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A new imperialist China

The latest incident of confrontation between the Philippines and China was the collision between a Philippine vessel and a Chinese coast guard vessel. The root of this conflict is the claim by China that it owns almost the entire South China Sea.

I have often wondered what has led to the Chinese claim of such ridiculous proportion even by imperialist standards in the world. No country has claimed the whole Black Sea which borders on Russia. The United States, in spite of its imperialist tendency at times, has never claimed the whole of the Gulf of Mexico. The Red Sea has been the site of many confrontations but as far as I know, has never been claimed by a single country. I could go on citing other examples.

This incredible claim, together with border confrontations with other neighboring countries, has led observers like me to conclude that China is building a new Great Wall in its intent to keep everybody out. Under Xi Jinping, it seems that China has gone from crisis to crisis. There was the Covid pandemic which began in Wuhan, China and effectively isolated China. Then when most countries ended the ineffective hard lockdowns in favor of massive vaccination campaign, China launched its “Zero Covid” strategy with severe lockdown of its biggest cities. This inflexibility resulted in a backlash.

In November 2022, anti-government protests broke out in cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. These had not happened on such a scale since the event at Tiananmen Square. Then in early December 2022 when the government abandoned its Zero Covid strategy without vaccinating most of the elderly and stockpiling vaccines, the virus ran rampant through the population. Although the government refused to provide reliable data, some sources believe that the new epidemic resulted in more than one million deaths.

In the early months of this year, there were expectations that Xi would loosen his iron grip over the economy and society, in order to rejuvenate the economy. Instead the opposite happened as Xi instituted a policy that has led to more control over the business sector. This new centralization of the economic sector has resulted in the dismantling of some previously