Brief history: communists under Mao Zedong consolidate control of China by 1952. The surviving nationalists retreat to Taiwan and set up shop there as a separate country. At the same time, China was fighting on the side of communist North Korea against the United States/United Nations.
Israel recognized the People’s Republic in 1950; China did not reciprocate until 1992. In 1964, China was tilting heavily in favor of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Tilting is too weak a description. Communist China was the PLO’s greatest supporter outside the Middle East, according to captured files Haaretz’s Shaina Oppenheimer wrote about last August.
A few paragraphs out of Oppenheimer’s long and fascinating story drive the point home of how pivotal communist China was to the PLO and to fomenting chaos around the world.
(Historian Lillian Craig) Harris suggested that the aid provided was an overlooked point in history in which China — unlike other “half-hearted” nations such as the Soviet Union — consistently advised the Palestinians and truly invested in their revolutionary cause.
In the late ’60s, the attention given by the Chinese to the Palestinian struggle was the most significant of any nation other than neighboring Arab states.
As relations with the PLO were cemented, Beijing also began cultivating national liberation movements as part of a local, strategic front against imperialism, aiming to revolutionize both China and neighboring countries. Communist parties influenced by Chairman Mao Zedong began to emerge in Malaysia, Vietnam, India and, most notably, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Vietnam…the Khmer Rouge… The Khmer Rouge alone killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians in the 1960s and 1970s, making China responsible for murders by the millions beyond the estimated 65 million of its own people Mao’s communists murdered during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Add North Korea into that too. China enables that regime.
Why did China support the Palestinians?
In March 1965, Mao famously told a PLO delegation: “Imperialism is afraid of China and of the Arabs. Israel and Formosa [Taiwan] are bases of imperialism in Asia. You are the front gate of the great continent, and we are the rear. They created Israel for you, and Formosa for us. … The West does not like us, and we must understand this fact. The Arab battle against the West is the battle against Israel. So boycott Europe and America, O Arabs!”
Mao spun up quite the conspiracy theory there. Given the fact that Israel’s founding is rooted deeply in the Holocaust, what was Mao’s position on that atrocity? What is China’s position on it today?
Let’s flashback to February, the most recent time China used the Holocaust as a weapon — against Israel.
Israel last week also announced a similar ban against foreigners who have been to China, and got much more than just words of disappointment. China’s acting ambassador to Israel Dai Yuming said during a briefing yesterday in Tel Aviv, “Millions of Jewish were killed, and many, many Jewish were refused when they tried to seek assistance from other countries. Only very, very few countries opened their door, and among them is China,” according to Australian broadcaster SBS. He also blamed the rapid border restrictions on “fake news,” according to Israeli news website Ynet.
Aside: Read the rest of that article to see an early example of China relying on the World Health Organization — which it has corrupted — to argue against border shutdowns. Those shutdowns went on to be enacted worldwide, and they probably saved many lives.
China doesn’t care about that.
Wind the Palestinian files out a bit further, and it’s not out of bounds to wonder whether modern Islamic terrorism would exist at all without the early and strong ideological and material support Mao’s China lent the PLO. The Palestinian cause is consistently the first or second reason jihadists give for why they fight.
Is China funding or supporting any of them now?