Andrew Sullivan recommends going easy on China and letting them have Taiwan, all to reduce global warming

July 24, 2021 • 11:00 am

When I visited Tibet some years ago, it was painfully evident that China was trying to wipe out native Tibetan culture, replacing Tibetans with the dominant group, Han Chinese. Pictures of the Dalai Lama were outlawed, and Buddhism itself was being suppressed: monasteries closing, Han stores moving in, and so on.

The same thing, but on a larger and more brutal scale, is going on with another religious minority in China: the Uyghurs—a Muslim ethnic group living largely in the big province of Xinjiang. The Chinese are eliminating them in every way possible, including putting them in “reeducation camps” where they’re brainwashed out of their Islam and turned into Han Chinese. Although reports from these camps are hard to come by, they’re dire, with forced labor, punishments, brutality, and, as described in the second video below, torture. There are 6 million Uyghurs, and it’s estimated that a million of them—one in six—are living in the camps.

The Chinese are also imposing strict surveillance on Uyghurs, monitoring their phones with special apps, ensuring that they don’t own “dangerous” books like the Qur’an, tripling the security budget, and installing cameras everywhere that are programmed to identify faces. While there are no mass killings reported, this is in effect a cultural genocide, one described in the two videos below.

The first is from The Economist, and the second from Al Jazeera. The content is somewhat overlapping, but it’s well worth the 18 minutes of time to watch both of them. See what happens when a dictatorship decides to get rid of a minority that won’t be “assimilated” into the Han culture. Both Trump’s and Biden’s Secretaries of State have called this a “genocide.”

China, of course, denies nearly all of it: it’s all in the interest of peace and security, and the camps are there to provide Uyghurs with “job skills.” (Note that the Rohingya, another Muslim minority, are persecuted by Myanmar as well, but nothing near on the scale of China’s repression.)


So what can the U.S. do about this. We couldn’t do much about Tibet, though India has provided a refuge for the Dalai Lama, and we can’t do much about the Uyghurs, either.  Our impotence on this issue is the major topic of Andrew Sullivan’s new column in The Weekly Dish (click on screenshot to read; it should be free):

In view of China’s dictatorial system and genocidal intentions, what can we do? Sadly, Sullivan, at the expense of his own conscience, suggests that we practice Realpolitik: pragmatism. He does recognize China for what it is:

And what China truly is helps defuse some of the hysteria that demonizes America: China, not America, is a built on a racist (Han) supremacy. As Jonah Goldberg notes, China is far, far worse on “free speech, democracy, police abuse, racism, reproductive freedom, corporate greed, colonialism, and corruption.” What China does to the Tibetans and Uyghurs makes Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians (while lamentable) seem minor. Where is the BDS for China, one wonders?

Good question! What China is doing to the Uyghurs really is creating a genuine apartheid system, but of course Israel and not China is the Country of Demons.

And then Sullivan says things that disturb me, including writing off the vigorous country of Taiwan (Sullivan seems to think that a Chinese takeover is imminent) and ignoring what’s going on in Tibet. He has bigger fish to fry.

And no, Taiwan is not a vital US interest, and we shouldn’t pretend it is. Nor is there any conceivable way the American public would support a global war to defend an island on the other side of the world — a war which essentially every Pentagon war-game predicts we’d lose. We should, it seems to me, maintain a certain ambiguity about Taiwan, and stress to the Chinese the huge international blowback if it were to be the aggressor in such a conflict.

So Sullivan’s “solutions” involve, à la Gwynnie, conscious economic decoupling, calling attention to the Chinese use of forced or slave labor, asking us to boycott goods made with such labor (which may include products by the likes of Nike and Apple), and asking us to “shame them.” That’s right: shame both those companies and China:

We cannot prevent major US companies from becoming enmeshed with a totalitarian country; but we can shame them when they re-write their film scripts, or when they manufacture their products with slave labor, or when they distract from their enabling of real oppression with woke takes on “oppression” in America, or when they kowtow to China’s language police. It should be possible for there to be a revulsion at China’s model on both right and left in America. And Biden’s framing of our rivalry as one between a free society and a totalitarian one is a contrast that can also win converts abroad if we do not overplay our hand.

That will work in the U.S, since we have more of a moral backbone, but it will do jack for our relationship with China. None of Sullivan’s recommendations will do accomplish much except keeping U.S. companies from exploiting workers in other countries. As for making China our friend, fuggedaboutit. It’s like expecting the renaming of birds to have a serious effect on reducing racism.

Why is Sullivan so pessimistic? Well, by and large he’s right: China is a big and powerful country full of smart people, and its leadership is canny and has a plan. We’re just a minor impediment in their plan. But, it seems, the main reason Sullivan wants us to coddle China is—wait for it—we need their help to reduce global warming:

Unlike with the Soviets, we also have a global emergency we need China’s cooperation and help with: climate change. There is no longer any hiding of the fact that we are facing a global catastrophe, made much, much worse by China’s coal plants and breakneck growth. Without their signing off on drastic carbon reduction, we are all fucked. Similarly with one result of that climate change: a world which will likely endure ever more viral outbreaks of unknowable power, released as the ground thaws, species move, and temperatures gyrate. You can see the Covid disaster — and China’s key role in creating it — as a reason to cut them off, and isolate them. I understand that. But, given their technological capacities, how does this actually help us stymie the next plague?

Yes, we are facing a global catastrophe, and the savvy now admit it. And China has to pitch in if we’re to conquer it. But seriously, does Sullivan really think that if we go easy on China, and let them persecute the Uyghurs without protest and then hand Taiwan to them, they’ll be so well disposed toward America that they’ll take serious steps to reduce carbon emissions?  If you believe that, I have some land in Florida to sell you.

I’d like to hope that Sullivan is right. But I just can’t see it.

70 thoughts on “Andrew Sullivan recommends going easy on China and letting them have Taiwan, all to reduce global warming

  1. Good grief! China will act on global warming because it is in its own interest to do so – the serious flooding this week will have reminded them of exactly that, and its coastal cities are vulnerable to rising ocean levels.

    Selling out the Uighers and Taiwan is unconscionable – and also unnecessary!

  2. Taiwan is not a vital US interest? Has Mr. Sullivan not heard of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company)? It’s the biggest and most advanced chip manufacturer in the world and makes chips for AMD, Apple, ARM, Broadcom, Marvell, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Xilinx. You may not know some of these companies but you have almost certainly bought products from phones to cars that use chips from them. It would be a disaster for China to have control of TSMC. The US military relies heavily on chips made by TSMC.

    1. I have been retired from the industry for several years, so I might be a little out of touch, but the comment about TSMC is correct, except that there are other wafer fabs in Taiwan as well, and China depends on them all for much of its electronics industry. An attack on Taiwan that damaged these facilities would be disastrous for itself, at least in the short to medium term.
      In my last job I worked with our local office in Taiwan and got to respect my colleagues there for their open and friendly attitude. When I eventually got to meet them in person, and met other people there, my opinion of them soared even higher. It would be a tragedy if such fine people were to be subjugated to Chinese oppression.

  3. One has to wonder why ISIS, Al Qaeda etc. aren’t striking at the Chinese state in the face of such blatant oppression on the Muslim Uighurs.
    It’s almost as if they were afraid of engaging with a state that would have no compunction about responding with overwhelming force.

    1. I hope you’re not suggesting that the best way to deter terrorism is to forfeit the moral high ground by sinking to the terrorists’ own abject levels. I should hope the United States learned its lesson in this regard with its foray into “enhanced interrogation” techniques (which, whatever one thinks of their efficacy — a matter that seems at best to be in grave doubt — should be adjudged morally repugnant by a civilized society).

      1. No, not at all. I just think that it’s curious that these groups’ response to any perceived aggression or oppression on the part of the West is not matched by their response to the more blatant oppression on the part of China.

    2. Islam’s adherents are not homogeneous. For fundamentalists like ISIS and the Taliban if one is not the ‘correct’ flavour of the faith one is an apostate for whom death is the appropriate fate.

      1. You mean like the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912 heretic who got pushed off the bridge by the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912 true believer? 🙂

        1. … er, Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 true believer.

          I stepped on the old joke’s punchline again. 🙂

    3. The answer is simple: there is ABSOLUTELY NO oppression of Muslim Uyghurs in China. It’s incredible that people fall or such outrageous and baseless lies. The majority of Muslim countries have congratulated China for its respect of religious freedom and helping its Muslim population escape poverty, acceed education and healthcare. Islam has existed in China peacefully for more than a thousand years without any discrimination or oppression. I live in China, I see Muslim Chinese on a daily basis and I can tell you that they are flourishing and very supportive of the Chinese government.

  4. I cannot believe the U.S. would sit still and let China take over Taiwan. That might be something Trump would do as he has no moral backing for anyone. Probably could not find Taiwan on a map. Just look at what China is doing to Hong Kong, a place that use to be a great financial destination in the far east. Soon it will just be another part of China and no one will be going there. Already the U.S. government has warned American companies they should be very careful in Hong Kong. Lots of people in Hong Kong need to get out. Free journalism is finish there and most of the people are being thrown in jail. I have never thought much of Sullivan and this one proves it. What comes after Taiwan, Japan and South Korea?

    1. “What comes after Taiwan, Japan and South Korea?”

      How about Hong Kong? How about our abandoned Kurdish allies?

      My cynical reply is that the US can’t be trusted to stand up for our friends, and China is playing the long game. The US is one election away from control by a party that has shown a willingness to throw the US Constitution down the toilet to have their preferred dictator in place. Trump, and the COVID pandemic, are proof-of-concept that the US is not the unified, powerful force for good in the world we once fashioned ourselves to be.

  5. Sullivan’s chances of enjoying life under Chinese rule would be slim, for reasons to do with free speech, his orientation, and desire to see uncensored information via the internet – and yet he is willing to consign others to that fate. Shocking!

    For those with a strong stomach, the first hearings of the Uyghur Tribunal took place in London last month:

  6. What a cavalier attitude to take toward the wonderful people and country of Taiwan. As someone who has taught in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, I get really angry with any talk of betraying the people of Taiwan. I certainly hope the US doesn’t betray its own ideals by not forcefully standing for Taiwan against any Chinese attempt to take it over. Out of capitalist greed, we’ve already yielded too much to China since opening to them with Nixon.

  7. I wish it weren’t so but I see no way for the US to prevent China taking over Taiwan, just like it has taken over Hong Kong. They’ll do it gradually so as to retain as much of Taiwan’s economic dynamism as possible but take it over they will. The best the US can do is, along with its partners, make sure the world understands that the Chinese system is not one they should adopt. They should fight its Belt and Road initiative or, at least, take advantage of their investment while keeping them at bay politically. It can’t be seen by the rest of the world as a better system than the West or even one on par with it.

    1. Just like it has taken over Hong Kong you say? As I recall the U.K. handed Hong Kong over to China. I don’t see anyone handing over Taiwan, certainly not the people living there. Over here we have plenty to do just trying to maintain some parts of democracy here but rolling over to the Chinese, i don’t think so unless they let someone like Trump back in. The republicans don’t give a tinker’s damn for democracy but the rest of us should and we have a long history with Taiwan.

      1. Good point. I didn’t mean to imply that the takeover of Taiwan would be exactly like that of Hong Kong. I was thinking past the point where China takes over Taiwan’s government without the rest of the world doing anything past yelling and stomping.

        Is the US willing to take the military action needed to defend it from China? I severely doubt it. Even if it tried, it wouldn’t succeed or have the backing of the American public. It would likely result in the virtual destruction of Taiwan. IMHO, the idea that the US will defend Taiwan militarily is just wishful thinking.

        1. Well, Taiwan is part of the reason we have roughly 30,000 military in Okinawa and more in Japan. It is also the reason we have several Aircraft carrier groups. The question may be how bad does China want Taiwan?

        2. “Is the US willing to take the military action needed to defend it [Taiwan] from China? I severely doubt it. Even if it tried, it wouldn’t succeed or have the backing of the American public.”

          I contemplate what rising U.S. high school seniors who are contemplating joining the U.S. military, and who are up to speed on the China situation, are thinking.

          1. I contemplate what rising U.S. high school seniors who are contemplating joining the U.S. military, and who are up to speed on the China situation, are thinking.

            Ask both of them, and get back to us? 😉

    2. Yes, the rapid abandonment of the “One country, two systems” agreement by the Chinese in Hong Kong doesn’t bode well.

      As a Brit, I should acknowledge that the reason we controlled Hong Kong in the first place was because we extracted a 99 year lease as the price for our victory in the first Opium War. Oh, and also that we fought that war so that our merchants could continue to profit from opium sales in China despite attempts by the Emperor to protect his citizens from addiction. Well, we had to make somewhere after abandoning the slave trade – and we’d been bleeding India dry for a couple of centuries, so a new income stream was very desirable…

      1. We were actually ceded Hong Kong Island in perpetuity. It was Kowloon and the New Territories, on the mainland, that we had the 99 year lease on. When the end of that lease was coming into sight, the British Government briefly considered whether HKI could be sustained on its own. No chance: it depends on the mainland for many things, not least its fresh water supply, and as the Japanese showed in 1941 it is not defensible against a serious military threat. So the entire territory was included in the Joint Declaration, which the PRC has now unilaterally violated.

        1. Kowloon south of Boundary Street was also ceded in perpetuity.

          The New Territories + the northern half of Kowloon were the parts leased for 99 years.

  8. “The Darkness Visible in China”

    “Darkness Visible” is the title of William Styron’s memoir about depression. I wonder whether the literary allusion Sullivan was actually aiming for is Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler’s famous novel about the Stalinist Soviet Union.

    1. The phrase “Darkness Visible” is originally from “Paradise Lost.” According to Milton, the flames of Hell produce no light (for light is associated with God) but “darkness visible.” Scholars debate what Milton had in mind–perhaps not simply an absence of light, but a darkness so deep it is a kind of anti-light.

  9. Apart from the callousness of his ‘proposal’, Sullivan appears to have no idea how far China is ahead of the US in solar technology. Is this an example of American exceptionalism? Or what.

  10. Reading this post was one time travel to Cold War. Simply deliriant say that China is a racial-based state at same form of South Africa in the days of Apartheid (was USA the state that still maintained relationships with racist state when other countries doomed it, no China).

    I have a problem when i visit this blog. Is an excellent blog when talks about science, the dark things and abuses of organized religions, the absurdress things of posmodern movements…but when it talks about politics sounds like an common american patriot who think that his country is an example for the world.

    China, according with this post, is guilty of “Cultural Genocide” but don’t know how the colonialist empires (British, French, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch) can be liberated of same fault that brought “Modernity”. The accusation against China sounds a bit to those “reasoning” attributed to St Augustine on Religious Persecution. According to him, one pagan that made it was for cruelty, but when a christian made it, the “love” was the cause.

    I suppose that i must wait now for the chinese version of a racial-based expansionist war of Mexican-American War.

    1. Ah, another person who doesn’t read the Roolz. If you read Sullivan’s piece, which you clearly didn’t, you’d see that he faults other countries for colonialism, as I’ve faulted the U.S. for genocide of its Native American population.
      Sullivan says this:

      And it seems to me that we should not regard much of this as outrageous. It’s what emerging powers do. Rising Britain once laid claim to over half the globe. As the US arrived on the scene, it too bossed around its own region — in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

      I have a problem when people like you visit this website (it’s not a “blog”). If you’ve read it regularly, which you apparently haven’t, you’ll see that I’m far from being a rah-rah American guy.

      So, for your whataboutery and rudeness, I suggest that you simply stop visiting this website. One question, though: would you rather live in China or the U.S.? (Don’t bother to answer because you won’t be able to.)

      1. The comment bears indicia of perhaps having been generated by one of the overseas troll farms given to sowing discord on websites originating within the US.

        And not a particularly sophisticated one at that.

      2. China is the major colonial power in the world today. Ask the Khmer and some other peoples across the world, including in Africa.

    2. China is the major colonial power in the world today. Ask the Khmer and some other peoples across the world, including in Africa.

  11. Sullivan, at the expense of his own conscience, suggests that we practice Realpolitik: pragmatism.

    Yeah, with what Sullivan proposes here — a willingness to stomach the genocide of Tibetans and Uyghurs, a willingness to write off Taiwan — he comes off like a common Henry Kissinger.

  12. Wow, between the pictures of Xi hanging in Uyghur mosques and the pervasive surveillance state, including the pairing of Uyghur families with communist party members, Big Brother is alive and living in Xinjiang province.

  13. Unfortunately China will eventually get Taiwan. The US abandoned them under George HW Bush, but Democrats will get the blame.

  14. I talked about Sullivan’s proposal at our family mealtime, mentioning his own prospects in China as a government-critical contrarian journalist and gay Catholic. My daughter Ana said his position reminded her of the “Some of you may die. But it is a sacrifice I am willing to make” speech in the movie Shrek:

    1. Thank you AD, that was an interesting article, to put it mildly. I should hope US policymakers read it carefully.

  15. Why give blowhard AS so much air play?
    He’s dead wrong on China.
    Short-sighted, cannot see the wood for the trees.
    He should try climbing a tree! See some perspective.
    PRC under Xi is a runaway train, unsustainable, driving a blinkered neurotic inherently flawed totalitarian model which will be eaten by liberal modernity, now out of the box.
    Either the train will crash OR [hopefully!] enough of the senior execs inside the CP will eject him before he takes them all with him.

  16. “…letting them have Taiwan.” ? Taiwan is China, so is Hong Kong. The one country two systems policy has been agreed to, it is not negotiable. It seems the American fear of communism is the driving force of American foreign policy, but it is really about losing the spot of #1 economic power in the world. China is too involved in the world economy to be ignored and too important to be so disrespected. We really do need to clean up our act at home; poverty, education, health care, public safety… and how may millions are in American prisons? America is divided, China is united. GROG

        1. I think you are unfamiliar with the One Country Two Systems policy. It is a policy regarding Hong Kong and Macau that grants them 50 years of business as usual. For HK, this would end on 1/7/2047, after which the mainland government is allowed to integrate them into the mainland Chinese political system.

          As such, this coup by the Hong Kong government against its legislature, assisted by the mainland Chinese government, is a violation of One Country Two Systems as agreed on in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

    1. Have you asked the Taiwanese if they are in China? Because believe me, I think you will get another opinion from them. Taiwan is an independent nation which chose to have a REAL DEMOCRACY as opposed to a “People’s Democratic Republic” which is actually run basically by autocrats.

  17. There are a lot of Americans who have fairly deep connections to Taiwan. If China does move against Taiwan, pretty soon a bunch of Americans are going to learn that their families have been rounded up, and that two members of the CCP held their arms while a third delivered a shot to the back of their loved ones head. The Chinese do a great deal of this, and Taiwan in particular is populated by people who were affiliated with the ROC, who are fairly unpopular with the CCP.
    My wife’s dad was unable to leave mainland China in time, and spent a couple of years in one of their concentration camps as a result.
    One similarity between the Chinese and the Iranians is their habit of claiming territory well beyond their actual boundaries. Iran claims Bahrain as well as complete control of the Persian Gulf, China claims Taiwan and to a lesser extent, Okinawa and the Ryukyus.
    Both Iran and China seem oddly popular with US progressives, especially those who have had no experience with either country.

    1. Both Iran and China seem oddly popular with US progressives …

      I certainly can’t speak for all progressives. But as for myself, I can say unequivocally that I find the public policies of both Iran and China to be morally repugnant — though not much different on the moral-repugnancy scale from those of Saudi Arabia and Russia (nations regarding whose moral repugnancy many self-described, so-called “conservatives” have been willing to look the other way for the past several years).

      1. When I say “progressives”, or really any group, it does not mean all of them. Very few statements about all of any group are likely to be accurate.
        In the case of Iran, it may be as simple as the fact that they (their rulers, not people) so openly hate America. All the cool kids hate America these days, so Iran must be OK.
        China has been engaging in a sophisticated PR campaign to influence western views of their country. When my youngest took classes at his university to improve his Chinese language skills, he was dismayed to find that they quickly pivoted to pushing CCP propaganda. The program itself was an operation of the CCP, operating with the approval of the university. My kids are permanently immunized against communism, both from hearing of family experiences firsthand, and having already read and understanding the source material.

        But the amazing thing to me about people’s attitudes towards China is that China actually does all the things those same folks criticize the US for, either falsely of based on events of long ago. China engages in the worst sort of colonialism, especially in Africa. They build only enough infrastructure to allow them to extract the raw materials they need,
        They are incredibly, openly racist. They are rapidly building coal plants, and dump huge amounts of waste in the sea.
        Gays in China face increasing discrimination, unlike most modern countries that are moving in the direction of tolerance.
        Chinese women face overt and covert discrimination when entering the workplace. A great many jobs are simply unavailable to female applicants. Women are even barred from university programs in some subjects, because the course of study would lead to a career unsuitable for women.
        Chinese fishing fleets roam the world vacuuming the sea of fish and anything else they can catch, largely disregarding laws in place for sustainability.
        Some endangered animals in China are preserved, if they can be monetized, like the pandas. Other endangered animals are eaten or used for folk medicine. Pangolins, as an example.
        The subject of Chinese repression of free expression would fill volumes.
        Slave labor. Kidnapped children forced to work in brick factories. China runs horrific industrial operations in Africa, using forced and child labor in mines and smelters.

        It seems ludicrous to give China a pass on all of this, yet falsely condemn the US and other western countries for these same practices, or massively exaggerate their part in our country today.

        1. Thanks for your comment. It’s so important that those people who actually lived in communist countries make verbal and written accounts of what’s been going on. I didn’t know about many of these things until I spent time with AirBnB guests from abroad. And the transgressions that we hear about in the news are only the tip of the iceberg! I did not know about women being banned from some university studies… but I did hear about the absence of divorce laws putting women in VERY BAD positions when their husband has an affair or leaves them for another woman. The fact that so much pressure is put on entities which even broadly allude to the truth makes me feel like there is much more hiding underneath a smokescreen.

  18. All parties have strong interest in maintaining status-quo.

    “2. The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.”

  19. I don’t want to offer an opinion on whether the US should defend Taiwan, but its not clear that the US can defend Taiwan. China has cruise missile and satellite capabilities that means any US carrier with in the “9 lines” is toast. The war gaming is not good, a blue water surface navy is obsolete, and it pretty clear how a war of attrition is likely to end, especially with more US casualties than probably Vietnam. This line of thinking is conventional, but we are talking about nuclear powers, and my belief is that nuclear wars don’t get “won”, except by maybe cockroaches.

    On the Diplomatic front, by recognizing China and agreeing to kick Taiwan out of the UN means that we have agreed that Taiwan is a rebellious province and so an invasion by China is not a war of conquest. China’s terms in the WTO and all their trade compacts acknowledge that Taiwan is part of China, and so any diplomatic actions such as sanctions would be a violation of world trade rules (and we are supposedly the backers of the “rules-based system”). Sure there could be some economic blow back for China, but they are pretty much covered here.

    I’m not sure what the American response will be but its not clear that defending Taiwan would take anything less than a protracted conventional struggle with high casualties and outcome uncertain, if it doesn’t go nuclear. The only thing preventing a Taiwan invasion from happening next week as far as I can fathom is that China doesn’t have enough of naval capacity to land the necessary ground force. However, with their GNP which is larger than America’s by purchasing power parity, they are in the process of rapidly assembling that naval capacity. Xi has all but promised his people the re-unification of Taiwan with the Mainland. Moreover, with the crackdowns in Hong Kong, the Chinese now have zero credibility in seeking some kind of diplomatic solution of re-unification that preserves the partial sovereignty of the Taiwanese.

    Its very troubling to live in a world in which America faces its greatest geopolitical contender since 1812, more powerful than the USSR, more powerful than Nazi Germany, one which is both serious and has a clear intent to seek regional dominance in SE Asia, and to read the shallow garbage that the politicians and the MSM concern themselves with.

    1. Their seeking (and gaining) regional dominance in Africa as well. As others have repeatedly said: they’re playing the long game. America can’t even get it’s own shit together, let alone do anything to slow down China’s slow moving global dominance.

    2. Do we know if pentagon war games are realistic assessments, preludes to arms shopping trips and Congressional budgets, or somewhere in between?

  20. I get that compromise is probably needed a lot in international diplomacy, where choosing deals with dictators / authoritarian governments is better than leaving them to their own devices. The scary thing is how little people seem to care about the authoritarian abuses of most countries, even when there’s no economic incentives to keep things that way.

    (I’m still baffled the world doesn’t care about what goes on in North Korea in any way that might do something about it. Regime change in the middle east (apart from Saudi Arabia), sure, but a brutal dictatorship causing mass suffering and the world gives a collective shrug.)

    That said, I can’t see what good comes from compromising with China any more than the many concessions given that were initially aimed at bringing China into the liberal democracy club. All it’s seemed to have done is entrenched the rest of the world in economic dependence, and all leverage to improve the lives of many Chinese has been lost.

    If the West gives up on Taiwan and Hong Kong, I fear that it’ll signal that liberal democracy and all the rights it entails are subservient to the dominating national power of the day. For those of us who aren’t part of any party machine and enjoy the liberties of liberal democracy (however imperfectly applied), it’s alarming how easily those rights are traded off.

  21. I have been living in China for almost 2 years, after growing up in Europe and spending 21 years in the US. All I can say is that I am horrified at the level of lies and ridiculous propaganda spread by the Western media. I don’t blame you for not realizing it and believing the lies, I was like you before I took an interest in understanding what China is about and moving there. It’s like the Western world lives in an alternate reality and is completely disconnected from reality, believing the most outrageous propaganda that is constantly fed to them.
    The real China that I know and experience on a daily basis is an extremely peaceful society. You can check the numbers, its incarceration rate is 6 times lower than in the US, police officers are almost nowhere to be seen, and most of them are unarmed.
    There is absolutely no discrimination against Uyghurs or any ethnic group. On the contrary, Chinese people are very proud of their ethnic diversity. China defines itself as a multiethnic state, and protects and encourages local cultures and languages. In tibet for example, all children, whether ethnic Tibetans or not, must learn Tibetan language and literature in schools.
    I see Uyghurs and other Muslim Chinese on a daily basis, including women wearing veils and men with beards and Muslim clothes. I have never seen any sign of discrimination against them. On the contrary, people love to eat in their restaurants and buy from their bakeries. Among Chinese movie celebrities, many are ethnic Uyghurs.
    And there is definitely no suppression of religion in China. On the contrary, the Chinese government finances the building and renovation of mosques and other religious and cultural buildings, and even organizes charter flights for pilgrimages to the Mecca.
    What is suppressed in China is terrorism. Religion is targeted only when it has a political agenda. Peaceful religion is always respected and encouraged, whether Muslim, Buddhist or Christian.
    The programs to de-radicalize people suspected of supporting terrorism (what the Western media described as “concentration camps) were very successful, with tens of thousands of people sucessfully re-inserted into society with new job skills, and helped to find jobs and even create their own businesses.
    The vast majority of Uyghurs in China are proud to be Chinese and very supportive of the central government efforts in eradicarting poverty and fighting terrorism, because they don’t want to live in a theocracy where women are treated like chattel. In fact, most Uyghurs are so enthusiastic about the Chinese government that they apply for CPC membership in record numbers.
    There is definitely no forced labor in China (as opposed to the US where it is a reality), no concentration camp, no apartheid, no genocide! All these things are what Western powers used to do or are still doing. It is not happening in China.

    1. But you once believed in Raëlism which, according to Wikipedia, “teaches that an extraterrestrial species known as the Elohim created humanity using their advanced technology.” That doesn’t make you the most believable source of wisdom and truth. Sorry. There’s also the ring of untruth to your claims that various things don’t happen in China, a large country well-known for suppressing truth. How would you know?

      1. Yes, unfortunately my brain got hijacked by religion when I was a teenager. Fortunately, I have been out of it for almost 6 years, it was a very painful experience, and reading Jerry Coyne was a key source of mental support.
        Don’t rely on my words, just look at what people who actually live in China, including Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, have to say. There are thousands of videos available of real Uyghur people living in China, some who have been vlogging for many years, talking about their daily lives. Thousands of videos of Uyghur people who don’t understand why is the US spreading lies about their lives. There are also hundreds of videos by foreigners (people from Canada, UK and other Western countries) who have actually travelled to Xinjiang and looked for any sign of discrimination and could not find any. Search Daniel Dumbrill on Youtube for example.
        Unfortunately, while Chinese peope have in general a fairly good understanding of what the US is about, Westerners in general have no clue about what China is about. Chinese culture is very different from US culture, they don’t have the same priorities, they don’t have the same ways of thinking. Americans tend to project their own ways of thinking into everyone else, and as a result they believe that others will also commit genocide, colonialism, slavery, and imposing their values to others. It’s wrong. China is definitely not a colonialist country, all it cares for is protecting its own borders, which include Taiwan and the South China Sea, according to their view of history. China is absolutely not interested in imposing its own model to other countries. China does never interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.
        If you tell Chinese people that they live in a dictatorship, they will laugh at you. Most CHinese sincerely believe that they have more freedom, more democracy and more human rights that Americans. And, having lived in the US for 21 years, I definitely agree with them. Of course, this is uncomprehensible by Americans who can’t understand how Chinese think. From their point of view, they are abolutely right. Their government is listening to them, they have many opportunities to voice their opinions and concerns, and their voices are heard and acted upon. They enjoy economic growth, increasinglly well paid jobs, access to education, universal healthcare, amazing infrastructure, low criminality, and excellent protection from pandemics. Chinese people are proud of their government, proud of their political system, and the idea that they should adopt “liberal democracy” is just hilarious to them.

  22. Imagine a country in which the only voice about evolution is the Christian creationists or ID believers, with no exposure to the voice of scientists. Most people there would sincerely believe that evolution scientists are crazy and dangerous, and that the idea of evolution is stupid and irrational. This is exactly what is happening in Western countries regarding China. They are only exposed to a single narrative, which is ignorant about the reality of China and has an strong anti-China prejudice. Actually, the singe source about the alleged genocide, concentration camps and forced labor is Adrian Zenz, an extreme-right wing Christian extremist who believes he is on a mission from God to eradicate communism. This guy does not even speak Chinese, he is a crazy lunatic who would be laughed off if he was talking about any other subject. No matter how all his claims have been competely debunked by many real China experts, his voice is the only one spread all over the place in Westenr media. It’s surreal…

  23. About Taiwan, do you realize that its officiel name is Republic of China and that its official map includes the entirety of today’s mainland China (and even more) ? According to its constituion, Taiwan is a province of China, and its goal has always been to reunite with mainland China. Talks of independence are quite recent and mostly due to Western anti-China propaganda. Do you know that more than a million Taiwan citizens live and work in mainland China, and are considered fellow citizens ? There are at least 2 Taiwan people in the company in which I work (I live in China), and if I did not happen to know that they are from Taiwan I could never guess, as they are completely integrated and treated like any other Chinese citizen. Also, many actors in Chinese movies are actually from Taiwan, and they are just treated as fellow Chinese with no discrimination whatsoever.

  24. WOW, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS. All the numbers that I’ve seen have shown that China is THE BIGGEST polluter on the PLANET.

    The way to get them to reduce emissions is to get the free market to be aware of what they are doing and get people to buy more eco-friendly products. This is hard to do as long as big corporate and big media continue to KowTow to China, remove “offensive” language off their websites, and white wash all the BS that’s been happening there. It’s like a real life 1984, with re-education and secret keeping for fear of re-education.

    There is a limit to how far we should allow a bully to go for the sake of avoiding conflict. When the bully starts attacking our friends and threatening our way of life (and believe me, even with the worst of the censorship and hater-ade attacks, it’s still FAR BETTER HERE than over THERE. This was exactly the sentiment when Hitler was launching his empire conquest, first with Austria and then the rest of Europe. And to imagine that we looked the other way until Pearl Harbor!!! I’m not saying we should take military action, but legal action and economic sanctions are more than apropos.

  25. I don’t think China will do anything that America hopes for, especially they have just announced all elementary school students will not need to study English anymore in the near future; instead, all Chinese students have to start studying Xi thoughts, which means that China will be more isolated from the free world than it is now. Though we cannot stop the Uigurian genocide nor the infiltration activities of CCP in Taiwan, all countries in the free world should not go easy on China.

    It only makes more Chinese flee from their country to other side of world, and the connections between the CCP government and other third countries become deeper and wider, due to the reason that only the people who have connections or privilege from CCP have rights to go outside. Imagine that all countries in this world have some groups of Chinese in their own country (it maybe true now) , whether more or less, in the future, the Chinese will become the determined factor that each country cannot ignore either on policy or economy.

    Some people in Taiwan keep faith in being rescued by American army if we were attacked by CCP, to American, Taiwan is not that close to the major benefit, but losing Taiwan means the diminished power of States and the democracy that we believe.

Leave a Reply