Will the Two Nobel Laureates Meet? Or Will Communist China Continue to Call the Shots?
We bemoan our economic dependence on China, just like we bemoan our over-dependence on corrupt regimes for oil, but when it comes to doing anything about either, the conventional beltway wisdom is to maintain the status quo at all costs. This commentary caught my eye:
It was with dismay that I read last week’s article, “Chinese to fund $1.5 billion W. Texas wind farm.”
The United States already produces next to nothing, our trade deficit is obscene, and now we are borrowing money from the Chinese to produce our energy with wind turbines manufactured in China.
So much for energy independence.
Our food and goods are primarily produced in Latin America and China while China has virtually taken over the ports of Latin America, through which the United States receives these imports. The largest port in the U.S. is now effectively under the control of the People’s Republic of China and China has control of the Panama Canal and Freeport, Bahamas, two vital sea gates through which resources must travel into the U.S.
Meanwhile, we have lost high-paying jobs for Americans to the slave-labor work force in China, creating maximum profits for international corporations.
The greatest concentration of U.S. oil refineries, terminals and storage facilities is in the Gulf of Mexico region, which means that much of the oil must pass through the Caribbean, a route now significantly controlled by China. China is also establishing a huge deep-water port in Gwadar, Pakistan, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.
Tensions over Middle East oil will continue to mount in the years to come as the U.S., Europe, Southeast Asia and China compete for this vital resource. China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. national debt, will have a distinct advantage over the United States in this competition, having greater bidding power for oil and other resources.
In addition to this burgeoning geopolitical presence, China also has the largest army in the world, at 200 million, two-thirds of the entire U.S. population. But its stated weapon of choice is economic. A treatise was published in 1999 by two colonels of the China’s People’s Liberation Army titled “Unrestricted Warfare,” which contains instructions on how to defeat a militarily superior enemy using unconventional means.
Two of the primary means illustrated in the book are economic warfare and international law.
Just last week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon argued that a “global governance structure” must be levied to ensure that nations collaborate on how resources are deployed and managed and urged world leaders toward the accomplishment of three key points: curbing emissions, investing in green growth and establishing a supranational structure to oversee resources.
While the push for global governance continues to escalate, the Chinese are definitely winning at economic warfare as well, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging yet stronger ties and a “deeper and broader relationship” with China, and she has recently stated that in order to boost our economy it is necessary that the U.S. incur more debt with China.
Already our debt to China has surpassed $1 trillion and the collateralization of U.S. resources has begun in earnest. Therefore, we are not only totally dependent upon China for many of the goods we require, but should China reduce its holdings of U.S. treasury notes, the dollar will plummet further, resulting in more cries for federal bailouts.
With no other country leveraged or willing enough to come to the rescue, a majority of Americans will find themselves bewildered that they can no longer afford, much less produce, even the bare necessities.
We should also not forget that human rights violations in China are systemic and widespread. More people are executed in China each year than all other nations in the world combined. This does not include forced abortions and infanticide, which involves causalities in the millions each year.
There are 68 crimes punishable by death including tax evasion, financial forgery, speculation, credit card fraud, contraband of counterfeit money, attempt to split the state, participation in secret associations with subversive goals, reproduction of telephone codes for profit, hooliganism, hunting protected species, violating quarantine, revelation of state secrets via the Internet, bootlegging and drug dealing.
Of course, the Chinese dictatorship itself is guilty of practically every crime on the list, but if citizens are caught they will either face the firing squad or a high-tech mobile death van, where their organs can be speedily extracted and sold on the black market.
Not only do the geopolitical maneuvers performed by our political “leaders” on the deceptively polarized left and right timelessly defy reason and insult the intellect, but “politics as usual” has become utterly devoid of any underlying ethic with regard to the value of humanity, community, liberty or sustainability.
Even our municipalities are gradually following the political trends and functioning not as representative governments, but as corporate enterprises, which traditionally operate at the expense of individuals and communities.
Wind farms are lauded as “green,” but if we choose to look beyond the propaganda into the tangled web of corporate-government interdependence, they are not truly sustainable.
We need to awaken and respond to the reality that China is strategically positioning itself while our governing bodies are pandering between the people of the U.S. and the Chinese superstate. How far into this hole will we dig before we cease to acquiesce?
And then my friend Still4Hill sent me this, against her better judgment because she knew how I would react (and she was right):
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s first visit to Asia, China floated a potentially provocative comparison, likening serfdom in Tibet to slavery in the U.S. – an apparent attempt to gain support for its policies in the Himalayan region.
Invoking Obama’s African heritage and Civil War president Abraham Lincoln, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday that Obama should be more sympathetic to its contention it has brought development and prosperity to Tibet since 1959.
Asked about a possible meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, Qin said the U.S. president should recognize the exiled Tibetan leader – a Nobel Peace Prize winner – as the former head of a slave state.
“In 1959, China abolished the feudal serf system just as President Lincoln freed the black slaves. So we hope President Obama more than any other foreign state leader can have a better understanding on China’s position on opposing the Dalai’s splitting activities,” Qin told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.
Many Tibetans reject such arguments, saying Tibet was an independent state when Chinese communist troops entered in 1950. They also say that while Tibetan peasants were required to work on feudal estates, they enjoyed considerable freedoms and were not slaves.
The Dalai Lama, who leads a self-declared government-in-exile in India, says he seeks only a high level of autonomy for Tibet within the constitutional framework of the People’s Republic of China – something he terms “the Middle Way.”
Responding to Qin’s comments, Dalai Lama spokesman Tenzin Taklha called them “the usual accusations.
“China continues to accuse His Holiness of wanting to split the motherland. But His Holiness has been very clear in his position,” Tenzin Taklha said.
“The whole world knows that the Dalai Lama is not seeking a separation. These are all baseless accusations,” he said.
Chinese officials, including former President Jiang Zemin, have invoked Lincoln before, but usually in the context of unification with Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory.
Qin’s apparently unscripted remarks were the first known instance of using Lincoln in reference to Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
China routinely excoriates the revered Buddhist figure as a scourge on his people and says his ultimate goal is to overthrow Chinese rule and restore the former feudal theocracy.
Beijing often protests his travel abroad and his meetings with heads of state. This week, the spiritual leader visited a region of India near the Tibetan border, drawing a sharp rebuke from China.
You’ve got to hand it to China, they have a flare for the dramatic with a bit of brass balls nerve thrown in. Actually, their argument is so twisted and ridiculous it would be laughable were it not for the fact that they are continuing the ethnic cleansing of the Tibetan people and their culture as we speak.
And of course, the two above articles are related- we’ve painted ourselves into a corner to such a degree with hardly think anything of the President of the United States being threatened by another world power- and a COMMUNIST one at that. Just like we think nothing of pushing human rights onto the back burner, as if China’s horrendous human rights abuses were at all separable from their/our economics. But why have all our jobs gone overseas? Well, a lot of reasons but China’s cheap, slave labor, lack of business, environmental and safety regulations make it an attractive, albeit unethical and immoral, place to do business.
We speak out against repression in Burma and Cuba but we are awfully quiet about the large-scale repression on the party of China. How can anyone take our foreign policy seriously when it comes to human rights if we take a stand only when there is no political risk in doing so?
So, will he or won’t he? Will President Obama cave to the Chinese once more about meeting with the Dalai Lama? Will the Secretary of State? Will China be able to tell the leader of the free world who he can and can’t meet with? Remember, both the Dalai Lama and President Obama are winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. One of them has already lived up to responsibility that comes with that honor. The question is, will the other one?
Web censorship in China:
In China, Google is forced to censor its search engine, Facebook and Twitter are blocked, U.S. news agencies are barred from selling their services freely, and foreign investment in the media industry is closely watched. Yet when President Obama visits the country in a few days, it’s unknown if he will publicly pressure the Chinese government on issues of censorship or free expression.
The president yesterday defended his position on these issues, saying, “We believe in the values of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, that are not just core American values but we believe are universal values.”
This is a critical time for him to speak up because China appears to be increasing its efforts to censor Internet content, while also cracking down on journalists and bloggers. At the same time, the Obama administration has been sending mixed signals on democracy and human rights to China. For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted the 20th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, and called on the Chinese government to “provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal.” But she also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China by congratulating the Party for its “truly historic accomplishment” of “lifting millions of people out of poverty.”
Meanwhile, Yang Zili, a young engineer who spent eight years in prison, recently urged President Obama to intercede on behalf of two colleagues still being held in custody. Their offense? Creating a website.
It’s true that gratuitous criticism towards China rarely produces results; but excessive restraint is also ineffective. Human right issues cannot be raised only in private, which is why it’s important to review some of China’s recent abuses of freedom of expression, and its renewed efforts at online censorship.
Cyber-Dissidents in Jail
Beginning around 2003, the Internet started emerging as a major tool for exposing corruption and abuse of power, and for putting pressure on China’s central and provincial governments. Today, China has the largest population of Internet users on the planet. It also has 58 cyber-dissidents in jail. In terms of press freedom, China is ranked 168th in Reporters Without Borders’ 2009 World Press Freedom Index, out of 175 countries.
In Xinjiang, Chinese authorities launched a crackdown that includes blocking many forms of Internet communication. The region’s Internet has been reduced to an intranet that prevents Uyghurs from providing the outside world with detailed information about their situation.
In October, Reporters Without Borders surveyed the level of access provided to websites dedicated to the Uyghur community. These sites, operated by Uyghurs for Uyghurs, are for the most part inaccessible to Internet users based in Xinjiang, and those abroad. More than 85 percent of the surveyed sites were blocked, censored or otherwise unreachable.
On Oct. 1, 2009, Hailaite Niyazi, an Uyghur journalist and the former editor of the Uighurbiz website, was arrested. His family was told three days later that he was suspected of “endangering national security.” His arrest appears to have been prompted by an interview he gave about the Xinjiang regional government’s attitude towards recent riots. (In the past, authorities have accused Uighurbiz of “encouraging violence” in Xinjiang.)
In Tibet, there have been ongoing arrests and trials of journalists, bloggers and Internet users since March 2008. Three young Tibetans from the village of Dara have been held in jail since early October, when they were arrested for allegedly sending information about Tibet to contacts outside of the country.
Erecting Dams on the Internet
Silencing dissidents is only one part of China’s censorship strategy. Last summer, the Chinese government introduced “Green Dam,” new piece of filtering software. Chinese officials claim it’s designed to protect children from pornographic content online. However, a study of Green Dam by the OpenNet Initiative showed that its key-word filtering was not very effective for porn, yet it was very good at blocking political, cultural and news websites, among other targets.
More recently, Internet service providers in the southern province of Guangdong have been installing a new type of filtering software called Landun (which translates to “Blue Shield” or “Blue Dam”). It’s even more powerful than its problematic predecessor. According to an article in the Hong-Kong based Apple Daily, Chinese network providers were given until September 13 to install Blue Shield and avoid being sanctioned. Blue Shield is said to be more powerful than Green Dam and its installation is obligatory, not optional, as the authorities had reportedly promised. It is intended to provide stronger protection against porn sites and to increase the monitoring and filtering capabilities of Internet connections.
Congress has taken notice of China’s stepped-up efforts to control the web. In June, Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) introduced a resolution “expressing grave concerns about the sweeping censorship, privacy, and cyber-security implications of China’s Green Dam filtering software, and urging U.S. high-tech companies to promote the Internet as a tool for transparency, freedom of expression, and citizen empowerment around the world.”
Chinese Censorship: Made in the USA?
American firms are also involved in Chinese censorship. Cisco Systems helped build the entire Chinese Internet infrastructure, including the mechanisms to censor the web. Yahoo aided the Chinese government in jailing four dissidents by giving their personal data to Chinese authorities. Speaking to shareholders at the Yahoo annual meeting in June, CEO Carol Bartz was questioned about the company’s policies in China in light of Green Dam and other controversies.
“We made a mistake, and you can’t hold us up as the bad boy forever,” she said, referring to the release of information that led to the arrest of the journalists. “It’s not our job to fix the Chinese government. It’s that simple.”
Maybe it’s not Yahoo’s job. But President Obama has a responsibility to advocate for freedom and democracy, and he should do so publicly when he visits China on November 15.
I find it so interesting that some people make so much about the morality of sex and abortion in this country and then use their own particular view of Christianity as their rationale- look at health care reform- abortion is the new roadblock- and yet nothing about the morality of insatiable greed- U.S. corporations HELPING China to put democracy activists in jail just to increase their bottom line. That’s pretty incredible. Also, the silence from the White House and State Department has been deafening.