A just released book, “Bowing to Beijing” by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II, will change forever the way you think about China — even if, like me, you already have the deepest worries about the Chinese threat. As I opened the book, I was expecting to find many useful examples of Chinese military and industrial efforts to get the better of the United States and the West.
Indeed, there are 100 pages of examples of the most remorseless Chinese successes at stealing the military and industrial secrets of the West and converting them into a growing menace — soon to be a leviathan — bent on domination and defeat of America. The authors itemize the sheer, unprecedented magnitude of this effort. But the opening chapters dealt with human rights abuses, and my first thought as I started reading was that I wanted to get right to the military and industrial examples.
But the authors were right to lead with 50 pages itemizing in grizzly detail Chinese human rights abuses — for the profound reason that after reading those first 50 pages, the reader will be impassioned to resist Chinese domination not only on behalf of American interests, but also for the sake of humanity.
Today, many people think America is in decline and mentally acquiesce to the thought that the rise of China is inevitable. Those 50 pages will stiffen your resolve to be part of the struggle to never let such a malignancy spread to the rest of the world — let alone to America. One of the authors, Brett Decker, is a friend — and I have never been more proud of his (and his co-author’s) accomplishment of providing such a deep moral vision in this carefully factual book.
In an astounding narrative, Decker and Triplett have refuted the growing authoritarian temptation expressed for too many elite people around the world by Thomas Friedman, the senior New York Times foreign-policy columnist who wrote recently: “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”
The authors do not mention Friedman. In those first 50 pages, they focus their compelling narrative on a strictly factual expose of the moral horror being brought down on the Chinese people by their ever-more-powerful Chinese leadership.
The authors carefully delineate the reversal in the last decade of the previous modest Chinese movement toward rule of law and a small hint at decency. It had been the hope of everyone from Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger onward that as China came into the world and embraced capitalism it would become “a modern, progressive society that (would) eventually bring the communist state in line with the rest of the civilized world.” That was the moral foundation for “engaging” with China.
It was also a convenient rationalization for trying to make a fortune in the vast Chinese market.
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