Bravo! I just read “China Is Right," and I am very moved by Lew Rockwell's common sense and fact-based analysis.
As a US citizen of Chinese origin, who has lived in US for the last 11 years, I have felt increasing animosity by the US government, CIA, even the mainstream media, against PR China. Even though there are intelligent people like Lew Rockwell who can tell a lie from truth, when being bombarded with selective bad news about China day in and day out, a large portion of American people are misled into thinking China as a evil empire, and even worse, thinking that Chinese people are evil people. This makes it easier for people with ulterior motive to incite hatred and make war. I have lived 21 years in China, and I have seen plenty of “Communism” propaganda, during Culture Revolution (when I was little) or after that. I can tell you that the US media propaganda is even better (or worse, shall I say) than that. In China, propaganda is very straightforward. You get a headache when you hear it. It’s the same old tune. Sometimes, you can finish the sentence the news announcer started with the exact same words. You see it coming. In US, propaganda is very subtle. Most people don’t see it coming. The media don’t even have to lie about things. All they need to do is show only the bad side or one side of the story, about trade deficit, prison labor, illegal aliens, spy cases, military aggression, etc. I have a few things to say about these things.
About the annual trade deficit, I think the figure of 80 billion dollars a year is exaggerated and disputable. Say if Nike makes sneakers in China, it pays the locals $5 USD for labor and $5 for material per pair, but it “exports” the same pair of sneakers back to USA and sells it for $80. Even though the “Chinese Import” is valued at $80, the China side actually only gets to keep less than $10 of it, with the rest going to Nike. So China carries the black label of unfair trade when the US companies are actually reaping the huge profit. I am no expert in this, but I need to know exactly how the accounting is done before believing the media’s side of the story.
About prison labor, I fail to see what’s so wrong about asking the murderers and rapists to actually do something good for the society for a change. Please bear in mind that back-breaking labor is what a lot of ordinary law-abiding people, like a large portion of Chinese farmers, still do daily to make an honest living. I have seen neither a Chinese or American prison in my life. All my impression is gained from watching TV or reading articles in both countries. Compared to cable-ready, iron-pumping, rape-rampant version of the US prison system, I would rather prefer the Chinese way of rehabilitating criminals. One disclaimer I have to mention, I do not at all endorse the Cultural Revolution era style penal systems. In that era, people put politics and lofty ideals ahead of economics and practicality, which seems to be the case in the States nowadays.
About illegal aliens, it’s such a misleading issue. Without those hundreds of thousands if not millions of South American migrant workers, driving their beat-up pickup trucks across the country, working on every possible farm picking vegetables, living in terrible conditions without the least of human rights, risking being arrested and deported at any time, it would be very hard for the rest of the residents in the United States to have the abundance of affordable food we currently enjoy. To exploit them to the bone and turn around and call them lazy, ignorant and burden of the society is hypocritical.
As a student coming to US to study 11 years ago, when I arrived at JFK airport, I had $1,000 in my pocket. That’s more than my parents’ life saving at that time. Other Chinese student friends of mine came with even less. For so many years, I have never met one Chinese friend or heard of anybody they know who has ever taken any government welfare. Immigrants’ contribution to America, throughout US history, far exceeds the additional social burden they put on the society. That’s one of the major reasons you see the coastal states where immigration is more accepted, like New York and California, more prosperous in almost all aspects, such as economy, trade, culture and innovations.
No society or social model is perfect. The realization of civil freedom in the US is also achieved over time. Women didn’t have rights to vote until early 20th century. Segregation last into 60s’. Even now, living in the States, I know I have to behave perfectly legally. Because I know if I break the law, there will be no leniency. If I get into a traffic accident, the cop will trust the white guy’s story more than mine. Leniency, benefit of the doubt and second chances are reserved for the rich and famous, for the OJ Simpsons, for the Robert Dawning Jr's, for the commander who sank the Japanese trawler in Hawaii recently. After many years of hard work, I am now a successful computer professional, making a good living by contributing to our society using my skill and knowledge. But sometimes when I watch reality TV, and see firefighters spending 10 hours saving a trapped horse or cat, I wonder if they will do that for me, just because I am Asian. Asian Americans today are still treated with suspicion, with their loyalty to the country doubted. I am really starting to worry that I may one day be interned like Japanese Americans in WWII should any major conflict occur between US and China.
About spying, one has to be pretty naive to think one country doesn’t spy on another. The British spy on us, the French spy on us, the Israelis spy on us, everyone spies on everyone else, friend or foe. The US caught spy Hansen because it got tipped off by a Russian spy. To the Russians, Hansen is a hero, and the other one a traitor. All we need to do is treat it within our legal system as it happens and spare the public the political rhetoric. CIA is the largest spy organization in the world and routinely talks about assassinating Hussein, Castro, etc. Should we brand CIA a terrorist organization? The US military calls the spy plane flying 12 miles off Chinese coast, collecting anything from military to commercial information, "routine and crucial" to the stability of the Pacific Rim region, while if Chinese does the same, even within 200 miles off US coast, the US military would have shot the plane down in a second. Flying 12 miles off a country’s coast is only legal if you are conducting commercial and non-military business. By the way, the United States, unlike China, hasn’t even signed the international treaty that pertain to this particular claim of international water that US’s argument is based on. If this is not double standard and high hypocrisy, I don’t know what can ever be.
Chinese has a saying, “A Just Army Will Never Lose”. To keep the global peace, and for the sake of the survival of our own people and our own country, our government needs to behave much more responsibly in the world arena and use our awesome military power with extreme discretion. Until the day when police in New York City and Cincinnati do not routinely only shoot minorities, when women earn equitable income compared to men, when 51% of the people (or much less than that, in George W. Bush’s case) do not get to tell the other 49% what to do, when the immigrants are not called aliens like the fictional monsters from Mars, when working people do not pay more than 30% of their annual income as tax and still don’t have the confidence of getting a dime out of the government social security system after they are 65-year old, (or is it 67? I lost track because I am not counting on it.) when the United States relinquishes the threat of force should people in Hawaii, Texas or Alaska decide to declare independence, when cases like Wen Ho Lee or the alleged corporate espionage cases like the recent one in Lucent Technologies do not become headline news and politicized to demonize Chinese Americans, when our government does not invade or bomb defenseless small countries at will, when our soldiers do not rape teenage Japanese girls in Okinawa, when our president can correctly pronounce "subliminal," the United States government does not have the moral claim to absolute righteousness and that its version of democracy the apex of human civilization.
Our country need more people like Lew Rockwell, who has the voice of reason and justice.
May 15, 2001