Korea should get ready to tough it out
China often acts like a spoiled child, doing whatever it takes to get what it wants.
Korea's decision to deploy U.S. interceptors targeting North Korean missiles has Beijing resorting to this pattern of misbehavior. China's Global Times, a member of its official media family, called for the boycott of Lotte products. Lotte gave its golf course for the site of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.
Beijing's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, suggested on its social media that diplomatic ties with Korea should be scaled back.
The Lotte case is just the latest in a series of harassments by China, preceded by measures to reduce Korea-bound tourists and a clampdown on K-pop imports.
This state-sponsored backlash against a chosen target is typical for China.
During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong marshaled hundreds of thousands of "Red Guards" to weed out his political rivals and get the nation back under his control. Millions of Chinese died, the entire nation turned into re-education gulags and society was upended.
Toward the end of Qing Dynasty at the start of the 20th century, rebellious Boxers arose, encouraged by Empress Dowager Cixi. Foreigners were trapped in Beijing under siege by the Boxers and the Chinese imperial army for 55 days. The city was "liberated" by foreign expeditionary forces, signaling the end of the last Chinese dynasty and bringing foreign imperial powers in to take pieces of the Middle Kingdom.
What these two historic events and the latest Korean bashing have in common are the presence of incompetent leaders that pander to the population's nationalistic sentiments.
The current leader, Xi Jinping wants to defy the communist party's succession regulation and extend his one-man rule despite an economy that is no longer growing fast enough to divert China from its one-party dictatorship with its usual travesty of failures and flaws.
Xi has proved to be a pathological liar, considering, for example, earlier this year he stated during the Davos World Economic Forum that he was a believer in globalization and economic fair play. The Lotte case is one provable case against this.
All told, it is a tall order for China to grow up and match its behavior with its growing power. True, Korea and the rest of the world should continue to try to keep this world's second largest power on its toes and become a responsible member of the global community. Meanwhile, we Koreans should tough it out and respond to Chinese provocations with a cool head _ finding ways to reduce Lotte's losses, reducing our reliance on China for exports and bringing unity to our political voice, until China sees reason.