Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Gall of China

Today, likely because they are feeling the heat of uprisings in the Middle East, the Chinese government announced they would never adopt multi-party democracy or reforms that would threaten the rule of the Communist Party.

Now, to be sure, Communism in China is different than your Marxist-Leninist variety found or previously found in Eastern Europe, Cuba and various other anti-democratic shitholes. The Chinese actually encourage profit-making and enterprise. Their "Communism" is more just a dictatorship over the people for the benefit of the ruling elite without driving people into increased poverty.

But, for the future prosperity of the western world, it's all one and the same. An aggressive China, whose government rules with an iron fist and operates without regard for civilized behaviour, is no better than the old Soviet Union was.

To whit:

The Chinese government props up the worst regimes on the planet - Zimbabwe, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, etc.
The Chinese have zero respect for copyright law or anything else that gets in the way of making money.
The Chinese subjugate their own people and try to spread their influence by over-running and persecuting their neighbours (see Mongolia)
The Chinese artificially deflate the value of their currency so they can keep their exports cheap at the expense of western business interests and workers.
Chinese products, sold in the west, are often shoddy if not downright dangerous.
The Chinese repeatedly block western interests at the UN, refusing to even consider such simple acts as a no-fly zone in Libya which might save thousands of lives.

The list is pretty much endless.

And, yet, we seem to endlessly want to increase our standing with China without calling on its government to do anything in return.


There are democratic nations that can offer us the same products as China. Sure, countries like India, Bangladesh, Mexico, the Philippines and Indonesia aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but they are democracies and they are emerging economies. They do not reflexively act in a way that is contrary to our way of life at every turn. They are not hegemonistic, are not controlled by governments that oversee every facet of life and, for the most part, are actually anxious to be in good standing with the western world.

Were I President Obama (and thank God, I am not) or any candidate considering a run for office in 2012 - Democrat or Republican - I would put making China accountable for its actions at the very top of my foreign policy platform.

If we take nothing else from what's happening in the Middle East today, we need to take this to heart: propping up dictatorships in the interest of "trade" is an untenable position. Eventually, the citizenry under the heels of those dictators get it in their heads to do something about it. And, that leaves us in the position of damaging our trade relations or watching as people are gunned down in the streets for wanting the same things we already enjoy.

Better to take the moral high ground now and refuse to prop up those governments. And, there is no better nation on Earth to start this with today than China. It's unethical and irresponsible for us to feed the Chinese government - Wal-Mart, quite frankly, can go fuck itself.

I now make it a habit when shopping to avoid Chinese manufactured products whenever I can. A shirt from somewhere else might cost me a few more bucks but as long as I can afford to pay the extra, I will.

As for the Chinese government's claim that it will never change: well, to this day no Communist government has made it to its 75th birthday. The Chinese are now in their 62nd year suffering under a Communist dictatorship. Time is running out and we should help hasten the downfall in any way we can, particularly economically, because, in the end, other solutions will prove far less palatable.


Catherine said...

I don't always remember to check before I make a purchase, but if I happen to notice something was made in China before I buy it, I don't buy it.

southfield_2001 said...

It's hard not to buy stuff made in China and I'm not perfect about it, either, but I do try.

Very little of the clothing I buy now is made there. Unfortunately with some stuff, China seems to be the sole producer.