“China’s ‘Peaceful’ White Paper”

Trefor Moss at The Diplomat critiques the new Chinese white paper- here’s the introduction. The entire thing is worth a quick read:

China’s white papers are typically policy monologues in which the country’s leaders offer an air-brushed account of their intentions and practices, while studiously avoiding any mention of the many nuances, contradictions and zero-sum decisions that inevitably result from having to implement those policies, however well meaning, in the often cut-throat global arena.

The latest white paper on China’s Peaceful Development, released today by the Information Office of the State Council, provides the usual, pristine account of China’s international role. China aims to ‘develop itself through upholding world peace,’ the document says. ‘It never engages in aggression or expansion.’ The country always plays ‘a constructive role in addressing international and regional hotspot problems.’ And it pursues ‘a defence policy which is defensive in nature.’

Articulation remains Beijing’s weakest suit. By papering over the little cracks in its foreign policy approach, and by pretending that tensions with other countries don’t exist or are at least not of China’s making, the government undermines the honest and positive messages that 99 percent of the white paper conveys. A warts-and-all critique of China’s actions, trumpeting the successes while owning up to a few failures, would be far more convincing.

He goes on to detail five of the biggest omissions of the paper- check it out.

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