This is potentially very useful for my study as the Americans dissect and perceive the China threat. Discussed in a congress hearing in 2000 (yes it's from a while again, but pertinent, no less), the Americans have the benefit of Dr. Michael Pillsbury's wisdom in understanding two critical phrases in the Chinese political lexicon - 稻光养晦 (Tao Guang Yang Hui) which I have covered repeatedly in my rants, and (Bu Chu Tou), literally not sticking your head out. Have a read of this masterful art of discernment which I quite wholeheartedly agree with. Also, note the para in italics that basically sums it all up - stirring your enemy, in the face, is an extremely silly strategy that the Chinese are highly unlikely to pursue.
For further reading, also check out 'The Chinese Way' in the Indian Defence Review.
CHINA'S STRATEGIC INTENTIONS AND GOALS
HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Source - http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/security/has173000.000/has173000_0.htm
Date of Access - 05 August 2009
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS | SECOND SESSION
JUNE 21, 2000
STATEMENT OF DR. MICHAEL PILLSBURY, VISITING SENIOR FELLOW, INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY
Dr. PILLSBURY. Thank you, Chairman Spence and members of the Committee, for this invitation to testify on the subject of China's strategic intentions and goals.
My testimony today is going to be drawn from these two long, thick, heavy books published by the National Defense University, which collects 600 quotations from more than 200 Chinese military authors. I am even going to try to teach you some Chinese expressions the Chinese government itself uses to address the topic of the hearing today: What China's Strategy and Intentions Are.
I think many of you have been to Beijing. You know that there are many toasts to friendship between the United States and China. They will talk about moving toward partnership. One of the Chinese expressions is just three words. It is worth learning sometime. You might want to say it. It is ''bu chu tou.'' It means ''don't stick your head up,'' and Deng Xiaoping said this after the Soviet Union collapsed and a lot of other Communist Chinese leaders said to him, we are now number one of the Communist parties in the world. We need to assume world leadership of the Communist movement now that the Soviets are collapsed and are gone. This is China's destiny. And he said, ''bu chu tou.'' the meaning is, let's not get out in front, let's not draw the attention of the chief hegemon of the world who brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is, the United States.
A second expression that Deng Xiaoping drew from almost 3,000 years ago, ''tao guang yang hui.'' There is no way to translate it into English. It means to put your brightness in your quiver behind your back and then to nourish your capabilities secretly. The official Chinese translation is ''bide our time and build up our capabilities.''
Here, too, the notion is don't attract attention from the Americans.
A young Chinese scholar put this in a rather fascinating article a few years ago when he said about China's long-term strategic intentions, he said, our big dangerous period is not the present time. China will face its true dangerous decade from 2020 to 2030. I know Americans think next quarter, next year, what is going to happen; thinking ahead 20 years sounds pretty presumptious. The author said by 2020 the Americans are going to catch on with the idea that China is surpassing America's economy. We will be bigger than the Americans in our world economic power and other measures of power as well, but by then we here in China will not be ready yet for what the Americans will try to do to us. And what is that to do? To dismember China and break up China and try to contain China. It is an interesting concept. We need to keep the Americans, you might say, happy and not perceiving a challenge and especially not a threat from China.
If I had to nominate for you the most important priority that the Chinese have for their long-term strategic intentions, it is not to provoke a reaction to China's economic growth or the growth in Chinese power, and they have many ways of doing this. And actually it is in some ways a benign intention. We might say the same thing about ourselves.