China's continuing crackdown on
Tibetan pro-independence protesters is a big, big issue here in San
Francisco. Why, just the other day, I was coming out my front door,
and there was one of my neighbors a very nice woman in her
fifties, albeit an archetypal limousine liberal, typical of the
breed. So typical that she might almost be mistaken for a living,
breathing, walking, talking clichι. She hates George W. Bush and the
neocons because she's against the (Iraq) war, but she's eager to
"liberate" Darfur and, lately, Tibet. That morning, as she
earnestly informed me, she was on her way to a meeting of the Board
of Supervisors (our town council) to exhort them to vote for a
resolution condemning the Chinese government's actions and calling
for "freedom" for Tibet. What she doesn't realize, and doesn't want
to know, is that she and the neocons the very ones who brought us
the Iraq war are united on the Tibet issue. I tried, in vain, to
point this out to her, but she just shook her head, cut the
conversation short, and was on her way
As it turned out, the supervisors voted for a meaningless, toothless
resolution, stripped of provocative rhetoric, much to the dismay of
the far-lefties who argued for a stronger statement. The initiative
for this effort was made by supervisor Chris
Daly, an obnoxious left-liberal with delusions of grandeur,
whose pose of self-righteousness is both grating and characteristic
of his sort.
Prior to the vote on the Daly resolution, which was vociferously
supported by the supposedly pacifistic supporters of the Dalai Lama,
the Chinese consulate was
This is what the War Party
to do to China.
Fortunately, there are a number of restraining factors that get
in the way: in the meantime, however, our preening politicians
demagogue the China issue, and none so brazenly as Speaker of the
Pelosi, my congressional representative, who is merely Chris
Daly writ large. Traveling all the way to India, at taxpayers'
expense, Madam Speaker visited with the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala and
announced that if Americans don't speak out against Beijing's
repression in Tibet "we have lost all moral authority to speak on
behalf of human rights anywhere in the world."
Pelosi is a longtime opponent of Beijing not just the Chinese
government, but China itself. Pelosi and the unions she depends on
for political support despise all things Chinese for the simple
reason that China, today, is more
capitalist than the U.S. in spite of the Chinese Communist
Party's ostensible commitment to Marxist ideology. Thinly veiled
racist-chauvinist bilge is routinely directed at the Chinese people
by union bosses and right-wing paleo-protectionists, who stupidly
claim that the "chinks" (or, as John
McCain would put it, the "gooks") are stealing "American jobs"
as if Americans have a hereditary right to the very best salaries on
earth, a "right" that doesn't have to be earned by competitive
business practices but is conferred on them by virtue of their
nationality. Like hell it is.
Lucrative trade and cultural exchanges between China and
California, as well as the fact that many Chinese in her
congressional district have continuing ties to the mainland, have
so far failed to deter Pelosi and her fellow Know-Nothings:
politics, as they used
to say during the Cultural
Revolution in China, is in
These Sinophobic protests, engineered behind the scenes by
leftist union bosses and God knows who else, are focused on the
passing of the Olympic torch, which is slowly but surely making its
way to Beijing, where the
games are scheduled to be held Aug. 8-24. Here in the Bay Area,
activists in the "Free Darfur" movement announced they were mounting
demonstrations urging China to "extinguish the flames of
genocide" in Darfur in San Francisco on April 9, the day the
flame passes through the city.
The hosting of the Olympic Games in Beijing is the focus of much
pride in China, seen by the people as well as the ruling caste as
symbolic of the nation's arrival in modernity. As such, the
worldwide protests and political posturing of preening politicians
from Pelosi to Nicolas
Sarkozy are bitterly resented and have been met with
increasingly shrill denunciations
by the Chinese state-controlled media a sentiment that probably
understates popular resentment of Western criticism in the Chinese
I know we are supposed to believe that the vast majority of the
Chinese people are groaning under the weight of Commie oppression
and sympathize (albeit silently) with the downtrodden Tibetans, but
that is hardly the case. Indeed, the exact opposite is closer to the
truth. Every time the West gets up on its high horse and lectures
the Chinese government about its lack of "morality," the tide of
anti-Western Chinese nationalism rises higher.
the U.S. "accidentally" bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
during Clinton's Balkan War of Aggression, and again
when that American spy plane went down over
island. In Beijing today, they are worried about the upcoming
Olympic celebration, which will provide a platform for a wide
variety of groups including ultra-nationalist Chinese students,
whose street antics have augured internal regime change in the past,
and could do so again. "They are worried about a larger number of
things and they are worried about keeping the lid on," according
to Arnold Howitt, a management specialist who oversees
crisis-management training programs for Chinese government officials
at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The same
Associated Press article cites an unnamed "consultant" to the Games,
"'Demonstrations of all kinds are a concern, including
anti-American demonstrations,' said the consultant, who works for
Beijing's Olympic organizers and asked not to be identified because
he was not authorized to talk to the media."
Any indications that Beijing is compromising Chinese pride and
honor by appeasing the West are likely to be met by demonstrations
that are both anti-American and anti-government initiated,
once again, by Chinese students, who have often been the agents of
political transformation. Remember the Red
Guards? Mao used them to initiate his own "Cultural Revolution,"
but was forced to rein them in when they started talking about
overthrowing the Chinese state.
The memory of that dark and chaotic era haunts China's
contemporary rulers, threatening to spoil their dream of a
thoroughly modernized industrial powerhouse that is both the forge
and the financial capital of the world economy. The Beijing Olympics
represent the entry of China onto the world stage as a first-class
power, right up there with its former adversaries: the U.S., Europe,
and the former Soviet Union. A Chinese nationalist cannot be faulted
for seeing the organized campaign to spoil that debut as a
deliberate and unforgivable insult.
Viewed from this perspective the perspective, that is, of the
average citizen of China the very idea of Tibetan independence
might easily be seen as a rather obvious attempt to humiliate
Beijing and remind it of its "proper" (i.e., subordinate) place in
the global scheme of things.
After all, what if Chinese government leaders constantly reminded
the world that the American Southwest was stolen
from Mexico? Imagine the Chinese and Mexican ambassadors to the U.S.
demanding independence, for, say, California or better yet, its
return to Mexican sovereignty! Shall the Olympics be forever barred
from Puerto Rico, which was forcibly incorporated into the U.S.
"commonwealth" in the invasion of
Of course not. Yet the Americans and their international amen
corner are daring to criticize China for preserving its own unity
and sovereignty. It's a double standard made all the more
insufferable by the self-righteous tone of the anti-China chorus,
whose meistersingers are mainly concerned with celebrating their own
Yes, Tibet was forcibly incorporated into the Communist empire of
the Han, but this was just an episode in the long history of
Sino-Tibetan relations for the greater part of which the Tibetans
held the upper hand. The Tibetan empire, at its
height, extended from northern India to the Mongolian
hinterlands and came at the expense of the conquered Chinese and
Uighurs. It fell apart due to a ruinous civil war. A key factor in
this complex narrative is that Mongol hegemony over China was
greatly aided by the Tibetans, whose conversion of the Mongol
nobility to Buddhism legitimized Mongol rule. Today, pro-Beijing
historians point to this period as proof that Tibet has "always"
been a part of China proper, yet the truth is that both were slaves
to the Mongols the Tibetans as their collaborators, the Chinese as
their helots. (Underscoring Mongol contempt for their Chinese
subjects was an edict forbidding intermarriage between Mongol and
Chinese, although no such barrier to Mongol-Tibetan congress was
imposed.) With Buddhism as the state religion, Tibetan priests,
including the Dalai Lama, became the avatars of Mongol rule.
In short, the popular narrative of the pacifistic Buddhist
Tibetans as the good guys and the Han Chinese as the bad-guy
aggressors is the stuff of pure myth, pushed by union propagandists,
lefty Hollywood do-gooders, and trendy sandal-wearing Western camp
followers of the Dalai Lama, who has become a secularized yet
"spiritual" substitute for Mother Theresa.
If the Chinese are wrong to hold on to their province of Tibet,
then Lincoln was wrong to insist that the South stay in the Union
and we ought to immediately either grant the American Southwest (and
California) independence, or else give it all back to the Mexicans.
The same goes for Taiwan China's rulers are no more likely to
give up their claim to that island than Lincoln was inclined to let
the Confederacy hold on in, say, Key West, Fla.
China is an adolescent giant: clumsy, unused to exerting its will
beyond its borders, and wracked by self-doubt. Emerging into the
company of world powers, it is thin-skinned like any adolescent
and prone to wild mood gyrations. During the 1960s and '70s, the
Chinese were in a distinctly bad mood as they wrestled with the
ghosts and demons unleashed by Mao. The triumph of the "modernizers"
over the ultra-left Maoists in the 1980s signaled a new mood of
optimism and inaugurated an era of unrivaled economic growth. The
regime sanctified China's journey down the "capitalist road" by
citing the reformer Deng Tsiao-ping's most famous "Communist"
get rich is glorious!" Ayn Rand meets Chairman Mao (or, rather,
Confucius) and the result is capitalism-on-steroids.
That's why, in spite of the sclerotic Marxoid ideology that still
reins in and retards the natural entrepreneurial spirit of the
Chinese people, China is moving forward by leaps and bounds. That's
also why comrade Pelosi and her union boss buddies have launched
this odious Sinophobic hate campaign because "their" jobs and
sense of entitlement are going up in smoke. For decades, the U.S.
government has preached the virtues of free enterprise and urged
formerly Communist nations to adopt the free market and now that
the Chinese have taken them up on their offer, Western politicians
are attacking them!
The closer China has moved toward our own system relaxing
totalitarian controls over the economy and allowing a far greater
degree of ideological diversity than was possible during the Maoist
era the more hostile the U.S. government has become. Nixon went to
China at the height of the Cultural Revolution, where he sat next to
Madam Mao during a command performance of The Red
Detachment of Women. These days, however, as China stakes
its claim to a proportionate share of the world market and Chinese
investors fund the U.S.
debt the resentment and growing hostility of the Americans is
all too palpable.
Why do politicians of Pelosi's ilk join hands with
neoconservatives in a concerted campaign to antagonize China, and
even threaten sanctions and possible military action when the
occasion gives rise to the opportunity?
To begin with, China's is a success story, and there's nothing
that attracts opprobrium like success, unless it's success of the
wrong color in this case, yellow. A crude racist collectivism of a
specifically anti-Asian character has long been a tradition of the
War Party in this country: see
Seuss cartoons from the World
War II era for a particularly vivid
example. Yes, he was attacking the "Japs," but to Americans, it's
all the same Yellow Peril.
This kind of sentiment is easily invoked in America, and don't tell
me Pelosi and her ideological confreres aren't aware of it yes,
even in "liberal" San Francisco, where anti-Asian sentiment is part
of the city's history.
Never mind the first black president, or the first female
president what I'm waiting for is the first chief executive of
Asian-American descent. I'm not, however, holding my breath
Relations with China are cloudy, at best, and those may very well
be war clouds gathering on the horizon. The reason is that
Sinophobia is a point of unity between the Left and the Right: the
union of the Weekly
Standard and the AFL-CIO,
and perhaps even the majority of my paleoconservative friends, who
quail before the rising Chinese giant and see it as a potential
threat on account of its sheer scale a third of the world's
population, and a land-mass that rivals our own. Surely such a
stirring titan will knock us out of the way as he takes his place at
the center of the world stage.
This reflects a fundamental error on the part of many
conservatives, as well as liberals of the more statist persuasion.
They fail to understand that there are no conflicts of interest
among nations as long as their relations are governed by the market,
that is by mutually beneficial trade agreements voluntarily entered
into. Ludwig von
Mises said it far better than I could ever manage, and I'll
leave my readers to Mises' ministrations on this abstruse but
Suffice to say here that our relations with China on the economic
front are a benefit to American consumers that is, to all of us.
They enable us to buy inexpensive quality products and keep the cost
of living down. Protectionists who argue that "they" are "destroying
American jobs" are simply arguing for higher prices ordinarily not
a very popular cause, and especially not these
Free trade is the economic precondition for a peaceful world and
the logical corollary of a non-interventionist foreign policy. If
goods don't cross borders, then armies soon will a historical
truism noted by many
before me, and with good reason. Let it be a warning to all those
anti-free trade, antiwar types of the Right as well as the Left
you'll soon be jumping on the War Party's bandwagon when it comes
China's turn to play the role of global bogeyman. The way things are
going, that day may come soon enough.
Finally, a word or two about this nonsensical demand, raised by
the "Save Darfur" crowd, that China must somehow "extinguish the
flames of genocide" supposedly carried out by the government of
Sudan. What does China have to do with Sudan and its government?
Well, you see, the Chinese have oil interests in the region, that
is, they are engaged in competition with Western oil companies in
opening up new fields and, well, that just isn't permissible.
The Chinese, we are told, have a moral responsibility to either
pressure the Sudanese to let up on Darfur, or else abandon their
Sudanese assets. As if Sudan were a Chinese colony, and the Sudanese
authorities mere sock-puppets of Beijing.
A more arrogant and self-serving argument would be hard to
imagine. Presumably Western interests will fill the vacuum left by
this spontaneous display of Chinese moral rectitude and that alone
should tell us everything we need to know about what's behind the
"Save Darfur" bloviators and their high-horse moralizing.
If our professional do-gooders of the "progressive" persuasion
are so concerned about the fate of Darfur, let them campaign for the
granting of mass asylum to the survivors of this latest African
catastrophe. Give them sanctuary and green cards, but keep U.S.
troops out of Africa, specifically out of Darfur and get off
Like Russia, China is awakening
from the long Leninist nightmare, albeit less traumatically, and
with greater prospects for full recovery. However, it wouldn't take
much to push it back into a revival of neo-Maoism or worse and a
new dark age triggered by an external threat. A resurgence of
Chinese ultra-nationalism in response to Western pressure and the
specter of U.S.-sponsored separatism does not augur well for the
cause of world peace. As is so often the case, we are creating the
very enemies we fear, empowering and arming them ideologically. We
are, in this sense, our own worst enemies.
~ Justin Raimondo