Our friend Professor Robert (Bob) Ching chatted with ChatGPT about Geopolitics. Chat-GPT is an AI Chatbot developed by Open AI. The chatbot has a language-based model that the developer has fine-tuned for human interaction in a conversational manner. Effectively it’s a simulated chatbot primarily designed for customer service; people use it for various other purposes as well.
The following is Bob’s conversation with ChatGPT regarding China and its geopolitics. First of all Bob asked Chat-GPT to translate a Chinese paragraph into English, then he asked a series of questions using that translation paragraph as the premise. The answers from this AI tool are astounding. It is eerily accurate, unperturbed, devoid of drama and accusation, and matter-of-fact.
Take a look for yourselves.
Q: Please translate: “自鸦片战争以来，在统治我国两千年的地主阶级、疯狂侵略并控制我国经济命脉的国外侵略者、以及地主阶级与国外侵略者联合扶植的买办资产阶级的三重压迫下，中华民族陷入了空前严重的民族危机，中国人民面临空前严重的灾难。带领中华民族摆脱“三座大山”的压迫、建立独立完整的工业体系和现代国防设备体系，是当时中国各民族爱国者的共同理想。
A: Since the Opium War, the Chinese nation has been under the triple oppression of the landlord class that had ruled the country for two thousand years, foreign aggressors who have invaded and controlled China’s economic lifeline, and the comprador bourgeoisie which is supported by the landlord class and foreign aggressors. This has led to an unprecedented national crisis and the Chinese people have faced unprecedented disasters. The common ideal of all Chinese patriots at that time was to lead the Chinese nation in overcoming the “three great mountains”, establishing an independent and complete industrial system, and building a modern national defense system.
Q; Is this still ongoing in china?
A: The historical context described in the statement is no longer applicable to China today. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government has taken steps to address the issues of foreign aggression and the exploitation of the Chinese people by the ruling class. Through the socialist revolution and economic development, China has made significant progress in industrialization, modernization, and improving the living standards of its people. Today, China faces different challenges and priorities. While the Chinese government continues to prioritize economic development and national defense, it has also placed greater emphasis on social welfare and environmental protection. China has also become more active in international affairs, promoting cooperation and peaceful development with other countries. However, it is worth noting that there are still challenges and issues that China faces, such as economic inequality, regional disparities, and ethnic tensions. The Chinese government is working to address these issues through various policies and initiatives.
Q: Why then do western nations and japan see China as a threat?
A: There are multiple reasons why some Western nations and Japan view China as a threat. Some of these reasons include:
- Economic competition: China’s rapid economic development has made it a global economic power, and it has become a significant trading partner for many countries. This economic growth has led to concerns about China’s growing influence in the global economy and its impact on the economic interests of other countries.
- Political differences: China’s political system, which is based on a one-party state and restricted freedoms of speech and the press, is seen as incompatible with the values of many Western nations and Japan. Some countries view China’s government as authoritarian and aggressive, which has led to concerns about China’s geopolitical ambitions.
- Territorial disputes: China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its ongoing disputes with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands have heightened tensions and raised concerns about China’s military expansion in the region.
- Human rights concerns: There are ongoing concerns about China’s human rights record, including its treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, its crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and its restriction of freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly.
It’s important to note that while some countries view China as a threat, others see China as a partner and an opportunity for cooperation. China has also emphasized its commitment to peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind, which suggests that it is open to working collaboratively with other countries.
Q: What is there in Chinese history or culture to support “its commitment to peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind”?
A: China’s history and culture have several elements that support its commitment to peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind. Some of these elements include:
- Confucianism: Confucianism is a philosophy that has shaped Chinese society and culture for over two thousand years. It emphasizes the importance of social harmony, mutual respect, and benevolent governance. Confucianism’s emphasis on harmony and cooperation has influenced China’s foreign policy, which emphasizes peaceful development, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and mutual benefit.
- Non-interference: China’s foreign policy is guided by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. This principle stems from China’s own experience of being subjected to foreign interference and domination in the past. China seeks to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and opposes the use of force or coercion in international relations.
- Peaceful coexistence: China has a long history of peaceful coexistence with its neighbors and has sought to resolve disputes through diplomatic means. China’s foreign policy emphasizes the importance of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit in its relations with other countries.
- Tribute system: In China’s imperial era, the tribute system was used as a way to manage relations with neighboring states. Under this system, other countries were allowed to trade with China in exchange for acknowledging China’s superiority and paying tribute. While the tribute system is no longer in use, it reflects China’s long history of peaceful engagement with its neighbors.
Q: Why is this line of argument not gaining traction in the west?
A: There are many factors that contribute to why this line of argument may not be gaining traction in the West. One reason is that there are different perceptions and interpretations of China’s actions and intentions. Some Western governments and media outlets may view China’s actions as expansionist or aggressive, while China may see them as defensive or necessary for its own security and development. This divergence in perception can lead to misunderstandings and mistrust.
Another reason may be the historical and cultural differences between China and the West. Western political values such as democracy, individual freedom, and human rights may not align with China’s political system and cultural values, leading to differences in opinions and priorities. Additionally, there may be ideological and geopolitical competition between China and the West, which can lead to a more confrontational approach.
Furthermore, there may be media bias or misinformation that shapes public opinion and influences policymakers. Negative coverage of China’s actions or policies in Western media can contribute to a negative perception of China and its intentions.
Overall, the reasons why this line of argument is not gaining traction in the West are complex and multifaceted, and they involve a combination of political, cultural, and media factors.
Q: Please expand on the cultural factors
A: Cultural factors can play an important role in shaping perceptions and attitudes towards China in the West. China has a long and rich cultural history, which can be difficult for people in the West to fully understand and appreciate. Additionally, cultural differences in communication styles, values, and social norms can create misunderstandings and misperceptions.
For example, China’s emphasis on harmony and collective well-being may be perceived as authoritarian or conformist by people in the West, who place a greater value on individualism and personal freedom. China’s political system, which is based on Confucian principles of hierarchy and order, may be seen as undemocratic or oppressive by those who prioritize Western-style democracy.
Moreover, the media portrayal of China in the West often reinforces negative stereotypes and biases, such as the idea that China is a monolithic society with a single authoritarian leader who exercises complete control over the population. This portrayal ignores the diversity and complexity of Chinese society and culture, and can lead to a distorted understanding of China’s motivations and actions.
Overall, cultural factors can contribute to misunderstandings and misperceptions of China in the West, and can make it difficult to build mutual trust and understanding between the two sides. To overcome these challenges, it is important for people in the West to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and seek to better understand China’s cultural and historical context.
Q: Would China’s “commitment to peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind”, if pursued and attained, a first time in history event?
A: The idea of a peaceful and cooperative international community is not a new concept in human history. Throughout history, many civilizations have promoted peaceful cooperation and mutual benefit among nations. For example, the ancient Silk Road, which connected China with Central Asia and Europe, was a significant vehicle for cultural and economic exchange and cooperation.
However, the idea of a “community with a shared future for mankind” as articulated by China’s leaders is a relatively new concept in the context of modern international relations. This concept emphasizes a shared destiny and interdependence among nations and peoples, with a focus on building a more equal and just international order. It is different from traditional great power politics, which often emphasize power and competition.
If China’s commitment to peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind is pursued and attained, it would be a significant achievement in the history of international relations. It would represent a shift away from the traditional power politics that have dominated international relations for centuries towards a more cooperative and peaceful global order.
Q: Thank you for your help.
A: You’re welcome! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.