Language is important, both in war and diplomacy

Recently secret Chinese documents have been released in the media showing how the Muslim minority Uighurs are locked up in mass detention centers and “systematically laundered” by the population. Peking’s violent reaction to Hong Kong pro-democracy protests revived dreadful remembering of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

O’Brien describes China as a “near-peer” rival, quite antiseptically not as an adversary. However, there were points during the briefing, when O’Brien was strongly opposed–even pessimistic–to his explanation of the high-tech imprisonment and re-education of up to 1,000 Uigurs.

O’Brien spoke about whether western Europe had allowed the Soviet Union to construct railways at the height of the Cold War in their countries given the controversy about the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s entry into Western 5 G wireless networks.

In the record, Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan was not ready to portray China as an enemy— but he was resolutely mushy when asked how we should portray it. There was widespread confusion in Halifax about whether the West has reached the threshold of a new Cold War.

The United States Commander Admiral, Phillip Davidson, would not describe the current moment as the “new Cold War,” but cautioned that when it crosses international borders, the West must always be prepared to “take out” China.

Some argue some of those lines have already been crossed — by the illegal arrest of Uighurs–which China tries to justify by saying that it is battling Islamic extremism–and by its South China Sea artificial islands plan, which an International Court in Hague rejected.

The former British top diplomat and consultant of the former UK, Lady Pauline Neville-Jones. Premier David Cameron, said China is planning to turn into an “unqualified” high-tech nation. Beijing has said it’s willing to spend real money to achieve that goal, by supplying world-class post-secondary institutions for the next generation of Chinese engineers in western countries.

China’s rapid rise as a trading powerhouse and the high-tech nation has misrepresented American legislators like Senator Jim Risch, head of the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, saying it has largely been’ under the radar’ over the last 20 years.