This lurid op-ed piece from the Chinese Communist Party’s Wen Wei Po is dated last July and has recently been attracting ridicule on Hong Kong message boards. It lists the six wars China must wage in the coming 50 years in order to achieve national unity. It would be comforting to think it is some sort of satire, but it seems to be a nicely deranged example of zany ultra-nationalism verging on onanistic fantasy (the newspaper puts a ‘personal opinion’ disclaimer at the end).
China today is still building up its military capacity, and as we all know there’s no rush. So things start off in 2020-25 with, it goes without saying, forceful reunification with Taiwan. The author thinks that, even with Japanese and American intervention, China can overcome Taiwanese forces in six months. We live to see the ‘million-man swim’ after all.
After a two-year rest period, it’s time for a 2025-30 push to take over the South China Sea and all its islands. The toughest nut to crack will be Vietnam, and the author suggests conquering it first in order to scare the Philippines and others into submission – a reverse kill-chicken-to-scare-monkeys strategy. He (what makes us assume it’s not a woman writing this?) now declares the ‘first island chain’ broken, giving China’s aircraft carriers access to the ocean. (Been done. The Mainland’s Go-playing armchair generals see the country as surrounded by a hostile ring of islands from Japan to Taiwan to the Philippines and the rest of the Southeast Asian archipelago, as we shall see when the author gets to 2040-45; to keep the fun coming, there’s a ‘second chain’ keeping the motherland hemmed in, comprising places like Hawaii and Guam.)
The rest of us might wonder at this stage what’s happening on the bigger geopolitical stage. Has the UN imposed an embargo on China? Is an India/Australia/Japan/Korea/US alliance about to nuke Beijing? At least, how’s the Hong Kong property market reacting to all this? But no, it’s 2035-40, and time to re-take South Tibet. This is a reference to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, south of the McMahon Line, drawn 100 years ago when the Brits sort of carved off a chunk of Tibet, which of course is an indisputable and eternal and very happy part of you-know-where. The author’s preferred option is to neutralize India by splitting it into lots of different countries; failing that, China will join in a two-pronged attack with Pakistan, which will get Kashmir. China’s space-based weaponry will be especially advanced by this stage, making the job all the easier.
Sharp-eyed observers will be asking about the Diaoyu Islands. Has the author forgotten them? Of course not. As 2040-45 rolls round, China acquires the whole Ryukyu Island chain (Okinawa, etc) from the dastardly Japanese who have for years perpetrated the myth that it is their territory. We’re a bit skimpy on the details of the military action here, but suffice it to say that the rest of the world does nothing and the East China Sea becomes an inland lake of the motherland with little fuss.
Two wars to go, and some of us may be scratching our heads wondering which parts of the Celestial Empire remain un-unified. A Kuomintang-approved map of China will help jog our memory: Outer Mongolia obviously needs to rejoin its Inner part, where they cheerfully celebrate Genghis Khan as a Chinese hero. So for 2045-50, China brings Ulan Bator and its sprawling, grassy hinterland back into the fold, perhaps with the full approval of the yurt-dwelling, horsemeat-eating inhabitants – otherwise how do we get around the fact that Beijing today recognizes the place as an independent republic?
And so 2050-55 dawns, and China gets round to its last bit of unfinished unificatory business. After building up forces in Mongolia, China can reclaim the 1.6 million sq km that Imperial Russia stole from the Qing Dynasty back in the 19th Century. This especially means Outer Manchuria, the region north of Korea (think Vladivostok and possibly the island of Sakhalin). The author says this will be the first of these six wars against a nuclear power (wrongly – his attack on India might have brought a nasty surprise), but sees a combined air-land-sea preemptive strike sorting everything out.
Not all ultra-nationalists would agree with this 25-year scenario. Many would argue that the Diaoyus and Okinawa should come first, as that would eject Japanese and US forces from the region right at the start. They might also put South Tibet lower down the ‘to reunify’ list. Some of the really subtle, sensitive, peace-loving ones would say that Taiwan and Mongolia could be absorbed without violence simply through economic blockades.
The rest of the planet and the Moon, it seems, can wait.