China, the world's rising superpower, continues to systematically engage in the political repression and torture of its citizens, with an estimated 7 to 8 million Chinese currently being held in prison or labour camps.
The problem is that critics of Western foreign policy often criticise 'Western imperialism' without setting it in the context of a ratcheting down of promoting human rights inherent in the fact that China has a 'no strings attached policy' when propping up repellent African dictatorships to gain access to resources.
One of the worst offenders is John Pilger who criticised the Western intervention in Libya ( a highly botched and foolish policy ) because they wanted access to the oil in competition with Chinese inroads into Africa. But he had nothing to say about Chinese imperialism.
...the main reason the US is invading Africa is no different from that which ignited the Vietnam war. It is China. In the world of self-serving, institutionalised paranoia that justifies what General David Petraeus, the former US commander and now CIA director, implies is a state of perpetual war, China is replacing al-Qaeda as the official American "threat"There is nothing in Pilger's Orwellian doublethink ( ironic from a journalist who absurdly claims Orwell's mantle when promoting himself ) about the fact that China's record in Africa is appalling. By this logic, it would be better no have, as China has, no standards instead of double standards.
As witnessed by this witless observation
Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones and destabilisation, the Chinese bring roads, bridges and dams. What they want is resources, especially fossil fuels. With Africa's greatest oil reserves, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi was one of China's most important sources of fuelNo mention of China's racist policy of supporting African dictatorships and exploiting cheap black labour in the mines while the engineers benefiting from building this infrastructure are exclusively Chinese. If the USA seeks resources it is "rapacious" With China it is a "success story" One such example of Pilger's assertion that China is responsible for Africa's success is Zimbabwe
One commentator opined in a sort of semantic Stalinoid twaddle,,
The present-day capitalist and imperialist system around the globe is this kind of a regime, including both Western capitalism and the neoliberal capitalist bloc that dominates China today. But it's a capitalist system that originated in the West and still largely dominated by the West, just picking on China or other non-Western "authoritarian regimes" is stupid and ridiculous. As long as the capitalist-imperialist global system today is not overthrown, humanity shall know neither justice nor peace.
What Calvin Tucker should realise is that China is an authoritarian regime without the need for sarcastic scare quotes. It's repressive concentration camp system cannot be rationalised any more than Stalin's Gulag was by 1930's progressives lauding Stalin's industrialisation drive.
The idea that China's authoritarian state will crumble is a convenient myth: the gains of 1989 have gone into reverse precise due to neoliberal capitalism causing a social anarchy and brutal drive for resources that is leading to creeping authoritarianism in the West too.
Essentially, those who harbour some detestation from within for Western Civilisation ( Ken Livingstone, John Pilger, George Galloway, Calvin Tucker et al ) have failed to realise that China's dash for growth since 1978 has created the conditions for vast capital accumulation.
That capital is now being invested in what John Pilger calls "Africa's success story". Had Pilger bothered to visit Zimbabwe he might have noticed that Mugabe's regime is propped up and supported by China" they supply investment and weapons: Mugabe supplies resources.
Zimbabwe's "Look East" policy has aimed to extend bilateral and trade relations and offer priority to investors from not just China but Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, India, and Russia, has focused increasingly on China.
The West is too hypocritical and "imperialist" to be worth dealing with. So the doublethink requires ever greater Chinese colonisation. The Zimbabwean trade deficit with China amounted to US$189 million in the first half of 2007.
The terms of trade are very much to China's benefit: it is using global market forces in exactly in the same way as the US Empire has done and The British Empire dis in India. Zimbabwe exported US$16 million of goods to China.
The Zimbabwean government also purchases large amounts of military hardware from China, including a US$13 million radar system, six Hongdu JL-8 jet aircraft, twelve JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, and 100 military vehicles since June 2004.
Chinese racial policies and colonisation include control over the national airline Air Zimbabwe have also increased their hiring of of Chinese-speaking flight attendants and training of existing flight attendants in the Chinese language.
Zimbabwean blacks are often thus discriminated against. Something not important to Hugo Chavez nor his acolyte John Pilger in his fawning interviews with President of the sort he would never carry out with US officials. It is only if the West does anything wrong that parochial 'anti-Western imperialists carp'. Silence by omission indeed.
Trade is often done not even on money terms as Mugabe's regime reverts to being a basket case economy and a Chinese colony. Deals are done on barter terms due to Zimbabwe's shortage of hard currency.
China is especially interested in Zimbabwe's supply of platinum. Black construction workers are regularly beaten in what John Pilger terms "Africa's success story" as was shown in rumours of beating, exploitative labour and meagre pay in building a Military Academy. In Zaire the resource is copper. In Angola it is oil.
If that is not a double standard or a complete disregard for imperialism just so long as it is in competition with China, then it is difficult to know what a double standard could actually mean. If that logic is followed the USA should compete by completely disregarding trivia such as human rights.
After all in this pathological New Great Game, it would be more effective if the USA followed China's outstanding lead and "success story "
This is is a curious position for a radical 'anti-imperialist' who supports unpleasant nationalism's so long as they are against US Imperialism.This is a position based on abstract humanitarianism posing as love of one's fellow man or "humanity". Pilger seems to take a stance based on vitriol and hatred rather than a compassion most bogus and faked. It's his career and image that's important.
The same doublethink applies to Pilger's lauding of Chavez without challenging him in his fawning and uncritical interviews with the late Venezuelan leader's realpolitik strategy of aligning with Cuba and Zimbabwe, regimes which torture, murder and imprison their citizens. This is the journalist who moans about the Westerm media omitting the facts about cynical Western realpolitik.
The usual predictable retort to this by groupies of Chomsky and Pilger is that "we" live in democracies so "we" are responsible for the crimes committed by Western Powers. But in the context of the New Great Game, the West is ever more as desperate as China to compete for these resources.
But if a global internationalist stance is to be taken on these resource conflicts , there is no reason why 'leftists' should not criticise both the USA and China instead of coming out with hypocritical drivel about ' Africa's success story"
The West is overdependent upon resources such as oil in Libya which was the reason for the so-called "humanitarian intervention" The again the prosperity of even the poorest citizens in the West is dependent upon access to these resources in the absence of constructive alternatives.
Replies to Opponents.
David W Ferguson -
You haven't provided one single coherent sentence explaining why we in the west are entitled to haul China over the coals for its performance on human rights.The argument is coherent if a person is able to follow a coherent argument based on logic coherently and that is something which some seem terminally incapable of being able to do so. The UK and USA has diminished its ability to lecture China on human rights in recent years because of Guantanamo Bay, Iraq Abu Ghairab etc.
There is nothing in what I have written that states that this is not the case, though surely those global international paragons on the Western left such as Chomsky and Pilger might at least be expected to mention Chinese human rights abuses as well.But if they think democracy in the West is in such a bad way anyway, why or how could "we" make a difference?
The hypocrisy of Pilger is exemplified in the way he has berated Western companies for doing deals with Burma as neo-imperialism while wholly ignoring that a large backer of the Burmese at the UN was China and Chavez of Venezuela. Pilger never questioned the validity of my 'my enemy's enemy is my friend".
What I have provided is an explanation about why the US and UK cannot lecture China about human rights when many of their recent practices fall short of the human rights that they trump to give themselves the moral high ground in the New Great Game.
The UK and Britain destroyed its credibility on human rights when it invaded Iraq, launched the "war on terror" , started to Drone Bomb Pakistan and used "humanitarian intervention" as a pretext for a shoddy realpolitik that some did rationalise as humanitarian actions.
More to the point, the dovetailing of neoliberal global market forces with an increase in authoritarian power within Britain and the abolition of ancient liberties concerns sincere citizens on the left, liberals and conservatives who can speak out about liberty to both China and the USA.
"Whataboutery" and yeah-buttery" is the politics on the infantile and is playground politics. The gravest error was in ceding control over production to China so that "we" in the cerebral lands of the West would be not producers of good but knowledge and services.
Looking back to the nought noughties we had dolts such as Charles Leadbetter writing how we could be "Living on Thin Air". More like hot air of those sort expounded by his New Labour fans such as the repulsive Peter Mandelson and the idiotic dimwit Tony Blair who bought into the stock of idiot thinking present in this low dishonest decade.
The biggest irony about forcefully lecturing China on human rights in Central Asia the UK props up tyrannies in Uzbekistan where Islam Karamov runs a regime of murder, despotism and the charming habit of boiling opponents alive . No lectures there have appeared yet.
There are those masochistically craving the downfall of Western Civilisation, such as Calvin Tucker who runs an absurd 21st Century Socialism website lauding Cuba and China and so on ( and which contains interviews with Ken Livingstone about how great China is .
It contains such assertions as this from the ex-Mayor on London,
I see Fidel as a Marxist, and very much a Marxist coming of his time.
And I assume now that Raul Castro is running Cuba, there will be changes. When Lenin took power in Russia, the only economic transactions people made was that they brought the food they would eat that day, and a couple of times a year they would buy an item of clothing. I remember my grandmother saying 'you could leave your front door open', we are talking about pre-WW1 London. You could leave your front door open, everyone said, but that's because no one had anything to steal.What Livingstone , an utter ignoramus, does not understand is that the Chinese CP regime has actually has removed itself from direct control of Chinese economic life aside from the strategic level, especially in securing resources from Africa on its terms. The Chinese CP is not containing global market forces but unleashing them ferociously.
And as someone like Lenin could see, you could organise supply and demand around the very simple needs that people had. But nowadays, even people living on state benefits make dozens of economic transactions a week. It is a huge complexity, and there is no way a centrally planned economy is going to be able to manage the scale of economic activity we now have. The tragedy is, a lot of people on the left have moved from accepting, that as a means of distribution and exchange, the market can’t be bettered- to assuming that therefore the market can do everything else in society. And really it can’t. It's a very good mechanism for the distribution and exchange of goods.
Meanwhile Livingstone made his mark in 1980s London politics as a defender of black Africa from 'Western Imperialism" and it's legacy of racism in British attitudes towards Commonwealth immigrants. Perhaps, like John Pilger, he sees Chinese Imperialism as "Africa's success story". But then again blacks are only "authentic" if they agree with obsolete 1968 revolutionaries.
Macmillan goes on to state,
For too long, western governments have stood by as authoritarian regimes around the world engage in systematic repression with impunity. The EU-China human rights dialogue, established 14 years ago, has yielded no tangible results, serving instead as a fig leaf for European leaders' general reluctance to challenge China robustly on its human rights record.
And China simply will not care because the West foolishly empowered China by outsourcing production to a totalitarian regime. Some sort of diplomatic dialogue might yield results but China prospered precisely by ignoring the neoliberal dogmas foisted on Russia by the IMF thay yielded katastroika.
Capitalism does not dovetail automatically with liberal democracy and there are now a variety of competing capitalisms. The Chinese 'model' is now proving far more successful than the West as it stagnates economically. The West is now dependent on China for consumer properity as China lend the US money, pumps dollars into the economy then spend on Chinese consumer goods.
Just in the same way as it is dependent upon detestable depotic regimes such as Saudi Arabia for oil, arms contracts and inward investment into London ( as with China ). The Chinese are powerful enough now to ignore Western lecturing irrespective of its ethical nature.