Pondering China's Arms Development
VOL. 04, NO. 17, Feb 25 2011 (Falgun 23, 2067)
By CHEN HU
Currently, the international strategic situation and China's peripheral situation is fairly complex, and the unstable elements affecting China's security is certainly on increase.
In world today, people refer to the fast development of Chinese economy as a "miracle", and almost all people are looking forward to sharing a "dividend" from China's economic miracle. But at the same time anticipating, some people also start to voice their concerns. China is said to build its aircraft carrier, to test-fly the 4th-generation fighter planes, to research and develop the counter-aircraft carrier missile, and to test-fire anti-satellite weapons... All genuine or false information is flooded as if being quoted to verify their concerns about the "China-threat" theory.
In fact, the vast majority of these people worrying do not understand China's specific national conditions. Upon arrival at China's economically developed coastal area, people will feel quite difficult to imagine what they see in a developed nation. Similarly, upon arrival at an economically backward and poverty-stricken interior area, people can hardly believe they are in a rapidly booming China. The urban-rural disparity in economic growth is the same as the nation's economic development. There is also an immense contrast with China's army equipment and technical standards. In the armed forces, there is the advanced weaponry up to the world standards but arms equipment large in number is obsolete, out-dated and old-fashioned as a matter of course. Chinese military technologies are generally rated two decades behind that of the United States, while the advent of a Chinese counterpart to the F-22 might be disconcerting.
Why such things as mid-air refueling systems and Aden Bay China armed escort are a commonplace for armies in developed countries, but it is the "first times" for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in China; why PLA troops had to take trains for multi-national anti-terror drills "Peace Mission 2010" in Kazakhstan under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); why Chinese troops enter natural disasters areas on foot to partake in the earthquake relief work...
With regard to all these, Chinese Minister of Defense Liang Guanglie said in a recent interview with Chinese media that compared to the developed countries, the modernization level of Chinese army has a relatively big disparity, and the national defense and the modernization of armed forces still has heavy responsibilities. Moreover, he added in the interview that Chinese troops could only rely on themselves, not others to ensure modernization and the development of equipment.
To the other tiny portion of those "worrying" people, their suspicion or questions are attributed to their self-angle of view. If they purely take the development of China's national defense from their own security perspective, their worries for the "China threat" could appear "logical". If they take China's perspective, the result would be otherwise.
When someone is bent on selling their advanced arms to Taiwan without giving a thought to China's repeated protests, can China be said to pose a threat to others when it is striving to ensure its national sovereignty and unity; when various countries universally equip themselves with the 3rd generation fighter planes and deployed the 4th generation fighter planes in China's peripheral area, can China be said to pose a threat to others with its research and development of domestically produced advanced fighter planes; when other nation's aircraft carrier appear repeatedly in China's peripheral sea area and intensifies the regional situation, can China's development of its own self-defense methods be said to pose a threat to others ?
Currently, the international strategic situation and China's peripheral situation is fairly complex, and the unstable elements affecting China's security is certainly on increase. China is now faced with both unprecedented opportunities and challenges. What Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said lately has precisely expressed China's concern for its own security and for the regional peace and stability, and this is also the basic reason for China to step up efforts for its national defense development.
Just like a famous Chinese archaism or old saying goes: "Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do on you." At the time when some people feel concerned with the "China threat" theory, they'd better retrospect or reconsider themselves to see if they themselves have been attempting to threat and contain China?"
It is a normal matter for any nation or region to have its own security concern. After all, in the development process of human civilization, years of peace are very brief. In all reality, the threat of war has never been distant. As other rights of humanity, any country or nationality has the right to safeguard their own security interest and also the obligation to ensure others' security.
It is a very normal issue for any country or region to address its own security concerns. After all, in the development process of human civilization, years of peace are relatively brief, and in all circumstances, a threat of war has never been distant. As other rights of humanity, any country or nationality has the right to ensure their own security interest, and also has the obligation to ensure the security of others. To look at issues from such a perspective, no matter China goes into researches and development of the state-of-the-art armament or military equipment and apparatuses or enhancing the national defense capability, it is very likely a normal issue. (People’s Daily)
By People's Daily Online and its author is, editor-in-chief of the "World Military" magazine affiliated to the Xinhua News Agency
Remembering A War
The 1962 India-China Conflict
By Dr Wang Hongwei
Forty years have elapsed since the 1962 war, but its shadow still influences Sino-India relations.
China and India, having a long history of friendly interaction and a fine tradition of learning from each other, both suffered from imperialist and colonialist aggression, oppression and exploitation.
After achieving their independence and liberation, respectively, in the late 1940s, they should have treated each other on an equal footing, supported each other, and learnt from each other in the reconstruction of their own countries, to enable the peoples of both countries to lead a happy life. But it was deplorable that due to the misperceptions and mistaken policies of a few leaders, the development of Sino-India relations took a winding path.
As for the genesis of the 1962 war, since many eminent scholars across the world, such as Neville Maxwell, Karunakar Gupta, and Steven Hoffmann, have made in-depth studies, it is not pertinent for me to dwell on it here. But it should be noted that the Nehru government not only took over the legacy of British imperialist strategic perceptions of security and interfered many times with the Tibet affairs of China, it also demonstrated more arrogance and irrationality on boundary issues than the Raj.
The British imperialists did draw an illegal McMahon Line, but they dared not occupy in reality the territories of China to the south of that line. But the Nehru government did just that.
Evidence indicates that in the early years after independence, Jawaharlal Nehru himself privately instructed B N Mullick, head of the Intelligence Bureau, to count China as an enemy. It was under his approval that armed Indian border guards drove away the Tibetan administrators and occupied Sela by force in 1948, and Tawang and other Chinese territories to the south of the McMahon Line in 1952.
But Nehru's government did not stop here; it sought to decide for itself where India's borders with China should lie and then impose the alignments it had chosen on China.
In 1960, the Nehru government not only refused publicly to negotiate with Premier Zhou Enlai who made a special trip to New Delhi to seek a friendly settlement of boundary issue, but rejected any standstill agreement.
In the following year, it ordered the 'Forward Policy', under which the Indian Army relentlessly attacked the People's Liberation Army's posts along the entire border and killed many Chinese soldiers in an attempt to extrude them out of all the Chinese territory it claimed.
This aggressive and provocative policy not only interrupted the status quo, but also breached the peace and tranquillity along the entire border. In October 1962, Nehru ordered the army to take the offensive and made a statement about it on the 12th of the same month. His statement shocked the whole world. The New York Herald Tribune published an editorial entitled 'Nehru Declares A War Against China' the following day.
All honest and sober-minded people could see that the 1962 war was imposed on China by the Nehru government. China had no other way out but to launch a counter-attack and take preventive action. The purposes were:
To defend peace and tranquillity along the entire border;
To bring the Nehru government back to the negotiating table.
China had no intention to solve the boundary issue by force, which was proved by the fact that as soon as the PLA won the war, it returned to its original posts.
But how did the Nehru government explain the event to the Indian public? It had no courage to admit its mistakes and tell the truth, but adopted dishonest and irrational means to blame it on China, saying China conducted an "unprovoked aggression" against India, and China "betrayed India".
This frame-up produced two kinds of negative and malignant consequences: first, China was turned into a devil in the mind of the Indian public; second, it led to a long-term confrontation between the two countries and caused a huge waste of manpower and material resources on both sides. These negative and malignant consequences really made those who were keen to maintain Sino-Indian friendship distressed.
Though such was the case, we have no reason to be crestfallen. As the saying goes, misfortune might be a blessing in disguise. If the successors can learn the real lessons from the mistakes of their predecessors and turn them into lasting action, it will allow the people of both nations to own an invaluable precious wealth.
Thanks to the late Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's historic visit to China in 1988, Sino-India relations have gradually regained normalcy. During Indian prime minister P V Narasimha Rao's visit to China in 1993, both sides signed the Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas.
In 1996, a further agreement on "confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC" was signed during President Jiang Zemin's visit to India. All these demonstrated that the two governments had become far-sighted and mature. This is the very reason why Sino-India relations developed smoothly and quickly on the whole during the last more than 10 years, though it took an unexpected turn in 1998.
But we should not sit back. It should be noted that, in terms of populations, sizes, economic scales, and the roles played in the contemporary world by China and India, the co-operation between them is far from what it should be.
What has obstructed Sino-India relations from developing in depth and giving full play to the potential of both?
There are both objective and subjective factors. Judging from the present conditions, it seems that the subjective factors are prevailing, and the resistance is mainly from the Indian side.
Why am I saying so? Because on the Indian side there still are a considerable number of officials, soldiers and think tanks who have not walked out of the shadow of the 1962 war. Many of them adhere, consciously or unconsciously, to the strategic perception of security prevailing in old times, and count China as a threat or a potential adversary. Given such a psychology, how can they expect to further develop Sino-India relations?
But I don't complain about them, because the majority of them were also misled in the past. I believe that, with increasing mutual exchanges, the day will come when they will realise that China is a true friend and brother of India. Now the challenge facing us is, how effectively will far-sighted statesmen and those of insight make public the truth of the 1962 war?
Let that day come earlier. On the day when Sino-India misunderstanding is thoroughly dispersed, an era for in-depth Sino-India co-operation will come.
Wang Hongwei is professor of South Asia regional studies at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and adviser to the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies. He is the author of several books, including The Himalayas Sentiment: A Study of Sino-Indian Relations (1998) and The Present Situation and Future of The South Asia Regional Cooperation (1993), and more than 100 papers, commentaries, treatises and prose relating to South Asia and Sino-Indian relations.
Organic Fight For Food Security
Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances ecosystem health, including biological cycles and soil biological activity. Organic agriculture is based on minimizing the use of external inputs, avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. It mainly depends on crop rotation, organic manures, bio-pesticides and organic pest management. Organic farming technique combines scientific knowledge and modern technology with traditional farming practices based on thousands of years of agriculture. Organic agriculture has a significant role to play in addressing two of the world’s biggest and most urgent issues: climate change and food security. Climate change mitigation and adaptation and food security are inseparable and inherent beneficial characteristics of organic agriculture. Today climate change is considered one of the most urgent environmental problems.
Even though it has been scientifically accepted that the earth’s climate has always been constantly changing with a steady rise in average global temperature, modern life style, gas emissions from vehicles and industries, burning of fossils fuels, inappropriate farming practices and the destruction of forests have raised the existing level of green house gases to alarming rates, thus making the current rate of the climate change much more rapid than any time in the last 10,000 years. Global temperature has increased by 1.5 degree C over the past century with most of the rise occurring in the last 40 years. If no action at a global level is taken to curb this trend, then scientists predict that the average global temperature will increase by 1.4 – 5.8 degree C over the next 100 years, which may lead to consequences more drastic than all the natural calamities that have been documented over the last 100,000 years (NRCS, 1995).
According to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), agriculture contributes to 10-12 % of global green house gas emissions and this figure is expected to rise further. Moreover, agriculture intensification has had major detrimental impacts on the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem of the world. The doubling of production during the last 40 years was associated with a 6.9 fold increase in nitrogen fertilizations, 3.5 increase in phosphorous fertilization and a 1.7 fold increase in irrigated land, according to Tilman, 1999. Agriculture however is not only contributing to global warming, but is also affected by it to a major extent. According to Burdick (1994) increasing global warming will shift cultivation zones polewards, plant growth and production being jeopardized by change in the distribution of rainfall. There will be increase of UV-B radiation, and change in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In regions with continental climate, soils are subject to desiccation, meaning climate change will aggravate problems of salinity, erosion and desertification. Extreme climate event will occur more frequently; threaten fresh water sources, change delicate ecosystems such as mountain flora and fauna. Farming, fishing and forestry will be disrupted and pest and disease favored by a warmer climate will continue to proliferate. All these factors will have negative impacts on agricultural yield.
With conventional system, given access to sufficient inputs, knowledge and skill, large amounts of food can be produced. But most farmers in developing countries are poor and marginalized from input and product markets. Thus an important question centres on the extent to which farmers can improve domestic food production with cheap, low cost, locally available technologies and inputs in order to enhance people’s access to local food in a grave need to be addressed.
Since climate has a direct impact on agriculture, environmentally sound farming methods need to be developed and practiced. Organic agriculture not only enables ecosystem to better adjust to the effects of climate change but also offers a major potential to reduce the emissions of agricultural green house gas. CO2 emissions per hectare of organic agriculture systems are 48-66 % lower than in conventional system (Burdick 1994, Stolze et al, 2000, Haas and Kopke 1994). Moreover mixed farming and the diversity of organic crops rotations are protecting the fragile soil surface and may even counteract climate change by restoring the organic matter content (Haas and Kopke 1994). The carbon sink idea of the Kyoto protocol (Article 3.4) may therefore partly be accomplished efficiently by organic agriculture in counteracting global climate. Further organically managed soils have a high potential to counter soil degradation, erosion as they are more resilient both to water stress and to nutrient loss. So it can be stated that well managed organic agriculture leads to more favorable conditions at all environmental levels. However organic agriculture is also blamed for slightly higher emission of methane (CH4) due to higher proportion and lower productivity of ruminants. On the other hand standard and breeding programs aim at longevity in order to prolong the productive period in relation to the unproductive life of young cattle. Correspondently the unproductive CH4 emission of calves and heifer may be reduced.
Organic agriculture stores carbon in soil and plant biomass by building organic matter, encouraging agro-forestry, maintaining bio-diversity and forbidding the clearance of primary ecosystems. It minimizes energy consumption by 30-70% per unit of land by eliminating the energy required to manufacture synthetic fertilizers, and by using internal farm inputs, thus reducing fuel used for transportation. Further, Organic agriculture helps farmers adapt to climate change:
In conclusion organic agriculture is affordable, eco-friendly, socially sensible and economically viable. It has well established practices based on local resources that simultaneously mitigate climate change, build resilient farming communities, reduce poverty and improve food security. Organic agriculture is the only one approach or measure among many others, even though if every single country in the planet go organic and if the international cooperation is strengthened to review and implement responsibly the commitments made right from the Rio Earth summit to Cancun there is a possibility in making a significant difference to curb global warming in favor of future security.
The Author is the Chairman of Organic World and Fair Future (OWF) Pvt. Ltd. Katmandu and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org