China: A Tiger Leaping Forward in Sheep’s Clothing


China: A Tiger Leaping Forward in Sheep’s Clothing

Dystopian fiction is a hallmark of western literature. Few titles have the omnipresent renown as some of the genre’s seminal titles, such as George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Dystopian works explore the darkest products of humanities political nature; the nebulous line between conviction and fanaticism, the ruthlessness of an unconstrained state, the ability for a handful of actors to allow evil to pervade an entire society and the often banal nature of that evil. In the west, we’re fortunate enough that dystopian media is entertainment and a reminder of what to avoid. Even in this period where our civil liberties are constantly threatened in the name of “security,” we still enjoy a litany of inalienable rights that make a truly dystopic society untenable. 

However, not all peoples are as fortunate as westerners are. There is a country in which the government is so tyrannical, so unconstrained, so inhumane that it seems as if it has taken the genera of dystopia and used it as a guide, instead of the admonition that it is. This country has gone down the rabbit hole so deep that it would be cartoonish if it weren’t so astonishingly vile. This is a country with concentration camps tasked with ‘reeducating’ dissenters. This is a country that has regularly massacred protesters, activists and innocents alike to allow its government to retain its iron grip on power. This is a country that is months away from instituting a social credit system in which each one of its citizens is ranked depending on how closely they obey the party line and punished or rewarded accordingly. This is a country that has mobile execution vans roaming the streets of its cities, towns, and villages ready to murder those who the government has deemed unworthy of life and subsequently remove their organs so they may be redistributed to more loyal denizens. This is a country that has killed thousands of political prisoners and used their mutilated corpses as sick side show attractions for the ignorant to gawk at across the globe. This country is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 

It should be noted that I am not claiming China holds a global monopoly on tyranny or totalitarian autocracy. However, China is arguably the only country with both the desire and means to legitimately institute a system as insidious as their own. China as it stands today meets every single prerequisite of an oppressive totalitarian state outlined by German political theorist Hannah Arendt. This is in no small part due to the trillions of dollars annually pumped into its regime by the global community in exchange for its abundant, cheap exports. 

Americans often argue who or what the greatest global threat is. Aside from environmental collapse, I see no other entity or occurrence as pernicious and downright dangerous as the Chinese government. How the west willingly got into bed with this authoritarian communist regime will go down as one of the greatest political miscalculations of recent memory. The Nixonian hope that opening China to the world would eventually result in democratization has proven entirely unsound. The west’s cooperation with the PRC has done nothing but strengthen this oppressive goliath. Now in the latter half of the 21st Century’s second decade, we can see that instead of liberal democratic ideals penetrating China, it has instead begun to spread its own authoritarian ethos globally. First in Southeast Asia, then Africa, and now their assault on Europe has begun with pervasive propaganda campaigns beginning in countries such as Poland and the United Kingdom. 

The ideological difference between the west and China was always apparent, but it is only now clear that China wishes to export its dangerous ideology abroad and convert the nations in which its interests lie to its school of authoritarian thought. This school is antithetical to the ideals of liberalism and sees humans as simply a means to an end. Liberty? Freedom? Rights? To China these are meaningless terms better suited for propaganda than policy. In the United States we have the right to free speech. In China, people have the right to a swift execution if they speak outside the party line. 

In the coming years the west and the global community as a whole will have two divergent paths from which to choose. The first is a continuation of the status quo. In this scenario China will continue to accrue power and influence and increasingly leverage its position as a global power to export its doctrine of tyranny. This will undoubtably result in an erosion of human and environmental rights efforts and an increase in similarly draconian and tyrannical regimes globally. 

The second option is for the west and the global community to pivot from and reject China and find other sources of cheap mass production. Unfortunately, this choice will not come easy and will require the world to awaken from the intoxicated stupor caused by China’s highly available and inexpensive commodities and consumer products. In the west especially, we will be confronted with the reality that our economical consumer goods and plastic knick-knacks are not a worthwhile trade off for the billions of lives negatively impacted by the dictatorial influence of China. The choice here is a collective one, and we as peoples of the free world must not choose incorrectly, or the effects will be irrevocable for generations to come.