- Pubblicato Sabato, 07 Settembre 2019 18:25
BY JOSEPH BOSCO, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 08/30/19
The geopolitical tectonic plates are moving, and the inevitable dismantlement of the Chinese Communist empire has begun.
History teaches that the lifespan of a major communist power is about seven decades, even under the best of circumstances — that is, when the dictatorship is given every strategic advantage through sporadic Western naivete, timidity and other motivations.
That was the experience of the Soviet Union after the victorious World War II Allies handed over half of Europe to Moscow’s tender mercies and expanded and prolonged communism’s rule of half the world for another 40 years.
Now, the People’s Republic of China, itself having been given a four-decades extension by misguided Western policies before and after the Tiananmen Square massacre, is finally reaching the end of the line — and Donald Trump and Hong Kong are the bellwethers of its demise.
As a candidate, president-elect and then as president, Trump made clear that he was throwing out the old rulebook and approaching both domestic and international issues with a fresh, and very brash, attitude.
That became dramatically evident when he turned to the two challenges that bedeviled his predecessors for decades: the immediate security threat from North Korea and the immediate economic threat from China, along with its own growing aggression.
After setting the stage with North Korea through a maximum-pressure campaign of sanctions, credible threats of force and regime delegitimization, Trump cultivated a personal relationship with Kim Jong Un. The combination seemed to offer the prospect of a denuclearization breakthrough until Chinese leader Xi Jinping intervened and hardened Pyongyang’s posture. Now, Trump must decide whether to return to maximum pressure — and whether to punish Xi for poisoning the well.
With China, the president emphasized the charm component as he imposed expanding trade tariffs and asserted America’s deterrent resolve in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
He has not (yet) played the human rights card against the Chinese Communist regime, despite abundant opportunities presented by its cultural genocide and physical persecution of the Uighur people and the crisis in Hong Kong.
But the trade war alone poses an existential threat to Beijing. Trump’s escalating tactics present Xi with a dilemma. If he continues to play tit-for-tat indefinitely, the costs to the Chinese economy will keep rising at a time when the government is preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic.
The costs could become unbearable if the U.S. president decides to reinstate the bans on ZTE and Huawei that he imposed, and then retracted as a personal favor to Xi — but for which Xi has not reciprocated on trade, maritime security, human rights or North Korea.
If, on the other hand, Beijing keeps the promises it originally made to reform its economic practices and behave like a normal global trading partner, it will lose the unfair advantages it has enjoyed for decades. Then Xi will be unable to sustain his regime’s investment in either massive internal repression or aggressive external adventures and will need to recalibrate his “China Dream” ambitions.
A similar Hobson’s choice confronts Beijing regarding the burgeoning, monthslong civil protests in Hong Kong — again precipitated by the Communist Party’s brazen reneging on promises made to the world community.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, establishing “one country, two systems,” was already seeded with a doomed outcome, guaranteeing the civil, political and human rights of the people of Hong Kong for a period of only 50 years.
But Beijing decided it could not wait even that long to absorb Hong Kong into its totalitarian tyranny. Over the years, it undertook a gradual campaign of strangling the city-state’s political autonomy, first by eroding the promise of universal suffrage and self-government, and most recently, by trying to undermine judicial independence through an extradition law that triggered the recent protests.
It is easy to understand China’s discomfiture with Hong Kong’s status when it is coupled with the other Chinese population for which the one country, two systems arrangement was intended: Taiwan. As Vice President Mike Pence recently stated, “America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.”
China obviously fears the Hong Kong/Taiwan democratic model will infect the rest of its population, especially the diverse subjugated regions of Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang). It imposes a sweeping news blackout precisely to keep the Chinese people from knowing a “better path” is entirely possible for them, too.
So far, to avoid upsetting the economic arrangements that have profited some sectors of Western business, think tanks and academia — while devastating entire U.S. industries and communities — Washington and other governments have not played the powerful information card that is readily available to pressure Beijing to reform.
But the plight of the Uighurs and Hong Kongers — and the recent exposure of Nazi-like medical procedures such as forced organ harvesting against oppressed minority groups — is fostering second thoughts on not only the immorality but also the strategic wisdom of continued silence.
The external pressure from the Trump economic strategy and the centrifugal forces emanating from Beijing’s repressed populations are coinciding. At some point, Xi and/or his colleagues, or their successors, will need to confront the internal contradictions of the entire Chinese Communist system.
They will have to decide whether lashing out at external enemies and those within could produce a conflagration that will destroy all their achievements of the past 30 years — and the Communist Party itself — or whether a glide path to a soft landing can be arranged with the outside world.
At that point, China’s leaders may decide that a restored Chinese empire with communist characteristics is ultimately an untenable proposition and that the burden of trying to hold it together is too much.
Then, one system — democracy — likely will prove to be more attractive and workable for the core Chinese nation, and for the separate and independent entities of Hong Kong, Taiwan, East Turkestan, Mongolia and Tibet. Those free peoples then could decide what remerging or federated relationships they prefer.
That will be a China Dream that the 1.4 billion people presently under Beijing’s rule would welcome.
Joseph Bosco served as China country director for the secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and as Asia-Pacific director of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief from 2009 to 2010. He is a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Corean-American Studies and the Institute for Taiwan-American Studies and is a member of the advisory board of the Global Taiwan Institute.
- Pubblicato Mercoledì, 12 Giugno 2019 19:26
By JASON SCOTT JONES Published on May 31, 2019
This week the State Department’s Morgan Ortegas delivered one of the bravest statements you will ever hear from a government official. She pointed to the “victims of China’s massive campaign of repression against Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.” The statement continued:
The United States is alarmed by the arbitrary and unjust detention of more than 1 million people; widespread reports of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment; ever-present, high-tech surveillance; and coerced practices contrary to people’s faiths.
Donald Trump: Champion of the Vulnerable
This powerful statement should be front page news. Everywhere. But you won’t find much about it at USA Todayor CNN. As with unborn children, it falls to us as Christians to defend the vulnerable. Ironically, powerful Islamic regimes such as Saudi Arabia do nothing to help China’s Muslims. They put first their business deals with the dictators in Beijing.
The Muslims of China are helpless victims of a vicious atheist regime. It uses forced abortion and concentration camps to punish all believers who resist Communist control. That means Christians, and also Muslims.
The Muslims of China are helpless victims of a vicious atheist regime. It uses forced abortion and concentration camps to punish all believers who resist Communist control. That means Christians, and also Muslims. The hunted Muslims in China, then, really are “the least among us.” If we want to be taken seriously when we call for religious freedom, and claim to be Christ-followers, we must speak up for them, too.
One of the Great Genocides Is Happening Today
How bad is the plight of the Uighur community in Chinese-occupied East Turkistan (Xinjiang)? It’s one the greatest genocides in modern history. And it’s happening today. As you read this.
Don’t take it from me. See the State Department’s 2018 Human Rights Report. The Chinese Communist Party has imprisoned “possibly more than two million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities.”
Journalists, human rights advocates, and former prisoners all agree. They report that “security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.” Communist party thugs steal Uighur children from their parents and brainwash them into atheism and Communism.
Some Uighurs have fled to the U.S. and Europe. Even in freedom, they’re haunted by memories. By the thought of their family members still enduring torture, rape, and death in Chinese concentration camps. Or by their own brushes with China’s use of infanticide and abortion as tools of genocide. As I reported here at The Stream a few months back:
One woman, Arzigul Tursun, was detained by police in the sixth month of her third pregnancy. Officials then forced her to undergo a late-term abortion.
Even if she had somehow escaped the medically unnecessary procedure? Then she would have faced a 45,000 yuan fine for the crime of conceiving a third child. That fine exceeds several years’ family income.
As a human rights advocate, a Christian, and a father, let me say “Thank You.” Thank you, Trump administration and State Department. This week’s statement was timely, courageous, and the right thing to do.
Trump: Not Silent Like FDR and Obama
I’m all the more grateful when I consider the alternative. One we’ve seen too often: Silence in the face of brutality. Oblivion for the vulnerable. I’m often deeply pained by the dark moments in our history. The times when powerful Americans left the weak to perish, when they needed our solidarity the most.
Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »
I think of the spiritless bureaucrats who sat on reports of the Holocaust which Polish Resistance fighters died to spirit out of Europe. For long months, only the Yiddish press would report them. A press briefing finally revealedthe Nazi plan in 1942. Our media yawned.
The next day’s New York Times reported [the] news on its tenth page. Throughout the rest of the war, the Times and most other newspapers failed to give prominent and extensive coverage to the Holocaust.
I also remember how FDR’s and his State Department turned away Jewish refugees from Europe. That effectively sent them back to Hitler’s death camps.
I think also of those who ignored reports of the massive suffering inflicted on innocents in the Soviet Gulag. And the celebrities, journalists, and cowardly diplomats who fawned on the monster Joseph Stalin.
Even more recently, officials in the Obama administration long ignored the urgent needs of minorities in the Middle East. They scoffed at the genocidal jihadist group ISIS as a “junior varsity” team. Many in the American media downplayed that too.
America Demands that the Genocide End
I’m grateful that President Trump is proving so much more humane.
This week represents one of the bright moments in our history. It should make Americans proud. The State Department’s statement showed no weakness. It ended with a demand:
The human rights abuses in Xinjiang must end, and they must end now. We call on the Chinese Government to release all Uighurs and other Muslim minorities arbitrarily detained throughout Xinjiang….
This is America showing courage, and calling out tyranny. Standing up for victims. Embracing the incomparable worth and dignity of the human person at the moment when he is most under threat. This is America at its best.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 14 Aprile 2019 23:03
The Jewish people don’t need to be warned about genocide. We know it doesn’t happen overnight. We know it starts with a culture being demonised, and with hate and repression becoming normal. Then people start disappearing. That’s what is happening today in China. It is estimated that over a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are being detained indefinitely in ‘re-education’ camps in China’s western Xinjiang Region.
The range of people detained in the camps, from elderly women, to intellectuals, and celebrated artists, undermines the official line that they are being detained in order to receive training. They are being detained as part of a wider effort by the Chinese government to subdue and erase Uyghur culture.
Who are the Uyghurs? They are a Turkic minority, ethnically and culturally very different from China’s Han majority. The majority of Uyghurs – around 11 million – live in Xinjiang, but there are significant communities in central Asia, Turkey, Germany, and the United States. There is a small Uyghur community here in the UK too. Many Uyghurs practise Islam, and do not speak Mandarin as a first language. Since 1949 the Uyghur homeland has been a part of the People’s Republic of China. Decades of Han migration and discriminatory policies towards Uyghur people have led to tensions and sporadic violence.
Repression of Uyghurs has escalated massively since 2016. The Chinese Government say that they are responding to extremism in the Uyghur community. It is true that some Uyghurs have gone to fight in Syria. But the Chinese Government’s response to this has been to punish millions of people, many of whom have been labelled ‘extreme’ for such things as refusing to eat pork, or speaking to a relative overseas.
Life for Uyghurs outside the camps is bleak too. As well as the constant fear of being taken away, the Chinese Government have banned many expressions of Uyghur culture. The Uyghur language is being removed from schools and public spaces. Mosques are empty. Neighbourhoods are being bulldozed.
What can we do? As Jews I believe we have a special responsibility to bear witness to what is happening, and to speak up whenever we can.
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights was co-drafted by Monsieur René Cassin, a French-Jewish lawyer who had lost many family members in the Holocaust. His aim was to establish rights for all of humanity. On being informed that he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968, René Cassin replied: “I am very happy”. But, he added, “I would be happier if there were a little more justice in the world”.
René Cassin, the Jewish human rights charity named in his honour, is hosting an event on 9th May to highlight the Uyghur crisis and to ask what solidarity and leadership the Jewish community can offer, in the hope of bringing ‘a little more justice’ to the world in René Cassin’s name.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 14 Aprile 2019 20:30
China is sentencing residents of the Uighur Muslim-majority Xinjiang region caught with social media accounts like Facebook on their phone to 15 years in “re-education centers,” where detainees undergo psychological communist indoctrination, Daily Mail reported, citing an activist in the region.
On Wednesday, Daily Mail reported:
The blogger known as Kasim claims that in China’s heavily Muslim Xinjiang region those caught with Facebook on their phones are sent to re-education’ centres to clamp down on their social media use. … He said that people are being sentenced to 15 years there if police catch them with any social media like Facebook or Twitter on their phones.
According to the Daily Mail, the blogger told the Sun Online that he used “specialist sensors” to circumvent Beijing’s restrictions on Twitter.
The blogger reportedly declared:
China doesn’t want you to know what’s happening outside of China, so they’ve built a firewall. Police check your phone looking for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – any app not made in China.
If they catch you with any of these apps, or in contact with someone abroad – even someone from China who has now left the country – they accuse you of hating communism, of hating China.
Almost every police [officer] has handheld equipment they connect to your phone with a USB where they can scan everything on your phone, all your photos, everyone you’ve ever spoken to.
The Daily Mail report came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told U.S. lawmakers that China’s “Orwellian” persecution of Muslims and Christians has reached “historic proportions,” citing Beijing’s crackdown on Uighurs and followers of Christ.
Last month, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) noted in its annual report on human rights that Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s administration “significantly intensified its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang).”
China continues to deny its crackdown on Muslims, which DOS and non-governmental groups say has expanded to Christians and non-Uighur Islam adherents.
- Pubblicato Domenica, 17 Febbraio 2019 11:40
Because I write books about Soviet history, and because I often speak about them to U.S. or European audiences, I am frequently forced to confront the problem of Western indifference. Why, I am asked over and over, did British diplomats who knew about the man-made Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 do nothing to stop it? The Catholic Church at that time was also aware that millions of Soviet citizens were dying because Joseph Stalin’s state had confiscated their food. Why did it not galvanize Europeans to send grain?
Many are intrigued and horrified, as am I, by the story of Walter Duranty, then the New York Times Moscow correspondent, who covered up the story of the Ukrainian famine, though he knew it was happening. Many are impressed when they read about Gareth Jones, the Welsh freelance reporter who told the truth about the famine but was not believed. So fascinating is the contrast between them that a new film (“Mr. Jones”) has been made about them, more than 80 years after Jones’s death.
Usually, when asked why Jones was ignored, or why the Vatican and the British foreign office kept silent, I explain that 1933 was also the year of Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany, so newspaper editors were distracted. Diplomats were already worried they would soon need Stalin as an ally. “Realists” such as the French politician Édouard Herriot — he made a trip to Ukraine in August 1933 and declared that he had found not hunger but “a garden in full bloom” — wanted their countries to trade with Russia. Besides, Ukraine, a distant Soviet republic, was a place that seemed alien and uninteresting to people in London, Paris and New York, most of whom probably felt they couldn’t do much about people suffering there anyway.
The audiences I speak to are sometimes unsatisfied with these answers. They want to talk about the perfidy of the Left or the New York Times, or they want to blame the U.S. president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt. But blame is easy. Far more difficult, both for them and for me, is to admit something more profound: That precisely the same indifference, and the same cynicism, exist today.
Yes, the West looked the other way during the 1930s, when people were starving. But the West is also looking the other way in 2019, refusing to see the concentration camps in China’s Xinjiang province. These camps have been designed to suppress the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority whose status in China in some ways resembles that of Ukrainians in the old U.S.S.R. Like the Ukrainians who did not want to be Sovietized, the Uighurs do not want to be fully absorbed into the Chinese state. Like the Soviets, the Chinese have responded with repression. Previous Chinese leaders sought to flood Xinjiang with ethnic Chinese, the same tactic they used against Tibetans. More recently, the state has grown harsher, creating camps where at least 1 million Uighurs undergo forced indoctrination designed to eradicate their language and culture.
In truth, we know far more about these camps, and about the accompanying repression, than anyone in 1933 knew about the famine in Ukraine. They have been extensively described in the world’s media, including the New York Times and The Post . Government bodies have studied them, too. Canada’s Parliament recently produced an account of the suppression of the Uighurs that is far more comprehensive than anything Jones ever wrote. The report is one of many to describe the massive surveillance program that China has imposed in Xinjiang, using not only old-fashioned informers and police checkpoints, but artificial intelligence, phone spyware and biometric data. Every tool that a future, larger totalitarian state may use to control citizens is currently being tested in Xinjiang.
Under “terrorist” legislation in Xinjiang, anyone can be arrested for anything — for expressing an allegiance to Uighur culture, for example, or for reading the Koran. Once inside the “re-education” camps, arrestees are forced to speak in Mandarin Chinese and made to recite praises of the Communist Party. Those who break the rules receive punishments no different from those meted out to prisoners in the Soviet Gulag: “They put me in a small solitary confinement cell,” said one former prisoner cited in the Canadian report, “in a space of about two by two meters. I was not given any food or drink, my hands were handcuffed in the back, and I had to stand for 24 hours without sleep.”
As in the 1930s, there are explanations for the world’s lack of outrage. Newspaper editors are distracted by bigger, more immediate stories. Politicians and foreign policy “realists” would say there are more important issues we need to discuss with China: Business is business. Xinjiang is a distant place for people in Europe and North America; it seems alien and uninteresting. None of that changes the fact that in a distant corner of China, a totalitarian state — of the kind we all now denounce and condemn — has emerged in a new form. “Never again?” I don’t think so: It’s already happening.