China is a global threat to human rights

The outbreak of the Chinese Communist Party virus has accelerated the need for the United States and others to reset the relationship with this autocratic crowd that rules by repression rather than consent. For too long America and others have become economically dependent on the Chinese Communist Party’s totalitarian regime. Governments, corporations and even academic institutions that are ostensibly committed to human rights have been all too happy to do business with the Chinese Communist Party.

China is a global threat to human rights. Witness its terrible repression and systematic abuse of the Uighur Muslims, Christians, Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists, and the protesters in Hong Kong. The Chinese Communist Party has carried out arbitrary detention, torture, and imposed pervasive controls on daily life.

The Chinese Communist Party has constructed an Orwellian high-tech surveillance state to monitor and suppress criticism and free speech over China. It engages in these practices with total disregard of the world’s view of these abuses and uses its economic clout to silence critics. Economic clout translates into political influence.

Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to aggressively silence criticism extends beyond its borders. Last year the party responded to a simple tweet by the general manager of the Houston Rockets supporting the Hong Kong protesters by demanding he be fired and by canceling broadcasts of N.B.A. games. After a series of obsequious apologies, the N.B.A. stood firm.

Also last year, the Chinese Communist Party demanded that foreign airlines remove references to Taiwan from their websites because it regards Taiwan as a renegade province. The four American airlines affected by the order – American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United – complied with the order. Clearly, they were ignorant of Churchill’s definition of appeasement: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last”.

In 2017, the Chinese Communist Party pressured the Cambridge University Press to remove more than 300 articles from its “China Quarterly” journal. The censored articles covered topics the Chinese Communist Party considered incriminating, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, a subject that remains taboo in China.

In April and May of 1989 thousands of students and civilians protested in Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, calling for a more democratic government. The Chinese Communist Party prohibited foreign newscasts of the protests.

On June 3 and 4, Chinese troops entered the square and fired on the protestors, ending the demonstrations. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to thousands. It has been estimated that 10,000 people were arrested during and after the protests. If the protestors had hoped the United States and other countries that had rhetorically championed the universal human right to freedom would support them, they were sorely disappointed.

Though President George H. W. Bush initially criticized the crackdown and announced some sanctions, nothing else happened. The Bush administration believed that as the West opened up to China and the country became more prosperous it would also become more democratic. Is anyone surprised that they were wrong?

The authoritarian regime of the Chinese Communist Party is not a friend. The global pandemic could have been stopped at its source. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party suppressed the truth, destroyed evidence, and lied to the world.

It’s not surprising that the Chinese Communist Party lied to the world. If it is willing to lie to its own citizens about how many the virus killed, why would you ever assume that it would tell the world the truth? If they don’t treat their own people with respect, why would anyone believe they would treat others differently? Put another way, if the Chinese Communist Party has its way, it is not just China’s 1.4 billion people who won’t get justice – it will be the whole world.

It is an open question whether the international community and the United States will make common cause and robustly respond to the Chinese Communist Party’s role in unleashing the coronavirus. But given the Chinese Communist Party’s dishonesty and duplicity, now is the time to recall President Reagan’s famous formula when dealing with the Soviet Union: “Trust but verify.

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