Re-evaluating China is long overdue
It started with Nixon in 1972, opening up harmonious diplomatic relations with China, including a reduction of trade restrictions. Then, since President Reagan, the strategy was to integrate China into the liberal international order and, it was to be hoped, instill with economic development a desire for more political freedom.
Instead, China became an aggressive autocracy ruthlessly suppressing dissent, starting in 1989. The rising middle class, which was the theoretical bastion of political freedom, was easily suppressed with the rise of the internet — which the Chinese apparatus used to censor and surveil. China became richer but not freer.
The Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations never really publicly strongly spoke against the absence of human rights in China, a definite ideological threat to the West. Today, just as worrisome is the ideological censorship enabled by Western international tech companies, which is an internal threat even here, with China now a successful censoring example.
International banks and corporations were all too eager to invest in China, hoping for great profits from a billion customers. Little did they fear that the Chinese demanded over 50% ownership of every foreign economic enterprise in China and knowledge of all the manufacturing details. China then went on to burst the greedy capitalist bubble with knock-off products and the theft of intellectual property, thus gaining an unfair competitive advantage for Chinese companies over American ones, which produced the same products at lower cost. The Chinese steal vital information that they can't get legally and then use it to compete unfairly in the marketplace by subsidizing key industries if deemed necessary for strategic purposes in the long duration.
Many American industries were decimated by the unfair competition in the name of world free trade, and many lost their jobs. It is only the Trump administration that has tried to retaliate against this injustice with tariffs as an initial weapon. China has never played fair economically, such as refusing to have its companies audited by the Securities and Exchange Commission rules that other companies must comply with. China has become a strategic threat by trying to control or monopolize the raw materials and manufacture of vital military and electrical grid products.
Human rights are fast becoming important with the crackdown on Hong Kong and maybe eventually Taiwan. The Chinese-controlled World Health Organization, led by a Marxist proxy stooge, refused to accept early truthful warnings about the contagiousness of COVID-19 from Taiwan, whom China does not recognize as an independent country, with China insisting that other countries holding relationships with the Taiwanese also not recognize that nation. Furthermore, China's lack of transparency about COVID-19 and its hoarding of medical supplies are a perfect example of the real fact that China can't be trusted, will not tell the truth, and will suppress it and even lie if truth is not in the interest of the Chinese Communist Party and its goals.
The Chinese virus took down the U.S. economy almost overnight, and China's reputation as a ruthless economic imperialist bent on international domination is now becoming more widely known and recoiled from with disgust by some. Yes, it will take time to decouple from Chinese goods and the Confucius institutes in our universities, but decouple to some extent we must.
Hopefully, the capitalist love affair with China will eventually be over or at least severely limited. This re-evaluation of China is long overdue.
Image credit: Pixabay public domain