The Conundrum of Southeast Asian Elite’s Fear of China’s Rise

SCMP says in its report “Trump ‘dents US reputation’ in Southeast Asia, leaves door open for China” yesterday that recent survey among Southeast Asian elite reflected widespread concerns among China’s Southeast Asian neighbours that US withdrawal from the region will leave the region entirely to China’s influence, which the report regards as China’s “increasing assertiveness.”

In fact, China has not increased its assertiveness. Instead, it is willing to share the resources in the South China Sea. It allows Philippine fishermen to resume fishing at Scarborough Shoal proves that. It prohibited their fishing due to former Philippine President Aquino’s attempt to ban Chinese fishing there. As soon as the Philippines has put an end to Aquino’s hostility and treated China as a friend, China willingly become Philippines’ friend.

People are used to regarding China’s construction of artificial islands as proof of China’s assertiveness but the construction was for national security against US aggression. To deal with contending claimants, Chinese navy is strong enough. Why shall China have spent billions of dollars for the construction?

If China had been assertive enough, it would have sent its troops to take the islands and reefs it claims but has been occupied by other claimants. China, however, refrains from doing so.

What then are Southeast Asian elite’s concerns? Their concerns are much more serious.

We all know overseas Chinese are very rich in Southeast Asian countries and even dominate some countries’ economy. To contain overseas Chinese, the governments there often persecuted overseas Chinese and even massacred them. Indonesian massacres and Malaysian massacre on May 13, 1969 were typical examples.

At that time, China was very weak while the US was very strong. Chinese government could do nothing to help overseas Chinese.

If the US remains strong enough to contain China, those elite can keep on persecuting or at least discriminating overseas Chinese while overseas Chinese dare not fight for a share in the politics there commensurate to their economic strength.

US withdrawal is due to its lack of strength to contend with China in the South China Sea. China now has great geographical advantages due to the three airports it has built on its artificial islands. That is why the US dared not to fight when China told it China would fight for its rights and interests in the South China Sea.

Therefore, US withdrew happened when Obama was the president. Trump is only realistic not to continue Obama’s stupid TPP and pivot to Asia. If China keeps on rising and the US, declining, there is no hope for US to recover its dominance in Southeast Asia no matter who is US president.

In the future with the support from their motherland overseas Chinese may rise up to fight against persecution and discrimination and for their political rights.

That is Southeast Asian elite’s greatest concern.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at


15 Comments on “The Conundrum of Southeast Asian Elite’s Fear of China’s Rise”

  1. Joseph says:

    Well, SCMP should learn to integrate the region on its reportings instead of being the mouthpiece of the American and the British. Otherwise it should move to London along with its brethrens, HSBC and Jardine. Hongkong is not that faraway from SE Asia, and South East Asians are not cannibals that Westerners like to potray in the Kingkong movies. While it was true that SE Asian leaders had been US and British proxies to prosecute SE Chinese, many have shed their American connections, some such as Indonesia, Thailand, and even American-beloved Phillipines, had rejected American coercions openly. If the SE Asian leaders wish to kick the American out, we should support them. It is naive to say that SE Asian countries are ‘safe’ for Chinese, but there is a huge chance for reconciliation today, for the first time in decades since the Westerners started to assertively make problems. We should remember that although there were problems between Chinese and the locals, there was never a violent conflict until a few decades ago when the West started to instigate it, and there were large numbers of locals, many of them Moslem, being prosecuted as well because they refused or against taking part in prosecuting the SE Asian Chinese. The 2012 SCS debacle could easily turn to be a very region-wide violent event mirroring 1960s anti-Chinese hostilities, but it turned out differently because the SE Asian leaders decided not to entertain the American wimps, except for Aquino, who is ironically a Chinese by ancestry. It shows that we need to engage the locals positive the way Chinese leaders engage ASEAN leaders. While we should not forget the genocides committed in the past, we should not grovel about it. Instead we should work to ensure that those genocides never to happen again, to safeguard anyone who tries to infiltrate our society, be it the American or Middle Eastern extremists. After all, we live alongside them. We cannot punish the whole community for the sins of the few, but we can still punish the mastermind, the American and its Western cronies. We should look the example of the German Jews in this matter. The Jews said that the Germans massacred them in holocaust. Yet they returned to Germany and thrived there, while they make it illegal for Germans to be anti-Jewish. In the same way, we should work together with the SE Asian leaders to achieve similar feats.


  2. Vincent Ang says:

    Mr Chan Kai Yee,

    The Malays in Malaysia supported by Malay soldiers massacred the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia starting on the May 13 1969 and not May 3 1969 as you have written


  3. Fugu says:

    SCMP is part of the CIA’s cabal of fake news and fear mongering propagators against China and Russia. Its key journalists and editors are all being paid by the CIA. Much like most of the news men in India and South East Asia. One is curious why the owners and the local intelligence agencies do not take any action against the CIA’s infiltration into the media industry all over the world? This observation goes back easily 60 years and more. Especially with Indian editors and journalists. And nowadays many NGOS helmed by Indians are funded by the CIA, USAid or Soros’s Endowment Fund for Democracy.


  4. corr says:

    the Indonesia massacre was orchestrated by the American CIA to stop communists, who stood in the way of Western capitalist imperialism.

    read Killing Hope C I Interventions II Updated


  5. Steve says:

    SCMP wrong to assume Trump dents US influence by withdrawal from the region. To save American face and US inability to challenge Uncle Han, President Trump has avoided Obama’s stupidity by withdrawing TPP and denied Harris from FONOPs within China’s islands of 12 nautical mile sea limit.

    South East Asian neighbours should seriously assert itself to enjoy China’s influence in trade, political, military and economic geography.. China’s national power and foreign policy is outstanding, it’s a win win relationship. With the US it’s gone with the wind, the scoundrels has lost it’s ‘hoodwinked gunboat diplomacy’ to start another Asian war.

    As for the South East Asian Elite’s concerns, it’s Hogwash.

    Briefly, religion plays a major part in several Southeast Asian countries for it’s massacre of Chinese out of ignorance and jealousy.

    Malaysia and Indonesia both islamic countries were responsible for the slaughter and massacre of Chinese during the manmade riot, an excuse to contain and scare the minority of Chinese. Historically, the Chinese immigrants were the economic backbone of both countries. These unruly threat of force was supported by the military and police. During that era, inter cultural marriages was unacceptable by the muslims with a non muslim (Chinese).

    Philippines can be categorised as the second group, but far more liberal than Malaysia and Indonesia. The Filipinos are generally Christians, willing to accept and respect other’s cultural opinions and religion. Intermarriages, relationships, commonality in education and acceptance are more open. President Duterte is a good example. Where else in Malaysia and Indonesia, the Malays kept to their own education, religion and culture. Today, Indonesia and Malaysia has changed and acceptable or have they.?

    The third category are predominantly buddhist nations like Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma. These countries are opened for business, cultural exchanges, education, inter faith especially being a buddhist nation. Unlike Islam and Christianity, true Buddhism do not bind one to the Buddhas and Gods. No separatism in these countries.

    It’s not too difficult to determine any form of racial abuse and persecution by which country.

    Also, it’s highly doubtful that China as the motherland will support any non Chinese citizens instigating violence in neighbouring countries. Chinese people converted to another nation’s citizenship is no longer a citizen of China. Invading another country is not in China’s DNA.


    • Vincent Ang says:

      The massacres were orchestrated by the Malays and Javanese. The killings were not done out of ignorance or jealousy because the Malays and Javanese are nothing but greedy bigots who sincerely believes that it is their right as Muslims to rob and kill the Chinese in the name their god ALLAH and their “child-loving” prophet.


      • Steve says:

        I do appreciate your correction, but I believe we are on the same page. Being greedy for others possession is ignorance, vice versa ignorance is supported by greed. Similarly, ignorance supports jealousy. Example, being jealous over other’s wealth is ignorance. And Jealousy itself is manifested from greed and vice versa..

        People including animals are born with the three karmas of Greed, Anger, & Delusion. Delusion itself is manifested from ignorance, arrogance and stupidity. True teaching from the buddha dharma. But, it all depends on the individual’s capacity. Some low some extreme.


      • Joseph says:

        Aren’t you a bit harsh? Not all Malays and Javanese are thinking that way. Only the misguided and uneducated ones, either by Western propaganda or by Western-sponsored Islamic militant, who now turns against its Western masters. You hate them, they hate you, we will never reconcile. Isn’t it what the Westerners want?


        • Vincent Ang says:

          It is true that many Malays or Javanese are not racist, Islamic supremacist. However, how many Malays or Javanese that we know of are against the oppression and persecution of the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia? Look at how they persecuted the governor of Jakarta on trumped up charges of blasphemy against Islam. In Malaysia, the Chinese are routinely harassed and beaten up over the slightest traffic issue with the latest one being in the city of Johor Bahru. The culprit behind these persecutions of the Chinese is an Islamic education which teaches that it is the right of Muslims to kick around the Chinese because the Chinese are greedy bastards who prey on the Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia. The worst part is there are millions upon millions of Muslims in these two countries who are more than happy to pay for the indoctrination of their children in Islamic schools to make them hate the Chinese.

          The Malays and Javanese are the ones killing and persecuting the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Chinese are invariably the victim of these pogroms. The Malays and Javanese hate the Chinese because their societies and religion teach them to do so. They do not care that their wealth is being shipped out of the country by the hundreds of billions to Singapore which is 75% ethnic Chinese in composition.They do not care that their best talents are running away from the country to Singapore. Good riddance to bad rubbish they say. Do the Chinese hate the Malays and Javanese for persecuting and killing them in the name of race and Islam? Of course they do but the hatred of the Chinese against these bigots can do no harm to the Malays or Javanese. They can only send their children to safety away from Malaysia or Indonesia and try to preserve their wealth by moving their money outside the country of their birth out of fear. This fear is real. This fear is not the result of Western propaganda.


          • Gon says:

            You are over exaggerating the racial situation. Much of the ghosts of Malaysia past has been exorcised even if you may not know it.

            The May 13th 1969 generation and before, are all into retirement mode or dead, and much of the population are now born after 1969.

            There has been much social changes and outlook amongst Malaysians since then. Most Malaysians are aware the political bigots are only a handful but they are useful morons for the erudite ruling class. Even the average young Malays are aware of this and actually do look at it in disdain which is why there are quite a number of Malay political parties now. Do not tar the Malays all as a monlithical whole. Like all societies and families, everyone may have a different viewpoint.

            What you do not appear to know is the insecurity felt by the Malay communities – the feeling of being overwhelmed by the non Malays who they think are more capable, especially in business and therefore capable of controlling the economy and thereby the country overall.
            Their affirmative action is meant to defend their hold over the country and also to give confidence to their young ones so to mould them into capable businessmen also. They are working to shed this “i-complex”.

            One cannot find too much fault in what they conceptually wish to achieve. The only problem is the “tribalness” to the extreme of “exclusivity” and that doesn’t help in nation building. And Islam doesn’t help too in this regard.

            But all said, they are aware it is basically mainly a situation of a politicial struggle by the ruling elite to maintain their existing power and the privileges and benefits accruing from being in the controlling chair. It’s all about power.
            Ultimately however, in the the matter of the future of Malaysia, it is a question of good leadership.

            When will Malaysia see a better leader stepping forth to tackle the real issues instead of just looking after their personal interests through politicking? Mr Anwar Ibrahim, like Mr Musa Hitam or even maybe Tengku Razaleigh, might had been better leaders for all Malaysians in terms of nation building. But save for all the corruption and murder scandal tainting him, Mr Najib Razak, like any aspiring political leader needs also to be given a chance to do well by the country.

            How far he has succeeded or not succeeded, remains for history and the peope to judge. But this one can venture to say – the leaderships of Malaysia to date has done better than the Philippines for the last 70 years. But can still be better.

            The last thing needed is extremism, from whichever side. Extremism comes from ignorance or lack of knowledge, and lack of knowledge comes from social isolation and inadequate reading and thinking.


            • Vincent Ang says:

              I am driving in my car and the road I am driving on is completely blocked by irresponsible Malay-Muslim motorists who have haphazardly parked their car all over the road just because of their Friday prayers. I sound my horn incessantly hoping that someone would come out to move the car in front of me out of the way as I am in a hurry. Luckily, it is not a medical emergency or someone may have died due to these irresponsible Malay-Muslims and that someone may even be a Malay Muslim. After these Malay-Muslims finish their prayers they come out and bash me and damage my car for having disturbed their prayers. How brave of these Malays when they have overwhelming numerical advantage. The police gets involved and matters are handed over to them. Then I am told by the Malay leaders and the Malay police that I should apologise to the Malay-Muslims who attacked me for having disturbed their prayers. Like I said earlier, luckily I was not faced with a medical emergency where the live/s of human being/s were at stake. Nothing happens to the Malays who attacked me. None are told to aoplogise to me for blocking my way. This incident actually took place in Johor Bahru a few weeks ago. This bullying and persecution of the Chinese Malaysians by the Malay Muslims in the name of their race and Islam is repeated tens of thousands of times in Malaysia every year. The Chinese Malaysians are nothing but third class citizens in the land of their birth.

              People like you should be warned that the advent of modern social media means that everyday the people of Cina Komunis are asking the Chinese Malaysians about how they are bullied as an ethnic and non-Muslim minority in Malaysia. Do you know what we tell the mainland Chinese when they ask us about investing in Malaysian real estate? We tell them to take a long hard look at the hundreds of videos on the internet showing how the Malay-Muslims bully the Chinese Malaysian before coming to a decision. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth millions of words.

              The Malays have been taught by the Ketuanan Melayu-Islam heroes since independence that the Chinese Malaysians are Komunis out to exterminate the Malay race and erase Islam from the face of the earth. Therefore, the Malays are justified in carrying out a pogrom against the Chinese in May 1969. It has become part and parcel of Malay society to threaten the Chinese Malaysians with massacre whenever the latter complain about being unfairly treated in Malaysia. Today, your inspiring Najib is grovelling in front of the very Cina Komunis who supported the terrorist Malayan Communist Party which killed thousands of Malayans/Malaysians from all ethnic groups. Perhaps you are too young to know that thousands of Chinese Malaysians were killed fighting the CPM. How did the Malay-Muslims reward the Chinese for their sacrifices? We are rewarded with Never Ending Persecution in the name of the Malay race and Islam.

              Today, your inspiring Najib is grovelling before the Cina Komunis begging for money. This son of Razak who got the Ketuanan Melayu-Islam ball rolling in 1969 is begging the Cina Komunis to save UMNO and PAS from ruin. Najib came back from his most recent bout of grovelling before the Cina Komunis in Beijing with nine non-binding MOU and no takers for his “valuable” TRX Tanah Melayu. Guess the Cina Komunis were not inspired with Najib’s grovelling. Perhaps, videos such as the one which showed a Malay-Muslim mob attacking a Chinese and his female friend was very “inspiring” for the Cina Komunis.

              By the way the MYR which today stuck at historical lows against the SGD and USD are the best indicator of how good your Malay-Muslims heroes are in running Malaysia. Kutus like you can like for the Ketuanan Melayu-Islam but the value of your currency does not lie.