After a century of submission under foreign powers, China is winning back its old glory, and its influence in the region and the world, writes Howard French, author of Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power at the New York Times.
At an ocean research center on Hainan Island off China’s southern coast, officials routinely usher visitors into a darkened screening room to watch a lavishly produced People’s Liberation Army video about China’s ambitions to reassert itself as a great maritime power.
As enormous, new naval vessels plow through high seas, a deep male voice intones: “China’s oceanic and overseas interests are developing rapidly. Our land is vast, but we will not yield a single inch to foreigners.”
The 2015 video is one of many signs that China is seeking to emulate the United States’ 19th-century policy of taking exclusive control of security in the Western Hemisphere by excluding foreign powers from the region. Without officially saying so, China hopes to impose a modern version of the Monroe Doctrine on its surrounding oceans.
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