In 1949, Mao Zedong’s civil war victory on the mainland led to a break in relations between China and the free world that lasted for more than 20 years.
In 1970, it was Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau who took a leading role in an international movement to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and establish normal diplomatic relations with the communist regime in Beijing. At the same time, Canada suspended diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in Taiwan.
Western Leaders Led Movement to Recognize PRCFrom the 1970s onward, Western progressives from government state departments, prestigious universities, international policy institutes, and United Nations agencies managed either to deliberately overlook or naively misread the mission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
On July 15, 1971, following the example of the Trudeau government, Republican President Richard Nixon surprised the world by announcing he would travel to the PRC the following year.
Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972 opened the free world to images of communist China filled with smiling children and happy workers. The American president’s initiative led to more regular connections with Beijing. In 1979, the United States and China reestablished diplomatic relations and signed a bilateral agreement that gave rise to rapid growth of trade between the two nations.
Deals With the Devil Seldom End WellBut deals with the devil seldom end well. Over several decades, our retreat from the policy of “containing” communism has borne bitter fruit for working-class citizens in the West and done little to relieve the people of China from CCP tyranny.
Both sides of our left–right ideological divide overestimated the prospect of intractable Maoists learning to behave in the spirit of trust and reciprocity that is required for mutually profitable trade and peaceful coexistence.
Western liberal-progressives, such as the late Pierre Trudeau, saw a way forward in the spirit of “convergence” between Eastern communist and Western social democratic societies. But communist military regimes viewed the process with a less reciprocal cast of mind. For Marxist dictatorships, convergence meant the steady acquisition of socialist client states and the dismantling of U.S. hegemony throughout the world.
From the 1980s onward, a neoconservative movement looked forward to a “new world order” based on the principles of unrestricted trade and the emergence of a global free-market economy. It imagined an “end of history” that would turn the prediction of the Marxist dialectic on its head and usher in the triumph of democracy and capitalism throughout the world. Despite its best of intentions, it never got there.
Old Lessons, New Threats From BeijingOrdinary citizens in Canada and the United States are a pretty patient and tolerant lot. But the PRC's actions in recent months have become the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Beijing’s willingness to permit international travel from Wuhan in the early stages of the CCP virus contagion was a striking reminder of the disregard for human life and well-being that has characterized communism from the “Red Terror” of the Bolsheviks, to Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” and the Cambodian “Killing Fields” of the Khmer Rouge.”
Moving forward, Canadians and Americans should keep the lessons of Marxist revolutionary history at the forefront of their minds. Wherever socialist regimes have managed to capture a civilization, tyranny has followed.
The atmosphere created around the 50th anniversary of Canada’s renewal of diplomatic relations with China should be a poignant reminder that doing business with Beijing carries increasing levels of risk for free and sovereign nations.
MacCharles went on to point out that Beijing’s man bluntly warned Ottawa that offering political asylum to Hong Kong dissidents would risk endangering the safety of some 300,000 Canadian citizens who currently live there. In light of Beijing’s recent crackdown on Hong Kong, the implications for Canada were clear. Do as we say or there will be human consequences.
Steadfast Resistance to Tyranny Is Seldom FutileDespite these developments, there are factions within China and forces abroad that seek to hold Xi accountable, and history has demonstrated that the pinnacle of dictatorial power can also be the birthplace of its demise. Beijing is presently growing bolder, but the Chinese people are not the “Borg,” and resistance to the CCP shouldn't be viewed as futile.
The authors of the paper pointed directly to China’s “mounting coercive and destabilizing activities” toward Canada’s national security, sovereignty, and the rules-based international order.
A Watershed Year for Security of Free WorldThe setback for world communism brought on by the collapse of the USSR in 1989 lulled Western democracies into a blissful false sense of security. Even the murderous crushing of dissident Chinese citizens at Tiananmen Square in that same year produced little lasting apprehension among our political intelligentsia. In 1995, the PRC was rewarded for its murderous behavior with full membership in the World Trade Organization. In the winter of 2020, we continue to tolerate Beijing’s global ambitions at our own peril.
But the real watershed moment for the security of free nations looms ahead in the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election. Effective resistance to Beijing’s totalitarian temptations won't come from the CCP’s ideological cousins in the present U.S. Democratic Party, and the go-along, to get-along—and get rich—disposition of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is exactly what Xi is anticipating.