The Economist has a damn fine article pointing out that nobody really believes in The Peaceful Rise:

Why are China’s neighbours not always susceptible to its charms? Of course, any rapidly emerging big power is unsettling. Like America, China can still display a penchant for unilateralism that undermines all its careful diplomacy. As it overtakes America as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, its cavalier disregard of the global environment will become an ever-bigger issue in its foreign relations. More traditional fears also unsettle China’s neighbours. This month China’s annual budget called for another big increase (of nearly 18%) in military spending. Most analysts believe the published budget is understated—in which case, why trumpet such a big number? And why, without warning, blow up a satellite in space, as a Chinese missile did in January?

A perception therefore persists that China’s goodwill extends only so far as its interests are not affected. In its dispute with India, for example, it is the status quo power: it is happy with the present arrangements, so what has it to lose by talking for ever? In one crucial respect, however, it is far from a status quo power: its historically dubious and morally untenable claim on Taiwan. This is one big reason, other than merely acting the big-power part, for the military build-up, and could one day bring war with the real superpower.

A much better Taiwan policy is available to China. The “one country, two systems” formula promised to Hong Kong in 1997, which mirrored that offered to the Dalai Lama’s Tibet in 1951, was aimed in large measure at the more important goal to China of coaxing Taiwan back into the “motherland”. But China has sabotaged its own strategy. Like the long history of repression in Tibet, the farcical “re-election” on March 25th of Hong Kong’s British-trained, Chinese-adopted chief executive, Donald Tsang, by a committee dominated by China’s placemen shows how little China cares to lend substance to its promises of autonomy and democracy—even though Mr Tsang would probably have won a real election anyway.

Giving Hong Kongers the freedoms they have demanded, and talking to the Dalai Lama about the future of his homeland, would do more to impress China’s neighbours than a decade’s worth of state visits and free-trade agreements. Yet China will not yield on either front, sternly warning critics against infringing on its internal affairs.

Yup. The status of democracy in Hong Kong shows that everything China says is hollow, and provides much grist for the DPP mills. Anyone can see that “one country-two systems” means that “our system is our system, and your system is our system.”