullying? Apparently, they were afraid of this Asian superpower, and didn’t want to mar their economic and political ties with it.
1. China Bullying the Dalai Lama
Earlier, we talked about how China is bullying India not only because of a territorial dispute, but also because of its association with the Dalai Lama. Now, we’re going to discuss how the Chinese government is bullying the peaceful spiritual leader of Tibet and persecuting the countries supporting him.
The Dalai Lama escaped Tibet in 1959, and sought refuge in India, when an uprising against the Chinese invaders failed. Since then, China has been bullying him, blackmailing anyone who associates or supports him. China has labeled the Dalai Lama as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and has accused him of igniting rebellion among his fellow Tibetans. The Dalai Lama has cleared this accusation, saying that he only advocates for greater autonomy in Tibet, not for full separation. China has already strengthened its efforts of silencing the Dalai Lama’s voice, making sure that his people do not have access to any information regarding him.
The Chinese government has been firm with its oppression of the Dalai Lama. Any country that supports, accepts, or even receives him in their territories are bullied. One perfect example of this is India. Another country which has been pressured by China not to associate with the Dalai Lama was South Africa. In 2009, Beijing blackmailed South Africa, threatening that granting the Dalai Lama a visa to their nation would negatively affect the country’s economic ties with China. The South African government, not wanting to mar its relationship with China, succumbed and denied the Dalai Lama access to their nation.