Many Western nations now see China as a major threat to democratic ideals and want to take strong action against the Chinese regime. But for much of the latter part of the 20th century, the West actively supported China, albeit from a misguided hope that the country might one day turn into a democracy. Dissident author Ma Jian, whose books are banned in China, believes that the West is partially responsible for the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The rise of Communist China
Jian points out that the West has been turning a blind eye to the CCP’s human rights abuses ever since 1989, including how the Party has crushed free speech in the country, desecrated Tibet, and set up horrific concentration camps in the Xinjiang region. Jian believes that the West has been so blinded in its quest for profits that it has ignored the injustices. However, he warns that democracies that engage with tyrannies eventually end up bringing trouble upon themselves. As an example, the dissident author cites the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
The West shooting itself in the foot
Had Western governments made a strong push to dethrone the CCP and make sure that a democratic government took its place, incidents of secrecy over the COVID-19 outbreak, silencing of doctors who reported on the CCP virus, etc., would never have taken place. As a result, the world could have known about the CCP virus earlier, taking effective steps to restrict the outbreak. Thousands of people who have died of the infection may have lived. This is why the West needs to take strong action against China. The more they support the Communist Party, the more they are shooting themselves in the foot.
“Western governments must dis-engage, stop selling off vital infrastructure to the CCP, stop relying on China for products vital to their citizens’ health. They must grow a moral backbone, and ensure that this pandemic marks the end of the CCP’s corrupt infection of this world, and not the painful warning sign of worst to come,” Ma Jian said to Spectator USA. However, he reminds us that the adversary is not the Chinese people, but the Chinese regime. Mistakenly targeting innocent Chinese citizens for the crimes of the Communist Party will only trigger unnecessary hatred and distrust.
Jian details an interesting difference between the communist ideal of harmony and what the West believes harmony is. In the West, the multiplicity of opinions that are taken into consideration while finalizing a decision is seen as an indication of a harmonious society even if many of these opinions are in complete contradiction to one another. But in Xi Jinping’s China, suppression of uncomfortable opinions is seen as necessary for a harmonious society.
With the U.S. taking a strong stand against some of Beijing’s policies, the world’s two superpowers are now in conflict with each other. There are three main issues that can push the current cold war between the two nations into a heated confrontation and even lead to actual armed conflict. One is China’s increasing grip over Hong Kong. After Beijing passed the national security law that will allow the Communist Party to circumvent democratic institutions of the city, the United States announced that it would withdraw the special status given to Hong Kong. This will basically spell doom for the region. How the Chinese retaliate is something that is left to be seen.
The next two issues concern Taiwan and the South China Sea. A top Chinese military official recently threatened Taiwan with the possibility of a military invasion. At the same time, Beijing continues to expand its military footprint in the South China Sea. As far as the U.S. is concerned, Taiwan remaining independent and the Chinese military being kept away from dominating the South China Sea are critical for maintaining American influence in Asia. If China adopts violent tactics on these two fronts, the U.S. might be drawn into a war against the Asian nation.