Doug Bandow wrote an excellent article regarding the need for transparency in China’s politics in Sunday’s newspaper (“China politics need transparency” P. 6, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2017/05/14/2003670538). One cannot agree more.
However, while we may hope for such transparency, there is much to fear from China’s rise, which despite Xi Jinping’s smiling assurances, is anything but peaceful, and promises to be a full on attempt to create anti-US sentiment, sell China as a “peaceful” replacement superpower, increase China’s propaganda and blackmail, draw trade to China without offering equal opportunities to foreign business in China, and create more and more Chinese cultural, political, financial, technological and diplomatic viruses, insidious, long-term, subtle tentacles designed to slowly infect the world with China’s totalitarian form of existence, its intolerant view of the separation between government and the daily life and thoughts of common people, and its “everything with Chinese characteristics”.
As I wrote recently, the One Belt One Road project is nothing more than a Chinese noose designed to ensnare all who come to play on the new Silk Road and weave China into the fabric of every single country participating, essentially making trade (and hence diplomacy) seamless between them and one of the world’s worst serial violators of human rights, justice, and freedom, and friend to evil regimes around the world. But you will not hear much from these governments about that, because of the enormous trade potential China dangles before them, and its “conditions”, otherwise known as strings, for being allowed to feed at China’s trough. Those strings require obedience to China’s “core interests”, which mean respecting its hegemony and totalitarianism, and suppression of all freedom in China and following its instructions regarding Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.
Mr. Bandow mentions the coming transfer of power in China and the re-election of Xi Jinping (習近平). However, it is the next transfer of power in 5 years that will be most telling. Xi is only 63 at present, which will make him 68 for the next transfer. One might ask, running the world’s second largest economy and military, why do we know the outcome of the election, even if secret? It would appear, following his consolidation of power, such that he now maintains the three most powerful positions in China, head of the Party, head of the government and head of the military, that Xi’s eye is on another 10 year term following the end of his first ten years. What happens in the next five years regarding Party high echelons will give a clue, not polls of voters or campaign speeches or promises. As Mr. Bandow notes, the process by which this would happen is completely hidden. It is the nature of Beijing’s survival all these years, squelching discussion of internal matters, and filtering discussion of external facts. Suppression is in the Chinese Communist Party’s DNA.
As Mr. Bandow observed regarding the opaqueness of this process, “It is a bad system for the PRC and the rest of the world.”
As for hoping for change, one need only look at the treatment by Beijing of Hong Kong and Taiwan to see the nature of the Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorial rule and utter refusal to allow even the slightest deviation from the CCP’s absolute power, though Taiwan, a completely independent democratic nation of 23 million requires continued support from the free world to keep out of reach of China’s claws.
China’s system of baiting foreign investors and companies to trade with China and do business there also involves unfairly treating them, targeting them, favoring local companies, watching over their theft of those foreign companies’ IP and assets, with the Party’s complete control of the outcome of any litigation, as the Courts are merely an extension of the Communist Party. The more trade with China, the more dangerous the outcome for any trade partner, as trade can be reduced as the Communist Party directs in order to squeeze any trading partner. South Korea realized this when China cut tourism 40% when South Korea bought the THAAD system. Taiwan is also an example, where election of the opposition independence-minded DPP party resulted in China closing most avenues for benefit from doing business with China (e.g. tourism, trade, allowing Taiwan international space).
Clearly, as I have seen from watching China’s “rise”, it is willing only to imitate those foreign indicia of “freedom” without understanding them or meaning them, while quietly continuing its brutality, and making a show of liberalizing its economy and its government, while not effecting any real change at all, and having beguiled nations to try to make money from China’s trade, but forcing them to intone Beijing’s mantras, and look the other way as the price of getting their hands on Kommunist Kash. As China gets more and more international recognition as a major player in world affairs, it will become harder and harder to hold off its march against democracy and freedom.
Mr. Bandow has hit the nail on the head. China has great potential, but the lure of absolute power is very difficult to resist, and even more difficult to give up, especially for a government accustomed to simply getting and taking what it wants.