China: We bully because we were bullied

Last week, ahead of the opening of the National People’s Conference, a spokeswoman for the country’s legislature laid out China’s position on security in  the region.

China seeks to solve disputes through negotiation and diplomacy, National People’s Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying said…

“Historically China has had weak national defense, and was subject to the hurtful lessons of bullying,” Fu told a briefing in Beijing. “Chinese people’s historical memories of this problem are deep, so we need a solid national defense.”

Solid defense is a fair enough goal, given China’s history. But it’s the volatile nature of resolving issues through action on the high seas, rather than through diplomacy, that is causing the alarm. China seems to have little appetite for diplomacy with either Vietnam or the Philippines.

A revealing exchange to me, is the idea that there can be little historical precedent for China’s development.

Asked about political reform, Fu said China would not copy the model of other countries.

“You cannot say that if China’s reform is not following the model of other countries then China is not following political reform,” she said. “This is unfair and not correct.”

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