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China chipping away at US national security
Paul Lin
2/16/2005

On Jan. 20, in US President George W. Bush's second inauguration speech, he said that "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world." He pointed out that "it is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

But before the US plans what measures it needs to realize this goal, it has to face the question of how to tackle its national security issues resulting from the acquisition of US-based IBM's PC division by China's largest personal computer vendor, the Lenovo Group.

These worries are understandable because China's authoritarian regime not only regards the US as an ideological enemy, but also as a potential military adversary. China has conducted repeated military exercises simulating assaults on US forces, and there have been many incidents of the theft of military technology through commercial or research channels that have involved people of Chinese descent.

Possession of IBM's PC division doubtlessly creates an even more convenient way for China to steal US military and technology secrets. I therefore believe that US regulators will challenge Lenovo's acquisition bid. If not, the US' insistence that the EU retain its arms embargo on China would no longer seem persuasive.

Bush also mentioned in his speech that the objective of ending tyranny is not primarily based on the "task of arms." If that is the case, I wonder, what is the basis to put an end to China's tyranny?

The US used to think that China's economic development would certainly facilitate its democratic reform. However, economic cooperation between the US and China has not only failed to achieve greater democratization, but has sowed seeds of trouble for the US.

While US enterprises have profited from China, Beijing has profited even more from the US politically, economically and militarily. Now China has lost its fear of challenging the US hegemony. US hegemony can be seen as a guardian angel for the whole world, while the hegemony that China is seeking to establish is a source of global evil. Aren't evil states like North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and the former Iraqi regime all closely connected with China?

To safeguard its own security and avoid direct military confrontation with China, the best approach the US can adopt is to help the people in China end this tyrannical regime. The last line of defense for China's leadership, other than resorting to force, is to block people's access to information and implement an obscurantist policy so that the idea of freedom will not spread within the country.

Unfortunately, to continue gaining profits in China, some US multinational conglomerates even bend over backward to help Beijing prevent information from spreading freely. This goes against Bush's ultimate goal of spreading the idea of freedom and ending tyranny across the globe, and may even jeopardize the security of the US.

Furthermore, some US high-tech companies have had a hand in China's so-called Golden Shield Project. Not only have they helped China's rulers install an Internet firewall to prevent the free flow of information, but they also monitor e-mails of dissidents.

The recent the death of Zhao Ziyang, the former premier and Communist Party chief, should have been a chance for people to disclose the evil nature of the communist regime and spread the idea of freedom. However, major Internet portals in China, including Yahoo! China, a US-based dotcom, filtered out content containing Zhao's name. It was as though Zhao never existed. Although the US government and public opinion praised Zhao for his achievements in reforming China and his objection to the Tiananmen Square crackdown, an overwhelming majority of people in China are kept completely in the dark about Zhao's contributions to the nation.

China's state-owned and private enterprises, and the so-called patriotic businessmen, long ago began investing in US enterprises associated with security. With its economic power growing stronger than ever, China will continue its acquisition of foreign enterprises.

Even if the US government forbids China's purchase of US enterprises, China is still likely to target similar enterprises in other countries. This will allow the tyrannical Beijinh government to pose a growing threat to the US. China's recent interest in oil wells in foreign countries is also closely related to its ambitions to expand.

If the terrorist approach adopted by Osama bin Laden is portrayed as guerrilla warfare, the approaches that China is adopting include both "mobile warfare" and "positional warfare." If the US continues to take an equivocal approach in dealing with the tyranny of the Chinese government, fantasizing about establishing a human rights dialogue with China, and forgets to assist the people of China in gaining access to the idea of freedom and opposition to tyrannical rule, Taiwan will face a double assault from both China and the US and be forced to become a second Hong Kong.

In this case, tyranny will never be terminated in the world. Instead, the consequence will be suicidal.

Recently, we commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Meanwhile, France and Germany have begun flirting with the Beijing regime, which is more cruel and treacherous than the Nazi regime. If the US can no longer act as a bastion of freedom, the mob under the tyrannical rule of the Chinese government will bring an unprecedented catastrophe to the world.

Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.

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