Under the rule of Deng Xiaoping, Communist China began adopting aspects of a market economy. Westerners assumed market economics would liberalize China’s political system and lead to better diplomatic relations with the West.
As Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman explained in 1993, economic freedom is a necessary condition for political freedom, but it is not sufficient for political freedom.
Today, a generation later, China is not free and their relations with the world are often characterized by Chinese imperialism. China is ruled by the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, made up of 7 men, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping has almost complete authority over China’s 1.3 billion people.
Beijing did not alter its communist political rule. Instead, economic changes have only enriched the communist regime and enabled party members to influence Americans’ freedom of expression, as we have seen with the recent controversy surrounding the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The Chinese Communist Party was founded by Mao ZeDong, who ruled the nation until his death in 1976. Mao is responsible for the death of as many as 70 million people through starvation, slave labor and outright executions. Mao is still revered in China today.
The rulers of China haven’t changed as much as some might have us believe. Just this week, Xi Jinping issued this statement regarding pro-liberty demonstrations in Hong Kong: “Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
What does this mean for America?
The wealth generated from that economic growth has enabled China’s massive naval build-up.
Red China celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1st. To commemorate that event, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) put on a massive display of military power in the form of a parade. Along with the usual marching formations, tanks and armored and wheeled vehicles, the PLA displayed stealth aircraft, stealth drones, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Furthermore, much of the technology involved in the design, manufacture and operation of that advanced weaponry ultimately comes from Western—especially American—sources. Some of it was stolen, but a good deal of it was gleaned from civilian applications which were adapted to military use.
Many Americans don’t want to hear this for both political and business reasons, but the U.S. and China are adversaries. China is unquestionably today’s version of the communist threat. There are 90 million members of the Communist Party of China, which means that, even with the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, there are more communist party members in China alone today than there were behind the entire Iron Curtain a generation ago.
Welcome to the new Cold War. Let’s make sure that it won’t go hot. Historically, the only way to maintain the peace is through American strength.