“I know that I am leaving the winning side for the losing side,” Soviet spy-turned-anti-communist hero Whittaker Chambers famously declared, “but it is better to die on the losing side than to live under communism.”
The kind of communism to which Chambers was referring isn’t quite what threatens the free world today. The Soviet Union was defeated in the Cold War, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is proving to be a more sophisticated adversary in what might best be called a “Cowed War” against us, corrupting and destroying free society from the inside, often by intimidation.
An apropos symbol for mainland China’s society isn’t, as in Soviet Russia, an endless line of people extending across Red Square to buy inferior consumer goods at Moscow’s infamous GUM Store; it could instead be any typical American store with shelves filled with Chinese-made junk, or a simpering Hollywood studio flunky looking over the shoulder of an editor in the cutting room so as to remove or doctor all allusions to even the subtlest offenses against the CCP in new American movies.
Popular entertainment made the United States a superpower every bit as much as nuclear weapons. Clint Eastwood and rock ‘n’ roll viewed and heard by oppressed peoples have been as dangerous to their totalitarian rulers as the information they surreptitiously obtained via Voice of America. And now the United States censors its own cultural voice to appease totalitarians. A Taiwan flag on a hero’s leather jacket? Or a sympathetic Tibetan monk character? Edit it out, lest Chairman Xi take offense.
A new Trafalgar Group survey just found that over 50 percent of Americans think it “very likely” the president of the United States is “conflicted/compromised when dealing with China due to the Biden family’s personal business dealings in China.” That the millions of dollars Hunter Biden took in from dubious Chinese enterprises wasn’t an issue during the 2020 presidential election, which could easily have turned the outcome against his father, demonstrates that America’s establishment media consider the CCP far less an enemy than the Republican Party; they suppressed coverage of the future First Addict.
As the National Bureau of Asian Research’s Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property found nearly a decade ago, China is the world’s largest commercial intellectual property thief. “National industrial policy goals in China encourage IP theft, and an extraordinary number of Chinese in business and government entities are engaged in this practice,” the report said.
The U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive at that time found that “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” The U.S. Trade Representative presented evidence that entities “affiliated with the Chinese military and Chinese Government” procured “all forms of trade secrets.” Meanwhile, according to the NBAR report, “central, provincial, and local level Chinese agencies inappropriately require or pressure rights holders to transfer IPR from foreign to domestic entities.”
That was observed about a decade ago, but the report also noted that Beijing had enlisted the support of the U.N. Development Program all the way back in 1978 for technical assistance and financial resources, not long after which communist China became the World Bank’s largest recipient of booty.
Then came access to foreign technologies and management expertise. Congressional research “documented successful efforts between the late 1970s and mid-1990s by a range of Chinese actors to obtain very advanced technologies,” the report noted.
In 2020, Rush Doshi, a Yale fellow and founding director of the Brookings Institution’s China Strategy Initiative, testified to Congress that “China is pursuing a robust, state-backed effort to displace the United States from global technology leadership. This effort is not driven entirely by commercial considerations but geopolitical ones as well. Beijing believes that the competition over technology is about more than whose companies will dominate particular markets. It is also about which country will be best positioned to lead the world.”
Beijing’s political weaponization of technology, according to Doshi, “appears to be rooted in the Party’s Leninist and mercantilist traditions as well as in its nationalist history. … Technological advancement has long been seen as a means to achieving ‘wealth and power,’ whether during China’s pursuit of strategic weapons during Mao Zedong’s leadership or its push to achieve what his successor Deng Xiaoping labeled as the ‘fourth modernization’ of science and technology progress—both of which were self-consciously styled as efforts to boost China’s power.” It’s all part of a grand plan conceived in the early years of the Chinese communist state.
Seeing the fax machine and other information technology almost magically topple regime after regime behind the Iron Curtain more than three decades ago now, most observers on the right, and many others, firmly believed for decades that it was only a matter of time before capitalism brought political liberation to China. The fog of wishful thinking was thick in the air when the World Health Organization naively treated Chinese authorities as trustworthy when COVID-19 originated in the vicinity of—if not within—a Chinese bio-lab and spread all over the world.
Before the West won the Cold War, it was only pacifists and spies who had to be contended with. In today’s Cowed War, the challenges include economic dependence, cultural disarmament, and now even a president personally tainted by financial entanglement with the communists in China who have found capitalism to be an effective weapon that was never discovered by Moscow.
Chambers would undoubtedly have been pleasantly surprised at the Soviet Union’s collapse. But he would be far more surprised at the ease with which, three decades later, the CCP uses our own freedoms against us.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.