Fast upon the heels of the news that Chinese rights activist, Chen Guangcheng was given the bum's rush by the U.S. Embassy and State Department comes the horrifying report that Chinese firms have been producing and exporting virility pills made from human fetuses. There's a gruesome synergy in the fact that Chen's crime was advocating for the victims of China's horrific "One Child Policy."
Along with many other unpleasant facts about modern China, One Child has sailed right past the eyes of Westerners for years behind a carefully constructed propaganda façade, that portrays it is a necessary and socially responsible policy. The shocking reality is that one-fifth of the world's women have been denied control over their reproduction while hundreds of millions of abortions have been coerced by finical penalties and many are even physically forced. Women in China and Tibet have been sterilized against their will and the abandonment of baby girls is still unacceptably common and infanticide is not ruled out.
This is what Mr. Chen was fighting against before Chinese police locked the self-trained lawyer and his family in their home and beat them for months. Regardless of where you stand on the politics of abortion in America, you should be offended by China's flagrant disregard for human dignity. Worse, declining birth rates across Asia demonstrate that this unfortunate law is as unnecessary as it is offensive. Populations in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan have self-stabilized as those countries advanced economically. If China's Communist Party had moved forward with economic liberalization when these nations did they could have achieved similar results without brutalizing millions of women and children.
When New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith held an emergency hearing on Chen's fate and bravely criticized this abhorrent policy I was dismayed to hear the tired cries of "America should refrain from provoking China" from the tireless advocates of mindless global trade policies. There comes a time where even the most jaded State Department official or MBA trained CEO must face up to the fact that a nation that abuses and exploits its own people on a massive scale can never be trusted to live up to its international treaties or honor its business contracts.
The ethical devastation that Mao wreaked on China with his purges and pogroms has yet to be healed at home or abroad. After years of turmoil, the madness of the Cultural Revolution swept aside the remaining visages of China's traditional moral standards and Deng Xaiopeng replaced it with the worship of state capitalism. Now a days, Beijing's marketing department would have us believe that they are a new breed of kinder and gentler "compassionate communists." However an image of Confucius was expunged from Tiananmen Square just last year, peaceful Falun Gong practitioners are still persecuted and jailed, Tibetan monks are self-immolating, and "illegal" Christian churches are being razed. If all of that hasn't been enough to make you rethink China, how about just a tiny bit of cannibalism?
While the Chinese constitution ensures all popular fundamental rights of free speech, religion, assembly, and person the reality is Beijing constantly tops the global leaderboards for censorship, political imprisonments, and executions. That's bad enough, but unlike any other nation the U.S. maintains normalized relations with China is also routinely implicated in macabre activities like poisoning food and medications for profits, organ harvesting and now this latest abomination. I imagine that even Iran's leaders run to wash their hands after cutting another weapons deal with Beijing.
The lesson here is that you can never separate a nation's respect for domestic rule of law from their behavior under international laws. Those that believe they are above their own laws will undoubtedly disdain yours. It turns out that human rights is actually a powerful business indicator. Just look down the list of then nations in the G-20. China stands out as by far the least democratic and the most mercantilist. The fact is that it doesn't belong there anymore than it deserves a veto on the UN Security Council -- which like the aborted fetus and stolen organs is just another commodity that it has been able to sell to the highest bidder.
Greg Autry serves as senior economist with the American Jobs Alliance and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of Death by China