Ludwig von Gress
Naturally, no one would dare to call it provocation, especially not Australia (Aodaliya in Chinese), which has about 30 tanks, 30 fighter planes and two submarines* to protect the whole Potong hua (the large island in Chinese).
It is likely that the first ever aircraft carrier for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will enter service on or before 1st October this year, to mark the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the Communist China. It will then reach carrier parity with Russia, which is operating the sister ship Kuznetsov. The name of the Chinese naval pride has not been announced yet.
I was misinformed when I wrote on 24th October last year that : “The powers-that-be in the People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) decided, perhaps also tongue-in-cheek, to call the strictly defence ship SHI LANG. Shi Lang was not a comrade of Mao during the Long March, or a supplier of nubile dancers to his Marxist Majesty, but an Admiral of Manchu Fleet, sometime earlier. Born in 1621, a year after the Battle of the White Mountain, he served under both Ming and Qing dynasties and in 1681 he defeated the Kingdom of Tungning, based, (surprise, surprise) on Formosa/Taiwan. He is still remembered in Taiwan as a cruel conqueror and governor.” [Fog of Chaos – Floating casino named Shi Lang]
Since the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Navy ships’ classes are named after Chinese localities, i.e. provinces, municipalities and regions, and the actual ship is distinguished simply by a number painted on its hull. This is very likely to change, as maoist reforms are being abandoned by the rice paddies. For about a year now China has been surreptitiously changing insignia on military uniforms and equipment from “PLA”, “PLA Navy” and “PLA Air Force” to “China Army”, “China Navy” and “China Air Force”.
Mr Jens Kastner wrote in Asia Times : “Last year, … rumours persisted that Beijing intended to rename the Varyag after the Ming general Shi Lang, who defected to the Qing after they had conquered all of China but Taiwan. Under the Qing flag, Shi Lang in 1683 led an amphibious operation with 300 warships and 20,000 troops against Taiwan, eventually enforcing Qing rule upon the island. There, at least according to some Taiwanese accounts, he proceeded to extort enormous monetary resources for his own profit. – – -
In the run-up to the once-in-a-decade transition of power in Beijing this autumn, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership is being domestically criticised as weak in the country’s sovereignty disputes with its neighbours, particularly with arch-rival Japan, and a notion is emerging that the carrier’s nomenclature could kill two birds with one stone. According to this school of thought, favoured by some nationalist Chinese military brass, the original Russian name “Varyag” should be replaced with “Diaoyu dao” (Fishing Islands), which is how the Chinese call the Senkakus, (the Japanes term), a group of islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan and claimed by China and Taiwan. Thet were the scene of recent high-profile stand-offs between pro-China activists and the Japanese coast guard.” – – -
The debate, and the rumours are rather puzzling. Naming the ship Shi Lang would not please the Taiwan Chinese too much, but since they have been the subject of aggressive threats and vile propaganda from their Communist brothers on the mainland for decades now, they would be unlikely to take much notice. Similarly, the Japanese know they are dealing with a country akin to a petulant, overweight and autistic child and treat it accordingly. Some experts are suggesting that the name game is all about domestic politics. As it is becoming harder and harder for millionaires to out-communist each other, they have to be more Chinese Chinese. Of course, what at the October congress the terracotta apparatchiks will wish is one thing and what the increasingly assertive military will actually do is another.
After all, the aircraft carrier would not be needed for “liberation” of Taiwan, and would be totally unsuitable for fishing at Fishing Islands. However, calling the ship Aodaliya would confirm the China’s historic claim and reassure Australian politicians that they elected the right side.
*/ RAN surface ships are slowly but surely converted to “humanitarian” purposes and illegal immigrants escort service // Andrew Bolt – The nation’s biggest defence project, the $8 billion construction of three air warfare destroyers, will be delayed by at least another year because of savage cuts to the defence budget and critical shortages in skills and manpower…
The delay in the destroyers further undercuts plans to strengthen Australia’s naval strength at a time when China’s is using its navy to assert territorial claims in the region. It is also another nail in the coffin of the Rudd government’s failed 2009 defence white paper, with budget cuts now threatening either to cancel or to slow the delivery of major defence projects across the board.
The revised AWD schedule means that the navy will now not receive the third and final destroyer, HMAS Sydney, until 2019, two years later than originally planned./