23 January 2008

No one dares to challenge China

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has just returned from his first official visit to China. The main reason for the trip - and main subject of his talks with Chinese officials - was, to no one's surprise, trade.
We (the developed countries of the West) have meanwhile reached a point where about 85% of our normal consumer goods are manufactured in China. Most toys are produced there, too, and a large proportion of books published in the English language are printed and bound in China.

This has led to the strange situation that we are more and more dependent on China, while the Chinese government swims in billions of Dollars, Pounds and Euros, not really knowing what to do with it. Recently a new economic development office was opened by China's President Hu, and the director of this office was given the sum of $ 200 billion as starting capital. More might be at his disposal later, and he has the task to invest this money in suitable projects and industries in the West.
In a few years we might find ourselves in the situation that we are not only completely dependent on China for our household goods, books and toys, but that China also holds and controls significant stakes in our remaining industries and institutions. Not one person in political power in the West today seems to see the potential danger this entails.

And none of our political leaders dares to raise his (or her) voice to challenge China on the issue of Human Rights. It is no secret that - despite a complete turn-around in economic policy - the People's Republic is still a Communist state with severe restrictions on freedom of speech, expression and many other human rights. China's prisons are full of various kinds of dissidents, and many of them are forced to provide slave labour for factories that produce goods for the Western market. None of our politicians and leading businessmen takes any notice of that, despite regular and meanwhile numerous reports compiled by Amnesty International. We are deliberately closing our eyes and minds to the facts of modern China and her human rights' abuses, just as the West closed eyes and minds to the (well known) facts of the Third Reich and its treatment of Jews and political prisoners.

We are sleep-walking into a massive spider's web and enable the building of an economic monster even Dr. Frankenstein would not have dared to create. And this does not even take into account the position of Taiwan, which could well be the trigger for a massive war between China and the USA in the foreseeable future. It amazes me how little our leaders have learned from History.
So far any free and democratic society that has tolerated and supported an oppressive and totalitarian regime had eventually to pay for that mistake in blood, gold and many other commodities. There is still time to re-think our policies towards China, but with every day, every ship full of goods made in China, and every trade delegation visiting Beijing the room for free movement and decisions is getting smaller.

The Emerald Islander

4 comments:

Alexander "Sunny" Bergen said...

Spot on, as always. I really admire the sharpness of your analytical brain.
Thanks to our ignorant leaders we are making ourselves redundant in world economy and world politics. One day we will be the "third" world, under-developed and impoverished. But we will have only ourselves to blame, as we have learned nothing from history.

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Thank you.

And yes, we are already on the way to be the underdogs. These things can change easily, and they do regularly in history. Just think of Egypt, for example. 3500 years ago it ruled the then known world, and now it is part of the "third world" and needs our hand-outs.
The tables will be turned in the same way on us, and it could happen much sooner and quicker than even pessimists like me expect.

The Wild Goose said...

It is really sad to see how developed states just "pretend" to defend human rights when their own interests can be protected by doing so and just ignore them when getting some profit from the ones who are hurting them.

The other side of this matter is that an enormous number of European workers are losing their jobs through this situation what has already led to several social problems. Why are European goverments safeguarding this trade instead of taking protectionist measures? Whose interests are being taken into account?

After reading your entries one always gets a very valuable general view of the matter. They are the best "columm" I have ever read. Congratulations!

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Yes, out "leaders" are - sadly - a bunch of spineless hypocrites when it comes to Human Rights. But we can only blame ourselves, since we elect them and keep them in power.

Protectionism is a double-edged sword and often not really helpful. But in some cases it can of course prevent a country from losing certain skills or industries, which are essential for the survival and independence of a nation.

And whose interests are being taken into account? Well, that is easy to answer: Big business, as always.

Thanks also for your kind words. I appreciate them. As a humble scribe I try to do my best to make things understandable and clear. It seems that I have some success with that.

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