Trade War: The Possible US Hybrid Plan against China

China is truly termed as an economic revolution that believes in mutual interests and cooperation. The benefits of this revolution are far reaching and changing the lives of the people throughout the world. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) are to further enhance the economic influence and cooperation of China with rest of the world. China has indeed strengthened the bilateral and multilateral relations with countries and regions through the economic cooperation. With many new friends, China’s rapid progression in the economic world has turned the existing economic champions into their foes. Especially, within the western world, China’s rapid economic growth has attracted a discreet animosity. Different tactics are being employed to create narratives that can damage the image of China globally. Be it China’s cordial relations with neighbouring North Korea, its stance on Taiwan, Hong Kong political protests or Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang province, western powers are trying to employ any given resource to diminish the image of China.

Interestingly, it has been largely observed in the recent times that the big names of the western media, especially the Muslim journalists and analysts have been showing a sudden tendency of highlighting the Uighur issue of Xinjiang province. The exaggeration of the matter suggests that the media personalities are tasked with maligning China in the Muslim world. The purpose of this smear campaign is to disrupt the relations of China with the Muslim world. Moreover, if fake narratives are successfully infiltrated into the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world, it would be easier to disrupt China’s trade into the Muslim majority countries. It is largely considered that the western world has carefully invested into the narrative building against China.

The West has a history full of building the fake narratives to influence the policies of the world. The narratives against China are being built through similar but more advanced and enhanced methods. The use of technology, social and digital media has been observed in the recent past but in more recent events, the most updated tech is being used to concoct video and audio evidences to prove the propaganda that China is conducting a genocide of Muslims. Interestingly, the scandals of the past such as Cambridge Analytica are an excellent examples to prove that the western world could go to any limits. In Cambridge Analytica Scandal, it is a known fact that the fake Mujahideen and Al Qaida statements and video footages were created to constantly terrorise the world to legitimise the war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, the fabricated video and audio evidences were produced to propagate the Iraq invasion and legitimise the British involvement in Iraq.

Western media, which is being followed throughout the world is the best platform to be used to carry out such propaganda. Important to note is the fact that the domestic media of the developing world relies upon the western international media to highlight the international stories. Moreover, to follow the international trends on news, the domestic media of the developing world follows the western media.

It is a known fact that America, along with its western allies is actively involved in a trade war against China. The western world fears that as the world is moving from geo-strategic positioning to the geo-economic, China will grab on maximum influence over the world through its ever increasing economic strength. United States, which is considered as the super power of the world, can sense that if China’s economic growth is not hurdled, it is not far that it shall become an equal to superpower, if not the superpower of the world. Currently, US is practically engaging China on every aspect. Even in the pandemic, US has influenced its allies to prefer western vaccines over the Chinese and Russian. The travel restrictions to several European, American and Gulf destinations for those vaccinated with the Sinovac is a policy that is influenced by US-China trade war. Premier example of such influence is of Saudi Arabia allowing only those pilgrims to enter and perform Hajj, who have been vaccinated with the western vaccines. Though every country is allowed to make their own choices on vaccines but putting in place the mandatory policies is a clear indication that the western powers are willing to hit China in every way possible.

Very interesting to note is the sudden and blunt stance of Indian media against China especially related to the Xinjiang province. The country that boasts about being the biggest democracy of the world in actual is ruled by those who are empowered by the neo-Nazi Hindutva ideology. In today’s India, churches of Christians, Gurudawaras of Sikhs and Mosques of Muslims are not safe. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and even the lower caste Dalit Hindus are not safe at the hands of Hindutva bigotry. Every year, hundreds of incidents occur in India in which Muslims get lynched by the cow-vigilantes for transporting of holding a cow. Ironically enough, India is one of the biggest exporters of beef and the multinational companies that trade beef are owned by the Hindus themselves.

Although the racism and Islamophobia is at its peak in today’s India, which gets reflected in the recently passed citizens amendment act (CAA), yet the Indian media suddenly creates a soft corner in their hearts for the Uighur Muslims of China. I have the firsthand experience of the propaganda which is being systematically run-on Indian media as I am regularly invited to debates on the Indian channels. And since the Galwan battle, it is a new normal on Indian channels to have debates against China, especially highlighting the propaganda about the plight of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

US-India relations saw a new horizon when US desperately needed alliance in South China Sea against China. US always considered itself well placed in Japan and South Korea to counter the presence of China in East China Sea. But when it comes to the South China Sea, US required a partnership with a major country to counter China. India, a billionaire in terms of population same as China, having an ongoing conflict with China, having an ongoing conflict with China’s premier partner in the Indian Ocean Pakistan, having a big army, having nukes, was perfectly placed for US. All it required was to create jobs for Indians in the US information technology sectors, sharing the lobbies, enhanced influence of NRIs in US, defence support, guaranteed support for Indian foreign policy, a blind eye on Indian atrocities and support in various other fields. Suddenly, India got Chinooks and Apaches from US, then came the unarmed Sea Guardian drones and aid to enhance the capabilities of the Indian navy. Moreover, Indian IT sector saw a boom with US collaborations. In his very recent visit, defence secretary of US, Lloyd Austin approved armed Sea Guardians along with sharing of satellite imagery with India to overcome the technological scarcity of its intelligence gathering capabilities. In plain words, today’s India can be termed as frontline of US against China.

There are reasons for India’s pro-West stance on Uighur issue. Firstly, since Modi took the premier office, US got more closer to India and currently both are in an active alliance against China. Secondly, India has territorial dispute with China and this dispute initiated the battle of Galwan last year in which China killed more than twenty Indian soldiers and injured many in Eastern Ladakh. Thirdly, India fears a two-front war against China and Pakistan as with the advent of CPEC, India sees CPEC as the key threat to it, so for India, an economically strong Pakistan and China as super economic power is a disaster awaiting.

Important to note is that India has been actively involved in terrorism in Pakistan. In recent past, there were several attacks on CPEC to disrupt the cooperation between the two iron brothers. Interestingly, a prominent analyst of India, Major Gaurav Arya (R), in a debate on Indian channel last year, on one of my questions that as the opposition parties are demanding revenge of Galwan from the government of India, what have done so far about, he replied that “India will take revenge of the mountains (Galwan) in the seas (Gawadar).” Interestingly, once India could not dare engaging and avenging China in Galwan, it ran a countrywide boycott against Chinese products. The banning of more than fifty apps was openly announced to dint China economically. A country that is being ruled by ultranationalist Bhartya Janta Party (BJP) and powered by the fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on ground is still running campaign to boycott Chinese products. In every meeting and procession of the Hindutva ideologues, the masses are advised to check the make of every product and make sure never to buy any product that is made or assembled in China.

It is evident that India has invested in terrorism in Pakistan focused on CPEC and Indian rogue presence in Afghanistan has continuously tried to dint the Pakistan-China cooperation. CPEC is termed as the backbone of the cooperation between both countries. As the activities are being planned, funded and facilitated from Afghanistan, it is beyond doubt that the US presence in Afghanistan would be unaware of it. It is obvious that US has been keeping its eyes closed and a discreet go ahead to Indians is in full swing.

Meanwhile, the stance of Indian media on Uighur Muslims is no surprise as it is exactly what US should expect from the Indians. As the main objective behind this smear campaign against China is to fill hearts of 1.6 billion Muslims of the world with hatred against China. To top it up, India’s own population is almost 1.5 billion out of which, more than 300 million are Muslims. If this smear campaign against China is all successful then majority of population of the world can be considered as anti-China. Meanwhile, with unearthing of the EU-Disinfolab Scandal, India got exposed in its capabilities to run a systematic propaganda. It is highly possible that the same Srivastava group is tasked with similar project this time against China. After all, India has excelled in the dirty business of propagating disinformation. Especially, the India that is to see its expulsion from Afghanistan very soon with the growing influence of Taliban in Afghanistan. Not to forgotten is the fact that India has used Afghanistan as a launchpad for its clandestine activities in Pakistan focused on CPEC. Meanwhile, Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, in his recent statement, clearly stated that Taliban will never allow anyone to use Afghan land against any third country. So, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would mean that CIA and RAW nexus would meet an end to their espionage business in Afghanistan against Pakistan and China.

Demographically, Xinjiang is a province that is Muslim majority northwestern province of China. The Muslims makeup of nearly 60% of the population whereas the ethnic Uighur population is around 44% of the total population of the province.

The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is being hailed in western and Indian media as a resistance movement is an Uighur separatist group. Its leaders are mainly based and settled in Europe and America. Ironically, the US treasury department listed ETIM as a terrorist organisation in 2002 in wake of post 9/11 increased antiterrorist bilateral cooperation between China and US. The group has a meagre support on ground which is being countered by the Chinese authorities. Surely, China has every right to counter any possible threats to law and order of the country.

Traditionally, southeast has been the economic hub of China as the centre of economic gravity was attached to East China Sea. This is why the southern and eastern regions of China are densely populated in contrast to the central, northern and western regions. Nearly 70% of the population of China is settled in southern and eastern regions. With the advent of CPEC and BRI, China plans to enhance the similar economic opportunities in northern and western regions so that the population ratio can be facilitated in less inhibited regions. This would surely help solve the metropolitan administrative challenges of China. The plan would definitely see a province like Xinjiang thriving in the coming future. The region would become an economic hub to cater BRI and CPEC. It would definitely attract a large number of economic settlers from all over the country as with the enhanced economic growth of the region, there will be better career opportunities in the region for the current generation of China.

US-China trade war is indeed a reality that would attract employment of several hybrid tactics in the coming future. A ‘gang’ of well-placed Muslim journalists is just tip of the iceberg. Once hybrid war is at its full swing, religious clergy could also be used to discredit China and getting it declared as anti-Islam. US will definitely like to cook the Uighur narrative well against China so to eye upon long lasting effects of it in future.

Time is not far when US would utilise this fake narrative of ‘Uighur plight’ against China. US would not only get China declared as an Islamophob state but it might fund various campaigns to destroy the Chinese economy. Muslim world is known for religious campaigns of boycotting the products of a country that is declared or portrayed as anti-Islam. So, if US is successful in the current mean propagation of China. The clergy would do the rest with monetary support of the West. One fine Friday, we might hear the sermons that as buying Made in Israel is ‘haram’, Made in Israel is an equal sin too. I am afraid, the great American plan to win the US-China Trade war is not to improve its trade and beat China, but to employ sleazy tactics to convince the majority of the world not to buy the ‘Made in China’.

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About Raja Faisal 5 Articles
Raja Faisal is Executive Editor at Melange Magazine. He is currently a host on geopolitics at PTV World. He is also the Director of Communications at Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR). He tweets at @RajaFaisalPK