China’s apparent military aggression and propaganda campaign is not for the world, it is for the Chinese people. From the recent media storm of reports one is guided to believe that China is poised to execute a devastating invasion of the United States within the internet friendly time of five minutes and fifty two seconds. That is, at least according to recent and poorly produced video released by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CCPPD).

The computer generated imagery (CGI) video is laden with such a poor graphics quality that [Video] Game Informer has yet to review the title. Yet the high viewing audience and China external reviews has likely led to the promotion of a few propaganda officers.  The release of this outlandish video happens to coincide with massive Chinese economic woes, and the recent explosions at chemical plants in Shandong Province which has resulted in 161 deaths to date.

Propaganda is such a common place activity in China that it’s news media calls on its Propaganda Teams to increase internet monitoring. China has had an extended love affair with propaganda since officially adopting Communism in 1949. The uses of signage from city to village with such Orwellian slogans such as “Long live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” has been a staple in modern Chinese culture. The natural progression in to multimedia and video is not at all shocking. One can simply thank the internet for insight into the practices of Chinese propaganda.

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Long live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Image courtesy of RetroGraphik

Questionable propaganda based videos from China are no stranger to freak-out reporting. The August, 2015 release of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) recruitment video resulted in more over analysis of a region often misinterpreted and hawked for ratings-share. The video is such as farfetched on Chinese military capabilities and even goes as far as naming a portion of the video “Call of Duty” from which one assumes is clearly a video game reference. A reference which is nothing more than marketing sleight-of-hand  meant to leverage interest towards Chinese young adults; the target audience for the video. The video while ripe for ridicule is of course no more ridiculous that the United States Marine Corps recruiting video, in which a Marine engages a CGI dragon with a sword in some kind of arena. There also a really bad Maze and Chess themed USMC videos around the same time period. In similar freak-out reporting logic, we must assume that the Marines were set to attack Comic-Con or become Dungeon Masters.

The Chinese aggressive expansionist theory is often speculated upon. China’s ambitions are habitually deliberate and steadfast, as see in its island building project in the South China Sea. Some have speculated that the island building campaign coupled with propaganda campaigns, and the Sino-Russian Alliance is setting the parameter for a Pacific Theater Cold War aimed at realigning the security theme of the Pacific with the Chinese leading and America behind. Yet the island building threat and lack of physical aggression sans a few fighter incidents can be also be historically compared to China’s brick and mortar established self.

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Controversial Chinese development at Hughes Reef in the Union Banks, located in the northern Spratly Islands. Image courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald

China it not known to build for the sake of art, but for the sake of defense, for instance the Great Wall was not constructed for aesthetic appeal, but as obstacle to deter invasion. The fortress known as the Forbidden City was created by the Ming Dynasty as a defensive structure to resist the Mongols, is a fortress, replete with moats, turrets, and a labyrinthine inner structure. The people of Southern Hakka created massive structures which encircled their villages, meant to disrupt an attacking force. This is a building style in defense which is an emulated theme seen throughout many traditional Chinese residences which focused on security. The private obstacle belt is seen in modern China. Massive walls accented with barbed and razor wire in a common architectural choice in home defense, while apartment dwellers rely on heavy double gated doors of individual units are double-gated.

The Chinese have culturally opted to run the defense, opting for protection as seen in the ancient Great Wall of the modern Great Firewall of China. Past offensive Chinese operations have been internally perceived as the protection of their sacred borders such as the invasions of Tibet and Vietnam or as an independent Taiwan would be invaded. China has in their own cultural lens has been as a unifier and as seen in their United Nations voting history, opposed to aggressive military actions and often abstains from many global issues.

China’s alleged rising it in fact subsiding, President of China and Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping has recently stated that troop levels to be reduced by 300,000 by 2017 and that China will “not seek [global] hegemony”. China has also recently suffered a 1929 level market crash of which the economic and budgetary repercussions are yet to be established. One must also remember that China’s largest strategic ally is Russia, and Russia is also economically faltering as the value of Russian Rubble continues to plummet.  Russia and China are continuing a downward trend. China has been suffering sluggish economic growth, while Russia’s economy has been deteriorating, even before the recent sanctions.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, right. Image courtesy of Bloomberg.

Given China’s relatively young economy based on communist politic, and introvert based diplomacy. China is likely to shift on to more domestic obligations, such as its aging population in crisis, growing class and generational divisions, corruption and a sluggish market. These combining factors are leading the Chinese economy away from its copy, past and produce global economy and are developing innovation and the development of its internal structures.

Despite the video and other Chinese propaganda, the likelihood of China even getting to Hawaii and seizing is farfetched.  China’s Military Power Report is numerically deceiving.  The striking 1,321 fighters of China are also lopsidedly obsolete, only 502 are modern, deploying variants of the Russian SU-27 and 206 J-10; the residual 819 variants for the 1960s and 1970s. China’s navy is growing with newly produced destroyers and frigates although its flagship and first aircraft carrier Liaoning is a 1980’s U.S.S.R. rebuild and has half the capabilities of an American Nimitz class carrier.   Of the 7,580 main battle tanks only 450 of those tanks are modern Type 98A and Type 99; leaving China with 7,130 Soviet T-55 variants.

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CV-16, LIAONING Chinese PLAN Aircraft CArrier. Image courtesy of World-Wide Aircraft Carriers.

The Chinese would also have to make is past an ongoing Pacific strategic partnership of America, Australia and Japan. Australia is further expanding its strategic and tactical relationships with the United States. Australia has authorized the construction of a new U.S. F-35 base near Darwin. The base is set to for tactical air and counteroffensive operations; and a projected 72 F-35s.  Not to mention the Pacific Fleet and plethora of military installations positioned across the Pacific.

Yes, China like any other nation has defensive and strategic ambitions. The does not meant that China will invade the United States of America. Unless they want us to repay all that $1271.2 billion dollars we owe them.  There is indeed a very serious Pacific Theater threat from China and Russia, but it is important that we don’t get caught up in semantics or base our tactical assessments on poorly crafted propaganda cartoon shorts.