The DiploMad on China
Posted by ampontan on Thursday, December 6, 2012
THE DiploMad website is written by a retired US Foreign Service officer who revels in his new-found opportunity to say what he really thinks.
His strong opinions about China should be required reading for anyone interested in that country and its interaction with the rest of the world. This post would be a capital place to start.
Speaking of two lunch companions, he begins:
They saw the 21st century “belonging” to China in the same way that the 20th “belonged” to us. They made the usual arguments about China’s manufacturing prowess, well-coordinated and determined political class, social discipline, and education–which is the real kind, not the “women’s studies” kind. Their writing reflected these views. This narrative continues today from other purveyors of conventional faux wisdom such as the annoying and boring Thomas Friedman, and the condescending and insufferable Fareed Zakaria.
Don’t buy it. The 21st will prove “China’s century” only if we destroy ourselves; but, if we do, odds are we’re taking China with us–and the Chinese rulers know it (more to follow).
There are observations from his visits:
I have found it impressive over the years to see how China has transformed itself from a poor, brutal authoritarian police state into a poor, brutal, authoritarian police state with large foreign currency reserves. Sorry, but shoddily-built skyscrapers, and streets clogged with Fords, BMWs, Lexus, and Buicks, and lined with luxury stores and restaurants cannot hide the hard facts.
And the leadership:
(C)ontrol of the legal-political system remains with an unelected and corrupt Communist Party cadre. These rulers have agreed among themselves that not one will have the total power once wielded so disastrously by Mao. The top jobs rotate; major decisions are not made solo. Progress? I don’t know. We saw a similar development in the USSR after Stalin: how is the USSR doing these days?
And the real war on women (which I’ve argued before constitutes a crime against humanity):
We hear a lot of heated nonsense about a GOP “war on women.” To see a real war on women, go to China. Thanks to Chinese preference for sons, the one-child dictate means females in China are disappearing: they are being aborted, killed, and given for adoption overseas. This is gendercide, a human rights disaster of major proportions and one almost ignored. Moral issues aside, China is heading for demographic disaster. Marrying age men vastly outnumber women. Among those who can afford it, there is a hunt on for foreign brides. Large groups of young Chinese men charter planes to Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere, and hold “speed dating” sessions at local hotels in the hunt for brides, stoking the anti-Chinese hatred which lies just beneath the surface of many Asian societies.
He also talks about how the Chinese are viewed by its neighbors:
A senior Vietnamese diplomat once told me, “Everybody wants to be American. Nobody wants to be Chinese. Even the Chinese want to be American.” This from a man whose father, he said, died fighting the US Marines in Hue, and whose own son was studying in California.
As well as the so-called economic miracle:
Even in the economic sphere there is less than meets the eye. Most Chinese, the overwhelming number of them, live in crushing rural and urban poverty, work under appalling conditions, and suffer levels of environmental pollution and food contamination that no Western society would tolerate.
It’s so good it’s tempting just to copy and paste the whole thing. But all you have to do is hit the link.