China has right to develop military

Updated: 2011-08-29 13:10

By Han Dongping (

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On August 24, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military capability, harping on the same tone as usual that China's military is a threat.

China is the most populous nation in the world with the third largest territory. As a victim of Western as well as the Japanese imperialism for almost one hundred years, China has every legitimate reason to strengthen its military in order to prevent the horrific events like the rape of Peking in 1900 and the rape of Nanjing in 1937 from happening again.

China does not spend more on its military than some Western nations like France and Britain on a per capita basis. China does not borrow money from others to spend on its military like the US, which has a national debt of over $14 trillion, and whose military budget accounts for more than forty percent of total military spending in the world.

However, the US, which has military basis in more than one hundred and thirty countries in the world, and outspends the next ten biggest military spenders combined, always points fingers at China's military spending and military capabilities.

People will wonder why the US, which has fought more wars than any other country in the world and currently involved in three overseas military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, has the guts to talk about China's military threat, which is one of the most peaceful nations in world history. Well, that is how bullies behave in this world. The Chinese has a very good term for this kind of bully mentality. It is zhixu zhouguan fanghuo, buxu baixingdiandong. (They can set fire, but they do not allow others to light a lamp)

Every time the US and others talk about China's military spending and its military threat, Chinese military authorities would reiterate China's intention of peaceful development and rise in the world. It has become a pattern of interaction between China and the US. The US uses its annual report on China's military to put China on the defensive, and China has to make apologetic explanations about its military spending and its peaceful intentions.

I do not believe that is the right way to deal with military bullies like the United States. China should categorically tell the US to look itself in the mirror, and stopping harping on about China's military threat in the world. China should also make it known that its military intends to threaten its enemies. Otherwise why should China spend money on its military? China wants to develop peacefully, but what if others do not want China to develop peacefully? What if others impose war on China? Can China still stick to its intention of peaceful development if others impose war on China? I do not think that will be the case.

China is the only permanent member on the UN Security Council which still has unresolved territorial integrity issues. As a permanent member of UN Security Council China has the right to unify its territory. The US Chief of Staff stated in his recent visit to China, that the US military has the military obligation to defend Taiwan. Why the US military has the legal obligation to defend China’s territory? How could the US government pass laws to extend its legal jurisdictions over other nations? Has the US turn itself into a kind of world government? Well, again that is how bullies do things in this world.

The Chinese government and Chinese military should categorically declare that its military has the legal obligation to safeguard China's territorial integrity. As long as China's territorial integrity issues remain unresolved, China intends to increase its military spending and intends to threaten those who try to prevent China from achieving its legitimate goal of territorial integrity.

Because of China's military weakness it suffered horrendous injustice at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialism.

The Western nations and Japan imposed numerous unequal treaties on China, and Chinese people as a result suffered great losses of lives and property. The Chinese government and Chinese military has every legal and moral obligation to make sure that the past injustice and past human rights violations happened to the Chinese people never happen again.

Chinese government and Chinese military do not need to apologize for its military spending and its military capability, because unlike other countries in the world, China does not use its military capability and strength to bully others. It only uses it to defend what is justly China.

Countries, big or small in this world, do not need to feel threatened by China's military spending and military capability as long as they do not encroach on China territorial integrity. China has the longest history to prove its peaceful intentions in this world.

Han Dongping is Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College, NC. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the China Daily website.