China denies being a colonial power, like the West has been. But the country’s imperial traits are never far away, warns Howard French, author of Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power. “The world best keep its eyes on China, said French, who believes that China’s imperialist history will lead it to push for global power,” French said according to The Sun.
(French) said that during a speech at Columbia University, some Chinese students said his account of the situation contradicts their understanding of Chinese history, which does not consider China as a colonial power.
In reality, French said, China constantly used its sheer size to force nearby nations into accepting Chinese superiority through the tributary system. He believes that this way of dealing with peripheral countries in Northeast Asia is the deeply embedded default in Chinese culture.
“China was in this business two thousand years ago, and has been in this business with notable interruptions in the last couple hundred years,” he said.
The world best keep its eyes on China, said French, who believes that China’s imperialist history will lead it to push for global power.
“I think the strangest thing of all would be for a country as big as China not to have ambitions about reshaping the world in its own terms,” he added.
French pointed out that there is already “no country in Southeast Asia that is not heavily dependent on trade with China and is not deeply in sync with [it] in terms of politics, except Japan.”
He also predicted that the high anxiety between Japan and China will erupt in the future as China gains momentum in its aim for global power.
In the near future, China will continue to gain strength and expand its desired international system. “It won’t be stopped unless something catastrophic happens to China’s economy,” French warned.
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