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The Forum > Article Comments > America’s tortured China policy > Comments

America’s tortured China policy : Comments

By Maura Moynihan, published 21/5/2009

Has US's policy of 'constructive engagement' with China deteriorated into craven appeasement of a vast totalitarian dictatorship?

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The author is confused. She condemns both despotic government and market capitalism in the one article.

But if the values of individual freedom are not to provide the foundational principles of society and the limitations on government, what alternative is there? How are you going to avoid the systemic abuse of human rights if government's purpose is considered to be the forcible redistribution of the fruits of people's labour?

Is torture okay if a 'democracy' does it? Obviously not. Torture, theft, forced labour, wars of aggression are *not* somehow sanctified by majority vote.

Yet what today, apart from majority vote, distinguishes the ethics of the Chinese state from the ethics of the U.S.? Constitutional government? No. Respect for private property? No.

What is common to them both is that government has, and should have, a power to do anything and everything - all for the greater good of course.

It is absurd to blame McDonalds for the abuses of the Communist party of China, or expect market institutions to curb them. The blame for the abuse of government power lies fairly and squarely on government, not on those whose property governments steal to fund their further depredations against freedom and property.

How ironic that China’s power is rising at the same time as the US lurches towards fascism and more of the planned chaos that *always* and *necessarily* comes from central economic planning.
Posted by Wing Ah Ling, Thursday, 21 May 2009 6:25:52 PM
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Maura nails it:

* the Clinton Administration de-linked trade and human rights
* the west de-linked barbarism from the "constructive engagement" myth
* western powers are ensnarled in a policy morass
* an anachronistic belief that China will liberalise
* capitalism made the Chinese Communist Party rich and powerful
* America has become the Chinese Communist Party’s chief enabler
* prolonged suffering of the Chinese people for many more years

De-linked, ensnarled, and anachronistic Communist enablers. I think that's also a reference to Kevin Rudd. It will indeed be a tragedy if western powers don’t use their leverage to promote reform. Leverage like trade sanctions. Stop feeding the beast with minerals and buying it's cheap goods. Do it now while we still can, while the US is still militarily dominant.
Posted by online_east, Thursday, 21 May 2009 7:42:02 PM
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It would be nice if the communistic tendencies of China were balanced by the fascist tendencies of Bush's US. (and possibly Obama's US too)
Of course that is not how it works, the individual loses in both cases.
In both the US and China (and here) they/we desperately need a free press so that the issues are transparent and some balance can be achieved.
China will liberalise only to the extent that it benefits the ruling elite. "Pure" capitalism is just as extreme as pure communism in that it is excellent for channeling wealth to the few at the expense of the many. Have a look at the wealth distribution stats from the US and Australia in the last decade. A whole middle class has been wiped out to enrich a tiny minority that were already very comfortable. At least in China millions are getting out of abject poverty. Only a few Billion to go.
Remember, we incarcerated children for years in desert concentration camps in the name of border security. For some the uncertainty of being locked up without representation for years is just as bad as torture, which at least is relatively short. Best not get to "holier than thou" when it comes to China and it's national borders. It is obviously evil, but similar things happen in our own back yard without universal condemnation of the regime that oversees it.
Posted by Ozandy, Friday, 22 May 2009 8:58:13 AM
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