THE WORLD FROM.Beijing China Seeks to Stengthen Ties with Remaining Communist States Even as It Looks to West for Economic Aid

Article excerpt

A CHINESE proverb best describes the predicament of Beijing in world affairs: "If you are rich, you speak the truth; if you are poor, your words are but lies."

China, the most conspicuous mendicant among communist countries, seeks to regain some of the riches in aid, investment, and diplomatic influence it enjoyed in the last decade.

Beijing squandered much of its diplomatic fortune with the crackdown on pro-democracy dissent starting in June 1989. Since then, much of its remaining foreign policy capital crumbled in the widespread crash of communism.

Quintessentially pragmatic, China's leadership cloaks its socialist ideals and aspirations as it solicits business, aid, and diplomatic favor from its capitalist benefactors.

The foreign policy of disguise means there are two ways China's leadership views the world.

Publicly, China has promoted its open-door policy in hopes that wealthy foreign countries will help pull it toward prosperity.

From this perspective, China has declared it respects the political will of peoples overseas, and it recognized the new popular governments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

In internal documents, however, China's leadership has predicted that people from countries within the defunct East Bloc will someday struggle to restore socialism. Beijing also lambastes Messrs. Yeltsin and Gorbachev for betraying communism, according to Chinese sources.

This reveals a deeper world view for the hard-line leadership in Beijing, which says China faces capitalist conspirators determined to overthrow socialism and entangle poor countries in a new world order of colonialism. The sound of this alarmist argument often rings in media harangues against the West's alleged campaign to promote "peaceful evolution," or goad China toward democracy and capitalism. …

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