Monday, June 13, 2005

A couple of takes on China

Kissinger provides some wise diplomatic counsel. He’s more optimistic about reducing tensions and arms along the Taiwan Strait than I would be, but does recognize it as a wild card to China’s overall foreign policy (or as they would have it, their domestic policy). Mark Steyn nails China’s problems on the nose: 1) the Chinese will be successful in the international community if the commies don’t screw it up - "The internal contradictions of Commie-capitalism will, in the end, scupper the present arrangements in Beijing"; 2) "'One country, two systems' will lead to two or three countries, three or four systems"; 3) China currently doesn’t respect intellectual property rights and that’s to their own detriment - "The new China's contempt for the concept of intellectual property arises from the old China's contempt for the concept of all private property: because most big Chinese businesses are (in one form or another) government-controlled, they've failed to understand the link between property rights and economic development..."; and 4) Beijing is opposed to free speech - "If a blogger attempts to use the words 'freedom' or 'democracy' or 'Taiwan independence' on Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal, he gets the message: 'This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech.' How pathetic is that? Not just for the Microsoft-spined Corporation, which should be ashamed of itself, but for the Chinese government, which pretends to be a world power but is terrified of words."

Steyn also quickly points out that while Philip Bennett, the Washington Post's managing editor, says that if he were a young career seeking journalist, he'd go to China because that's where the exciting stuff is, China has the record of arresting the more journalists than any other nation. That's including NYTimes journalist, Zhao Yan, who's been held without trial since September (I don't think he qualifies as an enemy combatant). As with all Steyn columns, it is worth a read.

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