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But, grimly, the authors explicate the sad fact that the engagement was a false dawn. In the last decade, it has gotten worse and worse as the Chinese leadership has now consolidated its power. Oligarchic “princelings”— the 200 to 300 descendants of the founders of the Communist Party — have gained a stranglehold on both the business and government of China. They are using the incomprehensibly vast power that comes with that total control to buy off the business class, exploit the working class and peasants, and prepare China to replace America as the world’s dominant nation.
Once you have read the first searing 50 pages of this book, the hope that China is becoming a “decent,” liberal society is no longer morally available to you. I mention Friedman because of his claim that Chinese leaders are a “reasonably enlightened group of people.” The authors’ narrative shows Friedman’s words to be not merely fatuous, but uniquely immoral.
Whatever one thinks about the influence of Western civilization on the broader world over the past half millennium, it can be said that the West has lived out a “reasonably enlightened” view of humanity. It would be far different under Chinese domination. Here is just one of hundreds of examples offered by the authors of the moral pit that China has become: “It is routine for children as young as 9 years old and for the mentally handicapped to be sold to sweatshops where they work around the clock in slave-like conditions. Tragically, child labor is most common in toy factories. Other workers initially take jobs voluntarily but then are padlocked in dormitories and forced to work up to 18 hours a day in a subhuman environment.” Those cheap toys found on American shopping shelves come at a horribly high price.
The authors systematically assess the evil intents and consequences of the Communist government from child labor and the environment to the selection and murder of prisoners for their body parts. After a particularly riveting narrative of the Chinese regime’s religious intolerance, the authors conclude with Pope Benedict XVI’s soul- rending observation: “In China, Christ is living out His Passion.”
Just as the authors are ferocious on the Chinese regime, they are just as tough on the Washington elites who help the Chinese. The authors name names and present chapter and verse of how China — and their American allies — penetrate U.S. business and government secrets. The failure of our government to even begin to resist the Chinese threat is aptly described as a bipartisan failure of both vision and will, if not patriotism. But it is fair to say that President Obama, in particular, will not enjoy reading this book, although he would vastly benefit from reading it, as would the country if he were to act on the authors’ advice.
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