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Posts published in “U.S. China Relations”

The Love of Money

Have you heard the phrase “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil?” That phrase comes from the book of 1st Timothy in the Bible. Whether or not you believe the Bible, the wisdom in that verse and the preceding verse are undeniable.

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

1st Timothy 6:9,10a New International Version

We are seeing the reality of that all over the world right now. Several companies, from Apple to Blizzard Entertainment to the NBA to Google to Vans, have kowtowed to the CCP in order to continue stay in the good graces of the brutal, totalitarian Chinese Communist Party, so that they can continue to sell products and services in China.

We are reminded of another verse full of wisdom:

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 16:26 New International Version

There is nothing wrong with making money and being successful through honest hard work, risk taking, smart investing, and so on. Money is not evil, per se. But the love of moneygreed – is evil, because leads to bad decisions and moral compromises that endanger not only the greedy person or organization, but also the many, many other people affected by those bad decisions and moral compromises made for the love of money.

Selling out to the evils of the Chinese Communist Party, being willfully blind to the horrors it has perpetrated on humanity, are a prime example of this. Not only is it wrong morally, but in the long run, it is bad business. By at first kowtowing to the CCP, then backtracking and saying they support free speech, the NBA has alienated both their Chinese fan base, and their U.S. and international fan base. The same kind of thing is happening to other U.S. companies that kowtow to the CCP’s bullying. There is a price to be paid for being complicit in clear evil.

The NBA has said that they support free speech, and we respect that. Still, fans are being removed from pre-season games for showing support for Hong Kong and the Hong Kong people’s fight for freedom and human rights.

Let’s hope that the NBA and all American companies realize that they must not give in to greed and stand up against evil and for good. It is the moral and smart thing to do.

One More Step in the Right Direction

The U.S. needs to do much more of this:

The Chinese understand their own government quite well. That is why wealthy Chinese move their money out of China and buy real estate in Canada and the United States. Cities along the West Coast and a few others (e.g. Toronto) have had a major influx of Chinese buying expensive (multi-million-dollar) homes, usually paying cash for them.

So, restricting visas may have some impact to those wealthy (and influential) Chinese, and at the very least, sends a message that the U.S. is paying attention to what is happening in Xinjiang.

The Trump administration has also discussed limits/regulations on U.S. capital being invested in Chinese markets and companies. We think such limits and regulations should also be put in place. China’s economic rise was largely financed by capital from western countries, Japan, and Taiwan investing in China after the “opening up.” That rise was unequivocally good for the Chinese people. But there is no good reason for U.S. capital to continue to fund oppression by the CCP under Xi Jinping’s increasingly totalitarian, nationalistic, and closed rule.

A Step in the Right Direction

Today the U.S. government announced it is adding 28 Chinese companies on the “Entity List” that bars them from trading (buying and selling) in the U.S.

The 28 companies added to the Entity List have been implicated in taking part in oppression or surveillance of Muslim minority people in Xinjiang province.

This is just a small step in the right direction for the United States. Economic and diplomatic pressure should be continued against Chinese businesses until the CCP gives up their oppression in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. The CCP is not afraid to use economic pressure against U.S. businesses (like the NBA); the U.S. still has a much larger economic hammer that can be used against the CCP, and shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Bullying by the CCP should be responded to in kind.

Hong Kong Police Brutality, Part 949923875743

As everyone predicted, other than the completely clueless Carrie Lam, the ban on masks in Hong Kong has only led to more protests and violence. The only thing more predictable was that the Hong Kong police would use the mask ban as an excuse to brutalize even more people, whether involved in a protest or not.

The Hong Kong police are out looking for people to beat. This young couple is walking down the street minding their own business, not protesting, not in a large gathering, completely innocent. The mask ban allow police officers to ask people to remove their masks for identification in such a situation. What is does not allow police to do is to tackle them to the ground, injuring them, and putting their knees into their backs. And look who is wearing masks and in a large group. Yeah, it’s the Hong Kong police. But of course, the mask ban doesn’t apply to them. It’s too ironic.

What’s worse is that when the Hong Kong police leadership is shown this video, they will shamelessly deny that there is any problem at all with the behavior of the police. Since they know they will never be held to account, the police act more and more brutally. It is time for sanctions against members of the Hong Kong government and police leadership. The U.S. needs to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as soon as possible and invoke the Magnitsky Act against them immediately.

Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act Passes House and Senate Committees

In a bit of good news about Hong Kong (for a change), today the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed unanimously out of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees.

Bipartisanship is so rare in the U.S. House and Senate in recent years; seeing unanimous support from both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate is really gratifying.

But of course, the CCP can’t accept that anyone would hold them accountable for their oppression and fascism:

This weekend there will be rallies all over the world against totalitarianism in support of Hong Kong. September 29th is Global Anti-Totalitarianism Day. The CCP’s opposition to allowing the people of Hong Kong to exercise their natural rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, self-determination, and so on, proves the need for the U.S. to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and for the world to stand together in solidarity with Hong Kong. We hope that as many people as possible will join in one of the events at the link above. Free Hong Kong!

End of the Chinese Communist Party is Near?

The South China Morning Post has published an opinion piece by Minxin Pei arguing the we are seeing the “beginning of the end” of one-party rule in China.

Pei argues that, historically speaking, dictatorships typically last at most from 70 to 75 years. This has been true of dictatorships in Mexico, Taiwan (the KMT ruled autocratically from 1927 to 1949 on the mainland and from 1949 to 2000 in Taiwan), and the Soviet Union. The Kim family has ruled in North Korea for 71 years. Are there counter examples? The article doesn’t cite any, but many of the Chinese imperial dynasties lasted much, much longer than 75 years. Is the CCP more like dictatorships in other countries, or more like a Chinese imperial dynasty?

Pei makes other arguments based on politics, economics, military challenges, diplomacy, and domestic policy. Let’s discuss some of those issues.

Economically, China is facing challenges. The trade war with the U.S. is hurting China’s economy, despite the blustering denials coming from the CCP’s pet media outlets. From a military standpoint, even though China has been enlarging and modernizing its military, it is still far behind the U.S. military’s capabilities. Diplomatically, China’s “belt and road” initiatives and dollar diplomacy have made some headway, but China is still very much distrusted, and has few, if any, friends of consequence in the western Pacific. Japan, Korean, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan all have contentious, if not actually hostile, relationships with China. Russia has a sometimes-friendly, sometimes-not relationship with China. At this moment, China and Russia seem to be cooperating, but that could change at any time, should the relationship sour.

Domestically, the CCP has sold itself by touting the improving standard of living. Millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, there is no doubt about that. But coming from the abject state that the Chinese people lived in prior to the 1980’s, achieving that only required economic policies that weren’t completely disastrous. Much of the miraculous growth in the Chinese economy was achieved through capital investment coming from Western countries, Japan, and Taiwan. That growth has slowed, and capital from developed countries is moving into countries with cheaper labor (and better legal protections, in some cases). If the Chinese economy drops into recession, on what will the CCP base its claim to rule legitimately? It is stoking nationalism as one means, but sustained nationalism requires sustained national achievement and true pride in one’s country. With the CCP so disrespected in the world, it is hard to imagine that the Chinese people can truly believe in its legitimacy over the long term.

Dictatorships and one-party states face inherent internal contradictions. Every government, as an organization run by imperfect people, is imperfect and makes mistakes. Public and world opinion changes, natural disasters occur, new ideas arise, countries go to war, and so on. Things happen.

True democratic societies have a built-in mechanism – periodic elections – to make policy changes in response to changes in society and the world. Sometimes they are slow to respond, but they can respond in a deliberate way that reflects the will of the majority of the people (hopefully, as in the U.S., while respecting the rights of people that disagree). In essence, elections are “mini-revolutions” that allow for political challenges to be addressed through peaceful change.

Dictatorships and one-party states do not have this mechanism, so internal stresses build up that eventually lead to their downfall. They are “brittle.” They often respond to challenges either wildly or not at all. They become corrupt, as their legal systems are not fair and are bound to the policy of the one-party state; thus, they lack legitimacy. State-run economic systems cannot respond quickly to changes in markets, and so are inefficient. Historically in China, the process of a dynasty becoming weak and corrupt, unable to respond effectively to internal and external challenges, is known as “losing the mandate of heaven,” and it has always led to the downfall of the imperial dynasty, and eventual replacement by another. Is the CCP losing the “mandate of heaven?”

The modern, high-tech police state implemented in China, with ubiquitous surveillance, “social credit” scores for every person, and so on, maybe will allow the CCP to maintain its power through more efficient oppression of the Chinese people, but how long can that last? At what point do the Chinese people, with the greater access to information now than in the past, look at the rights that citizens of other countries enjoy, and say, “what about us?” Dictatorships and one-party states, like the Soviet Union, often have collapsed (as the famous quote says) “slowly, then all at once.” Will the CCP collapse in the same way?

Periods between dynasties in China have often been times of horrifying bloodshed and civil war. No one wants that in China. Could the CCP transition peacefully, allowing free elections and truly independent opposition political parties, as happened in Taiwan? That would be the best-case scenario, but it doesn’t seem likely, especially as long as Xi Jinping rules the CCP and mainland China autocratically. Could the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong spark a pro-democracy movement in the mainland? The CCP clearly is very, very afraid of that happening, but right now, that doesn’t seem likely either. In this writer’s view, the CCP is firmly in power in mainland China and will remain so, despite the challenges it faces. It may be the beginning of the end for the CCP, but sadly, the end is still far in the future.

China’s Hostage Diplomacy

In the long history of imperial China, emperors of China (and other powerful officials) would on occasion keep hostages taken from other countries or rival organizations to ensure peace or allegiance between states or groups or as leverage in negotiations. Sometimes even, an emperor would take hostages from the family of powerful officials or generals to make sure that they stayed loyal to the emperor. Books have even been written about this practice.

In modern China, the practice of taking hostages continues, but in a somewhat different form. China frequently arrests and detains foreign nationals, accusing them of crimes and holding them for “investigation,” at times for months, without contact with lawyers, family, friends, or officials from their home country. This practice of holding people incommunicado is part of the reason that the Hong Kong people want nothing to do with China’s “justice” system. Sometimes, prisoners disappear permanently – killed or dying while in detention in China.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that China seized a U.S. citizen, a pilot for FedEx named Todd Hohn, accusing him of “transporting ammunition” on a flight where security had already cleared him. The “ammunition” in question was plastic pellets for a low-powered replica gun. They are common in Hong Kong, where he lives.

Not long ago, President Trump ordered FedEx and other package delivery companies to increase their inspections of packages entering the U.S. from China as part of a crackdown on fentanyl smuggling into the U.S. Recently, enough fentanyl to kill 14 million people was seized in Virginia. It was shipped from a vendor in Shanghai. China has denied has denied that it is the source for fentanyl entering the U.S. Of course, that is just more CCP propaganda.

Along with the fentanyl smuggling problem, trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are starting soon, and the U.S. Congress is pushing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act through the legislative process, on its way to becoming U.S. law.

So given this background, from China’s point of view, detaining a FedEx pilot – better yet, an American citizen living in Hong Kong – on this phony charge makes perfect sense. China gets some leverage over FedEx in enforcement of shipping regulations, and over the U.S in the trade negotiations, and China can also use it to pressure the U.S. Congress against passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and to express its anger at U.S. support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Given China’s long history of using hostages as pawns in diplomacy and negotiations, it isn’t really surprising that they would do this, but it is still despicable.

China at this moment is holding citizens of Australia, Canada, and the United States, and possibly other countries, on politically-based charges. It is unfortunately typical of China to engage in “hostage diplomacy,” and that fact is yet more evidence that the CCP is uncivilized, and not worthy to be a member of the community of nations. We will say it yet again: the Chinese people deserve a much better government than the one they unfortunately have.

Powerful Testimony By Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activists Before U.S. Congress

Today, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Denise Ho, Sunny Cheung, and Joshua Wong testified before the U.S. Congress on the Hong Kong protests. The South China Morning Post has an excerpt of their power testimony on YouTube:

The entire hearing (nearly 3 hours long) is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQJZTi-XRls

We understand that the Trump administration wants a trade deal with China. President Trump is a businessman, and it is likely that he identifies with U.S. business leaders that want a deal. The U.S./China trade war is affecting the world’s economy, though it hasn’t so far impacted the U.S. economy much. On the other hand, it seems to have affected China’s economy, which was already facing a slowdown for other reasons, including the swine fever epidemic, which has increased pork prices in China. Beijing does not want the trade war to continue, so no doubt is willing to negotiate an end to the tariffs.

But some things are more important than profits – and the plight of the Hong Kong people is one of them. Beijing has broken the treaty that was negotiated with the U.K. establishing Hong Kong’s Basic Law guaranteeing the rights of the Hong Kong people. The Hong Kong police are increasing violent and are cooperating with triad gang enforcers to oppress the pro-democracy movement. The Hong Kong government led by Carrie Lam is incompetent and ignores and denies the movement’s demands and concerns.

The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong in China can only succeed if it has the backing of powerful allies (just as France backed the Americans in our revolutionary war). The very least that the U.S. can do is pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. President Trump should not let the Chinese hold the Act hostage to passage of a trade deal.

China’s Gulag

At China Daily News, we’ve focused much of our attention on the ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is still (for now) open and accessible, we hear much more about it, and the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement is technically and media-savvy, so it is adept at drawing people’s attention.

Arguably, however, what is happening to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is a much larger humanitarian and human rights crisis. According to reports, as many as one million Uyghurs have been rounded up and sent to “re-education” (read “concentration”) camps. [Human Rights Watch report here] [UPDATE: This Financial Times article says 1.5 million Uyghurs have been sent to the camps.]

Of course, the CCP does its best to keep this out of the news and minimize whatever reporting does come out about it. Fortunately, there are prominent leaders in the U.S. that have been paying attention.

Senator Rubio, Florida Republican, has been urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and for President Trump to sign it into law. Today, it passed the U.S. Senate, and next will be taken up by the House of Representatives, where it is also very likely to pass.

We completely agree with Senator Rubio’s statement, but would add that it is long overdue that the democracy and freedom-loving people of the whole world start standing up to the CCP’s oppression and bullying, not just of other countries, but of its own people – whether they are Xinjiang Uyghurs, Tibetans, the people of Hong Kong, or the everyday people – the laobaixing -living throughout China. Human rights are human rights – and even if someone happens to live in China, those rights still exist. The CCP may violate and oppress people’s rights, but they cannot take them away – they are inherent in being human.

We urge the full U.S. Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as quickly as possible, and for President Trump to sign them into law, irrespective of the status of any trade negotiations taking place with China.

No Hong Kong Protests out of Respect for 9/11

We posted an article on September 10th, 2019 on China Daily’s disgusting and offensive use of images of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. China Daily claimed that the Hong Kong protesters were planning massive terror attacks in Hong Kong. Of course, like so much that the CCP’s media lapdogs reports, it was complete and utter nonsense (stronger words come to mind, but we like to keep out articles free of profanity).

Today, the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong proved that it was nonsense and also that it is a group with morals and conscience. They released a statement that there would only be peaceful protests on 9/11 – non confrontations with the police. The Hong Kong Free press reports:

As an American, this writer truly, truly appreciates this gesture. Watching the second jetliner crash into the WTC tower was one of the most horrifying events I have ever experienced – perhaps the most. Watching people – my fellow Americans – make the terrible choice to commit suicide by jumping out of the tower, rather than be burned alive was unimaginable and heartbreaking.

The contrast here (to continue a theme for today) shows the character of the CCP versus that of the protesters. The CCP’s media lapdogs continually try to smear the protest movement as violent, and even as sex abusers, but in actual fact, it is the CCP and its supporters who are devoid of morals, abusers of the natural rights of all humanity, thieves of others’ property, and a danger to the entire world. We have said it before – the Chinese people deserve a much better government than they have.

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