Analysis by Christopher W. Holton, Center for Security Policy
Many Western observers assumed that the incorporation of market economics into China’s political system would result in a freer China with close, warm relations with the U.S., the West and China’s free Asian neighbors.
The reality has been very different. China is not free and China’s relations with the world are often characterized by Chinese imperialism and tension.
We should have known, because we were warned.
Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman explained that economic freedom was a necessary condition for political freedom, but it is not sufficient for political freedom:
When China began to incorporate market economics into its communist economic system it did not change its communist political rule in any way. Instead, what we got was rich communists.
The Communist Party of China still rules China. China is best described as an oligarchy, a ruling system in which power lies in the hands of a small group of people. In China, the Communist Party rules. Within the Communist Party of China, the real power lies with the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, which is now made up of 7 men, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping.
Xi Jinping has almost complete authority over China’s 1.3 billion people.
President Bill Clinton and many on Wall Street sold America on the idea that when China opened its markets to capitalism, liberty would invariably flow in and China would evolve into a free nation that posed no threat to the world.
The opposite has proven to be the case. China has maintained its totalitarian communist political system while it has amassed great wealth. And now, as we have seen with the recent controversy surrounding the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the U.S., China’s wealth has actually enabled the communists to enforce Chinese standards of freedom and liberty on Americans’ freedom of expression.
In case you had any illusions about whether the Red Chinese had softened through capitalism, just take a look at this excerpt from the Chinese national anthem:
Millions of but one heart we run towards the Communist tomorrow! Build our homeland, guard our homeland, and fight gallantly. March on! March on! March on! We, for tens of thousands of generations to come, Hold high the Flag of Mao Zedong, march on!
Many Americans don’t know much, if anything at all, about Mao. He is the father of Communist China and ruled the nation up until his death in 1976. He led the charge to institute communist political repression. He is also the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. He is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million people through planned starvation, slave labor gulags and outright executions.
Mao is still revered by the communists in China today.
The rulers of China haven’t changed as much as some might have us believe. Just this week, Xi Jinping issued this statement regarding pro-liberty demonstrations in Hong Kong:
“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
So what does all this mean to Americans?
Well, just take a look at what the Communist Party of China has spent a lot of that wealth on. Last month, I detailed China’s massive naval build-up. The wealth generated from that economic growth has enabled China to build a modern blue-water fleet almost from scratch:
On 1 October, Red China celebrated its 70th anniversary. To commemorate that event, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) put on a massive display of military power in the form of a parade. Along with the usual marching formations, tanks and armored and wheeled vehicles, the PLA displayed stealth aircraft, stealth drones, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Make no mistake, all of that military hardware is aimed squarely at the U.S.A. Furthermore, much of the technology involved in the design, manufacture and operation of that advanced weaponry ultimately comes from Western — especially American — sources. Some of it was stolen, but a good deal of it was gleaned from civilian applications which were adapted to military use.
Many Americans don’t want to hear this for both political and business reasons, but the U.S. and China are adversaries. And China is today’s version of the communist threat. There are 90 million members of the Communist Party of China, which means that, even with the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, there are more communist party members in China alone today than there were behind the entire Iron Curtain a generation ago.
Welcome to the new Cold War. Let’s make sure that it won’t go hot. Historically, the only way to maintain the peace is through American strength.Christopher W. Holton is Vice President for Outreach at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.
Free Press International