Bowing to China’s Growing Power

Bowing to China’s Growing Power
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

When China’s Xi Jinping first gained leadership of the huge Asian nation in 2012, he faced a term-limit provision in the Chinese constitution that would force his retirement in 2022. But that law no longer exists. Senior Communist Party officials quietly agreed in January to abolish the constitution’s term limitation policy. When the National People’s Congress (close to 3,000 members) met early in March, there was no doubt that they would follow the recommendation of their seniors. They erased the term limits clause in a grand show of docility.

Image from Wikimedia Commons, President of the Russian Federation, http://www.kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0.

Xi Jinping is now president for life in the country with the world’s largest population and an increasingly obvious status as an economic giant. Now able to dictate that it be treated with fawning respect by outsiders, China has nevertheless continued to be led by a totalitarian regime. Not only has it become an economic power, its leaders are creating a military capability that, before long, could challenge any other military power on earth.

If there are any opponents within China of Xi’s remarkable power grab, they have chosen – either wisely or reluctantly – to remain silent. Commentary within China on his bold ascendancy is virtually non-existent. The government has made impossible any discussion of the matter, and the people are well aware of this tyrannical prohibition.

Not only is criticism of anything about China discussed openly within the country’s borders, any opposition to any Chinese policy elsewhere is increasingly challenged. Intimidation resulting from China’s growing omnipresence reaches out worldwide. Ethnic Chinese waitresses in Australia can be told by fellow Australians to keep silent about their pro-Taiwan attitude. American firms have required employees to avoid registering even a hint of disapproval of China’s takeover of Tibet several decades ago. Similarly, no one shall be permitted to challenge Beijing’s frightening attitude toward Taiwan. Friends of this prosperous bastion of freedom and its 23 million citizens increasingly receive a scolding if the island is considered a free country.

Further, American firms have been quick to apologize and correct what China claims to be insulting or merely erroneous mention of Taiwan’s claims for itself. Columnist Jeff Jacoby has pointed out that Marriott corporate leaders prostrated themselves before China when a minor American employee in Nebraska posted his agreement with a pro-Tibet article he saw on the internet. He was promptly fired. Apple meekly blocked any possibility that China’s people could access the internet’s information about their country. After receiving a complaint from China, Delta Airlines quickly erased its reference to both Tibet and Taiwan as “countries.” All of this and more led Jacoby to conclude: “Every time a corporation kowtows to China’s outrageous bullying, it ensures that more bullying will follow.”

One truly remarkable instance of China’s growing clout surfaced recently when China obtained the Vatican’s willingness to abandon faithful Catholic clergy in the communist-led nation. Bishops loyal to Rome have operated underground for decades while others have renounced their ties to the seat of Catholicism and become members of the so-called “Patriotic Catholic Church.”

But bullying isn’t the only important concern. What if Mainland China decides to invade and occupy Taiwan as it did when it sent conquering forces into Tibet several decades ago? The U.S. has long been committed to defend Taiwan’s 23 million should China choose to recapture the island it has always considered to its property. Would the U.S. defend its ally, or would our leaders accept a Chinese takeover?

Further, U.S. leaders have never responded to the 25 percent tariff on U.S. autos entering China while our tariff on Chinese cars entering the U.S. is a measly 2.5 percent. American firms in China cannot exceed 50 percent ownership while Chinese firms in America are permitted 100 percent. No aware American has to be told of the presence of “Made in China” labels on an array of goods for sale here. And perhaps the most stunning indication of American decline and foreign ascendance is the fact that 97 percent of the clothing Americans purchase is made overseas, mostly in China.

President Trump wants to make America great again. He first has to assure that America reverses the almost daily slide away from its greatness.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered

Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Details about the June 4, 1989, crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square remain hidden. The massacre, overshadowed to a degree by the televised confrontation of a single man facing a row of tanks, is nevertheless still commemorated throughout China. In semi-autonomous Hong Kong (the former British colony transferred to Mainland China in 1997), the date of June 4 has become an occasion for annual protests of tens of thousands.

Image from flickr by David Holt, some rights reserved.

The Chinese Communist government has never published the number of the pro-democracy victims of its bloody clampdown 28 years ago. Estimates place the number killed somewhere around many thousands. These were idealistic students who met death at the hands of soldiers sent to cancel the peaceful demonstration. Government mention of what happened at Tiananmen Square admits only to “turmoil” created by the demonstrators.

The million who gathered in Tiananmen Square in 1989 weren’t the only Chinese protesting their government’s dictatorial rule. Demonstrators had gathered in scores (some say hundreds) of cities throughout China. In Shanghai, whose population exceeds Beijing’s, demonstrations grew even larger after news of the 1989 killings in Beijing had spread. Suppression of the protesters there did not face the bloody put-down occurring at the nation’s capital city.

Over many years, Tiananmen Square has been the scene of other noteworthy events. A 1919 student protest in “the heart of the Middle Kingdom” is a fairly well remembered bit of history. Even more widely known is the choice of the Square by Mao Tse Tung to proclaim the People’s Republic in 1949. Since then, the Square has been the site of parades featuring troops with their weapons and an assortment of military vehicles.

This year, a small bottle of liquor carrying the date 6/4/89 became a symbol for millions who want China to be a country where free speech and other basic rights are the norm. One bottle of the symbolically labeled liquor made its way throughout China and ended up in Hong Kong where it will likely be added to other reminders of the 1989 carnage.

Unwilling to let even small protests go unpunished, Chinese authorities have arrested four men in Chengdu for their role in producing and labeling the small bottles of liquor. The four have already been accused of “inciting subversion of state power.” A court decree ruling against them claimed that they were “dissatisfied with our country’s socialist system.” The court got that right.

The New York Times recently contacted parents of two victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Recalling his son’s death and the annual commemoration of the blood-drenched incident, Xiao Zongyou, a resident of Chengdu, said of his wife and himself,  “If remembering June 4 is a crime, then the Chengdu Public Security Bureau should arrest us. Like my son, I want this country to get better.”

But freedom isn’t getting better in China. Free speech is prohibited and subject to monitoring by two million government censors most of whom diligently monitor the Internet. Attempts to obtain detailed information about what occurred at Tiananmen Square in 1989 by entering the word “Tiananmen” on a computer produces nothing. That word and others used to commemorate what happened 28 years ago have been erased.

China remains a totalitarian state ruled by the descendants of Mao Tse Tung. A hero to Communist Chinese, Mao and his Communist horde made it into the Guinness Book of Records as history’s greatest mass murderers. During recent years with vital help from the U.S., China has emerged as an economic powerhouse making and exporting millions of products for the West. But basic freedoms to speak, write, publish, practice religion, etc., are barred. And China’s leaders have never renounced their intention to defeat the United States. Credit Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and a lengthy parade of others for helping to empower one of America’s greatest enemies.

While understanding what those in China have to go through, Americans must realize that they still can prevent this extreme government overreach in the U.S. Join with the organization at the forefront of this battle, The John Birch Society.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.