In front of me, on my desk is “Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the World,” the book by Steven W. Mosher, one of America’s premier China-watchers (Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2000).
How did the book come my way? I searched Yahoo! to find out if they had some new information on the PRC, and they produced a list of suggestions, the above title being among them. I ordered a used copy of the book for $4 (the new one was priced at $40) from the Encounter Book distributor, and they delivered the book to me the same day by Express mail. And that used copy of the book is as clean and good as new!
Steven Mosher, an American social scientist, went to China in March of 1979 to do research on post-revolutionary rural China. Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, he started writing his book.
If enough Chinese had read this book, a free country like other free countries would have emerged in place of the PRC, invented by Mao, who was as closed to freedom in China as Stalin was in Russia.
No movement for freedom had occurred in a country like Russia before 1953, when Stalin was its owner. By the same token, freedom in China cannot occur overnight, because the enlightenment is a slow and twisted process in changing the mindset of those countries that are not free today.
One fine day 20-odd years ago, as Mosher recalls in the “Afterword” to his book (p. 159), he was declared an “international spy” after he had written a series of articles on human rights violations in the PRC.
“The silence of U.S China-watching community was deafening,” Mosher writes. “Instead of expressing outrage over this absurd charge leveled at one of their own, my colleagues distanced themselves, each afraid that by voicing support he or she would be singled out for punishment by the Beijing regime —punishment in this case being denial of access. Your case threatens to make it more difficult for the rest of us to go to China and do research.”
This attitude reminds me of the behavior of those in Soviet Russia who would turn away from someone (even their closest friends) whose parents were randomly arrested by Stalin’s secret police, for fear of getting themselves in trouble by association.
At the same time, Mosher acknowledges those fearless few, and among them U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who helped him with the book by making useful comments and suggestions.
Events and attitudes such as those mentioned above do not accelerate the advent offreedom in a country. The advance of most minds to freedom had taken decades or even centuries to develop in what now constitutes free countries.
If there is a chaos of ideas in a country, no group can establish freedom based on its own ideas only. There must develop, in the course of many years, a certain consensus among ideas, making it possible for their holders to move in a single direction of social thinking.
In one of my columns, I noted that we, those who are engaged in the “propaganda and agitation” to contribute to the establishment of more free countries, should be able to function in international societies, bringing together all free countries to make a kind of “internationals” of old, which perished not because their members had different views but because they all repeated each other and finally failed, not as a result of their differences but as a result of no one being able to give birth and express new thoughts.
It is theoretically possible that if a sufficient number of sufficiently influential inhabitants of the PRC read “Hegemon,” there might be a possibility for it to be converted into a freer and hence safer country.
The author shows the evolution of the PRC tyrannical order into total control of the population of the country and its resources, concentrated in the hands of a “hegemon-king,” who uses it to establish his hegemon power over all countries in the known world.
The “Tiananmen temptation,” as the author calls it, the belief that forces for democracy were unleashed in China that not even a bloody massacre could repress, is based, he argues, on wishful thinking. He shows that the attempts of Western countries to fashion a policy of “strategic cooperation” with China come close to an appeasement that puts all the world in jeopardy.
The importance of Steven Mosher’s brilliant book cannot be overestimated. Although it was written many years ago, very little has changed since then in China’s political order based on naked power. The book raises fundamental questionsabout the nature of Chinese society under its present communist masters. It is a very impressive and compelling piece of the author’s personal experiences of living in modern China.
Lev Navrozov can be reached at email@example.com.
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