Friday, April 17, 2020

Wealthy Powerful Americans Catastrophically Wrong About China

NationalReview |  For the last thirty years, the vast majority of powerful institutions in the United States placed a gargantuan bet on the idea that the government in Beijing could be a reliable partner in prosperity and would be a responsible actor on the world stage. Many leading politicians in both parties chose to believe this, many foreign-policy wonks chose to believe this, many academics and university administrators chose to believe this, and obviously, corporate America loved the idea of both using Chinese labor for imported goods and receiving access to the Chinese market. This includes Comcast, Disney, Viacom, AT&T, and Fox Corporation — the parent companies of NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and Fox News, among other large multinationals that own major U.S. news organizations.

The controversy over the NBA last year was a vivid demonstration that most of these entities were not going to let little things like the Chinese government forcing over one million ethnic minorities into concentration camps or a brutal crackdown in Hong Kong disrupt these extremely profitable relationships. These American companies had gone way too far down the road of partnership with China to turn back now and could do elaborate mental gymnastics to justify why Chinese oppression and brutality was qualitatively different from oppression and brutality anywhere else. This mentality took root at institutions like the World Health Organization, too.

The problem was, the Chinese government was never the stabilizing, reasonable force for order that these Americans wanted to believe it was. We saw the regime’s true nature over three decades of brutal human-rights abuses and censorship and shameless lies to cover that brutality.

When the Chinese government initially declared this new virus could not be spread from person to person, and that the situation in Wuhan was under control, very few people wanted to stand up and say they couldn’t be trusted. We had just seen the Chinese government try to blow up the business plans of the National Basketball Association over a single general manager’s tweet. If you cross the Chinese government, you take your livelihood in your hands, if not your life. On March 4, the state-run Xinhua News Agency declared, “If China retaliates against the United States at this time, in addition to announcing a travel ban on the United States, it also announces the strategic control of medical products and the ban on export to the United States, then the United States will be caught in the sea of new coronavirus.” Every day, the leaders of China tell us and show us exactly who they are and how they see the world. They are perfectly content to watch us die painful deaths if this means greater leverage and power for themselves.