Containment of China

Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Religion and Global Security, University of Tokyo

The biggest theme of the international politics in the first half of this century supposed to have been the U.S.-China rivalry. How and to what extent the U.S. could contain rising China was the focal point of the whole issue.

Then, all of sudden, the containment of China is done in a way that no one has anticipated.

This time, there was no need for the Iron Curtain speech delivered by Sir Winston Churchill, X Article written by George R. Kennan or Truman Doctrine in this containment. Only coronavirus, now officially named as “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization (WHO), sufficed it. China itself is trying hard to contain itself from spreading the virus to the world.

The draconian measures taken for shutting up large cities and provinces along with the compulsory large-scale segregations and quarantines have put China temporarily in an unprecedented situation of isolation from the outside world, which any economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. or the United Nations could not have done.

Of course, Japan is willing to cooperate with China in its effort in containing China.

To reach out when neighbors are most in need is part of our culture and Japan extended its hand to China times and again in the most troubled circumstances in the past, although the memory of the result of such cases are not always good.

Even when this calamity comes to an end, and we sincerely hope it does anytime soon, China will no longer be the same as before.

Once the crisis surfaced, the intensity and the amount of resources used by the CCP government were breathtaking, locking down cities and provinces, building huge detention houses within a couple of weeks.

It has apparently shown the efficiency of repressive government in emergencies. But the emergency itself was of its own making. The outbreak of the plague was known to those knowledgeable, but it was covered up as long as possible, until it is known to the outside world, outside the Great Wall of Silence.

People do not speak truth in the face of a repressive ruler. That makes the state look strong, but eventually be vulnerable.

There is a famous Chinese saying “上有政策 下有对策” which means “If there is a policy from above, there are counter-measures from below.” However fierce the government’s policy seems to be, people below dodge and escape silently, quickly undermining the effect of the policy.