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The Marking of the End of Chinese Expansionist Era; By Amshuman M

Image Courtesy: Foreign Affairs

Article 29/2020


Under Xi Jinping, China has become a multifaceted player in the current world order due to its varied approaches and dragon-like pursuits of different areas of governance. For instance, the World witnessed the dubious and cunning attitude of China when it put up infrastructure near Bhutan in 2017. It acrimoniously attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which the Indian Forces met with stiff resistance. It even killed 20 Men from the Indian Army at Galwan in Ladakh, including a Colonel Santosh Babu of the Bihar Regiment, who was killed in a barbaric manner, using spiked metallic wires, stones and sticks on the night of June 15, 2020. China thereby violated three key bilateral agreements – 1993, 1996 and 2013 – that have been central to maintaining peace and tranquillity on the disputed Line of Actual Control.

The aggression occurred when the Indian Soldiers went to check on the promises made by the Chinese, after both the sides agreed to de-escalate when the Indian Soldiers went to check on the promises made by the Chinese. The Chinese forces had not evacuated, causing the Indian Army to destroy a tent after which the Chinese ambushed the Indian Soldiers and killed them most inhumanly. At this Junction, the Indian forces, which have been world-class when it comes to Hand-to-Hand Combat, retaliated by killing at least two dozen Chinese men. These details have not been published by the Chinese media fearing backlash from its people. According to some sources who reported the incident to the News Channel Wion, the real number of casualties stands at least 35 Chinese People.

China intends to bully sovereign countries by encroaching upon their territorial sovereignty. It also seems to expect the other countries to tolerate Chinese infrastructure on their land. This attitude depicts the mindset of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which derives its operational principles from the sayings of Mao and especially Zhu De, a warlord in the Southern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan who had joined the Communists during the Nanchang uprising. The words of Zhu De are translated as follows:

‘When the enemy advances, we retreat.

When the enemy halts and encamps, we harass them,

When the enemy seeks to avoid battle, we attack

When the enemy retreats, we pursue.’

The evidence of this approach is in its relationship with its neighbours, be it Tibet, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Hong Kong and Mongolia. This latest aggression against India has irked the sentiments of the Nation as a whole. When China tried to change the Status Quo on a Unilateral footing, the Indian Army held Flag Staff meetings which initially resulted in the talks of de-escalation and also led to an understanding wherein both the parties agreed to move back by a considerable distance. When the Indian Army went to confirm the same, they found that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had not kept to their word and had not dismantled their structures. Its disputes with other countries remain an ongoing obstacle for Chinese foreign policy due to many factors like size, locations, economy and internal interference of China. Whereas when China, unilaterally tried to change the Status Quo with India, it resulted in a statewide backlash from India, which the Chinese did not expect.

The making of Nepal into a scapegoat to pursue matters against the national interests of India by occupying close to 9 Nepali villages has also triggered internal protests against the incumbent PM of Nepal Mr K P Sharma Oli, pushing the small country into political turmoil. Given the occurrences of the above incident, India had to respond using both Hard and Soft power simultaneously. It has started to beef up the troops across the LAC, blocked close to 59 mobile applications of Chinese origin, revoked the highway tenders, rail tenders, 4G up-gradation tenders and power distribution up-gradation contracts, sending a stern message to the Chinese that India is not at their mercy, even at the cost of a short and painful phase of alienation. The present Government of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has made it very clear that it has the prudence it takes to deal with such a situation. It has proved that when it comes to sovereignty, there will be no question of compromising the stated and established ideals. The Republic of India, at this juncture, has been battling the coronavirus pandemic quite tacitly. It is quite amazing to realize that this COVID19, a Made in China product, has managed to survive for the last eight months, killing people, just like the CCP does, without any mercy.

Surprisingly enough, a Chinese spokesperson in his press conference stated that India should follow the agreements which were agreed upon with China and are institutionalized by the WTO. It is imperative to note that this very country has a history of violating the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of other Countries. The act of introducing the New Security Law in Hongkong and arresting close to a hundred citizen protestors has pushed China into a tight corner. These acts have resulted in the violation of Universal Human Rights, a concept neither acknowledged nor endorsed by China. It implements draconian laws and throws people into prison at will by highly questionable trial procedures. The Chinese Judiciary is a testimony to this fact as it appears that all the cases/trials which takes place in China looks predetermined with a conviction rate of 99.9%.


It is critical to note that the CCP has invoked the garb of law to counter any possible Indian infrastructure development along the LAC for fear that it could give the Indian troops access to the much-coveted and now Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin plateau. What one should be surprised at is how China wields the law and shields itself as per convenience, throwing the legitimate interests and rights that its neighbours have, out of the window. One must also keep in mind that this is the same country which honours no agreement or pact as and when the CCP goes ahead with its expansionist policies. At this juncture, India has said enough is enough and has been countering the Chinese and has had some success of late. Even though the Indian defence budget is a dwarf when compared to China, it has allies. These other countries being much smaller in size and population have always looked at India as their saviour and India has not just stood up for those nations, but also caused a diplomatic blockade in the UN concerning the new law passed by China against Hong Kong.

On June 20 of this year, Indonesia rejected an offer from the Chinese end insofar as negotiations on the South China Sea was concerned reiterating that it had no overlapping claims with Beijing in its exclusive economic zone, which was a rather curt response. Moreover, the USA sent 2 of its carriers: USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz to the South China Sea as a deterrent despite which India, known for its diplomatic policy, was able to dictate terms to China to pull back their troops which happened after the National Security Advisor (NSA) of India, Ajit Doval and the Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, discussed and deliberated the issue till the wee hours of July 7. The disengagement process has commenced, but this time under the watchful eyes of the Indian Army and the Indian Air force to ensure there shall be no repetition of the Galwan incident.

And if that were not enough, Indonesia also has been in talks with the Japanese to rope in their companies as China has not been in a position to expedite and complete the construction of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway network. Interestingly, the Chinese had outbid the Japanese for this project in 2016. This instance depicts the fact that the Chinese can no longer pull the strings of other nations by participating in the tenders floated by the country where it intends has traditionally bagged the project by being the lowest bidder and cannot complete the work at its own pace and cannot act according to its whims and fancies. Meanwhile, Malaysia had revoked 5G telecommunication spectrum allocations to five companies, including two linked to Chinese tech giant Huawei, which is under the scanner by many countries on the allegation of data theft and espionage. After the ban on Huawei Semi-Conductors Exports by the United States, the company came under immense pressure. Huawei even went to the extent of telling the CCP that their survival was at stake.


To put it bluntly, China has invited the wrath of almost all of its counterparts either by challenging territorial claims or by picking economic disputes. The only way to teach the CCP a lesson is by boycotting China in-toto, which would also mean the pricing index of goods is likely to go up by 20% -30%. Other countries should forge alliances to ensure that the global supply chains of raw materials and the manufacturing of goods remain un-interrupted. The more stable ones amongst them should also extend loans, provide financial and physical infrastructure to the weaker countries that are part of the alliance to ensure that they come on par with others. They should bank upon trading on a common footing to ensure that there is an increase in the value of all local currencies. The said mechanism would work like the Euro Model.

However, some players with a left-leaning ideology, including the import lobby will predictably say that a complete boycott is not the solution. I believe otherwise. If there is no market for Chinese goods, a blockade of imports of China including Crudes from the Gulf countries and commodities and a pact for export and import with corresponding import duty relaxations among the members of the proposed alliances, it will be possible to ensure that the High Seas will not have space to accommodate Chinese Ships and vessels making their fate a miserable one. When the Chinese market is crumbling for want of buyers, they will not have the bargaining power or prowess they once had. This act of the alliance of countries will ensure that CCP will come to its knees and the same leverage can then liberate Tibet and restore its indigenous culture and tradition, restore Aksai Chin to India and call off its border disputes with other countries and most importantly, establish democracy in China. So effectively it will be a win against China without firing a single bullet. My conclusion is that if the Tiger can cause the Dragon to worry with its digital and economic strikes, one can imagine what the Dragon’s fate will be if it is blocked from all sides, as envisaged in the article.

(Amshuman M  is a practising Advocate and frequently appears before The High Court of Karnataka. He is a Post Graduate in Constitutional Law and holds a thesis in the topic titled ‘Constitutional and Legal Status of Jammu and Kashmir in Independent India’. The views expressed are personal)

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