China Shows that Money Does Not Necessarily Lead to Peace
Towards the end of March of this year, delegations from the People's Republic of China and the U.S. Dept. of State convened in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss various issues related to trade between the two countries. Although the press described the meetings as contentious, the Chinese opening remarks expressed what they called "common values." They stated, "Our values are the same as the common values of humanity. Those are: peace, development, fairness, justice, freedom and democracy."
Many would not agree. Although the Chinese claim to be for peace, warships and the building of new Chinese ports in the South China Sea are aggressive actions threatening the independence and security of Taiwan and the Philippines. Further, their assertion of political hegemony over Hong Kong is not only an egregious imposition on the people living in Hong Kong, but a violation of the terms of the agreement made with the United Kingdom when the British gave up control over that territory. That agreement stated that the Chinese would not take over political control until the late 2040s at the earliest.
Presumably, every country wants to better itself economically, so each puts the idea of development forward as a common value. However, theft of intellectual property is commonplace in the PRC. Copyrights and international laws with respect to patents are consistently ignored. Further, it is well known that bribery is commonplace for doing business and for all sectors of the country.
The Chinese claimed that they, like all countries, want to be fair and just. First of all, how can a country be fair or just when the people don't elect its government? Daniel Bell, writing in the Atlantic in 2015, noted, "The government doesn't even make a pretense of holding national elections and punishes those who openly call for multiparty rule. The press is heavily censored and the Internet is blocked." An unelected and self-perpetuating class of leaders under what the communists call "the dictatorship of the proletariat" is inherently unjust.
The communist government certainly claims to represent the people, yet in reality, it is an entrenched evil coven of power-mad "leaders" who claim to inherit the mantle of the "Great Revolution" led by Mao. It is a one-party system, and the struggle for power takes place in what we in the West would see as "smoke-filled backroom deals." Secondly, the rule of law does not obtain. There is no constitution with any clause like our 14th Amendment, which guarantees due process. Thus, prisoners can have their body parts harvested for sale on international markets, and their kin have no basis for appeal. Chinese bogus fairness is not identified with worldwide notions of fairness largely drawn, insofar as a country even claims to be fair, from Western Protestant, individualistic, and legal ideals that do not obtain in the PRC.
The Chinese said in their remarks in Anchorage that they have their idea of democracy and we have our idea of democracy. Here they sound a bit like Nikita Khrushchev when he spoke in favor of "peaceful coexistence." It is an old, out-of-date communist song. The Chinese system is not in accord with anything that can remotely be called democracy. They are shamelessly authoritarian. They tell couples how many children they may have (five years ago, they raised their one-child policy to two, and recently that policy was raised to three). They persecute dissident Christian and Muslim (Uighur) religionists.
This meeting is one of a long chain of meetings intended to foster cooperation between the PRC and the USA, which meetings stretch back to President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic in 1972. Although he met at that time with their legendary revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong, "normalization of relations with China was not fully achieved until 1979, when Jimmy Carter and China's new leader Deng Xiaoping reached an agreement including, as an essential component, that the United States would fulfill its promise to cut off recognition of Taiwan." At that point, the communist identity of the Beijing regime became diluted in the American context. After 1979, the PRC was referred to as "China" and not as "Communist China."
Shortly after that recognition, Chinese premier Deng began establishing various "empowerment zones" in China. Those zones invited foreign investment and became centers for multinational businesses to access Chinese markets. During the next twenty years, the Chinese economy exploded as companies came in to access Chinese markets and to hire Chinese companies and labor to produce goods for world consumption.
By the year 2000, the USA under President Bill Clinton was ready to take the next step and welcome Communist China, without the word "Communist," into the World Trade Organization network governed by WTO rules of trade, conferring upon it Most Favored Nation status.
Pres. Clinton put an idealistic spin on his support for China's entry into the WTO. He said at that time, "By joining the WTO, China is not simply agreeing to import more of our products; it is agreeing to import one of democracy's most cherished values, economic freedom." However, the administration of Pres. Donald J. Trump believed that this admission of the PRC was a colossal mistake that cost the USA millions of job losses and a huge and ever-burgeoning trade deficit with China.
President Clinton, in addition to affirming the economic benefits of introducing more open markets into China, believed that this increased economic freedom would eventually lead to a more free or liberal political landscape there. For this writer, his assumption is most questionable. For the USA, it has not been economics that led to our ideas of rights and liberty. Rather, the ideas of liberty and rights were the source of our economic growth.
Self-governance rooted in local politics and individual fulfillment has driven our economic growth and freedoms. Our perceived need for regulation of the railroads and big corporations at the turn of the 20th century was because their "success" was impairing our freedoms. So Pres. Clinton's deepest assumption that economic growth will drive a society in the direction of freedom is not supported by the American experience.
Further, China's membership in the WTO was not only to benefit multinationals but was a giant step toward a global economy and the establishment of a world government. The U.N.'s Agenda 2030 now exists to take the WTO — combined with various so-called sustainability issues related to global climate change and resources — into the beginnings of a global governing structure.
We now understand that Pres. Clinton's support for the PRC's membership in the WTO was at best naïve and over-simplified and at worst a manipulation on behalf of one-world government advocates working behind the scenes. The tensions that now exist between the PRC and the USA, both in the Trump administration and now with Biden's appointees, show that the economic opportunities offered to the PRC over recent decades were unduly optimistic.
Image via Max Pixel.
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