The International Spector

Miroslav Georgiev, Staff writer

China’s ambitions are growing, and have been ever since its market liberalization and rapid economic growth instituted by Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. Communism and Imperialism ordinarily do not go together — unless, that is, one talks about China. China has been hard at work buying Greece’s largest port through its state-owned shipping company, COSCO, bullying its neighbors in the South China Sea, and planning Africa’s cities — in China’s image! All this while the ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), claims it is against imperial aggression, for all Communists are against capitalist imperialism.

Two years ago, the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO — not to be mistaken for Costco) bought a 67% majority stake in Piraeus, Greece’s largest and busiest port. This action essentially rendered Piraeus a Chinese colony, while simultaneously dispossessing thousands of Greeks of their jobs, despite their vigorous protests demanding their government not to sell off Athens’s beloved port to a foreign entity which had no interest in their welfare and was quick to replace them with cheap Chinese jobs.The Greek government did not heed its workers’ protests, though I suspect it was not for entirely selfish reasons. After all, when considering poor ancient Greece’s sovereign debt crisis, the Hellenic Republic was left with no better option than to take the Chinese offer. Any amount of money suffices if it means a lighter burden of debt!

But regardless, it was not a fair deal: China is raking in all the benefits.The South China Sea dispute, in which multiple countries claim ownership of hundreds of islands, all of which China desires to possess entirely for itself, is a textbook case of renewed Chinese imperialism. When China bullies countries like the Philippines over tiny, unpopulated islands and the Philippines has to send a clear message to the People’s Republic to stay away from its share of the South China Sea, it should be unclear to no one what China’s intentions are: domination. Whoever controls the South China Sea controls vital trade routes that link the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean; so, of course, China desires this area of the world, and, of course, it will bully its neighbors if it means acquiring more territories.

Finally, there is Africa. Urban design does not normally scream “Imperialism!” But China is capable of making more subtle moves than the obvious examples above. When city planners in Nairobi, for example, do as much as possible to redesign it in China’s image, hiring Chinese construction workers and Chinese construction firms, and China is more than happy to send them, something about this should smell pretty fishy.Make no mistake: the ancient Chinese dragon is rising. The Chinese imperial project, long in slumber ever since the dissolution of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 and the later rise of Maoist Communism, has been renewed.