Are the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire ready for a big war, for its deprivations and huge sacrifices? How consolidated is Chinese society, can it withstand the tension of a large-scale armed conflict? These questions seem to be relevant due to the stereotypes prevailing in our country.
Few people have doubts about a country with which Beijing is hypothetically ready to clash in a big way. You can do without Taiwan and a big war. The Celestial Empire is not yet ready for a confrontation with the United States, and the Americans are not seeking a serious confrontation with the awakened Dragon. Unresolved border disputes with India are unlikely to lead to full-scale hostilities. Russia remains. Alexander Khramchikhin, in a long-standing, but no longer relevant article, writes: “The significant territorial claims of the PRC to the Russian Federation have not gone away” (“China is ready for a big war”) and further cites data on large-scale PLA exercises with marches hundreds of kilometers, which makes sense Just preparing for an attack on the northern neighbor, because in Taiwan you don’t get to so much.
Crack and crack
The first stereotype: the Chinese society is consolidated, the positions of the ruling Communist Party are unshakable. Externally - yes. But only. In Chinese society, opposition is being formed. This topic was touched upon by Mikhail Khazin (“Idea for China”). Let me clarify: the opposition is not so much in relation to the CCP as such, but to politics, at the present stage carried out by its leadership. Namely: a part of Chinese society is discontent with the gap in the level of welfare of the population, which is a direct consequence of the market reforms carried out in the last decade. A significant share of economic profit is appropriated by political and business elites, numerous bureaucracy. The inability of the government to cope with corruption, despite tough measures, also causes discontent among the population.
Against this background, in the depths of the CPC, the so-called left opposition formed, calling for the redistribution of national income and social justice. Until recently Bo Xilai, former party secretary in Chongqing, was considered one of its leaders. Charismatic and influential, in the years of his youth being a former Hongweibin, he called for a return to the policy of the Cultural Revolution and advocated precisely for closing the gap in the level of welfare of the population. It cannot be said that Bo's proposals did not meet with support among a certain part of the country's political elite. Moreover, supporters of the former PRC leader Jiang Zemin saw him as the future leader of the Middle Kingdom. Now Bo is accused of corruption, removed from his post, expelled from the party and sent to prison. His wife was sentenced to death for the murder of a British businessman. But for us something else is important: the split in the CPC is obvious, and not on the basis of backstage internal party struggle, but because of serious disagreements over the further socio-economic development of the country.
The second stereotype: disciplined Chinese are politically passive, generally religiously indifferent, and therefore there is no significant opposition to the regime in the thickness of the people. From a political point of view, it is, but spiritually it is not. At the beginning of 90's, the Falun Gong movement appeared in the expanses of the Middle Kingdom, the creators of which define their goals as the achievement of moral and spiritual purity by a person. Today there are good reasons to see an extremist sect in the movement, not so much contributing to the harmonious development of the personality, as a crippling psyche. The book of the founder of the movement, Li Hongzhi, Zhuan Falun, is included in the Russian federal list of extremist materials. But this is not the case here: “Falun Gong” never declared its opposition to the CCP and did not claim the status of a political movement. But his very existence was an opposition to the ruling regime. In order, on the one hand, to understand its essence, and on the other - to see the reasons for the reasonable concern of the country's leadership, let us turn for comparison to the recent Soviet past. In 1981, Karate was banned in the USSR. One of the unofficial reasons is the consolidation of certain youth groups who did not share communist ideals, although they did not speak out directly against them. Some martial artists were even planted then, and karate schools were closed down.
Essentially the same with “Falun Gong” история. But there are much more adherents than practitioners of martial arts in the USSR at the dawn of the 80. Moreover, sociological studies conducted in China in 1999 showed that there are more Falun Gong followers than Communists. The ruling party’s response was extremely harsh: the movement was outlawed, as were its followers. However, the repressions had the opposite effect: they gave rise to a multi-million opposition within the country, perhaps invisible in peacetime, but during disasters, especially military conflicts, that could destabilize the situation. It is unlikely that supporters of the "sect" will defend the regime, accused them of persecuting adherents of the movement, and even torture them.
Another aspect of China’s social and economic life that needs to be taken into account is urbanization. It is expressed not only in the growth of the urban population, but also in the active migration of labor. Professor of Economics at Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Fan Gan cites official statistics, according to which, in percentage terms, the level of urbanization in the PRC at the present stage reaches 48 percent. The data is impressive, because 30 years ago, this figure was only 18 percent. During this period, Fan Gang stresses, over 300 of millions of Chinese have moved to the cities. Urbanization in China is specific - it is enough to call the system hukou, limiting the mobility of the population. But still a citizen, especially in a large metropolis, in terms of mental attitudes is different from the villager. It is partly de-traditionalized, more prone to hedonism and comfort, and as a result, less willing to serve in the army. Accordingly, an increase in the pace of urbanization may well lead to a decrease of those who wish to serve in the PLA. At the present stage, the picture is different: a surplus of draft resources allows the country's leadership to recruit the army, including under contract, selecting the best in its ranks. But will it always be like this? Remember the USSR again: at the beginning of 80's, it never occurred to anyone to mow off the service, and even more so be proud of it. Only ten years have passed and the situation has radically changed. And yet: the growth of cities is the spread of the Western model of civilization with its benefits and vices, which the Chinese leadership is very concerned about. More recently, the Communist Party directly stated the danger of the spread in the country of Western European democratic values that are alien to the Chinese mentality and traditions.
East is a common thing
Briefly about the attitude of the Chinese to the Russians at the household level. According to the testimony of people who have visited or visited the People's Republic of China, it is ambiguous in the north, especially in the border areas. Many people know Russian there, if not all. Quite a few Chinese have business relations with our compatriots, among whom a large percentage of “shuttle traders” with a very low level of culture. The Chinese accuse them of drunkenness and rudeness. But overall, the attitude towards Russians is not bad. The situation is different in the south of the Celestial: the view there is rather neutral, almost no one knows Russian, but a significant percentage of the citizens speak English to some degree. And the “white man” in the south is associated more with an American than with a Russian. But what is interesting: almost all of our compatriots in contact with the Chinese in their homeland, note that the latter do not see Russian enemies. And as you know, any war is preceded by appropriate propaganda, the creation of an image of the enemy. Nothing of the kind is happening in the PRC in Russia.
The media speaks and writes about the northern neighbor in a rather benevolent tone. Moreover, a number of Chinese experts emphasize the ability of their country to help Russia get rid of the raw material nature of the economy, to assist in the restoration of agriculture. Perhaps this phrase will cause ironic smiles: yes, “help” - creeping occupation of the Far East. But one should not exaggerate the scale of Chinese migration to the region - analysts show that it is much more of a problem for visitors from Central Asia than from China. It should also take into account the interest of Chinese migrants in political and economic stability in the Far East, the rejection of the transformation of the lands they are developing into a war zone.
Another question worth dwelling on is what is written about Russia in Chinese school and university textbooks. It is appropriate here to cite a message that flashed in the news: During an international student conference in Altai, one of the teachers suddenly found out that in Chinese history textbooks the territory of Western Siberia up to Tomsk is considered "temporarily lost." To the surprise of a Russian student, her colleague from China calmly replied with such a passage that the Chinese are a growing nation and sooner or later she will come here anyway.
Uigurs living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region do not pose a real danger to the integrity of China. But in the event of a military conflict with a contiguous country, the situation may radically change. It is important to emphasize that this area is of enormous strategic importance to China, being the largest energy base, where a quarter of China’s oil and gas reserves is concentrated. Sunnite Uighurs who practice Islam are 45 percent of Xinjiang’s population.
Battle experience they have. In 2000, Russia issued two Uygurs to the People's Republic of China, captured in Chechnya. According to the assessment of the head of the strategic planning service of the Association for Cross-Border Cooperation, Alexander Sobyanin, “the pressure of the surplus population in Xinjiang has always been very great. Families of China's Turks are traditionally large, so no one even tried to spread the well-known “one family - one child” policy to XUAR. But the requirement to have no more than two children per family here is hosted. High fertility leads to unemployment. Today, part of the Uigur youth, who have not found a place in their homeland, are secretly leaving China to join the ranks of Muslim terrorists of all stripes. ” The Uigurs are fighting in the ranks of the IG banned in Russia. Write about this and the Chinese media. Uygur separatism, and even associated with the IG, is a real threat not only for China, but also for Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Sobyanin writes: “However, Uygur plans in Central Asia represent a more serious danger to Russia, which the Uyghur“ fighters for independence ”still refer to as“ the territories of Western Turkestan annexed by the Russian Empire ”.
The separatist organizations of the Uigurs are associated not only with the IG, but also with Al-Qaida. In the article “Analysis of the historical aspects of the Uygur issues”, Deputy Director of TsATU - Director of the Central Asian direction Tokhtar Tuleshov and expert of the Association of military political scientists Boris Pluzhnikov, in particular, noted: Uighurs from Xinjiang Uygur region calling for war against the Chinese authorities. The corresponding video message was published on one of the Islamist sites. Al-Libi declared to the Uighurs practicing Islam that it was time to return to his own religion and to seriously prepare for jihad in the name of Almighty Allah. In addition, he appealed to Muslims around the world to help the Uighurs. Al-Libi threatened the Chinese government with attacks that would be carried out as revenge for the Uygur clashes with the police. ”
Obviously, in the event of a war with Russia, for the PLA it would be strategically expedient to strike in the direction of a militarily weak Kazakhstan. But this will lead to the fact that the southern flank of the Chinese grouping, as well as its communication, inevitably comes under attack by Islamists based in Xinjiang too.
And another point: at the same time as building up the military and economic potential, there will be a transformation of Chinese society. What is the result? The stoicism of the Chinese in the face of adversity, their indifferent attitude to death is well known. Examples from the history of the distant and not very much. But times change, and along with them the behavioral models of society, its mental attitudes are transformed. In any case, a big war is unthinkable without the consolidation of society and the ruling elite. And here again, not to recall an example from the Soviet past: on the eve of the Second World War, the Fifth Column, headed by the real enemies of the people: Tukhachevsky, Yakir, Uborevich, etc., was destroyed. If they remained at key posts, the USSR would have been destroyed or victory over the Reich Got an even more expensive price.
Preparing for a big war is not measured only by the presence of military equipment, its quality and the training of personnel, it directly depends on the willingness of the people to bear the burden and deprivation, and in the case of the Russian-Chinese conflict - to accept the use of nuclear weapons. Even the surplus of the male population, which the Chinese leadership may be ready to bring to the altar of victory, does not at all indicate the desire of the Chinese themselves to die at the front. At one time, Hitler underestimated the degree of resistance of the Soviet people. The result is known.
In addition, you need to understand that successful economic reforms have a downside. Let us again turn to our domestic experience and recall the era of Alexander III. The pace of economic development of the country was the highest in the world, as its population grew rapidly. Outwardly, everything was more than good. But even then, this progressive movement touched erosion, which was reflected in the crisis of ideology, the disintegration of the triad “Orthodoxy. Autocracy. Nationality ". The transformation of mental attitudes (in other words, the secularization of consciousness) of all strata of society has made the population, if not alien to this ideology, then in any case indifferent. The same with the USSR - the collapse of the country was preceded by a crisis of the communist system of values.
Yes, outwardly China is united, but undercurrents can become a time bomb in its development.