Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American strategy was to use China as a wildcard in the Cold War, though the usefulness of playing Beijing off of Soviet interests is no more. Now there is a serious question whether the United States has an real policy toward China, other than supporting the interests of American business. U.S. objectives in China seem to be driven more by quarterly profit considerations, access to cheap labor and wishful thinking about the buying potential of over a billion Chinese. This is made all the more possible by Deng Xiaoping's policy of implementing so-called market reforms. Deng, recognizing for complete failure of communism to provide a better life for the average Chinese, has frequently said he does not care if the cat is white or black, so long as it catches mice. America, along with the rest of the world, seems intent on providing the cheese.
American policy makers and analysts are constantly reminding everyone who will listen that China will soon have the largest economy in the world. What seems to be lacking in this discussion is anything about the implications of an economic giant also growing into a political and military mammoth. It seems silly to that an economic giant will be a political and military midget. Every analyst who knows anything about China knows that communism as an ideology has been dead for some time. The Chinese people were the first to know this, but the Party leadership learned the truth some years ago. Deng, with his program of reforms, had this insight before anyone else in the party leadership.
But the Party remains in power and is intent upon maintaining power as it continues to transform itself into something new. here is only one choice open to the party leadership in this transformation. They must portray themselves as patriots and nationalists. Reaching back into history, they know they can appeal to the people by reminding them of how foreigners have exploited, insulted and abused China for centuries.
The ideological rhetoric which is produced by various government organs has been changing from communist to nationalist both in tone and substance, for some time. There is no more talk about liberation or building the socialist paradise, but rather constant lectures about patriotic values and national self-respect. The cloak of nationalism now drapes every government power entity -- the military, the police, judicial organs, even the laogai (labor camp) system. Schools have even shed talk of class struggle and socialist revolution.
Take my own experience as an example. Nearly forty years ago, I was condemned as an anti-communist, anti-popular, anti-socialist, bourgeois, counter-revolutionary rightist for criticizing the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the Party's treatment of ordinary citizens. Now I am simply branded a criminal who steals state secrets and passes them on to hostile foreign organizations. The criticism I have received recently from...