China’s borders are warming up

27 May, 2020 · News> Asia> China

Ten thousand Chinese soldiers have entered the Galwan valley, in a disputed territory that India considers its own on the border with Kashmir. Although the border incidents have been going on for years, the volume of troops involved, the global framework and the increasing nationalist aggressiveness of the discourse of both states make it more dangerous than ever. At the same time the situation in Hong Kong after promoting the security law by “the two sessions” is tense again. There have been demonstrations and repression in the local parliament due to the debate of a law that will punish offenses against the Chinese hymn and a whole verbal escalation with the United States which threatens with ” something very powerful”. And the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea are not a quiet pond either…

The Himalayan border

The fear of escalation in border skirmishes grows hourly. Not that such skirmishes are in themselves a novelty, according to Modi there have been more than a thousand of these armed clashes between 2016 and 2018. And that is why, when tension began to rise in April, the press in both countries emphasized that both sides were actually desiring to lower the level of conflict. But after days of mobilizing units, there are now thousands of soldiers from both states in the area… and the political discourse, far from abating, has been heating up.

Where is all this coming from?

Onion market. Lasalgaion, India.

The first skirmishes took place on May 8th and 9th , but in fact they had been expected since India announced the construction of a bridge in the Himalayas in part of the territory claimed by China. The bridge was part of India’s response to the “blockade” of its enterprises on the Chinese “silk road”.

All this was taking place within a framework of redefining Indian trade routes to China which, at the same time, . In other words, “imperialism as usual” with cross declarations, military gestures and diplomatic channels.

But if we go back a little further, it is clear that this time, India is making a stronger bet than it seemed at first sight. Last year, the “onion crisis” had shown the brutal level of the contradictions of Indian capital, its industrial failure and the disaster of the countryside. China had won the battle for foreign markets. But the Indian bourgeoisie saw an opportunity in the aggravation of the trade war and the imperialist conflict between the US and China: to capture part of the production delocalized by European and US companies. And this is where Covid came in. And as all over the world, it accelerated the evolution towards economic regression and imperialist conflict. Modi’s response: intensify his own campaign of economic independence from China .

What does the U.S. have to do with this?

President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk around NRG Stadium waving to the crowd during the “Howdy Modi: Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US relations have not been easy in the Trump era despite the shows put on by both leaders, both in the US and in India, to show their “closeness”. Modi has skillfully managed to ensure that the renegotiation of his trade agreement was not too harmful to Indian capital, getting the USA to support him in his policy of definitive annexation of Kashmir, in the increasingly brutal policy against the Muslim minority and in the corresponding standoff with Pakistan… and China. Fantasizing even with an Indo-American alternative to the Chinese “new silk road”.

But if Indian interest is driven by market hunger, the US sees India first and foremost as a counterweight to China in its direct imperialist environment. Although Trump now offers USA as a mediator between India and China, he is not fooling anyone. Especially after openly escalating the conflict in the Himalayas during these weeks by calling on India to “resist”. And just in case there was any doubt, yesterday the U.S. Congress punished China for its repression of Uyghur Muslims … which apparently touches Democratic and Republican congressmen much more than that of the Hindustanis.

Further reading in Spanish

Hong Kong

Hong Kong demonstrators.

Today the “Hong Kong Security Law” was voted in the ceremony of the “two sessions” of the Chinese power. At first Trump stopped the Senate, probably thinking about the danger of a too fast escalation of the economic and military siege to China. But this week, the tension, and not just the verbal one, has been on the rise . The discussion in the Hong Kong Parliament of a law that will punish offenses against the Chinese anthem served to mobilize the opposition in the city once again and to clash against the already customary anti-riot wall.

The fears in the Hong Kong bourgeoisie were evident, while some were already calculating the cost of losing the city’s privileged commercial status for Anglo-Saxon capital, others used the liberal rhetoric about “the markets” pointing out that: “HK must choose the lesser of two evils: US retaliation or the loss of foreign capital that will not be invested in a permanently unstable city”.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Congress that HK is no longer an autonomous region of China, thus opening the way for the loss of its status as a node of American capital and its inclusion as a target in the trade war. The Chinese bureaucracy, which does not usually handle interference on its own soil very well, meanwhile promised that would respond to every blow” and reject the US proposal for a meeting at the UN for the obvious reason that it is not an international conflict but an internal matter of law. Although that is really the point, Hong Kong has been a spearhead for Anglo-Saxon imperialism in China since the opium wars… and the opposition movements and their violence over the last year would have been unimaginable without British and American instrumentalization.

Further reading in Spanish

Towards a war between the US and China?

USS McCampbell destroyer, armed with guided missiles, in the Taiwan Strait.

The border tension in the Himalayas and the Hong Kong issue are taking place in the midst of a real economic and political offensive that has already overcome the trade war. The US naval deployment in the Taiwan Strait and the constant Chinese maneuvers in the South China Sea draw a crown of conflicts around China at the worst possible time. They point out, in case it needs to be emphasized even more, that the United States is willing to use the military threat to “encourage” the movement of capital, modify the global trade map and accelerate the renationalization of productive chains.

But the other regional powers, starting with China and India, are no less imperialist than the U.S. and its leaders are no less willing than the U.S. government to use every means at their disposal to ensure accumulation, “defend” their markets and maintain their value for global capital. The danger today is not that a deterministic and unstoppable path to war is being defined, it is that, in the global game of forces in Asia and the Pacific, any misstep may escalate into open military conflict and this into a regional war. And this is all the more likely the harder the crisis hits and the smaller and therefore more mutually exclusive the margins of each national capital to secure, at the very least, its relative positions in the world market.

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