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A Teenagers Take On China
“Four South American countries have joined forces in a bid to combat illegal fishing by huge Chinese fleets off their coasts. The Chinese fleet instead headed south through international waters to fish near the exclusive economic zones of Peru and Chile, according to NGO Oceana.”
- The Guardian, 05/11/2020.
The above excerpt’s only claim upon space inside this article is to enlighten readers to the fact that China is not averse to resorting to illegal means to achieve its ends. Before we take a stance, here are some (public domain) facts about china:
China has a debt to GDP ratio of approximately 41.3% which effectively means that for every 10$ that china earns, it owes 4$ to some foreign entity. From a financial standpoint, this is an absolute nightmare for China as their GDP is nearly cut in half by this debt. Factor in the cost of production, and there is very little scope for profit/growth. – S&P Global, Analytics Firm.
Over a hundred million people in the Peoples Republic of China live in Abject poverty of under USD $1 a day – that is about 8% of their population. 240 million people lived in poverty of less than USD $5.5 per day. (International Poverty Lines are drawn from The World Bank, Lower/ Middle Class)
China censors a great many websites (Facebook for example) – trying their level best to lock access to non-state forms of news media. This directly goes against Article 17 (Right to property including Intellectual Property), Article 18 (Right to Freedom of Thought), and Article 19 (Right to freedom of opinion and expression) of the United Nations Human Rights Charter.
It is worth mentioning that the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations. This fact is appalling as China is a country where basic human rights can be taken away in an instant if it suits the state’s intent. Case in Point – Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on charges of "inciting subversion of state power" on Christmas Day, 2009.
As a teenager, I have learnt to hold my tongue when “grown-ups” discuss politics. We have been taught that religion and politics should not be discussed outside the home – but if we don’t, who will? Because the governments of the world are not standing up to China's bullying tactics, these self-same grown-ups are going to leave their current Eco-Political dilemma to the next generation – us. Don’t believe that China is a bully? Let the facts talk.
China has border Conflicts with 17 countries.
China has (illegally) overfished South American Waters and blatantly continues to do so. (Amnesty International)
China imprisoned more journalists than any other country in 2019. (Reuters)
China executes more people than the rest of the world combined per annum. (Dui Hua Foundation)
On any given day in there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. (The Global Slavery Index)
LGBTI people still face abuses in the form of "conversion therapy”.
China is the world's largest emitter of mercury, a lethal and fatal neurotoxin.
To top this off, we have given China Veto Powers in the world’s most important unified Peacekeeping body, The United Nations. Any literate person should pose the question “How can a country with little or no respect for human rights claim to serve as a protector for others?” The answer is that it is always easier to preach than to practice.
It is imperative that the governments of the world band together in a unified front to face down this 21st-century enemy. A collaborative effort is needed because china has many advantages over other countries standing alone – Advantages of Size, Population, Revenue, Location, and Military Might, among others. An educated youngster of today should feel that China has had a history of no repercussions for too long.
China has turned abstention into an art form, abstaining on 30% of all resolutions of the Security Council. Not only is this irresponsible, but it also shows a callous and lackadaisical attitude to China’s fiduciary duties to humanity. China has made claims that it works for the betterment of human society, while shamelessly blocking humanitarian aid to Syria.
When the governments of affected countries tried to find a workaround to this by asking if foreign aid workers could access Syria through the borders of Iraq and Turkey, China once again used her veto powers to block the aid. This was as recent as July 7, 2020. And the secret services of the world should make a case study out of China, as no one else is better at covering their tracks – China has not solo vetoed any decision since 1999, always ensuring that they have a partner for every veto, presumably to maintain deniability should it be deemed necessary for a panel of inquiry to be convened.
The problem is that China has cajoled her way into a niche that is required by a great many people – the niche of affordable everyday products. Most goods, especially electronic ones are now being produced in China. And, in keeping with the policy of “If you can't beat them, join them”, many multinationals (like Apple, General Motors, Nike, AT&T, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Intel) have shifted production facilities to China. The reason why Chinese products are so popular is that the 20th and 21st centuries have seen the emergence and explosion of an educated middle class, a middle class that requires and enjoys all the trappings of the elite. Microsoft [NASDAQ: MSFT] estimates that 80% of the WINDOWS OS® software in China is pirated. Apple [NASDAQ: AAPL] also admits that iPhone® knockoffs are also widely available there.
At the end of 2019, the total amount of M2 broad money in china amounted to approximately 200 Trillion Yuan (30 Trillion USD). This means any cash, valuables, or any other things that are highly liquid in financial nature. This came mostly from China’s 18 percent of the Global GDP. Now that is a nice, big, juicy slice of the global pie.
Since the adults of today are showing very little motivation to improve the China Situation, it is the teenagers of now who must take it upon themselves to solve this vexing problem. The answer lies in striking a healthy balance between supporting Chinese products and the self-sustaining economies of our own countries – completely blocking out china would be rather unfair, all things considered.
China is a country with a massive population footprint, and their insatiable demand for seafood has led to them bleeding their oceanic resources dry, so much so that China is having to resort to sending out illegal fishing fleets to keep the supply-demand gap as close as possible. China fishes indiscriminately in protected waters, international waters, private economic zone waters, and also in her own waters.
In a landmark move, the conflicting countries of Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia have formed a coalition to try and halt illegal fishing in their waters, as they fear the rate of depletion of their fish is far too high now. As a teenager, I can say with no small amount of conviction that the world has allowed a crack to turn into a rift, simply because they did not sew a stitch in time to save nine.
Cheesy clichés aside, the only good thing coming out of China of late is improved foreign relations between other countries as they band together to fight this juggernaut.
-- Donovan Figg/Lucknow