by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
U.S. foreign policy toward China seemed to be based on the belief that the more China modernized and the more affluent its citizens became, the more inevitable Chinese political freedom would be.
Supposedly a free-market China would drop its Communist past to become a Westernized democracy such as Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan. Once China fully joined the family of successful, law-abiding nations, it would empower Western freedoms and help create a stable international order.
None of that came close to happening.
There was never evidence that China wished to end Communism — other than to allow some market reforms designed to strengthen its dictatorial rule and its influence overseas.
If in the past Chinese Communism impoverished its own citizens but left the world mostly alone, now it has enriched more than a billion people at home and terrified six billion abroad.
Far from a newly rich China becoming Westernized politically, the West and the rest of the world are more likely to become politically repressive like China.
Westerners, who apologize when Islamists kill cartoonists and journalists for supposedly insulting Islam, do not say a word when China puts a million Muslims into re-education camps, bulldozes Islamic cemeteries, and shuts down mosques.