Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In China's Own Eyes

In China's Own Eyes

Despite the books on "the China threat," "the China boom," and "the China century" now pouring off the presses, the media occasionally contain hints -- even muffled cries of terror -- indicating that some senior leaders in Beijing may not be so confident about their country's future. In a March 2005 interview with Der Spiegel, China's deputy minister of the environment, Pan Yue, warned of "a political crisis" if uncontrolled economic growth continues, noting bluntly that the "miracle will end soon." The warning signs -- environmental damage, rural insurrection, worsening corruption, and millenarian movements such as the Falun Gong -- are everywhere. But expressing such sentiments above the din of CCP propaganda is politically dangerous because the party's rule is built almost entirely on the promise that the somewhat imagined "miracle" will continue.

Space Sensors Show Massive Surge In Chinese Air Pollution

The world's largest amount of the smog gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is hanging over Beijing and northeast China, according to images released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday. Levels of NO2, a pollutant released by factories, power plants and vehicle exhausts, have risen by about 50 percent over China over the past decade as a result of spectacular economic growth and are continuing to increase, ESA said.

America and China: The dragon comes calling

China's economic explosion cannot continue for ever, not least because the one-child policy has probably doomed China to grow old before it gets rich. A hard landing for the Chinese economy would harm the rest of the world in many ways, but it would ease fears that the next superpower will be a dictatorship. America has agonised before over the emergence of an Asian rival whose unfair trade practices, gluttony for raw materials and ruthless nationalism were thrusting the two countries towards a collision. That was the argument of “The Coming War with Japan”, a book that was taken seriously when it was published in 1991. The unstoppable Japanese economic juggernaut, you may recall, stalled around the time “The Coming War” came out. In a decade or two, will the widespread current fear of China seem as laughable as the Japanophobia of yore?

China's Search for Stability With America

A pattern of coordination and cooperation among the world's major powers, institutionalized through the G-8 (the group of leading industrialized countries), has taken shape, and no great change in this pattern is likely in the next five to ten years. To be sure, some of the differences between the United States and the EU, Japan, Russia, and others will deepen, and Washington will at times face coordinated French, German, and Russian opposition, as it did during the war in Iraq. But no lasting united front aimed at confronting Washington is likely to emerge.

Project for a New Chinese Century

The United States should aim to "Taiwanize" the mainland--to spread democracy through such steps as increased radio broadcasts and Internet postings. At the moment, Beijing does an effective job of censoring free speech with the unfortunate connivance of giant American companies, which in various ways agree not to expose Chinese consumers to such "subversive" concepts as democracy and human rights. American companies even help the security services nab people who dissent from the party line. Yahoo!, for instance, recently assisted the Chinese authorities in tracking down a journalist who dared to email information about censorship to a New York-based website. He got 10 years in prison. The U.S. Commerce Department and, if necessary, Congress should pass rules that forbid U.S. firms from facilitating human rights abuses in China.

American technology should be used to crack open, not cement, the authority of the Communist party. The United States needs to step up spending for the Chinese service of the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other organizations that aim to penetrate the Bamboo Curtain. China does an effective job at the moment of jamming U.S. transmissions, so we need to develop technology to get around their censors. In 2004 Congress allocated $1 million for a trial grant to the Broadcasting Board of Governors for a project to circumvent Beijing's Internet controls. That work needs to be greatly expanded. As suggested by the congressionally chartered U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, we need to create an Office of Global Internet Freedom within the executive branch that would work on undermining government controls on the web not only in China but also in dictatorships from Cuba to Syria.


At October 05, 2005 5:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I recently read a report, likely published in the National Post (no link unfortunately) concerning China and stability. It was a summary of a Chinese government report - it concluded that China has about five years to address the issue of unequal development within the country before there is severe internal unrest that may explode.

At October 05, 2005 5:48 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Excellent summation of America's "China Problem" -- maybe even of China's "China Problem."

Any internet intervention that is global still needs to be local. One thing we cannot afford, ever, never, at all at any time, is UN tentacles into ICANN or any similar endeavor. It would be funny if it weren't so indicative of their corruption that the recent internet discussions were held in Tunisia. Right --just what we need running things: a bunch of pirates.

One China issue: I've read estimates of more than 165,000,000 abortion --very conservative estimate -- of girl children. There is a HUGE cohort of single men coming up that will not find marriage partners because they were all killed in utero. Perhaps the Chinese would import some Occidental brides but I doubt it. What is more likely is a large supply of disposable cannon fodder.

China is such a mixed bag of possibilities. And, of course, since the crazy Muslims eat up all the air time, we don't want to think about them too much. It means thinking about Tiawan, which means thinking about insoluble confrontations - akin to our aversion re thinking about Iran.

Here's a thought: the growth of the Catholic Church in China is quite strong. As is Christianity in general. Despite the state's effort to tame the church it has more "illegal" adherents than it does state-sanctioned ones.

Another thought: Google and Microsoft's collusion with the Chinese may be a good idea in the long run. Kind of subversive underneath the docile agreement to the draconian rules. Getting one's nose under the tent, etc. The average Chinese is probably glad that they get at least that; the intelligent ones (of which there are millions) understand the power of the drip, drip, drip...we don't call it Chinese water torture for nothing.


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