Gordon Chang, a specialist on China, argues that China is getting ready for war, which could happen soon.
A Chinese businessman who produces consumer medical equipment informed me last month that local authorities had required him to alter his production facilities so they could produce products for the military. He said that Communist Party officials were giving similar orders to other manufacturers.
Furthermore, in private, Chinese academics claim that the ongoing expulsion of foreign academics from Chinese colleges appears to be a prelude to conflicts.
The People’s Republic of China is putting forth the effort to enter a conflict and is not trying to hide it. On January 1st of last year, the National Defense Law was amended, transferring authority from civilian to military officials.
In general, the changes lessen the State Council’s influence by giving the CMC, the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party, more authority. In particular, the State Council will no longer be in charge of the People’s Liberation Army’s mobilization.
According to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Zeng Zhiping of Soochow University,
“The State Council currently merely functions as an implementation body to help the military, with the CMC officially in charge of formulating national security strategy and principles.”
These changes can be seen as just window dressing. Soon after the modifications took effect, Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Virginia told me, “Recent changes to China’s National Defense Law that weaken the power of the State Council are essentially political posturing.” “Decisions about war and peace have always been made by the Chinese Communist Party, especially by its subordinate CMC.”
So why do we care about the changes to the National Defense Law?
The modifications “signal to China’s intention to achieve ‘whole nation’ levels of military mobilisation to fight conflicts and provide the CMC official power to govern the future Chinese capacities for global military involvement,” Fisher informs us of the amendments.
According to a CMC official who asked to remain anonymous, “the updated National Defense Law also incorporates the principle that everyone should be active in national defence.” “All national organisations, including the armed forces, political parties, civil groups, businesses, social organisations, and other organisations, should support and participate in the development of the national defence, carry out legal obligations related to the national defence, and carry out legal missions related to the national defence.”
As Fisher stated this month, “China’s Communist Party has been preparing for a horrific conflict for the past 40 years, and the ruling organisation is now quickening its plans.”
The Party is taking no chances as it gets ready for battle. The Central Organization Department of the organization issued an internal regulation in March making it illegal for ministerial-level officials’ spouses and kids to own shares of stock that are registered overseas or in foreign countries. Since there have been rumors of these officials selling their foreign holdings, it appears that the restriction also applies to them. Furthermore, except in certain circumstances, such officials and their families are not permitted to open accounts with financial institutions abroad.
The instruction, which was released soon after penalties against Russian officials for the “special military operation” in Ukraine, seems to be intended to shield Chinese officials from sanctions.
Additionally, the central government is working to protect itself against sanctions. On April 22, representatives from dozens of banks, including HSBC, met with officials from the finance ministry and central bank to explore what Beijing could do in the event that China was subjected to punitive measures.
The Financial Times said that a “emergency meeting” was held, which is concerning. The Financial Times reported that although the authorities and attendees avoided mentioning particular scenarios, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is seen to be one potential catalyst for such penalties. The meeting was convened by Chinese officials, which is a blatant sign that Beijing is preparing to engage in aggressive behavior.
“Be prepared for combat.” That is how Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first military directive of 2019 was summed up by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. He delivered a significant speech to the CMC on making war preparations in January of that year, and the speech was subsequently aired across the country.
Analysts from other countries disagree on whether China will soon enter a war. It is unclear what senior authorities in China are thinking because the political system has gotten less open over time.
Nevertheless, it is obvious what senior executives are actually doing. To annex additional Indian land in the Himalayas, they are assembling forces for a new advance below the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. They attempted to obstruct the replenishment of a Philippine outpost at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea again in November of last year and in June of this year. In the East China Sea’s disputed but Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, they issued an order in late July for four vessels to enter Japanese territorial waters. They are constantly provocative against Taiwan, including violating the island’s sovereign airspace in the first few days of February.
Another thing that is obvious is that senior leaders like Xi are preparing the Chinese people for war.