Americans now seem to be realizing what we in the Republic of India have long accepted: Dealing with Communist China is incredibly complex and fraught with danger and deception. The Chinese Communist Party, at its heart, is about China only, and about expanding its agenda at the expense of billions of people around the world.
India’s first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru coined the term “Hindi chini-bhai, bhai” (“Indians and Chinese are brothers”). He later learned through war the bitter lesson that the Chinese government’s friendship was only a ruse to capture land that belonged to India. It is said that the experience devastated Nehru.
Similarly, Chinese courtship with capitalist America was only about becoming a major economic and technological world power on a par with America. Having achieved what it wanted through both legitimate and illegitimate means, the Chinese leadership does not feel any obligation to embrace the values of a free and democratic world. The CCP is the world’s expert at bait and switch.
Just ask those who are living in Hong Kong. Ask the people of Taiwan. Ask Indians about the new occupation of Indian territory during the recent border clashes. Ask Australia about punishing attacks through coercive economic policies. Most importantly, ask all the Chinese citizens in mainland China who seek freedom and justice. There is a price to pay if you cross the party.
Soon, it seems, the world will consolidate around the consensus that the CCP is far more insidious than we ever realized. Filled with horror and outrage, we have watched the coronavirus devastate the lives of millions of Indians. Millions have died around the world, and countless economies have been destroyed.
It is no exaggeration when critics proclaim that the Chinese handling of the COVID outbreak is a serious crime. China’s intentional effort to save face, to obscure facts, and to cover up a deadly disease — which may have become deadlier because of Chinese experiments in a Wuhan lab — was an atrocity. When the dust finally settles and all the evidence becomes widely available, the crimes of the Chinese government will be exposed for all the world to see.
It's time for political leaders in the United States, India, Europe, and throughout the continent of Africa to recognize there is no way forward for our relationship with China under present circumstances. The status quo comes with too high a price. Either China changes its behavior, or it must face the necessary consequences from the rest of the world’s powers. Simply put, China’s brazen flaunting of international agreements, and its incarceration of Uyghurs and other minorities, is unacceptable for the civilized world. There is still time to take specific and effective action. To quote Mike Pompeo, “If the CCP will not act responsibly toward the world, the world should not protect CCP leaders’ assets hidden abroad. The world should enforce claims against China’s state-owned enterprises and improper commercial activities and curtail preferential treatment of Chinese entities.”
Also, whatever disagreements exist on the edges of the friendship between the United States and the Republic of India, there really is one major issue which should be at the heart of our two countries' focus presently: preserving the global democracies in order to stop the Chinese leadership.
India and the United States represent the world’s two most powerful democracies. I was pleased to see my beloved India join the quad — along with Australia, Japan, and the United States — in order to present a focused front against Chinese military threats and incursions. But more must be done by all four nations.
China needs to know that the rest of the world sees it as a new imperial world power. Why are those who speak against American neo-imperialism so strangely quiet on communist Chinese imperialism? Why are powerful and wealthy Muslim nations not protesting China’s incarceration of millions of Muslims when those same nations are always quick to condemn Islamophobia in the free world?
It's time for the foreign policy of the United States and India, and of our allies, to insert our flag of democracy firmly into the ground of this chaotic new century. It is disappointing to see few Western nations lacking the spine to stand up against human rights abuses and flagrant attacks on democratic values. We must not cede this new century to the rehashing of the ideas that made much of the last century the bloodiest and most inhumane in a thousand years. Make no mistake, this is where we are headed if the free world doesn’t rise up and draw the line in the sand.
Free nations formed unbreakable alliances during the Cold War and against human rights abusers in every decade I’ve been alive. The same was true when the Nazis rose to power. I’m confident a new coalition to confront the CCP is rising, and it must succeed.
Joseph D’Souza is the founder of Dignity Freedom Network, which delivers humanitarian aid to the marginalized and outcasts of South Asia. He is archbishop of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church of India and president of the All India Christian Council.