Tags: Boycott | China?

Boycott China?

Wednesday, 09 May 2001 12:00 AM

I am not so sure this is a good idea.

Wouldn't this hurt American businessmen and perhaps throw a teetering U.S. economy into the drink?

Couldn't this play into the hands of the hardliners within China's regime - people like their defense minister who says that war with the U.S. is "inevitable?"

Critics of America's China policy believe that engagement with China, notably trade, has empowered China's communist regime while freedom there has been suppressed.

Frequent visitors to China tell me that, in fact, there has been an explosion of free expression in China, and much of this has grown in the wake of Tiananmen Square.

The EP-3 incident, and reports about repression against groups like the Falun Gung, demonstrate, perhaps, the fact that the communist leaders of China know the genie has left the bottle and are trying to grapple with their dilemma: they can't have a free market economy and continually crush dissent and free expression.

The crisis involving our EP-3 and continuing efforts by the Chinese leadership to make America the bogeyman are best explained in this context. The dying communist leaders know they have a powder keg in their burgeoning, educated "bourgeoisie" population - one that wants to leave behind the Little Red Book and tune in to MTV.

This is why China is making so much hay over the EP-3 and Taiwan. They need to create a straw man to distract their population from the real problem: their own anachronistic communist party.

The truth is that, by and large, the Taiwanese establishment, which now has more than $50 billion invested in Red China, have little interest in going to war with China. The Bush administration has stated they favor a negotiated settlement over Taiwan. Cooler heads talk of a Hong Kong-style arrangement. But the real question is whether the Red Chinese leadership is up for a peaceful transition.

Today, the answer is not clear.

America's engagement, trade and cultural exchanges, with China has undermined the regime's grip on its population.

The Chinese leadership would probably not be so volatile had Clinton not transferred America's most guarded military secrets and technologies to China, and had he not led America on its questionable war in Kosovo. That war has led directly to a new alliance between Russia and China.

An economic boycott of China right now may hasten a war, not prevent it.

Wars are best prevented through military might. This is why the U.S. should do what the Bush administration is doing, which is rebuilding U.S. forces and implementing a ballistic missile defense system.

At the same time the U.S. should seek to change the balance of power by undermining the relationship between Russia and China, while strengthening ties with India.

India's population is almost as large as China's, and the country has a history of democratic institutions, with strong links to England and the West.

The U.S. also should not forget its role as the lamp of freedom for all the peoples of the world. That is the real business of America. We should continue to push for increased freedom in China, and attach strings to our dealings with the Chinese leadership to see that this happens.

Of course, a boycott of trade with China should not be ruled out. The situation should be monitored carefully and the U.S. position strengthened before we make any major move.

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I am not so sure this is a good idea. Wouldn't this hurt American businessmen and perhaps throw a teetering U.S. economy into the drink? Couldn't this play into the hands of the hardliners within China's regime - people like their defense minister who says that war with...
Boycott,China?
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2001-00-09
Wednesday, 09 May 2001 12:00 AM
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