Wednesday, September 26, 2007

China?s grip on U.S. business, policies is dangerous

To swallow Mattel toys' "apology" to the mainland Chinese communist government that 21 million China-made toys were recalled because of Mattel "design flaws," one has to believe that the world's largest toy maker suddenly is bungling its work after 62 years in the business.

A more likely explanation is that, once again, China has used its thug power to strong-arm an American business into line. If Mattel wants to continue benefiting from cheap Chinese labor—and thus higher profits—it was undoubtedly ordered to recant charges of poor Chinese workmanship and instead blame itself.

This is but one more indicator of just how firmly China is gaining control of U.S. activities, from toy making to foreign policy to American financial affairs.

How could Americans become so submissive to a nation once thoroughly despised for 20 million or more executions of its own people, denounced for lack of freedoms characterized as a dangerous power?

Greed: the greed of U.S. corporations with visions of cheap labor and a huge export market of billions of consumers, the greed of U.S. consumers for less expensive products made in China, and greed of successive U.S. presidents who believed they could spend, spend, spend while China—now our largest creditor—kept buying Treasury notes to bail us out.

The chickens are coming home to roost.

Large U.S. companies including Google, Yahoo, Cisco Systems and Microsoft were ordered by the Chinese to change business practices, including censoring content and cooperating with police in the apprehension of political dissidents.

It's been reported that media titan Rupert Murdoch canceled publication of a book by the former British governor general of Hong Kong because it might have offended the Chinese government. Murdoch also has ingratiated himself by tailoring his television reports out of China to minimize critical news. And he has reversed previous criticisms of the Chinese after his businesses there were punished.

Washington shamefully abandoned its longtime free-China ally, Taiwan, on the insistence of the mainland Chinese, and reduced Taiwan's stature to a trading partner rather than a recognized nation.

Since the Chinese know Washington wants to avoid displeasing Beijing, it ignores Bush administration appeals to stop supplying weapons to repressive regimes in Iran, Sudan, Nepal and Myanmar. The Sudanese military's use of arms in Darfur has been especially ghastly.

Americans are not alone in being trapped by the Chinese. When the 2008 Olympics open in Beijing, the remainder of the world will have bestowed a certain new respectability on China, which, it graciously promised, would "temporarily" suspend its harsh censorship rules for foreign media.

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