Democracy In China: What It Will Take

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's amazing what China gets away with. Thousands of Tibetans are still missing, presumably in concentration camps. Christians have joined the list of minorities who have their organs harvested in Chinese prisons. China's spies computer-hack anyone who so much as polishes a US Government doorknob. Peasant uprisings over government unjustice are brutally suppressed. But we don't hear about it.

Is it because Americans don't care? Or is it a media cover-up? Both. China holds the majority of our skyrocketing debt and the American elite enjoy outsourcing to Chinese sweatshops. We've got a good little thing going: China gives us cheap plastic toys and we give them lots of money. Nevermind the nuclear submarine and space technology they've stolen, or their poisoned fish that end up on our dinner plates. It's easy to cover these things up when the American people think these foreign events have no effect on us.

But of course these things effect us. There's no doubt China is a rising star even as we are falling. Their malevolent words and actions have proven they would love to see us crushed. Anyone paying attention knows we are no ally. What will the same communist country that slaughters anyone who preaches democracy do when it has risen to the top?

We should intently look at those persecuted champions of freedom of speech and religion inside China. These people are the key to our problem with China. It isn't coincidence that the founder of China's New Democracy Party was finally locked away for a seemingly paltry offense: criticizing China's internet firewalls. This “great wall of China” blocks billions of people from free information. If the common Chinese citizen could freely access information, find out about the Tianenman Square massacre, about the massive government corruption, about what democratic countries really are, if they could freely converse with people around the globe, imagine how empowering this would be. People are controlled by removing their freedoms of speech and religion, but this is impossible if they have freedom of information. Victor Hugo declared, “The printing press will destroy the church.” New technological means for communication have been the means of shrugging off the dictator throughout history.

So why not hack China? They've already given us an excuse to. They wouldn't dare react harshly, for if our economy gets a cough they get a cold. Indeed Beijing's stock market is worth less than half what it was preceding the Olympics. We have Al Gore who invented the internet; how hard would it be to crack the great wall? Which brings us back to my first point: American public's apathetic attitude and corporate America's complicity. How do we crack that? Boycott Walmart?

Tariffs on imports would go a long way, but the simple solution, before we go about emancipating China, is to emancipate ourselves. Are we really so knowledgeable? Are we so democratic? Do we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech?



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