Monday, May 23, 2005

Bloggers Battle Oppression in China

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof presents a fascinating profile of a Chinese blogger, one of an estimated four-million in that country, who are battling the repression of that oppressed country.

Writes Kristof:

So where is China going? I think the Internet is hastening China along the same path that South Korea, Chile and especially Taiwan pioneered. In each place, a booming economy nurtured a middle class, rising education, increased international contact and a growing squeamishness about torturing dissidents.

President Hu has fulminated in private speeches that foreign "hostile forces" are trying to change China. Yup, count me in - anybody who loves China as I do would be hostile to an empty Mao suit like Mr. Hu. But it's the Chinese leadership itself that is digging the Communist Party's grave, by giving the Chinese people broadband.

I hope that Kristof is right. But until Mr. Hu renounces his Mao-in-a-Western-Suit approach to governance and Communism dies in China, they threaten, as all despots and despotic regimes in history have, to export their despotism economically and militarily. Containing the Chinese regime must be the highest foreign policy priority of the US government because it is the greatest threat to the US and the world, both economically and militarily.

UPDATE: Both Glenn Reynolds and Tim Worstall have links to Kristof's column. Thanks to Glenn for linking here.


Mr. G said...

That China is the danger is simply wrong. Islam is subverting democracy and quashing free speach all over the world. People are afraid to speak up. People are afraid to criticise them. Look at what happened in Netherlands. They shot and killed a man who made a movie about them. Let Michal Moore try making a movie about them that is critical of what they are doing. He probably does not have the courage. He knows he will die as a result of it.

China is not this dangerous.

These people are already in your country. They are preaching your overthrow in the mosques and schools. And you don't see it. Our journalists are afraid to expose it for whatever reason. Don't want to offend? More likely they think of these preachers as personally dangerous to them so it is best to avoid the issue.

We discuss this constantly at European Review

Mark Daniels said...

I of course, recognize the danger presented by radical Islamists. Who could fail to do so after September 11?

But the Chinese government continues to menace Taiwan, oppress its own people, build its military alarmingly, quell independent religious expression, imprison dissidents, applaud the regime in North Korea, cozy up to the very countries who are now America's fiercest enemies, and move to subordinate the US economy to itself.

Over the long haul, the current Chinese regime, unless changed peacefully from within, represents the greatest long-term threat to US and global economic and military security.

Serf said...

The most scary thing is that having unofficially ditched communism, the Communists need Nationalism to survive.

Combined with their strong inteventionist state, I make that National Socialism.

Anonymous said...

China is allied with extremist Islam. China gave nukes to Pakistan, and missiles to North Korea, and arranged for Pakistan and North Korea to trade technologies. China was behind Pakistan's nuclear proliferation to Iran, Syria, and Lybia, with the goal of creating nuclear-armed terror-sponsoring enemies of the U.S.

The Islamist terrorists are merely pawns, available to be manipulated by the great powers who sponsor and use them. China can easily obtain an Islamic proxy to manage the terrorists if they choose.

Mark Daniels said...

While I wouldn't necessarily say that terrorist groups are pawns of powers like China, I do agree that they can be bought off and that the Chinese government is intent on doing so. Your litany of Chinese government alliances with terrorist groups and with enemies of stability and peace in the world is right on the money.

Thanks for stopping by and for your informed comments.

These facts are, it seems, not fully appreciated in Washington or other world capitals.

Anonymous said...

Different types of threats in almost every sense. One is a violent serial killer at loose in the neighborhood, the other is a brutal economic rival, a Walmart with missiles.

The Islamists represent a near-term, asymmetrical, global danger. China's a long-term, conventional, primarily regional threat.

The Islamists have utterly no economic significance and offer no serious ideology or rival political model for the rest of the world. China is by far the most important economic player after us, and their political model - authoritarian state capitalism with little transparency and a heavy dose of corruption - has great appeal to develop-, er, emerging market nations from Peru to Venezuela to Angola to Egypt to Indonesia.

Anonymous said...

One interesting thing about China has to do with it's self imposed societal constraints. In an effort to control the population, they limit the number of children a family might have. Most all of the families chose to raise boys in the belief that they will be more capable of supporting the family at an older age than girls will. If they give birth to a girl, they relinquish care to the state (and the girls are available for adoption), and try again for a boy. So they are raising a generation almost devoid of females. Strange things can happen in a society such as this where there are few females to temper the males. It will be interesting to see what happens to the country as their population grows...

Anonymous said...

Good point. Hard to see how they can avoid becoming the world's Angry Young Man when they have so many angry young men.

Anonymous said...

About the imbalance of the sex in China... China's one child policy has forced the parents to choose to favor boys, perpetuating a very old custom, not even the government can control. The result of which, I had predicted 20 years ago, will be as follows but not necessarily in this order:
1. eventual shut down of orphanages to the outside world. The more adoptable (prettier) girls will be hand-picked and supported exclusively by wealthy Chinese families to be finished/ educated and made ready for their sons;
2. eventual rewards for legitimate or illegitimate female births
3. recycling of widows and divorcees;
4. importation of Chinese overseas
women (which is happening now)
5. implementing professional surrogates to produce females for the country (This is where science can help guarentee perfect Chinese citizens and China is capable of this kind of R&D)

Our Chinese sister city's orphanage is a supplier of babies to the main orphanage of their province, who, in turn is a major supplier to Beijing or Wuhan.Interestingly, only 32% are adoptable. 78% are either physically/mentally handicapped, or diseased (from AIDS and other forms of STDs). Increased babies born with STDs are getting in the way of this lucrative export business. If China does not acknowledge they have an AIDS problem and fix this problem, they won't have enough healthy females from the orphanages to supply their domestic needs.

The price of a female girl from a legitimate family will be very high.
(Most of my Chinese cousins and I gave birth to girls from 1976-1988. Lucky them. I live in the US so mine don't count.) The dowries for these girls will be quite substantial. This reminds me of how females were bought and sold and families merged as recent as 100 years ago. In fact, this practice may still be going on outside of China! It seems that nothing has changed in the end and China will have come full circle. The Chinese customs are stronger and more enduring than any political government.

And what will happen to those adoptees who are now living in the USA? They are the luckiest Chinese girls in the world. They will be loved (and spoiled) and enjoy the benefits of being an American citizen. The term "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is quite fitting in this case.

Mark Daniels said...

Thank you for your chilling and informative comments. I assume that the second figure you cite is 68%; otherwise, things don't add up.

So, do you agree with me that the Chinese government, especially in light of its connections with radical Islamists, is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world today?

Thanks to all who dropped by and left comments here.


Anonymous said...

Ooops! That 78% was correct. So the balance is 22%.

I think China has a superiority complex stemming from a super inferiority complex. They are behind the super powers in "modernization." At the same time they know that 1/3 of the world population is Chinese (over seas included) and that swells their ego. By racial connection, I think they think that the world will pay homage to them because they out number the rest of the world! This is a very racist point of view.

Is China a threat to world peace? I think China likes to make deals that benefit them, in the guise of frienship. I don't think the Chinese government are pro Islam. They work "with someone" to be "against" the other party. I personally have experienced these so called friendships and I see (with American eyes) that most Chinese people use friends for selfish gains. Many sold their parents to save their asses during the Cultural Revolution.

Guanxi is a way to blackmail people to collect favors owed from the past. So, everyone wakes up every day knowing what their place is in society; among their peers; their family members; and at work. They keep a clear mental tab of who owes whom what. The big question is "when" to pay back. That is up to the creditor. And that is "guanxi" in a nutshell. China is building "guanxi" so that it can later on "collect" the debts owed to them when they need it at their convenience.

From birth, their sense of right and wrong are frought with "exceptions." They grew up learning that there are exceptions to every rule.

I think the problems the Chinese government will face will be sociological, which will impact and impede on their ability to sustain this image of a power player in the world. There is a growing need for religion, an answer to "why do I exist." The government cannot answer this basic question. Yet they won't allow the people to freely practice religion without feeling threatened.

I think there will be another "revolution" which will start in the universities (again) and perhaps by the underground religious group. They will prbably be aided (or catapulted) by the internet; overseas help (special interest groups or foreign government undercover work); and probably the Triad. There will be ways to cap China's power by stirring trouble domestically.

Regardless of how the politics play out in China, what ever dynasty comes after the Communist Party, I believe that the Chinese traditional customs will remain strong, crossing all physical and political boundaries, and remain as China's achille's (sp?)heel.

I don't hate China. But I have a synical view about China because I have been closely in touch with family; local and provincial government because of my sister city involvement; and business. I am not only bilingual, I am also bi cultural. I see more than what most people see. I am anxiously waiting and watching how this one child policy impacts the country; how messes are unfolding (yet not resolved such as avian flu, SARS, and AIDS) and am curious how my extended families and their decendants will survive it all.

Mark Daniels said...

Beth: Thank you for your interesting and thought-provoking comment! I'm going to be re-reading it a lot, I think.