China has been a longtime supporter of the Venezuelan socialist government that has had an iron grip on the country for several decades. Beijing has lent billions of dollars to Venezuela over the past 10 years in an “oil-for-loan” program. With Venezuela in the grip of a revolution where the current socialist regime is facing huge protests from the public, China is worried that not only will democracy be installed in the Latin American nation, but that its own country might see a similar revolution against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Supporting an oppressive socialist regime
“China’s involvement in Venezuela stems from President Xi Jinping’s plan to extend Chinese influence internationally. In the wake of China’s global ambitions, it has taken advantage of a collapsed, cash-strapped Venezuela to sign one-sided financial agreements. Inspired by state-dominated economic systems, both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro welcomed China’s financial support,” according to CSIS.
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More than 50 percent of all money lent by China to Latin America has gone to Venezuela. Being rich in oil, Venezuela represents a profitable investment for China. As the current Venezuelan President Delcy Rodríguez said: “Venezuela has all the oil China needs.” The South American nation has also been an enthusiastic participant of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Venezuelan President Maduro had signed 28 Belt and Road agreements with China in September 2018. Some of the deals give Chinese companies the right to explore and extract resources like gold and natural gas.
Buoyed by Chinese loans and support, the Maduro regime continued with its corrupt practices and has led the country into destruction, where the people are unable to afford proper food or find a decent paying job. Out of desperation, the public has started to protest against the Maduro regime and given full support to the self-appointed interim President Juan Guaidó, who seeks to make his country a democracy. The U.S. has declared support for Guaidó and so have many of the Latin American countries.
The development has spread unease in Beijing. Though China continues to support Maduro, the possibility that Guaidó might eventually obtain power, establish a democracy in Venezuela, and start distancing his country from Chinese involvement is problematic for the Asian nation. The long-term investments and agreements it has made in Venezuela may end up nullified under the new government. Public perception in Latin America can also turn against China for having supported the oppressive Maduro regime. But above all, Beijing is worried that the Venezuelan revolution might end up affecting domestic trends.
On January 23, 2019, more than 100,000 Venezuelans flocked the streets of Caracas and chanted “Maduro, step down.” It was dubbed as Venezuela’s “Color Revolution” by the media.
“Color Revolution, also known as Flower Revolution, refers to a series of political movements that began in Central Asia and CIS countries in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, all of which intended to overthrow authoritarian and tyrannical regimes through non-violence. Participants embraced liberal democracy and universal values; they hoped to resist the rulers through non-violent means and bring political change. They often used a special color or flower as a symbol of their movement,” according to The Epoch Times.
The reason why the CCP is having nightmares about the Color Revolution is simple: It has to do with a superstition surrounding the number “9” in the current year 2019. Historically, China has gone through some terrible events during the years that ended with this number. In 1989, it was the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In 1999, it was the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. In 2009, it was the suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
This is 2019. The fact that there is growing discontent among the Chinese public against the government is not a secret. Many officials in the Chinese regime see the Venezuelan Color Revolution at the start of this year as an omen that something similar might soon happen in their backyard.