Unbridled Evil: The Corrupt Reign of Jiang Zemin in China | Chapter 7, Part II

Unbridled Evil: The Corrupt Reign of Jiang Zemin in China | Chapter 7, Part II
Chinese Communist Party head Jiang Zemin (C) chats with Shandong Communist Party Secretary Wu Guanzheng (L) and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) General Zhang Wannian in Beijing, March 6, 2000. At a Party meeting in 2002, Zhang would propose that Jiang be retained as head of the CMC for two years after his scheduled retirement. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

Read the series here: Unbridled Evil

Chapter Seven: Western Companies Collaborate with Evil Regime (Part II)

Section 3: Academia Complies with CCP’s WishesSection 4: The Failure of the U.S.-China PolicySection 5: The West Capitulates

Section 3: Academia Complies with CCP’s Wishes

On Aug. 18, 2017, Cambridge University Press pulled over 300 articles and book reviews on its China site from the China Quarterly (CQ), one of the most prestigious journals in the China studies field, at the request of the government’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

The Press said it complied with the request so as to prevent the shutdown of the entire site. Most of the articles in question relate to topics deemed sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party, such as the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and date back to the 1960s. It said that it had received a similar request to take down more than a thousand e-books a few months earlier.

Cambridge University Press restored the articles days later, issuing a statement that “academic freedom is the overriding principle on which the University of Cambridge is based.”[1]

Two months later, Springer Nature, the world’s largest academic book publisher, blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles from the websites of the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, two Springer journals. All of the articles in question contained keywords deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese authorities, including “Taiwan,” “Tibet,” and “Cultural Revolution”.

Springer said in a statement that it had blocked access to “a small percentage of our content (less than 1 per cent)” in mainland China but that the articles remained available elsewhere. It said it was obliged to comply with “local distribution laws,” which are enforced by its partner, the state-owned China National Publications Import & Export Corporation.[2]

The incidents triggered international outcries among scholars, but censorship and self-censorship inflicted upon western scholars and academic institutions are far from accidental.

As early as 2007, in an article, “Have China Scholars All Been Bought?,” published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Carsten A Holz, an economist and professor at Social Science Division, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, admitted that “Academics who study China, which includes the author, habitually please the Chinese Communist Party, sometimes consciously, and often unconsciously.”[3]

Scholars perceived as offensive to the regime are routinely banned from China’s shores. Andrew Nathan and Perry Link, two well-known China experts, have long had trouble obtaining visas to China. Thirteen scholars, including James Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University, were also blacklisted by Beijing for publishing a book about Xinjiang in 2004.

According to John Pomfret, former Beijing Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, “many of those who have had visa applications turned down by the Chinese are afraid to publicize their cases, and in particular don’t want their colleagues at home to know. Rejection by the Chinese can kill the career of someone who has chosen to make Chinese studies his or her life specialty. As one scholar wrote to me: ‘I would prefer to not make my story public, mainly because I am not yet tenured and my colleagues in Chinese Studies are already freaked out enough about me, without knowing I am blacklisted!’ I feel his pain. Two of my recent visa applications have been blocked.”[4]

Western China Scholars and Universities Acquiesce

For scholars, their careers are often at stake if they choose to adhere to the principle of academic independence when facing pressure from China.

He Qinglian, a Chinese author and economist now living in exile in the U.S., made it very clear in her book, “The Pitfalls of Modernization” (现代化的陷阱). The following are some excerpts from this book.

“’Economic growth’ has not only become the [basis of] legitimacy of the ruling government, but also the source of [positive attitudes] of many foreign scholars who are happy to work with the Chinese government on research projects. As for the government’s habit of cooking the data, these scholars have chosen to deliberately [ignore that issue.]”

“In the process of reform and opening up, the Chinese government learned to use its control over the international community [so that it would] form a favorable opinion on China. When some scholars [from abroad, who could not be bought or intimidated], criticized the Chinese government [on moral grounds], [over the years] they were denied entry visas by the government, and their academic careers [suffered]. Such practices actually played the role of ‘guiding public opinion.’ Some other scholars (especially those ethnic Chinese) found that praising can win the favor of the Chinese government. They are able to enter China and obtain from the government agencies information and materials, which they themselves might know to be untrue. But this is a necessary condition for them to obtain [their research funding] and also valuable ‘capital’ to win recognition in academia.”

“As a result, a noteworthy ‘cycle’ has emerged between the Chinese government and these scholars. The Chinese government, which monopolized the supply of all kinds of information, is the authoritative provider of all research materials, while the research work conducted by some foreign scholars based on the provided materials has been selectively published by the Chinese government in its official papers and bulletins that report the foreign research on China. The Chinese government thereby proves to its own people that China’s economic achievement has been demonstrated by foreign scholars. Among most of the Chinese public who hold strong nationalist sentiment on the surface but deep down still [harbor] a feeling of [inferiority to] western civilization, the endorsement by foreign scholars is quite powerful. Of course, such an interest-based relationship between the Chinese government and foreign scholars where the two parties reciprocated with materials and research work does not look good for the scholars. It is therefore often covered up.”

This point is also shared in Holz’s article cited above. “Some western China scholars have relatives in China. Others own apartments there. Those China scholars whose mother tongue is not Chinese have studied the language for years and have built their careers on this large and nontransferable investment. We benefit from our connections in China to obtain information and insights, and we protect these connections. Everybody is happy: western readers for the up-to-date view from academia, we ourselves for prospering in our jobs, and the Party for getting us to do its advertising. China is fairly unique in that the incentives for academics all go one way: One does not upset the Party.”

For institutions, it is usually the money for which they are giving up their principles.

In recent years, Chinese students have flocked abroad to receive western style education. By 2015 more than 500,000 were heading overseas every year. The changes in the Chinese economy have produced individual wealth in families. That new wealth enables Chinese families to pay the high prices of U.S. degrees for their kids.

Chinese students have become a big market in the United States and nobody understands this better than universities. Over 60 percent of Chinese students cover the full cost of an American university education themselves, effectively subsidizing the education of their American peers.

Western universities also rushed to meet demand. They sent recruiters and negotiated agreements with third parties to sell Chinese students on the idea of studying abroad. Elite universities hurried to open campuses or sign partnership agreements with Chinese universities. Twelve universities—including Carnegie Mellon, Duke, and Johns Hopkins—have established degree-granting partnerships with Chinese universities to meet demand for their educational services.

Facing demands from the Chinese regime, these institutions’ number one priority is usually the profit calculation. Christopher Balding is an associate professor of business and economics at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen. He gives a close-up view of western universities succumbing to Beijing in an article dated, Aug. 24, 2017, in Foreign Policy, “China Looks at Western Universities and Smells Weakness”[5]:
“The latest fiasco from Cambridge University Press is a business decision. Cambridge University Press claimed that it risked being blocked in all of China unless it complied with the censors’ demands. Given China’s decision to block the articles after they were restored, the publisher’s fears were well-founded. But either way, Cambridge University Press should have made a stand, instead of folding at the first chance. Worryingly, Cambridge University Press is not alone in its dereliction of duty. Many other well-known institutions and professors regularly acquiesce to Chinese authorities or their counterparts on a range of issues bearing on academic freedom. Cambridge University Press’s sudden discovery of its spine is admirable, but the publisher’s initial unwillingness to refuse the request underscores how reluctant institutions are to risk their Chinese cash cows.”

The West’s Hypocrisy

Balding wrote that western universities answer the charge that they are acquiescing to China’s restrictions on free inquiry by claiming that their contact with their Chinese counterparts has the beneficial effect of liberalizing them. The reality, however, is that they don’t liberalize China one iota and end up accepting Chinese academic censorship into their own institutions.

The Chinese pressure takes many forms. “China even has its embassies and consulates direct Chinese student groups, coordinate protests, and gather information abroad on reluctant participants. The University of California San Diego considered canceling a speaking engagement with the Dalai Lama after pressure by Chinese student groups that work with the Chinese government, and some universities, like North Carolina State, have even rescinded their invitations to the Tibetan leader. Many students and scholars have encountered Beijing-directed pressure and censorship at events around the world,” Balding wrote.

The claims of academic freedom by western universities that have partnered with Chinese universities for degree-granting programs ring hollow. Western universities have admitted that they must impose censorship on themselves in order to exist in China, according to Balding. “[A recent U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report] noted that one western institution’s faculty handbook includes ‘language that protects academic freedom but also encourages self-censorship to prevent externally imposed discipline.’ Even foreign students now have to take propaganda classes mandated by the government.”

Holz’s Far Eastern Economic Review article described at length how the mentality of western scholars has been submissive to the Beijing influence. For example, he observed that the Party’s terminology has a way of dominating our own discourse:

“We do not ask if … the People’s Congresses are congresses of the people, [or] the People’s Liberation Army is liberating or suppressing the people, or if the judges are not all appointed by the Party and answer to the Party. We say ‘Tiananmen incident,’ in conformance with Party terminology, but called it ‘Tiananmen massacre’ right after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, when ‘incident’ would have made us look too submissive to the Party.”

“Which western textbook on China’s political system elaborates on the Party’s selection and de facto appointment of government officials and parliamentary delegates, and, furthermore, points out these procedures as different from how we view political parties, government, and parliament in the West? By following the Party’s lead in giving the names of western institutions to fake Chinese imitations, we sanctify the Party’s pretenses. We are not even willing to call China what its own constitution calls it: a dictatorship (a ‘people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants, which is in essence the dictatorship of the proletariat’).”

Sometimes, the political needs of the CCP will also be displayed in a roundabout way, affecting scholars’ research topics. A few years after 1999, China’s grassroots election was once a hot topic for American scholars, as it was viewed as a manifestation of the China’s democratization. It even became a topic of interest to the mainstream media and the U.S. Congress. The topic also attracted most of the funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. semi-governmental organization with the stated goal of promoting democracy abroad. At the time, such projects served well for both Beijing and the “engagement with China” policy proponents. As evidenced by what has unraveled in China in recent years, studies of those type are potentially deceitful.

Consequences When Western Scholars Are Bought

Perry Link, in his 2002 article, “China: The Anaconda in the Chandelier,” said it very clearly, “The highest priority of the top leadership of the Communist Party remains, as in the past, not economic development, or a just society, or China’s international standing, or any other goal for the nation as a whole, but its own grip on power. Thus, it continues to ban any public expression of opposition to itself and continues to crush any organization that it does not control or could not easily control if it needed to.”[6]

Conforming to Beijing’s censorship is abetting the regime’s hold on power. When western scholars go along with censorship, two things happen. First, their research lends legitimacy to Chinese communist rule, including the suppression of its own people. Second, the research misleads the western public and confounds its policy makers, so as to help create a false narrative of China that benefits the dictators of Beijing. These two things are what Beijing wanted and likely were very much in Beijing’s mind when it used money or the fear factor to bring about western academic censorship.

In 2007, Holz expressed his grave concern over the consequences of western scholars being bought.

“We obviously know of the labor camps into which people disappear without judiciary review, of torture inflicted by the personnel of state ‘security’ organs, and of the treatment of Falun Gong, but choose to move on with our sterilized research and teaching. We ignore that China’s political system is responsible for 30 million dead from starvation in the Great Leap Forward, and 750,000 to 1.5 million murders during the Cultural Revolution. What can make western academics stop and think twice about who they have bedded down with?

“Does this all matter? Does it matter if China researchers ignore the political context in which they operate and the political constraints that shape their work? Does it matter if we present China to the West the way the Party leadership [wants] us to present China, providing narrow answers to our self-censored research questions and offering a sanitized picture of China’s political system?”

Section 4: The Failure of the US-China Policy

In 1991, two years after Jiang Zemin took office, the United States won the cold war as the Soviet Union imploded. Now, after nearly three decades, facing China, the remaining significant communist country, the United States has been on a policy of accommodating instead of changing China. Due to its own greed and inability to comprehend the true nature of Chinese communism, the United States treats China as if it were a normal government instead of a murderous regime, violating the human rights of millions, and bearing ill will towards the West, the United States in particular.

For many years, the buzzword of our China policy has been “engagement,” that is, by contacts and exchanges, the United States hopes to gradually transform China into a free and democratic society committed to the rule of law.

Although the cold war proved effective in bringing down a giant empire, it is impossible to convert China to a democratic nation by “engagement.” If “engagement” worked, it would have been the best foreign policy wisdom. However, China under the ruling Communist Party has seen zero political progress. In another words, history has shown that the policy has failed. The reason is that fundamentally, the United States is simply more interested in its own economic gains by trading with China than it is in human rights. However, even the gains made are doubtful in the long run when assessed against the imbalances of trade, the loss of the U.S. industrial base, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the technological theft.

Unfettered Opening of the US Market to China

After World War II, the United States became the world’s No. 1 superpower, economically and militarily. Its domestic market is the world’s most mature and efficient market with gigantic purchasing power. Any country to which the U.S. market opens its door will quickly become rich. This was true for the Asian boomers, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Engaging in free trade with Sino-Soviet countries was not permitted by law since the 1950s. That changed for China in 1980 when the United States granted China the status of the Most Favorable Nation (MFN). Since 1978, economic growth had become the sole source of legitimacy for the ruling communist regime. Its export-oriented growth model made the U.S. market critical to the nation’s economy. Beijing could not afford to take its trade status with the United States lightly. MFN needed to be renewed every year. The annual review of the MFN status gave the United States some bargaining power to condition China’s access to the U.S. market on its trade and human rights practices.

In 2000, the Clinton administration signed into law granting the permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to China. Thereafter, the U.S. market was wide open to China without any material restriction. Those days are gone when Beijing had to worry every year that the United States would raise objections to its trade policies and human rights practices.

With many authoritarian regimes, the United States usually adopts a carrot-and-stick approach, but toward China, it dropped the stick.

Behind the passage of the bill were the U.S. corporations that gazed upon the cheap labor in China and were able to persuade the politicians to pave the road for their investment, and make an exception for China. In exchange for corporate economic benefits, the U.S. government knowingly set aside the usual concerns it has of violations of religious and political freedom. Only one year before signing the PNTR, the regime started a nationwide campaign to eradicate Falun Gong.

In other words, as the United States was offering China the world’s largest, unified, mature, and mega-zillion dollar consumer market, it was boosting the economy of a dictatorship.

The flip side of the coin is the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to China. When American consumers and manufacturers rely on Chinese goods and labor, the two economies inevitably become bound together. Once the mutual reliance is cemented, it becomes harder for the United States to extricate itself from the relationship.

Paying Only Lip Service to ‘Freedom’ and ‘Human Rights’

When implementing its China policy, the U.S. government made human rights and freedom a lower priority than trade.

The Strategic Economic Dialogue under President George W. Bush, and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialog under President Barack Obama, were attended by top cabinet members and policy heavyweights, and so these discussions clearly outweighed the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialog, which were mostly led by a State Department assistant secretary.

In February 2009, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Asia, she said, the United States pressing on human rights issues “can’t interfere” with dialogue on other crucial topics.

Before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, under pressure from Congress and media, President Bush met with a few U.S.-based democracy activists in the White House, but this move could not compare to the support he gave to Beijing with his personal trip to Beijing and attending the opening ceremony of the Games.

All the above sent a clear and unmistakable signal: the United States does not attach much importance to China’s human rights abuses.

To Beijing, it could be interpreted as an acquiescence to its human rights violations. As a result, Beijing becomes more aggressive. Every year since 1999, on the day after the U.S. State Department’s release of its annual human rights report, Beijing releases a report criticizing the U.S. human rights record, putting the United States on the defensive.

For example, police in China routinely harass and mistreat journalists from western media, such as CNN, Bloomberg News, and the BBC, whenever they cover demonstrations or “sensitive events.” The U.S. government and news associations push back, but Beijing simply dismisses any complaints and blames any problems on the journalists.

With its muted support for democracy, freedom, and human rights, the United States signals it values engaging with the Chinese people much less than with the rulers in Zhongnanhai.

None of the U.S. presidents ever met in person with political dissidents or oppressed groups during their visits to China. In the past decades, many State Department democracy funds were also funneled through the Chinese government. Between both governments, there are a wide range of established mechanisms of contacts and exchanges: summits for heads of states, high-level strategic dialogues, state-provincial governorship meetings, and regular conferences of the political parties of both countries. However, between the U.S. government and Chinese people, especially those who have been suppressed by the PRC regime, there is almost zero regular engagement.

By making friends with the Chinese people, the United States can benefit in two ways:

First, allying with Chinese people, the United States embraces the most powerful leverage against the PRC. The Chinese Communists fear two things most on earth: the U.S. government and the Chinese people. The main reason why Beijing puts economic development at the center of its national policy is to use economic growth to justify to 1.4 billion people its continued rule. While Beijing suppresses the Chinese people, it tries hard to win their minds over by handing out monetary and material benefits.

Second, no matter how the political situation in China evolves, the future of China belongs to its 1.4 billion people. Engaging with them ensures U.S. future long-term strategic interests in Asia.

The fact is that most of the Chinese people do not belong to the ruling class and were historically subject to various forms of persecution by the Communist Party. If the U.S. government could wholeheartedly help them and stand firmly for their rights and freedom of belief, the United States could win their support. However, if the United States fails to show its support for the people, but instead makes friends with those who abuse and persecute them, the Chinese people would also see it and may give up on the United States

Rogue Regime Baffles the West

In the western world, people play by the rules, with a common understanding of the basic principles that ensure a fair game. When dealing with a rogue state such as China, it is a mistake to expect the same kind of respect for the rules.

A rogue will not honor his promises. In its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games, the PRC made several promises in 2001 to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to improve its human rights conditions. However, in 2008, as Amnesty International pointed out, “In the run-up to the Olympics, the Chinese authorities have locked up, put under house arrest, and forcibly removed individuals they believe may threaten the image of ‘stability’ and ‘harmony’ they want to present to the world.” The Games went on and many world leaders flocked to Beijing, which enhanced the regime’s image. The PRC clearly understood that if it did not make the promise, the IOC in 2001 would likely not make the decision to select China. However, once that decision was made, whether or not to keep the promise didn’t matter to the communist leaders.

When the PRC was applying for accession to WTO, it also gave many market-opening pledges. However, once it became a full-fledged member, the pledges were ignored. Today, governments, and even less so, corporations, have little means to make China behave in accordance with international standards.

A rogue is also disrespectful. Playing nice to a rogue will only be interpreted as being weak. During President Obama’s 2009 trip to China, he chose not to criticize its abhorrent human rights record as a friendly gesture in exchange for Beijing’s cooperation on issues, such as global energy and climate change. Clearly Beijing didn’t care about niceties. Later, at the year-end United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, as heads of state from two dozen countries, including U.S. President Obama, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and other world leaders, were in a meeting, the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao sent a second-tier official in the foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama. As the U.K. newspaper The Guardian described, “The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal, as was the practical implication: several times during the session, the world’s most powerful heads of state were forced to mark time as the Chinese delegate went off to make telephone calls to his ‘superiors.’”

A rogue will also employ deceptive tricks for its own interest. For example, after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, the PRC became a pariah in the international community. Facing worldwide criticism and economic sanctions, it came up with an idea that many western governments accepted: closed-door human rights dialogues. It told the international community, “It’s fine to criticize our human rights, but please do it quietly.” Many governments went along. As a result, private talks occurred, with fantastical promises made, international criticism was subdued, and the PRC continued its business as usual.

If one chooses to treat a rogue regime as a normal game player, he will surely be taken advantage of. This is why numerous deals with China end up badly.

Working with a Rogue Regime

After the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, the Chinese Communist Party has been very clear and consistent in the path it walks. Economically, it exerts tight control over key sectors while allowing freedom of labor and commodity markets. Politically, it shuns a multi-party system and parliamentary politics. Without the separation of the three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—ultimate power lies vested in the Party. In another words, the “China Model” is a government-controlled economy under one-party dictatorship. China has made this very clear to its own people and to the whole world. Since the global financial crisis, Beijing has been even more proud and vocal about it.

However, the western world has chosen to unconditionally have its markets open to Chinese goods, allowing its economies to bind to the Chinese economy. It no longer insists on democratic values and individual freedom when dealing with China, but accommodates to China’s autocratic system. On many occasions, the western governments have even invited China as a team player in the rule-making process regarding world trade.

The big question that needs to be asked is not whether the West has any measurable impact on China. To its business relations and its civil society, that impact is zero. But in what ways has this pariah nation undermined our economy and civil society?

Section 5: The West Capitulates

America: Founded on Faith and Sociability

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was the rationale for the 13 colonies declaring independence from the British crown.

The fundamental idea of liberty is that each citizen has the right to explore and act in accordance with his own conscience. Political freedom means a social environment that allows citizens to act at high levels of morality.

In the eyes of the Founding Fathers, the republic was built upon the reality that man is capable of being both good and evil. The American society, from its initial establishment to its gradual perfection, has served as a platform for citizens to pursue their faith in whatever religion or form they like.

This spirituality and morality include many aspects: conscience, faith, justice, enlightenment to God’s will, and peace of mind in God’s blessings. However, when the pursuit of such inner qualities becomes insignificant and empty, the true spirit of the United States will die.

Thomas Jefferson advocated for the necessity of moral values in governance. He believed that the relationships between citizens must rest on a moral foundation. The other Founding Fathers also shared with him in the necessity for the nation to have a moral foundation. Jefferson wrote:

“I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality... Nature [has] implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and to succor their distresses... The Creator would indeed have been a bungling artist had he intended man for a social animal without planting in him social dispositions. It is true they are not planted in every man, because there is no rule without exceptions; but it is false reasoning which converts exceptions into the general rule.”[7]

Taking as his starting point, respect for the inalienable rights of human beings, Jefferson asserts that we have a moral obligation to abide a deep respect for the equal rights of others. He concludes that liberty and freedom are natural outcomes of nations with moral people. In Jefferson’s world, people are honest with one another, help one another out, and governments know there are limits to their power. The Creator grants inalienable rights to everyone and that must be respected. This was the basic concept of the Founding Fathers.

How far these sentiments are from Marx and Mao’s concepts of the individual and the state!

Here are some salient quotes from Jefferson on morality and the state.

“Moral duties are as obligatory on nations as on individuals.”[8]
“We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals, our interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties.”[9]
“A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”[10]

The United States of America, guided by its ideals, has made great contributions to the world.

In 1831, French political scientist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States and in 1835 published the famous Democracy in America. In the book, Tocqueville said, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
The United States has been promoting human rights around the globe and gradually uniting the world’s nations toward the core values of freedom and democracy. If it were not for the United States undertaking the role of a world moral police, maintaining the world peace and the order of the international community, today’s world political landscape would be very different.

Deterioration of Western Civilization

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. In his Lyceum address at the age of 28, Lincoln warned that the most serious physical threat to the country came internally, from within the country, and not externally.

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step [over] the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reaches us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

In the same sense, the only threat to human civilization, established by mankind throughout five thousand years of constant battles against barbarism, is no longer barbarism itself. The destruction of civilized mankind today is self-destruction due to the moral weaknesses of civilized mankind.

For thousands of years, mankind’s resistance to barbarism was mainly based on the refusal to being enslaved and plundered. When the Chinese communist appears on the world stage in the form of “generous barbarism” that was never seen before, mankind was at a loss on how to cope with the temptation.

The whole world knows the brutality of Chinese communism. However, since Jiang Zemin came to power, the brutality of the CCP is no longer flaunted to the world in the way that Hitler, Stalin, or Mao once did. The CCP’s brutality was applied only within China. Instead, the CCP has been very generous to the world. It is willing to share a great portion from what it plundered from the Chinese people with the rest of the world, with the only condition that the world close its eyes to what it did to its own people. The condition is not a harsh one, the shared profits are huge, and the suffering of some (i.e., the Chinese people’s) are distant and mostly unseen. All these conditions made the choice seemingly innocuous. Consequently, none of the governments of the free world could see through the temptation offered by Jiang’s Communist Party.

The temptation offered by Jiang’s CCP is neither a premeditated strategy nor a smart diplomacy. On the contrary, it was the only choice Jiang had at a time when the ruling CCP lost its legitimacy internationally after Tiananmen. He had to give a free hand to the corrupt officials so as to establish his personal power base, and to sell China’s national interest in exchange for other countries propping him and his cronies up.

When the free world countries pocketed the handouts from the “generous and barbaric” CCP, how do they face their own history of morality and honesty? When the free world had to be silent about the CCP’s human rights atrocities for the sake of its own interests, how could they justify their core values that defines the free world? They have tried to do it by the most disgusting way imaginable: praise from the civilized to the barbaric. Over the past decades, the West has been going out of its way to commend the “progress” achieved by the CCP. Some elevated the praise to high-sounding rhetoric: “Beijing Consensus.” They even began to criticize the western value system based on the “success” story of China.

Jiang’s corrupt governance and persecution of Falun Gong has brought the 5,000 years of ancient Chinese civilization to ruins. Today’s moral standard in Chinese society has deteriorated to such an extent that Chinese people turn away from the most basic ethics and universal values. Many people in the West are shocked and puzzled at the way ordinary Chinese conduct themselves at home and abroad.

The worldwide deterioration of a moral standard and the erosion of universal values has been facilitated by Jiang’s “generous barbarism.” However, the rest of the world that participated in the greed is also culpable. At least it can be said that the free world was receptive to it. If people can look deeply into the moral conditions in the free world as it has changed in recent times, and reflect on the best in the western values system (which is still considered by many Chinese to be the future hope of China), the destructive role that Jiang’s CCP has played is shocking to behold.

Two Historic Opportunities the US Missed

While positioning Sino-U.S. relations, the United States swings between “strategic partners” and “competitors” and wishes to strike a balance between “containment” and “engagement.” However, the basic logic of the United States has been to promote China’s integration into the international community, use the international rules to make the CCP behave, turn China led by the CCP into one of them, and become a responsible player. This is pure fantasy. How can a group that persecutes its own people become a responsible player in international affairs?

“Engagement” by itself is not necessarily wrong. In the early 1990s, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the communist camp collapsed. The Chinese Communist Party became the only heir, alongside with a few little brothers. At the time, the CCP was also facing an unprecedented isolation after the 1989 “Tiananmen Massacre.” However, this isolation lasted only for a very short period of time, and the West took the lead in engaging with the CCP. This was the first opportunity missed. Imagine if the West had been exerting continuous pressure rather than a proactive attempt to reach out to the CCP, would the Chinese people have made their own choices and abandoned the Communist Party, just as the people of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe did? This possibility cannot be ruled out.

However, history has taken another path, after all. The West chose “engagement,” which is not wrong as a foreign policy. So, where is the problem? It is the starting point. The entire “engagement” policy between China and the United States has entirely been driven by selfish interests, especially economic interests. Amid the waves of globalization, the greed of the capitalists has prevailed and persuaded their governments to please the CCP, although it was done under the exalted banner of bringing freedom and democracy to the Chinese people. It was the lure of economic benefit that drove the relationship. For those able to stand back and watch, it is startling to witness the collapse of moral principles.

Blinded by economic benefit, the United States missed its real opportunities. In 1999 when Jiang Zemin started the suppression of Falun Gong, there were about 700,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathering around Beijing every day for more than three months. This was an important opportunity to challenge the CCP and the United States missed it. This was the second opportunity missed.

Starting in 2004, under the inspiration of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, a massive self-awareness movement and moral cleansing began to spread in communist China. Eventually, more than three hundred million people conscientiously and courageously walked away from the CCP’s ideology and renounced their membership in Communist Party organizations. The movement has ushered in a new era when Chinese people demand a peaceful transition to life and governance without the Party. This is another opportunity for the United States to disintegrate the CCP and win world peace.
If the United States wants to resolve its current predicament, it will not solve its fundamental problem by tactical operations affecting the Chinese economy and military. If it gives up the righteousness and only deals with the darkness, there will be no light as a result of its policies.

The Price of Not Upholding Justice

The painful history of human beings’ concessions to barbarism has shown again and again that upholding justice in the final analysis costs the least. However, people often neglect the minimum price for righteously containing the barbaric. People mistakenly tend to measure the cost by the tremendous sacrifices required after war becomes inevitable. But the high costs occur because barbarism went unchecked. In fact, this is precisely the price of not upholding justice, and the cost of not upholding justice will keep growing as the barbaric is kept unchecked. One has to pay a greater cost later for not upholding justice.
After World War II, people kept asking whether it would have been possible to stop World War II. In fact, there were many occasions in history that could have curbed the ambitions of the Axis powers. The most peaceful opportunities were to impose sanctions after the Japanese invasion of northeast China in the League of Nations in 1931 and to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. People of course had doubts at the time when debates were going on. They asked, “Can this prevent war?” However, even if the sanctions or the boycott could not prevent world war, weren’t the sanctions and boycott the best strategy at the time? They would have sent the Axis power a strong signal that the righteous forces are determined to defeat the evil. Unfortunately, the United States failed to make the right choice in either event and eventually paid the price of 400,000 lives in World War II.

Barbarism Afraid of US Intervention

Throughout history, the barbaric forces hoped that the United States would not intervene. For example, the foreign policies of Germany and Japan before and after the beginning of World War II focused on discouraging U.S. intervention. Moreover, any concessions made by the United States in confrontation with the barbarism caused painful experiences for many due to the slaughtering of innocents and encouraging the evil. The consequences of Yalta were not forgotten. In 2005, President George W. Bush openly apologized for the Yalta Agreement in Latvia, which led to “one of the greatest wrongs of history.” The consequences of Yalta, including the hegemony of Stalin’s Soviet Union, the Korean War, and the communists winning the China civil war, followed and have left us with the world we know today, with communist rulers in China and North Korea.
Bush’s view probably oversimplified the issue. Historically, the United States and Britain agreed with Stalin’s wishes at Yalta because free and fair elections were to take place. Stalin broke the agreement. In 2005 when Bush made his comment about Yalta, Daniel Hamilton, director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., was asked about Bush’s view that the free world at the Yalta Conference agreed to allow the countries of eastern Europe to come under Soviet control. Hamilton said that elections were to take place, and he said, “The balance that we have to strike in the Cold War and at the end of World War II was one of risking all-out confrontation, another war versus managing the problem so that eventually the freedoms of those people could be secured.”[11]

For China, the worst thing is pressure from the United States. The CCP’s foreign policy is entirely American-centered.

What concerns CCP most are pressures from the United States, especially the U.S. criticism of its human rights issues. The lure of profit-sharing with the CCP constitutes a new challenge to the United States in upholding its founding principles. The United States must now face the retribution of not upholding justice. This challenge, arising from the dual effects of human greed and wanting to avoid painful confrontations, has meant that the United States deviated from its national ideals and is paying the price for that.

Not only the United States, but also the world has paid the price, while giving up its principles, for allowing the Chinese communist state to get stronger. Although many people hold the opinion that the rise of Communist China was inevitable, the post-war economic growth in Germany and Japan was even more rapid and impressive. The peaceful rises of Germany and Japan were not achieved at the expense of human rights or the environment. The growth of the strength of these democracies is an increase in the strength of civilization and also an increase in the righteous forces with the United States as the leader. At the same time, the United States has benefited by directly receiving economic rewards.

The CCP calls its growth of power, “a peaceful rise.” This phrase reveals that the CCP itself knows the world is worried about it. It has posed a global threat and has hurt human rights conditions and the environment in many countries. Fundamentally, it caused an increase of the barbaric force in the world. No matter how the CCP disguises it, China’s economic growth was at the cost of unprecedented destruction of human rights, the environment, traditional culture, and moral values.

Read Next: Chapter 8, The Extraordinary Moral Strength of Falun Gong Practitioners

[1] Johnson, Ian. (2017, August 18) Cambridge University Press Removes Academic Articles on Chinese Site. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/world/asia/cambridge-university-press-academic-freedom.html
[2] Blanchard, Ben. (2017, November 1) Springer Nature blocks access to certain articles in China. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-censorship/springer-nature-blocks-access-to-certain-articles-in-china-idUSKBN1D14EB
[3] Holz, Carsten. (2007, April) Have China Scholars All Been Bought? Far Eastern Economic Review. http://carstenholz.people.ust.hk/HaveChinaScholarsAllBeenBought-FEER30April07.pdf
[4] Pomfret, John. (2017, August 23) China’s odious manipulation of history is infecting the West. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/08/23/chinas-odious-manipulation-of-history-is-infecting-the-west
[5] Balding, Christopher. (2017, August 24) China Looks at Western Universities and Smells Weakness. Foreign Policy https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/24/china-bullies-western-universities-because-they-let-it/
[6] Link, Perry. (2002, April 11) China: The Anaconda in the Chandelier. The New York Review of Books. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2002/04/11/china-the-anaconda-in-the-chandelier/
[7] Thomas Jefferson to T. Law, 1814.
[8] Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1808
[9] Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural, 1805
[10] Thomas Jefferson to G. Hammond, 1792
[11] Inskeep, Steve. (2005, May 10) President Bush on World War II and Yalta. NPR.