Jonathan Eida | Opinion
1933 was the year that the Nazi Party really began to tighten their grip on the German halls of power and the foundations for the years to come were laid. Political opponents began to be rounded up and all opposition was crushed. Conservatives and Communists alike were persecuted until there was only the Nazi option remaining. The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934 was the climax of this approach to governance and was simply a stark example of what had been happening in the relative shadows up until that point. 1933 was also the year the Dachau concentration camp was established, which created the blueprint for the Final Solution a few years down the line.
We are currently watching 1933 in real-time. The parallels between Germany during that period and China at the moment are uncanny. No example of the equivalence between the two regimes is clearer than the comparison between the treatments of Uighur Muslims to the Jews during the 1930s. It also goes to show just how evil this administration is.
We have heard the stories of the rounding up of peoples based on religion and race before. People having their heads shaven, put on carts and shipped off to ‘re-education camps’ should not be unfamiliar. The ‘never again’ rhetoric used post-Holocaust rings hollow because – guess what! – it’s happening again and we are doing nothing to prevent it!
Boris Johnson said recently that he is not a ‘Sinophobe’. I wonder whether he would have said the same thing about Nazi Germany? This is how we must begin to view China, because the longer we brush incidents such as the treatment of Uighur Muslims under the carpet, the worse the outcome will be when we finally are forced to stand up to it. Boris may believe, having written a book about the man, that he is similar to Churchill, but nothing is further from the truth. He is currently reacting to China like a prime Chamberlain!
People may choose to be blind to the Chinese horror stories, believing that the issue is localised to China and we in the West have nothing to fear. This calls for a desperate reality check.
The first manoeuvre from an imperialist state is to consolidate power at its home base, as demonstrated by the Nazi Party in 1933. It is widely acknowledged that Xi Jinping is the most powerful leader China has had since Chairman Mao. In 2018, he removed the two-term limit on the presidency leaving himself untouchable. Also, being a one-party Communist regime, there are no other parties to challenge the leader, and with the power of intimidation at his disposal, a grassroots uprising is doubtful.
The next move that the Chinese administration has made is to create a network of allies that give it enough backing to act with authority and cement its position as a superpower. If one looks at the UN’s Human Rights Council vote in relation to Chinese action in Hong Kong, the Chinese “Axis Power” is clear for all to see. Fifty-three nations backed the treaty-breaking “National Security Law”. Among these countries were the anti-West coalition, including Iran and North Korea – obviously they see themselves as sharing a common enemy, namely us in the West. Russia is not on the Human Rights Council, though I am sure they would have no qualms in joining forces with the Chinese authorities. But also included in the vote were many countries who are forced into loyalty by China though vast amounts of debt and infrastructure projects. All of this makes China an extremely powerful force globally, far beyond the Chinese borders.
Chinese interference in our society is also indicative of its imperialist motives. After reading though the report on Russian interference conducted by the ISC, one cannot fail to see the similarities between the way the Russians are acting and the Chinese. For example, the report stated that the distinctions between Russian businesses and the Kremlin were very blurred. It also mentioned the use of oligarchs to put Russians into positions of power. Given this modus operandi, how do we view companies such as Huawei, which are equally controlled by the Chinese halls of power? Surely, this should be of greater concern.
The Chinese government, through control of major Chinese business, is making itself untouchable by building a reliance on Chinese services, with the threat of pulling down the whole global structure if this is not complied with.
The final sign of Chinese imperialist ambition is how they have treated Hong Kong, breaking international treaties in the process. Make no mistake, this was China testing the waters. How will the West react to them making bold moves? Where are the boundaries? Hong Kong was the first test, and all we gave them was a telling-off – just as we did with Russia when they annexed Crimea back in 2014. Next on the agenda is Taiwan and the countries surrounding the South China Sea. One can only guess where they will go from there, but one thing is for sure: it will not stop here. In the late 1930s, Poland was the red line that began World War Two, but first they invaded Austria without reprisal, which was what set the ball rolling.
The genocide occurring in China against the Uighur Muslims should be enough of a warning to the type of regime we are dealing with, and should provoke a response from our Government. We have seen this pattern occur before and we know where it will end up. ‘Never again’ shouldn’t just be a slogan – a complete review of how we deal with China is necessary in order to deal with this increasingly sickening regime.