The Barbarity of Beijing

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security.


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The Peoples Republic of China drew plenty of international scorn for barring jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, as well as his wife and brothers, from traveling to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month—and rightly so. As The Washington Post reminds us, “Only once before has the peace prize been awarded without anyone to receive it—in 1936, when Adolf Hitler prevented German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from attending.”

What’s surprising is that anyone is surprised by the Chinese government’s backwardness and thuggery. This is, after all, a regime that took 60 years to get the history of the Korean War right. After insisting that the war began when “the United States assembled a United Nations army of 15 countries and defiantly marched across the border and invaded North Korea,” the Chinese government conceded only this year that “On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army marched over the 38th parallel and started the attack.”

Moreover, this is a regime that jails its own citizens for daring to speak the truth. That’s why Liu Xiaobo is under arrest. That’s why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And that’s why the bullies who run Beijing have detained his family.

Liu Xiaobo was one of hundreds of courageous Chinese citizens to draft and sign a declaration of freedom for their country. Dubbed “Charter 08”—a reference to Charter 77, a similar document that freedom-minded Czechoslovakians released in 1977 to challenge their communist rulers—the Chinese document criticizes the PRC for its “authoritarian power…endemic official corruption…crony capitalism [and] growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor” and challenges the people and their government to work together to transform China into a democracy.

Charter 08 calls for democratic control over the government and civilian control over the military, an end to indoctrination in schools, protection of taxpayer rights, peaceful reunification with Taiwan, and release of political prisoners. The charter demands respect for human rights and, in an echo of the U.S. Constitution, declares, “Human rights are not bestowed by a state.” It envisions a republican, democratic government for China, noting that “Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people.” It recognizes the importance of a constitution and the rule of law for “limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.” And it concludes, “Without freedom China will always remain far from civilized ideals.”

In short, it’s no surprise that Beijing is threatened by Liu Xiaobo.

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  • http://www.gloverdesign.com brian

    China is emerging from a treacherous period while we could possibly be entering one if theuy are left unchecked. Their youth are optimistic and see a prosperous future while our youth‘s outlook is bleak.
    Follow the money.
    There is an unprecedented brain and capital flight to China. The Chinese government, unlike any in the west, understands the importance of wealth creation and the preservation of same with a large military. They must grow at at least 6% to absorb their workforce.
    They will be the leader of all nations in a short time. They will be prosperous and will have a huge military, much bigger than ours.
    They are not ‘Politically Correct” and Islam will perish along with most of the 3rd world. India is their only obstacle but India won’t last 50 years. China speaks a common language and their youth are learning English.
    All successful empires require big business and a big military to survive. When one or both of these establishments are neglected, the empire collapses. Currently, the west understand neither.
    The business of America used to be business. Not anymore.
    The wealth creators, the most important people in the world, migrate to where the pickings are the easiest .
    Americans, Germans and Japanese are fleeing in droves to that region. The Always look toward business activities to know the future.
    You underestimate China and it’s resolve. Their advanced culture is much more resilient than ours and has survived many millennia. They have close family ties and respect the elderly and their youth.
    It is easier to litigate copy write and patent infringements in China than anywhere else contrary to the popular propaganda that you are a party to.

    Courageous westerners began investing in China many years ago, why General Motors and Ford were building cars their in the 20s.

    The Chinese respect the companies that stuck it out thru Tiananmen Square and most are ashamed. As ashamed as Americans are of our own tyrannical government who if left unchecked, would be not unlike Mao.
    We in the west are making a big mistake to alienate China. We must make them our partner instead of supporting Europe and Latin America who are in decline. We hand over our civilization to the 3rd world and China does not respect us for this.
    They respect the men who come to their country to improve it. The Chinese youth look towards America for inspiration and no where else. They drive American cars, dress in sneakers and baseball caps. They wear blue jeans and eat at McDonalds. They will purge themselves of the remaining part of their government that curtails freedom. The laws of freedom evolve from the laws of commerce.
    The conservatives in America, whom the Chinese respect, must make China their partner instead of their enemy. If we don’t, we will not survive.

  • Robert Laity

    God will have the last word!

  • Wesley69

    China's Communist Party knows it can not allow any signs of liberalization because it will open a floodgate as it did in 1989 resulting in the Tiananmen Square massacre. "Political power comes from the barrel of a gun." So said Mao Tse-tung. The Chinese Communist Leadership still believes this.

    Any country telling China how it should treat its own people will be told that this is an internal affair. Considering our level of indebtness to China, we have little leverage in this area, if we ever had any. Interesting how we helped with the industrialization of China and now they have used it as an economic tool to weaken us. The student is now the teacher.

  • sam

    China is sitting on a huge bubble. Gross overproduction and over construction of products and real estate, which is becoming harder and harder to sell. Chinese people make so little that they cant afford much of what they produce. The economy of the west is wreaked by the flood of cheap goods from china, so west has no money to continue buying their stuff. 60 % of chinas GDP growth comes from real estate most of which sits empty waiting for the next speculator to buy it. Read about the Ghost towns of China. A little political storm could bust this bubble in no time.

  • tagalog

    It may be that the incidents cited are the only ones involving outright government refusal to permit a Nobel winner to leave his state, but it's a shame that the USSR's pressure on Boris Pasternak is forgotten: they told him that if he traveled out of the Soviet Union to attend the ceremony where the Noble Prize for Literature would be awarded to him for the novel Doctor Zhivago, he would not be allowed to return to his homeland. Because of his love for Russia, Pasternak did not go to the Nobel ceremony.

    Does anyone know what the USSR did to pressure Solzhenitsyn over his Nobel? I think the Soviets told him HE couldn't come back if he left to attend the ceremony for The Gulag Archipelago and he didn't go to the cermony either. A couple of years later, they expelled him anyway.

    Socialists and communists. They can't tolerate criticism.

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