The U.S. hopes that trade with China will advance human rights in that country. But, as the book Bowing To Beijing shows, this policy is not working.
For instance the authors list:
- Freedom of the press – There were more journalists under arrest in PRC prisons in 2010 than in any time in recent memory.
- Freedom of Speech – bloggers get arrested, and everyday Chinese workers simply disappear for expressing opinions that contradict the Chinese party line.
- Freedom of assembly – Farmers, students, etc. are rounded up or mowed down if they dare to join together in mass movements to protest the regime’s policies.
Dissent is not allowed in the PRC, period.
[In China if you] Complain about unreliable electricity in your apartment building and you could be out of a job. Try to get your little emperor moved to a different school and you could be out of your apartment. Sign a student petition demanding more say in school administration and you could get kicked out of university. Speak up for better working conditions and you might disappear to an undisclosed location, never to be seen again. Write essays on the need for political reform–God forbid on a foreign website–and you will likely be jailed and even tortured. Join a protest march calling for freedom for Tibet or democracy in China and you could be shot down in the streets….
One particularly painful example involves a human rights lawyer who was beaten so badly by police in 2002 that she is permanently crippled and wheelchair-bound. Ni Yulan made the unforgivable mistake of offering legal aid to the persecuted Falun Gong spiritual movement and documenting the forced evictions and demolitions of homes in Beijing…. Ni’s jailers won’t let her use a wheelchair or crutches, so she’s forced to drag herself around on the dirty, concrete prison floor.
China has a vast system of jails, gulags, and forced labor camps. Some people die in custody, like the 19-year-old who was tortured to death by police trying to force a confession for a murder the police were anxious to solve.
In the Chinese Judicial system, people are executed for minor offenses; there are no checks on the judiciary, and the condemned are executed immediately following a verdict, usually by a single bullet shot in the back of the head while kneeling in a field. This type of execution is also good for harvesting organs from the victim since it causes minimal tissue damage.
Mental institutions are used as jails for political dissidents, a technique previously perfected in the Soviet Union. Prisoners in these hospitals get drugged with debilitating medicines.
Then there is child labor. It is routine for children as young as nine years old to be sold to sweatshops. Ironically, the laboring child may be assigned to making toys.
Regular workers can find that the job they voluntarily signed up for becomes a prison, where they are padlocked into dormitories and forced to work up to eighteen hours a day in a subhuman environment for as little as fifty cents an hour. Such factories have made Apple Ipods, Ikea products, and Marks & Spencer clothing. Some of the makers of these products have cleaned up their act, but many have not.
China is also very polluted, and millions of Chinese are forced to wear face masks just to breathe on public streets. “Every 30 seconds, a baby is born with physical defects in China, all thanks to the country’s degrading environment,” reported China Daily, a government mouthpiece. Chinese farm products have had toxic scandals, such as pork that glowed in the dark, and more than seven million Chinese takeout boxes that were infected with toxins that cause damage to the kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs. Tainted Chinese food affects the U.S. as well, since $4.1 billion in Chinese food was exported to the United States in 2006.
The authors of the book warn that “The enemy is anyone who challenges the CCP. And the authors say that this includes the USA. This is an interesting point, because many “Socialist” countries (like Venezuela and Cuba and North Korea and the old USSR) did or do see the U.S. as an enemy. But one can ask, why should they oppose the U.S.? Surely, they could be content with their control of large populations and land and resources? Why should they care that, beyond their borders, there are countries that just want to accept the status quo and which would like to trade with them and not be bothered with defensive military buildups? And yet they do care, and they link with other dangerous countries such as Iran and provide them with nuclear and ballistic missile technology. Perhaps, despite the concessions to capitalism that China has made in their economic system, the idea that the West exists and rejects their ideology is an psychological irritant to them. It is also important to realize that basic rights that seem so self-evident and reasonable to us, don’t appear that way to everybody, including unfortunately the rulers of a country of 1.3 billion people.
Bowing To Beijing – by Brett Decker and William Triplett II. (2011)