China has become a big capitalistic success and is one of our largest trading partners, supplying all the vast discount outlets in the US, such as Wal-Mart, with most of their goods. But there are more important things in life than just a bargain. Should we use our influence with China to try to change some of the things they DON'T do well?and exactly what are these?
The British newspaper The Independent reports that while the US is criticized by the rest of the world for executing such large numbers of prisoners, China is way ahead of us: they execute about 10,000 people per year. Amnesty International says that every 3 months, China kills more of its population than the rest of the world, including the US, does in three years. You can be executed if you're guilty of what would be petty offenses here, such as bribery, embezzlement and petty theft. Innocent people are frequently executed and like many Muslim countries, executions take place in front of massive crowds, the way hangings did 200 years ago here. One reason to execute people for even minor offenses is to save on the expense of building and maintaining prisons, which is a huge industry, employing whole towns, in the US. Executions may also be condoned because China has such a huge problem with overpopulation.
We've been criticized for torturing prisoners in secret camps. In China, disappearances and torture of Dalai Lama supporters are common. So-called "psychiatrists" often diagnose political dissidents, religious nonconformists, unionists and whistle-blowers as "dangerously mentally ill," meaning they are taken to mental asylums, where they are undoubtedly tortured and executed.
China now has the third or fourth largest military in the world, including nuclear weapons. It has threatened both Taiwan and Japan.
People may be surprised to learn that China, like the former Soviet Union, has large Muslim regions. Xinjiang is one of these. With its official anti-religion policy, China has persecuted religious activists and sent them to prisons as well. There's a danger that, in our fight against Islamic terrorism, we will not be as critical of this as we should be.
China wants to "save face" by denying it has health problems. It and manipulates the health statistics that it presents to the rest of the world. For instance, the Chinese government denies there is any AIDS there, even though there are probably millions of cases of HIV. Its initial denials about its SARS epidemic in 2003 allowed the virus to spread to other countries. Health officials are worried that the same thing will happen with bird flu.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
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