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Opinion: Is China Dreaming of Global Dominance?

March 5th, 2010
05:39 PM ET

Editor's note: Gordon G. Chang is the author of "The Coming Collapse of China." He writes a weekly column at Forbes.com.

Does Beijing want to take over the world?

It definitely does, according to Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu of the People’s Liberation Army. “China’s big goal in the 21st century is to become world number one, the top power,” he writes in The China Dream, a book released in January but sold publicly only now. “If China in the 21st century cannot become world number one, cannot become the top power, then inevitably it will become a straggler that is cast aside.”

The words are strident and the thoughts sharp, but are they also shared by senior civilian leaders? “This book represents my personal views, but I think it also reflects a tide of thought,” Liu said to Reuters in an interview released Monday.

He appears to be telling the truth. Beijing’s civilians once referenced win-win concepts and spoke in soothing terms, but now their tone is one of assertion and even entitlement.

In any event, the book could not have been released without comprehensive reviews of its content by the all-powerful Central Military Commission and civilian censors. “Senior Colonel Liu’s view reflects the consensus in the Communist Party leadership,” writes John Tkacik, a Washington-based China watcher. “They see the achievement of preeminent global military and political power as the ratification of the Party regime’s legitimacy in the absence of either a coherent Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy that places the Party at the ‘vanguard of the Proletariat’ or the ‘consent of the governed.’ ”

China’s leaders have no choice but to listen to the increasingly bellicose statements of flag officers. Since the middle of this decade, the brass has been reversing a three-decade trend by gaining power within top Communist Party organs. There are various reasons for this, but two of them stand out. First, Hu Jintao, the current Party and state leader, has enlisted general-officer support in his ongoing political struggles with Jiang Zemin, his predecessor, who tried to linger in the limelight.

Second, the current civilian leadership team, led by Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, appears to have been unnerved by the rising tide of discontent, especially in Tibet in 2008 and Xinjiang last year. Now, more than any time since the Tiananmen massacre of twenty years ago, the Party’s leaders rely on the troops of the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police to maintain order—and keep themselves in power. Civilian weakness is translating into military strength.

So the PLA has gained power recently, especially when it comes to formulating budgets and setting foreign policy. With increased prominence has also come the ability to speak freely in public. The generals and admirals, always blunt, have become hostile in recent months. “This time China must punish the U.S.,” said Major General Yang Yi, quoted by London’s Times in February, referring to Washington’s recently announced arms sales to Taiwan. “We must make them hurt.” Colonel Meng Xianging argues that Beijing should force a confrontation “when we’re strong enough for a hand-to-hand fight with the U.S.”

Meng speaks of a 10-year timeframe, which seems to be widely accepted by senior officers. “I’m very pessimistic about the future,” writes Dai Xu, a Chinese colonel, in another recent book. “I believe China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years.”

Before that final confrontation—as the Chinese “sprint to become world number one” in the words of Liu Mingfu—China’s generals are thinking about how to use all aspects of their nation’s power to achieve their goals. “Our retaliation should not be restricted to merely military matters, and we should adopt a strategic package of counter-punches covering politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this disease,” said Major General Luo Yuan in connection with Taiwan arms sales. “For example, we could sanction them using economic means, such as dumping some U.S. government bonds.”

The essential point is that China’s flag officers are thinking big these days. They seek influence over instruments of national power currently—and traditionally— controlled by civilians. As Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu advises, “Turn some money bags into bullet holders.” Or as William Callahan of Manchester University puts it, the military now wants to beat plowshares into swords.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gordon G. Chang.

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soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. JesterJames

    China should hew to the old Taoist philosophy of "doing nothing, yet do everything". you can't just set a goal to become #1 and then try to acheive it by planning. At most, you can try to sort of channeling or guide your country in the general direction of that goal. This general sounds like Mao, good thing that most Chinese leaders follows Deng's ideas.

    March 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  2. DM

    Why bother to put a question mark at the title, if through the article the answer is absolutely clear?

    I suggest change the title to: " China is definitely dreaming of global dominance!!!!!!!" Don't pretend to be objective
    --oh,,,,,,with a subtitle: "do you believe in what this guy says?"

    March 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  3. John Lange

    The Lord God has His way of pulling down and tearing apart Pagen nations!

    March 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  4. Jude11

    So many Americans believed this day would never come but here it is. The US is in for a rude awakening.

    March 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  5. littlebottle

    I offer three observations as a counterpoint to this article:

    1) The PLA has at times been in a more powerful institutional position. Following the Cultural Revolution, pretty much any institution (including the Party and the Government) were torn to shreds by the Red Guard. The only real organization that remained was the PLA. For comparison purposes, you can imagine as if the US Congress, President, Supreme Court, state governments, and local governments had all been destroyed, and all that was left was the US military. That's the position that the PLA was in following the Cultural Revolution. Yet even then, they remained fully loyal to the political leader of China (Mao). It seems unlikely that, if the PLA wasn't going to become independent then, they would seek independence now.

    2) The PLA has at times been in a more powerful financial position. Since the PLA was originally created as a guerilla military, they were expected to arm/clothe/fund themselves. Up until the modernization period, the PLA had it's own string of factories and production facilities, and was NOT dependent on a central budget. Later when the government found out that the PLA was actually using these factories to produce consumer products (like washing machines instead of tanks), their factories were taken away and they were funded by the budget. So if they were more financially independent before and had failed to become politically independent, why do it now?

    3) Proof of the inability of the PLA to influence things is seen in the latest Chinese budget, where the PLA only received a 7% increase in funding, compared to the 14% increase in a normal year. It's hard to argue that the PLA is becoming more influential when they cannot even act to impact the budget.

    Otherwise, a very interesting article, and something that US policy makers should think about!

    March 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  6. Strangewalk

    Since Tiananmen the Chinese leadership has been aggressively promoting hyper-nationalism among its population through educational, military and cultural institutions, and with a racist slant not unlike what happened in Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. History is repeating itself, but this time all concerned will be playing with suitcase nukes, biological and chemical WMD's.

    March 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  7. Mohammad Nazir

    Go for it China! The 170 million strong Pakistani nation has got your back. Its time that US imperialism came to an end! The whole west fears a nexus between China and Islam. The day this happens is the day the corrupt Western empires collapse

    March 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  8. Siyad Hajir

    No doubt that China is booming in terms of economically and millitary, to add on that china has a population who are mostly skillfull and i hope the 21st century will be the year of china to become the global supper power.


    March 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  9. indamoneyz

    CHINA IS A JOKE !!!!!!!
    they have the lowest living standards and GDP/capita among industrialized nations, they dont have a single powerfull global brand in any industry (korea has more), they have not had a single significant invention for some 1000 years, they are way behind US and europe in any technological or medical field, they are hoping to go to the moon in the next 20 years ! something US did 50 years ago !

    Don't get fooled by this propaganda! just because they produce cheap stuff for the rest of the world and have a billion people doesn't mean they are or will be a super power, far from it China and india will be nowhere as they dont have natural resources or any intellectual property. It will be Russia and reuropean union

    March 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  10. star&stripes

    I've been serving in the US navy in the last three years and have made also made port calls to hk china before. I want to state that my view here does not represent that of the US navy.

    I personally think this article is exaggerating the case. Believe it or not, people in the military tend to have very pragmatic yet rational views of the world around them. We don't talk about wars or nukes (yes i've been on both nuclear subs as well as nuclear powered submarines before) like it's some fun little game or play of words.

    The Chinese colonel wrote a book solely expressing his own views. Period. Stop making it sound like we are going to blow each other up tomorrow just by a few patched-up evidence and quotes from random places. We've enough wars and problems to worry about and really don't need people like chang to spice things up. i have lots of friends from the army who have already given up their lives in iraq and afghanistan, so stop throwing out your own opinions just to satisfy your readers with some controversial statements. I remember very clearly when we were deployed to persian gulf. It was when i first joined the navy and i still didn't know about what war was like until we were actually in the war zone. I could genuinely feel it in the atmosphere as all my buddies and officers got really serious. At that point we all recognized the possibility that one could die and will die at an unforseeable moment in the future.

    If you really want to help your country and make this world a better place and make our job easier on the front line, write something more positive and supportive. To us, it's a really sickening feeling that while we are struggling to end the mess in middle east, some people back at home are already planning for another war.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  11. Realist

    Comments like that of M Nazir just show what China is in for if they are #1 some day. It is more fun to make up imperialist conspiracy theory when your target is "king of the mountain". I'm sure he would love to settle in Uighur country where maybe he'd be evicted for just being muslim. http://heritage-key.com/blogs/rebecca-t/would-unesco-world-heritage-status-stop-uighur-kashgar-destruction

    Maybe you should dream of a nexus with India, probably more realistic,

    March 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  12. AA

    I agree with the last comment made by star& stripes and also littlebottle furtehr back as stars and stripes been there and makes a very fair and well observed comment as no one in their right mind would like to go to war and the Chinese people have seen a lot of suffering thru that as well! they learn from the past and chart their course for the future wisely.
    They can see how the US is right now with the Middle-East when the oppisition is hardly a fraction of the might of the almighty US Army!!

    March 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  13. Josh

    I believe that can come true.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  14. mjs

    It's a joke.
    Chinese are not war mongers.They do not interfere with other
    country's affairs.
    Chinese have not invaded any country of the world.
    War mongers in history have been Japan,Germany,USA and UK.
    Present day war monger is USA with military bases on almost every
    region (land,air,sea) of the world.
    The recent sale of arms to Taiwan is indicative of USA's intention.
    China is a poor developing country that has to develop and
    progress because its the asian way.Its first for the people,the region and has spin off for the world.
    Its the USA that has invaded China as many US brands already
    exist in China...

    March 5, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  15. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Gordon G. Chang and CNN friends,

    I do not think, that China is Dreaming of Global Dominance,
    Otherwise China would not be a member of the United Nations(the World Peace keepers)!


    Let us Now make our world
    a Better Healthier and Beautiful World
    for You and for Me!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    March 5, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  16. yin xiao lu

    I think that the military deal with taiwan has strongly hurt the chinese' national sentiment.Actually, I don't think now china has the ability to defend or even influence the us.What the general said may just be a kind of emotional Catharsis.In the next hundred yeas or so, and possibly longer, China will stil be a developing country and not that strong as the media said.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  17. wg8142

    Check out Andrew Scobell's 2007 piece on the PLA and it's pervading 'guojiahua' (nationalization). You'll see that the PLA is moving closer to, nor farther away from the political establishment in the People's Republic.

    As for the tacit approval of these books and statements by the central government, the Party uses evolutions like these as a safety valve against public anger lest they develop into protests (look at the anti-Japanese protests in 2005). Notice how the threat to sanction companies involved in the most recent arms sales to Taiwan have yet to materialize (it is unlikely they will, the last thing anyone needs is a trade war in the middle of a global recession).

    Hu and Wen and the rest of the politburo standing committee know that any war between China and United States will only result in catastrophic loss for each side. Mr. Chang needs to investigate a little deeper and stop relying on idle quotes from secondary sources. Well said, stars&stripes.

    March 6, 2010 at 12:01 am | Reply
  18. Angelo Webb

    China has done the smart thing .... and are one (no two up) on the US. China has invested heavily in Africa (countries rich in Oil, Gas, Coal, Iron, and other minerals). They have (and are busy) securing their supply line to keep their economic engine (manufacturing plants, power stations) running.

    China has been carving and designing their own path toward world dominance. It is not only cheap stuff that gets manufactured in China. I am amazed to look at products to see how many of the top branded electronic items are manufactured in China.

    In setting up the manufacturing process in China they have secured an insight into mass production (no other country can make that claim), learn how other companies design (European, US, Other Asian). Imagine .... the world is paying China .... and in the mean time China is taking IP from the world .... a WIN-WIN for China.

    You would not have imagined that Japan was manufacturing rubbish just a couple of decades ago on their way to be an economic power of sorts.

    Here I am considering to teach my kids Mandarin instead of English. That tells you something not only of China's ambitions, but the worlds view of China.

    March 6, 2010 at 12:19 am | Reply
  19. markandtwain

    don't worry, china has no technology advantage. in all history, who master the new tech who dominate the world. even the barbarian mogolian has their technology , they mastered the horse skill.

    March 6, 2010 at 1:16 am | Reply
  20. formosa betrayed

    Hey Navy guy-Grow-up!!! This article also reflects a wake up call–China does not share our values! Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc do!!! Democratic allies–China sees these as American allies and protectorates-Also China sees USA as a hinderance to Chinese expansion! These harsh words of war are not from Gordon Chang–he only reports them–the words are from Chinese generals and admirals! They are talking war and you–a military man–a fighting man–is SICK to the stomach??? This article is saying that we do not need any illusions about China–period!!!! Not some crap Kissinger left us by going to China and kowtowing to Chinese agenda! Also Pakistan is crap country! I love America and stand up for USA interests and values. I applaud your service, but dont complain like a biatch

    March 6, 2010 at 1:28 am | Reply
  21. Lachman

    China is definitely the most dangerous and the most untrustworthy nation on the earth, it has gobbled parts of Indian territory in the year 1962,and it has ambitions of becoming number one world power, and dominating the world, but I think its going to be unlikely for China, as the saying goes man proposes and God disposes.

    March 6, 2010 at 2:41 am | Reply
  22. Sbsm32

    The key take away from all this is there is a definite nationalist movement afoot in China, whether in the military, among cilivans, and/or intellgentsia for a much more assertive role in global politics, economics and cultural dominance. PRC is getting self centered and arrogant. And their historical legacy of Jung Guo (Middle Kingdom) might finally come full circle to be realized after a few thousand years...As a result, all those who do not want to align themselves with China need to be cognizant and weary...

    In short, we have to prepare for the worst while working diligently as possible for a positive resolution to any economic, political and potential military conflicts.

    March 6, 2010 at 2:51 am | Reply
  23. JR

    Sooner, God has its way to end the world either thru world wars or natural catastrophies like that of Haiti, Chile, and hurricane Katrina. When the living lost its very purpose to live- the end of the world will surely come in due time! Are you happy people?

    March 6, 2010 at 3:26 am | Reply
  24. Kim

    China doesn't need to militarily conquer the world. They can win by economics if they are careful. But they do need to have a strong military to make their nation look and feel stronger.

    Chinese are finally gaining back their national pride. It was stomped on pretty hard in the 19th and 20th centuries, and honestly they could use some. For a long time, they had almost no cultural or national pride - that's why they threw out much of their traditional language and clothing. (Modern Mandarin has lost a tremendous amount of its polite speech from the imperial days.)

    That means inevitably there will be warmongers. It does not help the situation that the United States still has too many Cold War strategists and politicians left. China had let go of a lot of that thinking, but the U.S. had not, so it has caused backlash. China and Russia were never really united during the Cold War - that's a fiction that was taught to kids in school - but many Americans still think of China as the great Communist menace.

    One thing this article has spot-on is that China's society and government has shifted away from Marxism-Communism and therefor the leadership feels they need new ideologies. One of those is nationalism. You can be unhappy with your leaders and proud of your nation. That's how many Chinese are now.

    I am concerned, however, that whether it's China, the U.S., or another nation, a major problem with an economic crash like our current one is recovery. If a nation doesn't recover, and they have strong nationalism (as China and the U.S. do) it becomes very tempting to become militant to "regain their place" in the world. Both the U.S. and China are prime candidates for this kind of dangerous thinking - the U.S. has been at the top and is risking sliding right now, and if China's climb fails, they will likely feel similar, especially since they have over a thousand years of empire to back up such feelings.

    That track of thinking - "we were great, we were screwed over, we deserve that power back" - is what led the Nazis to power. People should think about that. Carefully.

    March 6, 2010 at 3:41 am | Reply
  25. whang928

    It's disturbing to see the arrogance and attitude of the Chinese and overseas Chinese these days.

    Despite it's 4000 year history, the present-day Chinese are un-cultured. Since 1949 until just recently – the last 10 years or so – it's been a society of desperation. For food, energy, even cooking oil. People joke about Chinese not knowing how to line up ("queue"), but when you are raised in a society where you have to grab what you can, you aren't tolerant and patient. This I have to say is probably not a communist habit as Russians learned to line up just fine. In China this habit does go back thousands of years.
    Chinese feel that now we have money (most of it America's), that we can go do what we like because it's been a desperate society for so long.
    The lack of culture – humility, courtesy, etc play no role. It's like a bull in a China shop – no pun intended.
    I've even had people argue Tibet AND Xinjiang have always been Chinese. That the Uighers in Xinjiang are Chinese and they populated the West. Which history books did they read?
    China is bulldozing their way thru all parts of the world. Stripping its resources to stockpile and feed their appetites without remorse. And thumbing their noses at the locals in every corner of the world.

    As a Chinese (by race), I am embarrassed to see mainland, and sometimes even Hong Kong and Taiwanese Chinese around the world screaming and shouting at each other, picking their noses in public, spitting, clearing their throats, squatting anywhere they like, dressing in all foreign designer labels which make them look like peasants in a tuxedo, which in many cases they are. But even those with the money aren't better – just richer and act like the spoilt brats they are in public.

    Sorry, China does not have to implode. The world will exert a backlash on China soon. Do you really think China cares about intellectual property and infringement on western brands? They think they're entitled to copy LV, Dior, Gucci, because the West as everyone knows, has stepped on China too long. Now, even homegrown brands like Ni-Ling are needing to protect themselves.

    The military is into everything. Business-wise I mean. Where else on earth do you see the military having interests in businesses, restaurants, clubs, karaokes, whorehouses? Only in China. However I don't see that's they'll take matters in their own hands anytime soon. They simply don't know how to run the country.

    Why does the West so take to China these days? Well partly because they have little opportunities in their home markets, partly because there are so many in China, and mostly because it's so easy to score with women in China who only see the foreign passport as a ticket out of desperation.

    I sense China's strategy is to allow foreigners to bring everything to China for now, and then eventually rid themselves of them when they've absorbed all they can. The reverse brain drain is also taking place – Chinese scientists and engineers returning – well the Chinese food is better in China in most cases!

    I read Gordon Chang's "The Coming Collapse of China". While I don't think it's necessarily going to happen, there are many points that can't be argued.


    March 6, 2010 at 4:13 am | Reply
  26. jason

    i'm a student from china ,i'm very sad about this article. i hope American citizen would not just believe the writer ,use your own brain to think the aim of the writer.

    March 6, 2010 at 4:33 am | Reply
  27. Ben_s264


    Totally agree with you.

    This writer has a tendency to exaggerate things and to stir up emotions.

    His book "The Coming Collapse of China" has proven biased and wrong .

    March 6, 2010 at 4:35 am | Reply
  28. jerry Lewis

    Its funny to hear about a nexus between Islam and china. The peoples of Islam are backward bunch of miscreants that dont know their booty holes from a whole int ht e sand. Not too afraid of them, their leaders are beholden to the almighty dollar, Euro, Yen and their oil is fast running out. They will be thrown on the trash heap of history in less than 20years

    March 6, 2010 at 4:58 am | Reply
  29. Standuppeople

    Go China, Down the USA

    March 6, 2010 at 5:13 am | Reply
  30. Scott

    John Lange: China is no pagen nation, but the US is fast becoming a banana republic due to its debt. It's to bad people turned a blind eye when Ross Perot warned Americans of this 18 years ago, only now they complain.
    Unfortunately we're bankrupt and God is not going to pay our bills!

    March 6, 2010 at 5:59 am | Reply
  31. CMH from Taiwan

    Godon Chang belongs to the camp that spares no effort to demonize China and whip up the anti-China sentiment. Period.

    It is more appropritae to call him an anti-China enthusiast wishing for China's collapase than to call him a political analyst predicting China's collapse objectively.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:19 am | Reply
  32. CMH from Taiwan

    It is more appropriate to call Gordon Chang an ani-China enthusiast wishing for China's collapse than call him a political analyst predicting China's future objectively.

    He belongs to the camp that spared no effort to demonizes China and whip-up the anti-China sentiment.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:25 am | Reply
  33. ArtOfWar666-687

    woa... I believe in the goals of China, whatever they say. I have seen what China can do, but if this happens ... .

    March 6, 2010 at 10:07 am | Reply
  34. James

    China will do become a superpower in this century ! Although, it seems that the US is the most powerful one in this planet, China has been the number 1 more than 4,000 years in human being's history !
    China collapsed in the later of Qing dynasty, but ,now, it has become one of the richest country once more !

    March 6, 2010 at 10:54 am | Reply
  35. imdjt

    I support you star&stripes. I'm a student from china. no good for a war between PLA and US troops.

    March 6, 2010 at 10:55 am | Reply
  36. Ken

    There is a very basic principle in economics which lies at the core of all international policy and power; All resources are limited"
    Since it is in the interest of all nations to "protect their 'standards', I suggest that every nation must look at the distribution of and logistics involving all resources. Will populous nations be able to muster the resources necessary for "power".
    As for China's dreams for power, why should they be any different than any other power? Though there is (are) real possibilities of conflicts over resources, for China to be the instigator of conflict to obtain resources will take much much more than 10 or 20 years. I should remind you that India will likely overtake China as the worlds most populous nation in that same time framework. Are we suggesting that India will sit by silently while this "China Century" begins. That would take a new definition of 'manifest destiny' which I am confident no nation will silently submit to.

    March 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  37. mark

    How could you believe a book written by an unknown PLA colonel can represnt the dream of a whole nation. That's rediculour. Most common people just want to live in peace and prosperity. The PLA simply has no capacity required for global dominance. They will receive a lot of respect if they can protect our current territory and airspace.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:11 am | Reply
  38. 4hanuman

    I am surprised to hear Pakistanis would like China to become a superpower. Haven't they learnt anything from Indian experience with Chinese under Mao. They are still occupying Indian land after 50 years. Of course Chinese want to dominate, but they are still communists. Their motto is control – either their population by force or neighbors with waging wars and initimidation. So, go ahead pick your side. You want to be friends with India or China??

    March 7, 2010 at 6:34 am | Reply
  39. China

    US was the first one dreamed of power and somehow they got it after WW2, The US bullshit articles shouldn't focus on other countries' policy and strategy... They should consider seriously how their decision afffected the world economy and how many mistakes they've been made so far...

    Globlization is actually a kind of invation in the today's world... What China need to do is establish the power to driven out those international companies from robbering their strategic resources even human resources...

    March 7, 2010 at 7:21 am | Reply
  40. Formosan

    Hello, JR Brul:
    China became a member of the UN, not because of ideology but simply Kissinger presented the opportunity. Taiwan is right now not a member of the UN because the then politician-in-charge, Chiang-kai-shek, refused to set Taiwan apart from China, to remain also as a member of the UN. Chiang was asked three times to use Taiwan's name to remain a member, but he said he wanted only one China. Taiwan, before 1971, represented itself and China in the UN. What right did Chiang have to say "no" for the 20-million people?

    March 7, 2010 at 11:32 am | Reply
  41. Formosan

    In early 1890s, a group of Taiwan aboriginal man beheaded some Japanese seamen, but the Chinese government refused to pay damage to the Japanese families. The Chinese government told the Japanese government that Taiwan is a savage island having absolutely nothing to do with China. Then in 1895, Japan took over Taiwan as a colony until 1945, when Japan (with Germany and Italy) lost in World War II to the Allied headed by the US. The US then entrusted Taiwan to the Chinese Nationalist (vs. the Communist). Ever since, the status of Taiwan has been in dispute.

    March 7, 2010 at 11:42 am | Reply
  42. Formosan

    Hello, mjs:
    It's not a joke. However, the book does sound like a threat, not a real tiger power. Yes, China did invade Vietnam with military in the 1960s. China wanted to teach Vietnam a lesson. China has seen Vietnam with disrespect since Vietnam was once a part of China for 1,000 years. China also invaded Tibet in the 1950s right after signing a treaty with Tibet. Where was the trust?

    March 7, 2010 at 11:53 am | Reply
  43. Peter Lee

    I agree with the points of star&stripes.

    There is no perfect political system in the world. In fact, there is no real democracy or communist in the world. If the vote or popularity voice in China, India, Africa or even EU is valued the same as the vote / voice in U.S. or vice versa, perhaps, the world is in better shape. (I don't mean U.S. v. others; just use any mix you could imagine.) Unfortunately, almost all governments care only their national interest, not to mention their individual politician's interest.

    As a result, we should never go to war with any country unless our life is really jeoperdized. In most wars, we went to a wrong cause, if you look back at history or even now.

    March 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  44. Globetrotter

    Thanks for your opinion and efforts Stars and Stripes!

    March 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  45. Jun

    To me anything from Gordon G. Chang. regarding China is a waste of time. Wasn't this is the same guy that had predicted many many times that China was to break up or in some way or fashion doomed beyond hope?

    March 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  46. Kenneth3

    Gordon Chang has been predicting, waiting and praying for many many years for the day when China is disintegrated into "eight pieces". Now, just based on one Chinese colonel's opionon, he is concluding that China has the evil desire to replace the US to become the only dominated power of the world!

    March 8, 2010 at 1:16 am | Reply
  47. Peter Lee

    It's interesting that China seems to have a certain degree of free speech now, given contradictory opinions have been allowed to air in their publication and media. This military hardliner is apparently quite different from the actual policies taken by the current Chinese regime.

    March 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  48. Xineast

    Never heard Chinese said they are "dreaming of global dominance", especially nor from official statement.
    Unlike the west, global dominance was never an option in Chinese history, because of its compromise philosophy.
    That is why that China was once voluntarily desisted from world domination even in its heyday in the history.
    What is so called "Beijing want to take over the world" is a kind of hate speech from either the west hostile people or Chinese extreme nationalism.

    March 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  49. rod

    This Article needs front page coverage. I had to read about this in reuters and google back to see if cnn reported on it at all (wasn't online Friday). I hope the American people finally WAKE UP and realize what is going on. STEP ONE: Boycott Walmart and any company that sales "MADE IN CHINA". Lets send a message back to our own corrupt, money hungry businessman that we'd rather pay a dollar more for a product NOT made in China than to support our own downfall.

    March 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  50. Funny

    I have to say that how funny the article and comments are!
    I am a Chinese! for the average Chinese, we hope to enjoy peaceful and quiet lives. We have no such ambition of becoming number one world power. Even we can admit that USA is the only dominant superpower on the earth. But we are reluctant to be forced by other countries, for example split our country in the name of human rights.
    (Tibet became one part of China much earlier than White People came to USA or USA became an independent country.)

    Some of West Country People are really arrogant! Why we should totally agree your values?

    March 9, 2010 at 8:11 am | Reply
  51. Kazim

    In my opinion i think what china is aiming is for the good of the world,talking about technology,economics,governance e.t.c. But in a case of nexus with islam, i think china should for their own sake do it for the love of the whole world.

    March 9, 2010 at 9:00 am | Reply
  52. snage

    China really don't want to be an enemy of USA. But if USA always consider China to be an Enemy, China will try it best to be a good enemy!

    March 10, 2010 at 9:25 am | Reply

    Most Chinese love peace. most chinese are poor. most chinese hate communist party.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  54. Xineast

    Obama (USA): “I do not accept second place for the United States of America”
    Deng Xiaoping(China)'s three-step strategy of Chinese development: "...to increase per capita GNP to the level of the medium-developed countries by 2050, at which point, the Chinese people will be fairly well-off"

    March 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  55. International

    Littlebottle: Your first comment isn't realistic. What happened between Mao and PLA isn't the same as Hu and present day PLA. In fact, Hu has never gained respect from PLA. Mao made PLA powerful but Hu didn't. PLA was already in power when Hu was handpicked by Deng. Hu didn't major in school anything serious (the reason to be disrespected) except a general study. Rumor has it Hu came to be the party leader by being Deng's pet. One thing for sure: before Hu was picked, Hu once played a gunman to shoot down Tibetan monks while they peacefully demonstrated in the streets of Lhasa. Hu wasn't/isn't a military man. China may not be ready to actually claim the world power, but when it is ready.... Just wait.

    March 11, 2010 at 5:01 am | Reply
  56. vizi

    Well china should also get a chance to dominate . Dont know why so much negative talk. They peacefully got ruled by the tiny island nation UK . So why not work for Chinese for 4 centuries and see if that management is any better

    March 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  57. VIzi

    ha, our Pakistan friend...
    well, this dude rly doesnt know wut he is saying, all china wants is it's stability as a nation, taiwan, tibet, south sea, they had been one together for last hundreds of years, china's not a imperial country, she just want to keep herself strong so other countries would not hurt her..and btw, china's minor races benifit way more than Han race, they can get in better colleges and stuff like that...

    March 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  58. sd

    China still have a long way to go to become No.1.

    March 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  59. Truth Hurts

    What most people fail to recognize is that throughout all the thousands of years, China (with exception of the Yuan dynasty / mongol empire) has not invaded any other countries but only had conflicts internally. The worst case scenario if things such as corruption, stability, fairness, basic needs is not taken to deep thought and action is the implosion of the country. However history has proven that China is not a country that is aroused with invading other countries.

    The Chinese discovered gunpowder and made fireworks for entertainment.

    That is all.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:36 am | Reply
  60. Hwangte

    Comments by star & stripes have my utmost respect. Going to war on the offensive have brought unnecessary miseries to those in the battlefields as well as families who lost their loved ones on war fronts. Political and military leaders should foster trust and friendship among nations to promote world peace. Writers like Gordan Chang could have posted more balanced views, without sounding like one who is instigating CNN readers to have adverse views of China whose citizens had been by Mongols and Japanese in wars.

    March 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  61. batman

    It is hillarious on all the hoopla over China becoming a superpower : ). The Chinese are a joke. Never did a honest day's work ever. Their whole economy is built on stealing & conterfeting other people's work. From DVDs to clothes to anything under the sun. People who aspire to become a superpower must also have morals – which the Chinese definitely do not have! Be it mainland Chinese nor those who live abroad !!!

    March 17, 2010 at 9:38 am | Reply
  62. sd

    China is hopeless,it is a joke,what a laugh.

    March 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  63. GypsyKing

    Just got back from living over in Shanghai for a year teaching English...they are barely above living in a third world developing country...and I'll start worrying about them being a superpower when just 1 from their 1.3Billion population has the brains to win a Nobel Prize. Just one....I'll be waiting a very, very long time...

    March 17, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  64. Hwangte

    Dear GypsyKing, no Chinese leader from mainland or Russian leader will ever get a Nobel Prize. Why? The prize has often been used as a political tool by the West to reward their lackeys to humiliate those countries the West fear and whose political systems differ from the West. That is why Dalai Lama got his Nobel Prize.

    March 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  65. Hwangte

    Dear GypsyKing, how could you be a teacher when you are so biased against your own students in Shanghai. You are not an objective person, sadly you regard yourself a teacher. If you know history, then you should know who invented paper, gunpowder for making fire crackers (for peaceful means) and created the game called football. Maybe the students you have taught in Shanghai may not win a Nobel Prize. Why? Because they had GypsyKing as a teacher. You are disgrace to the teaching profession. Be objective and you will get respect from CNN readers.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  66. Sri

    The Chinese are definitely holding a lot of our stocks and bonds and can do damage if they chose to but won't because they are as greedy as any businessman can be.

    However, do no disregard their imperialist stance; they took over Tibet and are trying to take over large tracts of the Indian Subcontinent from India. They are establishing a Maoist government in Nepal to take over Nepal. They are making massive investments in Africa to eventually control a lot of Africa. They want to become the factory to the world for all manufacturing – and then use that as a lever to raise their prices and basically use a their economic clout to control the world.

    Like a Chinese friend of mine once said, we have no God – our only God is Money!!!

    March 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  67. Hwangte

    Much have been said about China manipulating its currencies and the Chinese are said to be "greedy" and unscrupulous. Is it? The main problem lies with structural rigidities of the US economy. The US needs capital inflow in terms of foreign loans such as through sales of Treasury bills and bonds to China and other nations with large external payments current account surplus as well as foreign direct investment to finance US large bop current account deficit. The US should weaken its currency (leading to inflation unfortunately) or reduce its domestic aggregate demand or increase production for exports in order to solve its related problems of spending more than it can earn as a nation and investing more than it can save. The US Government should not blame the Chinese who help to finance US large bop deficit. The actual problem lies with the lack of political will by US politicians to rein in their own structural economic rigidities.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  68. Dan

    Hey, you really saved me a lot of time with all the information you have on this website. I found everything that I was searching for thank you

    July 25, 2010 at 8:42 am | Reply

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