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China reverses a half-century on diplomatic non-intervention as it becomes a model UN citizen

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As China's Public Security Ministry assembles its specially trained People's Armed Police for a peace-keeping contingent in Haiti under UN auspices, we are on the eve of a Chinese renaissance that moves Beijing from a revolutionary agent attacking the global status quo to a cooperative world statesman that achieves a larger role in global affairs and which strengthens its regional rise in Asia. It must come with some relish to the Chinese that they embark on their initiative in the Caribbean just off the US coast.

I submit that this sea change should be viewed within the context of the notes 'Peaceful Rise' overcoming 'China Threat', Testing and strategic encirclement versus force on force, bluffing and risk-taking, and The fall of Peaceful Rise, or has it?. Remember that China's regional and global diplomatic initiative, "peaceful rise" (heping jueqi), since changed to "peaceful development" (heping fazhan), is a masterful endeavor that will free the PRC from the US defined "China threat" as it transforms Beijing to a patient, nuanced global diplomatic partner. The hallmarks of peaceful rise-peaceful development are:

  • Diplomatic drive for regional acceptance of PRC's expanding sphere of influence
  • Enshrining China as Asia's predominant economic force
  • Leveraging economic cooperation into political influence over Southeast Asia
  • Offsetting and eventually diminishing US influence
  • Regional and international acceptance of China as the Asian superpower with hegemony over the region

While this riot police unit is small, only 125 staff, it is the "first Chinese police officers to serve as full-blown U.N. peacekeepers and as an integrated unit, with their own commander, logistics and support."

Until now, China's soldiers and police have largely been sprinkled through other countries' battalions or limited to duties such as medical care and road building. Now China has taken the next step with its plans to send off an integrated riot control unit that will operate in Haiti as a Chinese entity under U.N. command to respond to security needs.

China will drop its historic postwar diplomatic stance of non-interference in other countries. I find the comment of Tan Jun, head of peacekeeping at the Public Security Ministry, that "I believe China will make even greater contributions in the future" to be masterly understatement. I also found Tan's comment that China's decision to send a force to Haiti had nothing to do with China's national diplomacy to be a diplomatic nicety.  Yes, China's formal reply came in response to a public UN appeal on Haiti's behalf, but such is the nature of public-private negotiation at the UN. It is a matter of record that China has consistently given financial aid and attention to all states that maintain a relationship with Taiwan and not China. Such specific attention meshes closely with Beijing's global policy agenda in the case of Haiti.

I should imagine that these troops were handpicked for operational skill, English and French language facility, and their ability to adapt and not embarrass China or Hu Jintao as he assumes the troika of chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), president of China, and military commander-in-chief. I would expect members of this troop to rise to command their own units.

I submit that China will expand its UN peacekeeping role as rapidly as world demands permit, and that they will best the US by agreeing to be bound by The Hague international criminal court.  Without direct confrontation they will reflect a more attractive international face that the US has shown in recent years.

China Readies Riot Force For Peacekeeping in Haiti
By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, September 30, 2004; Page A21

Gordon Housworth



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