Author : Tienchi Martin-Liao, Tian Mu
August 15, 2020
The Corona virus that broke out in Wuhan at the beginning of the year has swept the world. More than half a year since not only have we failed to put the virus under control, we are now even facing a second wave. Countries regardless of size and power, people regardless of age and gender, could all be equally affected. The most severely stricken countries are the United States, Brazil, and India. The advanced process of globalization has been disturbed, in some cases defeated by the plague. Global economy and trade, production, transportation, aviation, and energy supply have all majorly decreased. Many countries are facing the dilemma of economic collapse, a decline in productivity, and a surge in unemployment. The epidemic has exposed weaknesses in the political structure of many regions and countries, while dramatically changing our daily routines. It can be said that the corona virus which originated in the Chinese Gengzi Year marks a turning point in human history. Is it a disaster which holds a benevolent warning? Perhaps only historians of later ages will be able to tell.
Since entering the 21st century, mankind has largely left behind the painful and traumatic repercussions of two world wars in the first half of the 20th century, has dealt with the confrontation between the democratic and communist totalitarian camps in the second half, and experienced a relaxation of the nuclear arms race with the end of the Cold War, yet our present world is hardly more secure and pleasant. The September 11 attacks lead to a major change in U.S. domestic and foreign policies. Resisting terrorism became a priority of Washington’s international strategey, which led directly to the regional “Afghan War” and “Iraq War”, which in turn had a major impact on the international order. They have created a wave of millions of refugees, shifting people’s conscience and national boundaries. China’s “rise” benefited from America’s and European countries’ open door policy, enabling China to enter various international organizations and to open up trade tariff markets. Thanks to advantages of timing and its geographic position, along with its diligent and relentlessly hard-working citizens, China has now become one of the world’s largest economies. Western countries believe that with the Chinese people’s prospering livelihood and the emergence of a middle class, China will peacefully evolve into a free and democratic country, as the so-called “change through trade”- effect materializes. However, these hopes have not come true. We know that the leaders of the new generation of China have been nurtured and forged within the communist culture. China is now leading in economic, technological, communicational and military fields, and the people’s living standards have greatly improved. At the same time, China’s one-party dictatorship and idolatry have intensified ever more. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and even personal freedom, are all subject to stricter control , last not least, due to the introduction of electronic technology.
The Chinese government has implemented a compulsory “reform” policy in areas of various ethnic groups. Over 60 years ago, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile . Religion, language and culture of the Tibetans, even their way of life, were “sinicized.” Similarly, the Mongolian region has been assimilated by the influx of Han immigrants, whereupon its inhabitants have become a minority, along with other disadvantaged ethnic groups in their homeland. Recently China has even made Chinese language mandatory in primary and junior high schools, replacing Mongolian. In recent years, “re-educational camps” have been set up in Xinjiang, which the outside world has aptly labeled as”concentration camps”. More than one million Uyghurs have been detained there and received brainwashing in the guise of “Chinese education.” Hong Kong, which was “handed over” to China in 1997, has imposed a so-called “National Security Law”, which aimed at interfering with Hong Kong’s more independent judiciary, human rights and freedom of the press, in order to “mainlandize” Hong Kong. Regarding Taiwan, Beijing has been constantly attacking and threatening the island with the use of military force, declaring that it will not give up on the concept of “forceful” reunification.
The international community has adopted a policy of appeasement towards China for many years, but the sense of a dooming crisis prevails. With the outbreak of the Wuhan virus, China has neglected to inform its public and the international community over a period of time, on the other hand it managed to control the domestic epidemic with severe measures in just about two months. Chinese netizens cheered the government’s iron-handed achievements and ridiculed the unsucessful fight against the epidemic in other countries. Ever since President Trump took office, he has come to realize that the United States have made many mistakes in their policies towards China. Several US administrations have ignored China’s neglect to abide by international economic and trade rules, its theft of intellectual property rights, and Chinese students’ and scholars’ invasion of US technology, enterprises, and educational institutions. Sino-US trade has been hugely out of balance, the so-called trade war with China was launched, and several new laws were promulgated at the same time, which engendered a more cooperative relationship with Taiwan. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and due to the approaching election period, the Trump administration has abandoned its diplomatic rhetoric, directly attacking the CCP’s autocratic system. Coupled with certain military actions by China and the United States in the South China Sea, we have reasons to worry about military conflicts in that region.
The emergence of big data and artificial intelligence has led to a quiet technological revolution. Because of its application, it can predict and analyze development trends of human society, thus playing a huge role in government decision-making, economic promotion, industrial innovation, etc. People are ruled by it every minute of their daily lives. In the Internet era, information is proliferating; as a resut, it is difficult to distinguish between true and false. Faced with this sheer abundance of information, even people of insight are apt to lose their orientation, let alone ordinary consumers looking for information. At a time when the world is turbulent, people are worried, and information flow is messy. The editors of the “Sino Euro Voices” website do not propose to say that we are capable of playing the role of an “information navigator”, all we hope to do is to light a small candle in the darkness. We are located in Europe, we are determined to observe the relationship between China and Europe and the world with the calmness of bystanders, discussing the evolving trends of the “Chinese model”, watching the evolution of China’s policy towards Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and other regions. We will pay special attention to the cases of human rights violations in China, Hong Kong and ethnic minority areas. Based on the advantageous location in Europe, we want to introduce the political, economic and cultural developments in this continent.
As we all know, China has a strict censorship system. People’s “right to information” is in the hands of those in power, but many people are all the more thirsty for knowledge. The editors of this website hope to break through the information blockade and expand people’s “right to know”. This is a platform for information and thought exchange built not only by overseas but also mainlandintellectuals. It is critical but tolerant. We hope it can play the role of thought collision, of spiritual and information exchange.