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China - The Dragon in the Living Room

Toby Westerman

The rising military and economic power of Communist China should cause a national debate in the United States. The major political parties, their candidates for office, and the world of popular radio and television pundits, however, rarely mention China's increasingly powerful influence in the world.

To adapt an old phrase, China's growing global presence is "the dragon in the living room" - everyone knows it is there, but few want to acknowledge it.

When China is mentioned in public, the discussion usually centers upon commercial activity, and China's increasing tendency toward a "market economy."

China's guarantee of the right to private property - introduced by the Communist Party of China - is now included in China's constitution. The world's news agencies reported the event, and U.S. government officials praised China's support of private property. Beijing has also officially recognized "human rights" in another constitutional amendment.

Many are encouraged by these and other declarations from Beijing. During a recent broadcast, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh described China as becoming "more like us," a belief shared by many in government and business circles.

These sentiments are hopeful, but they are also vulnerable to a long series of disturbing developments. A national debate on China must go beyond political declarations and business reports, and take into account the ominous reality of China's political and military goals.

While Beijing boasts of its growing economic and political freedoms, the Chinese Communists are slowly destroying the liberties of the former British colony Hong Kong, which was returned to China in 1997.

Although the Communists pledged to protect Hong Kong's freedoms under a formula referred to as "one country, two systems," the island is steadily losing any political autonomy from the Communist central government in Beijing.

Communist China reacted angrily to recent U.S. Senate hearings on the plight of Hong Kong's democratic institutions, and denounced what Beijing described as "interference" in China's "internal affairs."

The democratically ruled island of Taiwan is the target of four to five hundred of China's missiles. Taiwan has been independent of Beijing since 1949, when defeated Nationalist troops fled to the island following the Communist victory on the mainland. China has never renounced its claim to Taiwan, but the Taiwanese reject Communist rule.

China demands that Taiwan reunite with the mainland and adopt the same "one China, two systems" formula which has proved so disastrous for the people of Hong Kong.

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Communist China is determined to recapture Taiwan, and is building a highly sophisticated, technologically advanced military to do the job. If the invasion comes, the attack would be swift, devastating, and may have the power to deter the U.S. fleet from assisting Taiwan's forces.

China's ambitions are not limited to completely subduing Hong Kong and Taiwan, but extend to assisting nations overtly hostile to the U.S., including Iran and North Korea. China has established firm alliances with Communist Cuba, as well as the neo-Marxist states of Venezuela and Brazil.

Chinese military leaders support an aggressive program of space exploration, leading some in the Bush administration to warn of a possible Communist Chinese military base on the moon's surface.

Ironically, the money to pay for China's military build-up and expansion into space comes in large part from U.S. consumers purchasing Chinese products. China's "market economy," praised by so many business and political leaders, is producing a new and fearsome Peoples Liberation Army.

The constitutional reforms just enacted in China were proposed by the Communist Party of China, and what the Communist Party gives, the Communist Party can take away.

We must look the Dragon in the eye. We cannot safely ignore Beijing's hostile actions, and we dare not delude ourselves.

Posted April 3, 2004

Toby Westerman publishes
International News Analysis - Today
An analytical and uncompromising weekly analysis of the world situation

Contact T. Westerman at
or P.O. BOX 5182, Rockford, ILL, 61125-0182

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