On May 23, U.S. Department of Defense published the "Annual Report to Congress Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2006".
As usual, the report does not shake off the stereotyped viewpoints and is still filled with "cold war mentality" cliches. The annual report, without much new materials, is a "special and exclusive treatment" for China, purposely creating a kind of "threat" the U.S. Department of Defense needs.
The report said, "Several aspects of China's military development have surprised U.S. analysts, including the pace and scope of its strategic forces modernization," "China's military expansion is already such as to alter regional military balances." Perhaps to make the conclusions more convincing, Deng Xiaoping's words "Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership," was quoted below the title of the second chapter.
It is by no means a random use of Deng's words, nor are they used to show the researchers' knowledge. Western scholars have paid special attention to the phrase "hide our capacities and bide our time" in recent years. For some American scholars, the phrase is the key of the 24-character principle, for "it best reflects China's strategic patience". The interpretation, of course, is often used by those who purposely instigate "China threat theory".
A brief study of the background of Deng's 24-character principle will give people a better understand as to the meaning of "hide our capacities and bide our time". Deng made the remarks after the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, when people in foreign countries and in China hoped China to shoulder up the great banner of socialism. In the 24-character principle, Deng stressed "never claim leadership". He said China will never claim the leadership, never seek hegemony, never seek sphere of influence, never practice group politics, and never interfere with internal affairs of other countries even if it becomes a strong nation one day. Understanding the sentence completely, one will see "never claim leadership" is the core of China's strategy for development. Based on the strategy, the Chinese leaders of new generation set forth the concept to build a harmonious world.
Clinging to prejudices and out of ill intention, some people in the west quote out of context to interpret China's strategy as "to tolerate and hide the capacities for the time being and take actions when time is ripe". This is nothing but creation of "China Threat theory" intentionally.
In recent years, some U.S. officials including military senior officials kept on saying China and the U.S should "eliminate misunderstanding and increase mutual trust", but the report of Pentagon is creating misunderstanding intentionally. Viewing China's military construction behind blinkers, and making China the enemy of the United States will not only result in strategic misunderstanding, but strategic misjudgment, which will undermines the peace of the world.
Two days ago, in reply to Japanese foreign minister's question to make China's defense policy more transparent, Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said, "I hope you can go to China to see the Great Wall. That is our national defense. You can take in everything in a glance. It is the most transparent." This answer applies to some people in the Pentagon too.
By People's Daily Online