Friday, 25 December 2009

A Christmas Wish

As we enjoy ourselves this Christmas with family and friends and the simple pleasures that this time of year affords, we ought at the same time to spare a thought for those who do not enjoy our liberties and freedoms. Around the world right now millions are starving, struggling to take in enough calories for survival let alone worrying about how much weight they are about to gain through over indulgence.

And we should spare a thought for those whose only crime is thought and for having the temerity to give voice to those thoughts. There are plenty of evil regimes around the world which imprison people for daring to speak out about injustice, who call for democracy or greater accountability. People like Liu Xiabao a Chinese dissident whose only crime is to challenge the government, and who has just been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for 'inciting subversion of state power,' the sort of crime which only exists in totalitarian regimes whose only true beliefs are the right to perpetual and self perpetuating power for a self selecting elite.

Perhaps in the coming year our leaders will start to face reality about China, especially now that they have had their eyes opened after Copenhagen. China of course has the right to consider its own interests with regard to climate change, but their resistance to measures to curtail CO2 are entirely self regarding and entirely different to those of us who doubt the science. They know that their hold on power will only be maintained so long as they keep delivering economic growth and to hell with what the rest of the world thinks.

Our indulgence of this evil and tyrannical regime is dangerous and becoming ever more so as it becomes ever more powerful. This is a nation which resists all interference in its own affairs as intolerable and yet is becoming an ever greater power on the world stage, preventing our attempts to bring to heel other regimes such as Iran, North Korea and Burma which are dangerous or merely evil. It's why I always laugh at the idea of international law. It's an idealist's fantasy so long as we tolerate and indulge this Chinese government. More than that we even flatter them and ask them to invest. This is Gordon Brown's grand strategy for our economic travails. Are we mad?

China needs us. We don't particularly need China but that will rapidly change. It is already spending its cash on buying strategic stakes in western companies and even buying whole companies along with their intellectual property. China is responsible for cyber espionage on a vast scale and yet our net companies allow it to sensor its own content. America in particular and other western states have allowed themselves to become China's debtors, yet China still refuses to allow its currency to float giving it a double advantage in addition to its already low costs. It's been nice being able to buy our products cheaply but there are alternatives. Frankly, rather than support a regime that can imprison someone for asking for democracy, I would rather pay a little more. But more than that China is a crisis waiting to happen. As you opened your Christmas presents this morning did you pay attention to where they were made? Have a look now. China?

We are all contributing to the burgeoning power of this evil monolith and we can and should stop it in its tracks. Furthermore we must. We must do this before it is too late. Ultimately, as history has demonstrated repeatedly, such regimes must be confronted and forced to behave in a civilized manner for the good of us all. We have it in our power to force them through purely economic means at the moment. Let's for once have the good sense to force change while there is still chance to do it without bloodshed.

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