Backtalk! The Real China Threat

Backtalk! The Real China Threat
May 22, 2001

From Brian, regarding “The Real China Threat”
May 22, 2001

Brian: I agreed with Mr. Chu’s point that the U.S. should avoid entangling itself in an Asian war over Taiwan.

Bevin Chu: Since Brian agrees with me on this crucial point, I am frankly delighted and could simply stop right here, as I have little more to say to him. Antiwar.com is an anti-interventionist website. Anti-intervention is its reason for being, its be all and end all. Antiwar.com is not Amnesty International. Antiwar.com is not Human Rights Watch.

Brian: Mr. Chu does rather adroitly avoid acknowledging that a majority of Taiwanese have no desire to reunify with mainland China as it currently exists.

Bevin Chu: “As it currently exists.” The overwhelming majority demands eventual reunification when the time and conditions are ripe, and furthermore they are dead set against independence. I have been living here in Taipei since 1992, and I know exactly how people here feel. See my earlier pieces on Taiwan independence.

Brian: I also think he whitewashes the P.R.C.’s atrocious human rights record, an odd thing for a libertarian to do. China still routinely imprisons dissidents, religious leaders, scholars, and accused “spies”.

Bevin Chu: I have aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews on the mainland. I dare say I care more about their well-being than William Kristol and Robert Kagan. With Cheney, Rumsfeld, Armitage and Wolfowitz in power I’m a damned sight more concerned about 17,000 to 21,000 US nukes raining down on their heads if Dubya does “whatever it takes” than I am about any of them getting arrested for political or religious dissent.

Brian: I congratulate China on its economic reforms which many of us would not have believed possible. It’s great that the tax rate is so low but it doesn’t do you much good if you’re sitting in jail for daring to read something from the Internet that the authorities deem “anti-state”. Political reform is not something to be sneered at. China may never be a western style democracy but its abuse of human freedom should be acknowledged and condemned.

Bevin Chu: China is China. America is America. Americans should condemn the American government’s abuses. Chinese should condemn the Chinese government’s abuses. Each nation’s citizens are responsible for their own government’s wrongdoing, not for foreign governments’ wrongdoing.

Brian: I’m all for avoiding war and passionately opposed to covering up obvious truths. It seems to me that a true libertarian who opposes violations of freedom on American soil would hold other nations to the same standard. No war, no intervention, but tell the damn truth!

Bevin Chu: I typically refuse to discuss China’s internal affairs with other Americans. To even broach the subject implies in principle that distant foreigners are somehow obligated to conform to arrogant and presumptuous Beltway interventionist expectations of what is “acceptable behavior.” Chinese don’t need or want Americans to “bear the white man’s burden.” They know from historical experience that to do so amounts to an invitation to foreign political elites posturing as altruist do-gooders to abuse the rights of Chinese in their own land. As long as China doesn’t commit aggression against American sovereignty and territory, e.g., launch an invasion of Pearl Harbor, what happens inside China is none of America’s business. China is 5,000 years old. The Chinese overthrew dozens of “unacceptable” regimes long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, long before Columbus even landed in the Caribbean. If the Chinese don’t like the government they have in Beijing, they will do something about it when and if they see fit.

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