THE NEXT TIME YOU HEAR A U.S. CITIZEN DENIGRATE ‘COMMUNIST’ CHINA…
…slap the taste out of his mouth. I say this not because I have some special love for China; neither do I say it because I have an affinity for ‘communism,’ whatever that is supposed to be these days. I advise you to take the aforementioned action in response to the previously vocalized sentiment because the latter will be a clear demonstration of actionable ignorance and stupidity.
My wife and I visited China in October of 2002, and I couldn’t help but note (even on our heavily sanitized, tourist-friendly tour) that Chinese political culture seems to be a lot less tolerant of open independence than Western culture, especially Western culture in a U.S. context. Though I haven’t yet seen a comprehensive study on this, it is my guess that the Communist Party in China didn’t wipe away the political culture of the old imperial dynasties so much as it reworked, strengthened, and centralized that culture. In other words, instead of an emperor lording over a massive, sometimes cumbersome feudal system, China has a powerful, centralized government managing the entire population with relative efficiency. In either case, the state reigned with impunity, and was not to be questioned. Of course, this is just my scarcely educated observation.
At any rate, a precise evaluation of the Chinese political panorama is not the point here. What I am aiming for is a rough sketch of how China manages itself politically. As evidenced by the massacre in Tiananmen Square some years ago, political dissent is not looked upon kindly in the land of the panda. The central government’s treatment of Tibet is another shining example of China’s official (and often brutal) disdain for nonconformity, as is the hovering threat of military action should Taiwan even joke about being officially independent from the mainland.
We know the Clinton administration, which never saw a ‘free trade’ agreement that it didn’t like, issued a stinging rebuke to China’s awful human rights record by granting the ostensibly communist state Most-Favored-Nation trade status. The Bush administration has claimed the moral high ground (don’t laugh, I’m warming up to something) since then, claiming, since 9/11, that the open-ended ‘war’ against tyranny, oppression, and terror takes precedence over everything else. So how have the Bushies responded to China’s often brutal repression of dissent? Have they stood up for freedom and democracy, or have they picked up the Clinton-era baton of craven pandering to financial interests? How is this great champion of freedom and liberty– Merrka, that is– responding to a vulnerable minority toiling under the yoke of the communist menace?
Ted Rall has some idea:
Selling Out the Uyghurs
Why 8,000,000 People You’ve Never Heard Of Hate Us