Earlier this month, published in the South China Morning Post was an appalling piece published by American educated Chi Wang in support of the authoritarianism of Xi Jin Ping. Those of us in the free world who not only value democracy, but value also human rights should scoff at this kind of unabashed apologism for the genocidal CCP and the gross crimes committed by its leader.
In only a few years since its purchase by CCP member Jack Ma (馬雲), the head of AliBaba, it should be clear that the SCMP, a Hong Kong media source threatens to damage the international image of its journalistic integrity just as Hong Kong itself loses is last fragments of independence under the horrific mismanagement displayed by its successive troupe of CCP supporters.
It is a shocking development in world affairs that an American scholar who has spent the better part of his career funded by American institutions, including the Library of Congress, would turn into an apologist and a supporter of the continuity of CCP totalitarianism. It is almost more shocking that these frighteningly disturbed ideas would be given such a public forum. Authoritarian tyranny is on its face abhorrent, so it is all the more upsetting when pains must be taken to remind the world why totalitarianism is a plague that must be crushed.
Democracy is the only form of government that allows its people to force accountability from its leaders, period. Without constitutional democracy, a leader can act with impunity and there exists no formal mechanism to censure their actions. Chi Wang speaks of a Chinese crackdown on corruption and official misbehavior. With no objective source of verifying corruption, weak and politicized courts, and an active campaign of genocide being overseen by the highest echelons of government, it is not clear whether in this supposed campaign, Xi is acting to curb corruption or whether he is trying to cement his hold on power by liquidating every dissenter within the realm, perpetrating a modern day Stalinist purge.
The thrust of Chi Wang’s argument seems to be that the regime is the only thing keeping China together, that without it, the chaos of the Chinese people could not withstand a weaker government, much less a democratic transition. This is the common refrain within China, that they need a strong state to prevent chaos. It is highly unfortunate that their propaganda campaign has influenced American academia, too.
The arguments he puts forth are as old as they are discredited, that the Chinese people, and confucian values have some cultural incompatibility with democracy. This should stand in stark to contrast to evidence of its falseness, with Taiwan becoming one of the freest democracies in the world over the past two decades. He ignores this, and refers to the old mainland Republic of China without referencing the country as Taiwan, which has undergone three peaceful power transitions, countless local, national, and referendum elections, and thriving multiparty system right across the strait. The notion that China is ill suited to reform or democracy is nonsense, and it is Communist apologism at is most degrading.
Just like every other instance of brutalism and totalitarianism in the world, relations with China should be maintained, yet America shouldn’t keep its mouth shut nor fruitlessly cooperate with one of the cruelest and most dangerous regimes in the world. The life of the average Chinese person may have experienced the benefits of continued economic growth in the last few years of Xi’s tenure, a period of continuing growth it should be noted. In every other aspect, quality of life has suffered. Housing bubbles have expanded in nearly every major city in China, access to healthcare has suffered, censorship has increased, dissent has been brutally suppressed, and members of religious minorities are subject to forced disappearances and mass internment in concentration camps that now seem likely to expand from Xinjiang to other regions, thanks to the impotence with which the West has responded to their existence.
He may be the leader the CCP wants, but he is not the leader the Chinese people need. In light of this, the world should pressure China towards regime change before China becomes a powder keg as Germany did in the lead up to WWII. It should absolutely neither accept, nor support Xi Jin Ping, nor the CCP. The absolutist regime is heading straight in the direction of North Korea, and their belligerence and nationalistic fervor towards conflict increases by the day. The world should take heed and put a stop to this, and absolutely never accept authoritarianism as acceptable, much less “needed.”
Staff writer: Ari B
Photo: Zhuwei, Taoyuan, Taiwan
The original piece by Chi Wang is available here: https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/united-states/article/2185438/china-has-no-use-democracy-it-needs-strong