False Friends Facilitate Our Fall: China, The Paper Dragon

You open your eyes. Car horns are blaring all around you. Though night, your vision is not impaired, as the glowing lights of marquees and logos light up the city around you. The smell of eastern dishes flushes your nostrils, as dozens of street vendors prepare dumplings and rice and various other cuisines. Things are bustling, with a vibrant atmosphere to boot. You are in Zhōngguó, or as it is known in the West, China. 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Perhaps a fun vacation to an exotic land is in order. This is, of course, what the Chinese government, run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), wants you to believe. Many Americans view China as a bit of a rival, in the fun-and-games sort of way, of course. It’s not a serious threat to anyone. After all, we buy so many of our goods from China, they’re no real competition to us, as Joe Biden said. Just keep ignoring the elephant in the room, trust the Chinese government and its apologists. No. You should not, under any circumstances, do that. This is the first part of what I plan to make a series of articles in which I will cover groups purported to be the friends of the American people by the political establishment, mainstream media, and other elites who care nothing about you or this country we call home. Today we will be covering the first of these groups: the government of China.

To start, I want to make crystal clear that my criticisms during this deep dive are directed entirely towards the CCP, not the 1.5 billion Han Chinese people on this planet. I completely disavow any form of hatred or bigotry towards a group of people based solely on their ethnic origin. In fact, some of the biggest victims of the CCP’s policies are the Chinese themselves, who must live in fear under this totalitarian regime every day. In fact, it is this communist system that fails the Chinese people, and in turn, the rest of the world every day. 

To start, the Chinese handling of the COVID-19 virus was not only an utter disaster but also morally wrong. China knew about COVID-19 and its ability to transmit from human-to-human since November of 2019, but they didn’t tell anyone. President Xi Jinping knew that, if China had stopped the virus and contained it within China, then only they would face negative economic repercussions. But that could not be; if China were to become infected, so too would the rest of the world. As such, they let the virus escape China’s borders, banning domestic flights but pushing international flights. China also suppressed whistleblowing doctors who tried to warn the world of the virus, with many being arrested, silenced, or “disappearing” under mysterious circumstances.  If China falls, so too must everyone else. Defenders of the regime will cite China’s supposed “success” in fighting the novel virus, discussing how they completely halted the virus in a country of over a billion people, most of whom are packed like sardines into densely populated cities. One would think, given China’s long history of dishonesty, fudging numbers, and a lack of transparency that makes the country more opaque than the Great Wall, that no sensible person would believe this. But no; look at any Western media outlet, and they will tell you for certain that China has stopped the spread of the virus, despite the laughably fake graph they show that would raise the eyebrows of anyone with even a modicum of reason. Of course, CNN pathetically published their “breaking news” story in December of 2020, saying that secret files showed China lied about their COVID case totals and the handling of the virus, something literally everyone else had known for a year at that point. Needless to say, the Chinese government absolutely is responsible for the spread of COVID-19 around the world, and their lack of transparency makes their lies about the virus all the more troubling.

COVID-19 is far from the only problem to be had with the Chinese government, especially for its citizens. Straight out of George Orwell’s nightmares, the social credit system imposed by the Chinese government is one of the worst invasions of privacy, destroyers of freedom, and morally evil things the Chinese government has ever implemented. The social credit system is a reputation tracker for all the citizens of China in which a score is given to each citizen that can fluctuate based on their behavior. The Chinese government also uses their intranet and their own Chinese-exclusive apps and websites, like WeChat and AliBaba, to spy on their citizens using mass surveillance. Along with this modern mass surveillance and privacy invasion, there are also classic Soviet-style secret police, citizens reporting each other, and cameras everywhere, watching every move of every person. Things like jaywalking, playing video games, eating on the train, or criticizing the Chinese government will lower people’s scores, and punishments range from intranet speeds being throttled, the children of the offender being barred from entering the best schools, getting fewer matches on dating websites, and, worst of all, imprisonment or being put on a public blacklist meant to shame and ruin people. This horrific system is nearly fully implemented in China now, but this totalitarian system goes much further than this in oppressing the citizenry and stripping away the freedoms of Chinese citizens.

The totalitarian government of China is known for its human rights abuses outside of just this Orwellian Social Credit System they’ve devised. Besides the communist takeover and Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” which killed over 45 million Chinese people, another horrific moment in recent Chinese history was the One-Child Policy. Besides the horrible economic situation this will inevitably lead to, the on-the-ground implementations of this policy were the most disturbing. Those who got pregnant without government approval would be forced to receive an abortion, and oftentimes, they were forcibly dragged to a clinic and tied down against their will until the procedure was finished. Those caught with second children were forcibly sterilized and publicly shamed (sound familiar to social credit?). There is also a surplus of boys in China due to the cultural preference towards boys over girls, and since only one child was allowed per family, there were 336 million abortions, mostly of females. Baby girls would be drowned in sinks, fetuses were found in medical waste bags, and millions more gruesomely violent deaths were met by these innocent babies, all at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

This is far from the only human rights abuses going on in China, with the infamous Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 being a well-known example. Not only were the protests against the tyrannical government violently crushed, with potentially as many as 10,000 killed by the Chinese government, but any discussion, images or search results regarding the incident are censored on the Chinese intranet and even referencing the date could potentially result in jail time. Another huge human rights abuse is in Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of China relinquished by the British in 1997. The recent Hong Kong Protests were against a bill that would have allowed for criminals in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China to be prosecuted there, leading many to fight back against this attack on their autonomy. The protests showcased the brutality of the CCP and the methods they implemented to begin their totalitarian takeover in the territory, which they promised would remain partially independent until 2047. To no surprise, China has moved against Hong Kong, cracking down on the protestors there violently and sending their militarized police to quell any protests. The future of Hong Kong hangs in the balance, and as protestors there wave American flags and sing the Star-Spangled Banner, it is clear that liberty is something the Hongkongers are unwilling to give up to the Chinese Communists. 

While Western countries are often maligned as racist and intolerant, despite them being more tolerant, freer, and less racist than just about all other countries, China often is overlooked. This is foolish, however, as China has a serious racism problem, particularly against Africans living in Chinese cities. The Africans who end up in China are usually due to China’s economic colonialism efforts on the continent, something they, for some reason, are not chastised for by Western academia, despite the valid criticisms of Europe’s colonialism they ceaselessly offer. Long story short, China builds stereotypical “Made in China” quality infrastructure in the developing world, which inevitably falls apart. However, the costs of these projects are still high, and as such China ends up indebting countries they know will never be able to pay back the loans, leading to them becoming Chinese vassal states that are enslaved by their debt, all over poor quality infrastructure anyway. Some of the people of these countries go to China for school or permanently resettle there. They face intense discrimination there, however, and the racism on display is worse than one would imagine. I am not usually one for a “trigger warning,” but some people may find the examples I am going to share to be particularly heinous and disgusting.

One particularly infamous incident occured recently in Guangzhou, a city known for having more Africans than any other Chinese city (despite that number only being around 150 thousand, which will become important later). Chinese employees at a local McDonald’s restaurant in the city put up a sign reading: “Notice: We’ve been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant. For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused. Police, Tel: 110.” This sounds like something out of the Jim Crow South of the 1950s, but this happened in 2020. This is far from the only instance, however, as the poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was altered in China as well. One of the stars of the film is John Boyega, a Black actor, but he was shrunk down and hidden in the corner of the poster from his original center frame position, and other actors who also happen to be minorities were outright removed. The history of racism in China stretches back for decades, with anti-Black riots happening in the late 1980s. Africans were called “black devils” who had to “go home” and were said to all be carriers of the AIDS virus. All of this was because they were given scholarships, and the local Chinese didn’t want them to have them or be able to go to Chinese universities. Africans in China are also being discriminated against with COVID rules. They are being evicted and left out on the streets. The Chinese police have also ordered bars and restaurants not to serve Africans, and that anyone with “African contacts” be tested for COVID-19. A Chinese laundry detergent ad shows a woman shoving a detergent packet into the mouth of a Black man who had waved at her, stuffing him in a washing machine, and him coming out a pale, Chinese man, which she approves of much more, finally smiling. Unfortunately, this is the norm in China.

It doesn’t end there, however. Life for the roughly 150 thousand aforementioned Africans in Guangzhou, which has been racistly nicknamed “Chocolate City” by the Chinese, is mired in racism every day. Pan Qinglin, a CCP politician, made clear his solution to “solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong.” He went on to say, “Africans bring many security risks…Black brothers often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas. They engage in drug trafficking, harassment of women, and fighting, which seriously disturbs law and order in Guangzhou… Africans have a high rate of AIDS and the Ebola virus that can be transmitted via body fluids… If their population [keeps growing], China will change from a nation-state to an immigration country, from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.” Replace the word “yellow” with “white,” and you could be mistaken for thinking this was from a Neo-Nazi rally. This proposal was widely popular, with one commenter even going so far as to call on his fellow Chinese citizens to not let “thousands of years of Chinese blood be polluted.” A recent exhibit in a Chinese art museum titled “This is Africa” compared Africans to animals, including chimpanzees and gorillas. Madeleine Thiam, a Senegalese journalist, described the discrimination she faces on a daily basis in China. She mentions how people pinch their noses when they walk by her, as if she smells, an ugly stereotype of Africans. People will also leave empty seats next to her on the subway or get up and move if she sits down next to Chinese people. Women have approached her and rubbed her skin, asking if she is covered in dirt and is in need of a shower. These are just a few examples of the disgusting and normalized racism in China. 

But of course, I saved the most depraved and despicable of China’s crimes until last. While many criticize the Chinese government for its use of child labor or the conditions in factories being so cruel and awful that suicide nets are installed to prevent the employees from killing themselves, these both pale in comparison to the literal concentration camps the government is running in Western China in Xinjiang province. You may know vaguely about these camps from the armchair activists on social media who posted a CNN article about it on their stories or pages and said, “Wow. I can’t believe this. This is wrong,” while proceeding to do nothing about it. Meanwhile, they continue to buy consumer products from China made by slaves in the concentration camps and support politicians who bend over backward to appease Xi Jinping. The purpose of these camps is to “re-educate” the Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group related to the peoples of Central Asia. Of course, violently oppressing non-Han Chinese ethnic groups has been a thing in China for a while now, given the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the oppression of their people for the last 70 years, but I digress. The Uyghurs are Muslim, and as such, their way of life is not allowed in the strictly atheist state of China. That is why they are being “re-educated;” they must forcefully abandon their faith. This is done through the Chinese government forcing the inmates of the camps to eat pork, drink alcohol, forbidding them from fasting during Ramadan and attending mosques, and banning traditional Muslim clothing, teaching the Quran and praying. They are forced to swear their allegiance to the Communist Party, coerced into chanting things like “I love Xi Jinping,” or “Thank you to the Communist Party,” and, if they do not comply with the wishes of the camp guards, they are beaten and put in solitary confinement. They are herded into small, cramped rooms, with a plastic bucket being their only toilet option, and even then, it is only emptied once a day. They are forbidden from talking, crying, or even asking questions. They are tortured and have experiments performed on them by grizzly camp doctors. To conclude this segment on the concentration camps, I wanted to share the account of Sayragul Sauytbay, a Muslim woman who was sent to one of the camps. She had this to say:

“One day, the police told us they were going to check to see whether our reeducation was succeeding, whether we were developing properly. They took 200 inmates outside, men and women, and told one of the women to confess her sins. She stood before us and declared that she had been a bad person, but now that she had learned Chinese she had become a better person. When she was done speaking, the policemen ordered her to disrobe and simply raped her one after the other, in front of everyone. While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting. People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again. It was awful. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to help her. After that happened, it was hard for me to sleep at night.”

The more cynical among you may say, “So what? What the Chinese do within their own borders is their business, no matter how questionable. How does this affect me?” To answer this, I would say that Chinese policy affects everyone. Besides the whole COVID-19 debacle, China’s environmental policy affects everyone on this planet. China is, by far, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, and the Yellow River is the biggest dumper of plastics into the ocean by a mile. In fact, 90% of the ocean’s plastics come from just 10 rivers in Asia and Africa. Around 1.24 million people in China die from exposure to air pollution annually. Among many things, China is burning a hole in the ozone layer, lowering global air quality, leading the world in mercury pollution, destroying thousands of biodiversity sites, illegally overfishing and driving illegal logging and deforestation efforts. Finally, China’s obsession with “traditional medicines” has led to a vast increase in illegal poaching and the endangering of hundreds of incredible and ecologically important animal species. This hits close to home for me, as I grew up with Steve Irwin and nature documentaries, and I believe passionately in wildlife conservation. “Traditional Chinese Medicine” which I put in quotes because it’s just as effective as “essential oils,” has led to the poaching of endangered species like elephants, tigers, lions, sharks, pangolins, rhinos, and just about every other incredible and awe-inspiring creature you can think of, all for this superstition. The Chinese government is promoting the destruction of the planet for its own gain.  

China also affects the lives of those not in China in more direct ways as well. What was a shock to some, recent news has broken indicating that over two million Chinese Communist Party members have infiltrated the West. They were found to have infiltrated large companies, academia, and governments, with one of the more well-known examples being the former 2020 Democratic candidate for President, Representative Eric Swalwell of California. A Chinese spy named Christine Fang, also known as Fang Fang, got very close with Swalwell and reportedly used him to get American state secrets back to the Chinese government. Fang also did the same thing with two mayors out in the Midwest before moving on to California to target the Representative there. This massive security breach should be troubling to everyone, and it certainly helps explain the ease at which China is able to steal trade secrets, the pro-communist sentiment in American education, and the willingness of politicians to do whatever China asks. 

I could go on and mention China’s lack of respect for copyright, their aggressive desire to control the entire South China Sea, or their support of the evil dictatorship of North Korea, but I wanted to end with this. After World War II and the Holocaust, the West made a vow. “Never Again,” they said. Never again would we allow what happened then to happen to anyone else. It appears that sentiment has been forgotten, as the Western governments who kowtow to China do nothing as millions of innocent people suffer and are persecuted for their religious beliefs. What happened to us? To the people we were supposed to become? Our ancestors fought against this kind of tyranny, all while we just sit back and watch the same tyranny unfold in front of us, as we are too weak and cowardly to do anything about it. No longer will we bow to China, and no longer will we allow their heinous and despicable actions to go unpunished. China is not our friend, it is not simply a playful rival. It is our enemy and an enemy to freedom everywhere. The people of the world, the people of China, the Uyghurs, the Tibetans, the Hongkongers, the Africans in China, everyone: they are all victims of China’s crimes and that most evil communist and authoritarian ideology they espouse. It’s time to stand up to the paper dragon.