Greg Autry

Fighting for space, not over it.

A Call for Democracy in China and Excuses be Damned!

A video I prepared for presentation at the  Forum on the Pending Collapse of the Chinese Communist Party, Taiwan Merchants Association, Flushing NY, 2012.

 

 

I take on the usual excuses that China apologist offer in support of the appalling regime in Beijing. These include the usual tripe like Jackie Chan’s assertion that “Chinese people must be controlled” or the nonsense that “The Communist Leadership has lifted millions out of poverty” (where it kept them for more than two unnecessary generations) and “China is a victim of Western Imperialism.” Enough of all that BS. China is no magically different place, unable to emulate what Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea have done politically – after all it has copied their economic plans pretty darn well.

Sorry about the video quality and my reading from notes, I got the request to speak on short notice and had to film it in my cabin with an iPhone (Hey, Apple CEO: Tim Cook you are supporting this crooked regime with your insanely great products and depriving a Democratic and Free America of  badly needed middle class jobs and tax revenues in order to further enrich a very thin slice of brilliant engineers and the investor class. I love brilliant engineers and investors, but I don’t want to live in a Chinese-type plutocracy.)

Greg talk

 

Is Chinese democracy really worth protecting? – Guest Post by Richard Scotford

Recently, Paul V Kane wrote a piece, To Save Our Economy, Ditch Taiwan, that quickly spread like wild fire around the Internet, suggesting that in order to appease China and get relations on a better track the US could sell-out Taiwan. The basic jist of his argument was, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could magically make the $1.2trillion in US bonds disappear, if the US military stopped selling arms to Taiwan and basically agreed that it was no longer under any US protective umbrella.  Obviously, in doing this, Taiwanese democracy would be seriously compromised, as it would be essentially extinguished by a democratically averse CCP.  However, according to Kane, the trade off would be worth it, even a “game changer.”  He adds, “part of the savvy package” could include getting the CCP to stop supporting other pariah states, like Iran, Syria or North Korea. The deal could potentially save the US billions.  Giving up Taiwan would be the proverbial silver bullet that could quickly dispose of America’s most stubborn “cold-war-era entanglements.”  To boot Kane excitedly declares that the move could also shave off 10% off the National Debt without even doing a thing.

 

Essentially what Kane is saying is that throwing the fledgling democracy of Taiwan on the funeral-pyre in order to balance the US budget is a price worth paying. After all, they’re Chinese not American and they’ll probably be forced to embrace the Communist Mainland at some stage anyway, so why not now?  In this way, the US can also do a bit of diplomatic horse-trading to its financial benefit as well.  Without this, Kane argued, the US risks a very costly, multi-billion dollar war with China over Taiwan that would benefit no one, least of all Taiwan.   In Kane’s confused head the “The battle today is between competing balance sheets, and it is fought in board rooms; it is not a geopolitical struggle to militarily or ideologically “dominate” the Pacific.”

 

Why Kane would want to be singing from the CCP’s hymn sheet is anyone’s guess.  Let’s hope he’s getting paid more than 50cents for this trash.  After all it’s no great secret that the CCP is collecting up US debt in order to gain political leverage. They’re not buying US debt because they love America.  Kane has hardly hit on anything new here. The CCP would gladly pay $1.2 trillion for Taiwan. However, what’s shocking and somewhat disappointing is that Kane openly declares that in 2011 balance sheets trump democracies.

 

On a human level, the idea is so lacking in any moral substance that it hurts to really digest it.   The fact that anyone could equate the real notion of basic human freedoms with the ether of a country’s balance sheet is beyond callous and unfeeling. Yet, we all know this kind of thing has happened before in history, many a country’s government has been sold down the river in order to make a buck.  Kane seems to have no problem with history repeating itself again and concludes that the mercy killing of Taiwan’s democracy is ultimately a utilitarian move to save the greater democracy of the United States – his momma must be proud of his patriotism!

 

Running in tandem with the notion that money trumps freedom is the idea that Chinese people just aren’t suited for democracy anyway. So, Kane would certainly proffer, why should Americans die trying to give it them?  Instead of ideology, go with the money, just like the CCP has done to its incredible advantage.  China has 1.3 billion people who aren’t exactly dying for democracy, so why should the ‘free world’ sacrifice lives and more importantly their balance sheets for a mere 23 million Chinese in Taiwan?  This idea that Chinese people aren’t suited to democracy isn’t only limited to the delusional Kane.   It’s a common mantra of the CCP that is cleverly manipulated into the mainstream global media by so called western China experts.  Only recently I saw a TV clip where Oded Shenkar, author of The Chinese Century, unashamedly extolled, “with the exception of Taiwan, there is no precedent of a democratic Chinese Society”.  Of course, Shenkar may want to make himself out as an expert on Chinese people, but he couldn’t be more wrong if he tried. Sadly, this shows the level of delusion seemingly educated people can reach when they only focus on the economic numbers and not on the greater picture.  In relation to Shenkar’s remark, which is basically a mantra of the CCP propaganda machine, repeated verbatim, I’m guessing that he was forgetting the nearly 4 million Chinese that live in the US under democracy, which is equal to population size of the State of Kentucky or the country of New Zealand.  Or the nearly 8 million Chinese that live in Thailand, which is larger than the entire population of Switzerland. Don’t forget the 7million Chinese that live in democratic Indonesia, that’s the same population as Israel.  Or the 6 million in Malaysia, which is greater than the population of Denmark. Or the 1.3 million Chinese that live in Canada, out numbering the entire population of Hawaii.  All told, there are over 40 million ethnic Chinese living around the world in democratic countries. Which is equal to the population of Argentina.

So, let’s go back to Shenkar’s comment again, “with the exception of Taiwan, there is no precedent of a democratic Chinese Society”. Is he suggesting that these 40 million Chinese people are not engaging in society or are not Chinese?  I’m unclear?  In reality, everyone knows that the global Chinese Diasporas are some of the most upright and contributing groups in their chosen democratic societies.  Maybe Shenkar should start quoting these figures next time he is on TV rather than the ones the CCP produces on the economy. Only then may he get a little more perspective and more importantly, integrity!

Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that the likes of Kane and Shenkar can still be taken seriously when they extort such ridiculous ideas, which are in essence CCP propaganda proliferated by devious United Front tactics.   If we really are to listen to the likes of Kane and Shenkar and conclude that democracy is not for Chinese people and therefore the likes of Taiwan should be sacrificed for the greater good of the world, or at least for a buck, then we truly are as morally bankrupt as the CCP.

Taiwan, is a thriving, sometimes jittery, fledgling democracy.  It deserves the protection of every freedom loving person on the planet and it can’t be thrown to the CCP lions in order to balance the books.  Taiwan has a population of over 23 million people.  That’s a greater population than Australia and little less than Texas, or on a par with the combined populations of Portugal, Ireland, Finland and Norway.

Would the global community torpedo the freedom and rights of these places in order to balance the books?

Exactly.

So, why would over 23 million democratic Chinese in Taiwan be worth any less?

 

Richard Scotford is a freelance writer living in Hong Kong.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Chinese Studies from CUHK and writes the China Rising blog at:  http://chinarisingblog.blogspot.com/


 

Counter-Revolution!

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government, which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing, which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

 

– John Stienbeck, (East of Eden)

 

Sunday evening, the day before Memorial Day, I’m flying over the Land of the Free with a perspective that renders our nation’s flaws invisible. We are heading West and I’m looking down at deep snow on the Rockies; a late spring thaw feeds the Colorado River as it begins its long trip South to the Sea of Cortez. There is a vast flat layer of clouds ahead, stretching out over Arizona, all brilliantly lit with the golden glow of another perfect sunset over the beaches of my native California. It is a fittingly glorious return from a weekend in the presence of inspirational greatness.

I had been invited, by my friend Tang Baiqiao (My Two Chinas) to spend two days crammed into an unremarkable, hot, and crowded conference room in a small hotel in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. I was there to speak to a group that by Sunday afternoon had agreed to name itself the China Democratic Revolution Federation.

My hosts were a group of Chinese men and women from a variety of backgrounds that shared a long and hard-earned resentment against the regime in Beijing. They had gathered to commemorate the Centenary of China’s lost democratic revolution and hold an annual observation of the June 4 tragedy in Tiananmen Square.

Many Americans are sadly ignorant of the story of China’s 1911 revolt that buried the corpse of the corrupt Qing dynasty. The democratic movement was led with high expectations by the brilliant Sun Yat Sen. A new China had woken from its long opium coma and was prepared to boldly step forward and take its rightful place among the ranks of great progressive nations. Tragically, Sun’s embryonic republic was trampled by warlords, Japanese invaders, and finally stolen by Mao’s gang of Communist thugs.

The stuffy room in Queens was packed with businessmen, lawyers, waiters, and artists. They were Buddhists, Christians and non-believers. They’d come out of Hunnan and Yunnan and fled Beijing and Shanghai to settle in California, Georgia, Alabama, and New York. I encountered a collection of disparate souls who had fled from a vast and diverse nation and had been scattered across another. And yet, their differences were invisible. Although many of them had not met before, they were at once a family, united by decades of suffering and resigned to years of hard work ahead. Work in bringing down the criminal government that rules their homeland. This remorseless regime has recently accelerated what is already the world’s biggest campaign of repression against the mind and spirit of humankind. This ratcheting up of arrests has pulled in thousands of citizens and a few notables like world renowned artist Ai WeiWei.

What was to be a most insightful weekend began with a ride from JFK in the company of Guo Baosheng ,a Christian minister in San Francisco who had been jailed for years in the 1990s for advocating human rights and fled to America after having his “unauthorized church” closed by the Chinese police.

During much of the conference translation was provided for me by two Falun Gong practitioners – a practice horribly repressed in China – have dedicated themselves to curing the moral cancer of Marxism one soul at a time via their work running the “Global Service Center for Quitting the Communist Party.”

I met several souls who lived through the horrors of June 4 and had a most interesting interview with Yan Xiong. Yan was a young man, just days shy of graduation, who made repeated trips through the hail of AK-47 fire hauling the bleeding bodies of fellow Beijing University students from the streets around Tianamen to the hospital on a rickety bicycle. It was a day he still remembers as though it were yesterday. The reward China offered for his heroism under fire was nearly two years in a prison camp – much of it in solitary confinement or shackles, everyday of it of it on the edge of starvation. Yet, as if to prove Nietzsche right, Yan emerged strong and is now a Captain in the US Army! He is serving as a chaplain at the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Alabama after completing a tour of duty in Iraq.

After the public meeting broke late Saturday, we all headed out for dinner in the Little Shanghai that Flushing has become. I sat with a journalist, an attorney, and Huang Xiang, a quiet and introspective poet and artist, who after the meal and more than a few toasts stood to deliver a frighteningly animated rendition of his poem “Wild Beasts” – the story of a powerful, wild animal captured, tortured, and destroyed, but stubbornly free until the bitter end. His long, grey hair flew about as he stomped around the Beijing Duck Restaurant like a visitor from “Where the Wild Things Are” and his smiling eyes sparkled as he snarled the ending line, “Even though barely a bone is left, I want this detestable age to choke on me.” After this, the sister-in-law of Ai WeiWei stopped by to offer her regards.

The next day we returned to the practice of democracy and honed a plan of action to recapture the world’s attention that has so selfishly turned its gaze from victims of Tiananmen to the shelves of WalMart. You will be hearing from them and it will be time for us all to sit down and take a moment to listen to what they have to say and for Americans to remember that our founding fathers not only gifted us with liberty but also burdened us with the responsibility to defend it!

Will we join the Americans before us who sacrificed to end slavery, fight fascism, secure Civil Rights, and bring down the Soviet’s Evil Empire? Or, will we sell out my Chinese friends to “Save Money, Live Better” at WalMart and trade other people’s liberty – and someday our own –  for access to a “huge market?”

Make your decision carefully, but stop pleading ignorance.

 

–       Greg Autry teaches Macroeconomics at the Merage School of Business, UC Irvine and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of the new book “Death by China” www.gregautry.us