Chinese-American business lawyer, author, and columnist Gordon G. Chang has worked and networked in China for decades, providing business and policy insight based on gound-level data and personal relationships.
A recent essay published by Chang states that China appears to be preparing for active hostilities, based on his observations as well as those of his network of Chinese sources, as the following brief excerpts describe:
Last month, a Chinese entrepreneur making medical equipment for consumers told me that local officials had demanded he convert his production lines in China so that they could turn out items for the military. Communist Party cadres, he said, were issuing similar orders to other manufacturers.
Moreover, Chinese academics privately say the ongoing expulsion of foreign colleagues from China’s universities appears to be a preparation for hostilities… [T]he CMC, the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission… is now formally in charge of making national defense policy…
Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center told me…
“For the past 40 years, China’s Communist Party has been preparing for brutal war, and now the ruling organization is accelerating its plans.”
The Party, as it readies itself for combat… issued an internal directive prohibiting… ministerial-level officials [and their families] from owning foreign real estate or shares registered offshore… there are reports of their selling foreign assets…
The directive, issued soon after the imposition of sanctions on Russian officials for the “special military operation” in Ukraine, appears designed to sanction-proof Chinese officials.
In contrast to the often short-term focus of US policymakers, China’s authoritarian leadership is famous for long-term strategic planning. Against this long-term backdrop, the linked article describes a number of Chinese activities and policy adjustments that together paint a picture of a nation preparing for imminent military conflict.
I sincerely hope that China’s recent mobilization represents mere preparation or posturing and does not indicate an imminent confrontation involving Taiwan or US allies. Chang’s essay reminds us not to be lulled into a false sense of security based solely on the fact that China would be hurting itself if the CMC were to open hostilities against Taiwan.
So long as the Russia-Ukraine war rages, the US and our European allies will continue pouring money into a proxy war on the European front. The opening of a proxy war on another front in Asia could become problematic both economically and militarily.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proves that countries do not always act in their own best interest. The same may be said about the actions of Americans whose Taiwan visits have been condemned by the Chinese government. We all stand to benefit if China determines that restraint is in its best interest.