Active Defense Means Attack for Defense. The strategists of active defense regard attack as the best way of defense.
Lowyinstitute.org’s article “China’s counteroffensive in the war of ideas” on February 24, 2020 shows US strategists’ entire ignorance of China’s strategy.
China’s latest Defense White Paper makes it very clear that China’s strategy is active defense but the article still regards “anti-access, area denial” as China’s military strategy and believes that China’s offensives in the war of ideas are counteroffensives that mirror “its ‘anti-access, area denial’ military strategy”.
China held two South-South Human Rights Forums in 2017 and 2019 not for counteroffensives but for spreading the human rights it advocates among the vast number of developing countries. The Beijing Declaration approved by the participants of the 2017 forum regards the rights to subsistence and development as basic human rights different to the human rights system advocated by the West.
To advocate its one-party system, China held high-level dialogue between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and political parties from around the world from November 30 to December 3, 2017.
SCMP says in its report about the dialogue that according to Xinhua, the meeting was attended by representatives from over 300 overseas political groups mostly from Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa, but the Republican Party in the US and Russian ruling party United Russia also sent representatives.
Xi said in his speech to the dialogue, “We do not import foreign models, and we do not export the China model, either,” and “We will not require other countries to copy what we do.”
Xinhua says in its report, “Many speakers attributed China’s success to the choice of a path based on its own characteristics and praised its standing of ‘not exporting the Chinese model.’”
That implies that China provides an example of choosing the way of development based on a country’s own characteristics instead of importing other countries’ ways, which clearly means negation of importing Western democracy.
In addition, Xi said the Chinese Communist Party would step up communications with overseas political groups and enable 15,000 of their members to visit China for inter-party exchanges in the coming five years.
China will certainly incur lots of costs in providing accommodation, travel and other treatments to the 15,000 members of overseas political groups to convince them that Western democracy is not their only choice.
The above shows that China is making offensive instead of counteroffensive in conducting its active defense—Attack is the best way of defense.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on lowyinstitute.org’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/china-s-counteroffensive-war-ideas.