I’m about to travel to Fort Leavenworth to speak to an Army audience about journalism. Before I go, and not to get all Tom Ricks on you, but I wanted to send out this guest post from Daryl Fisher. It started out as an email Daryl sent me about Chinese VP Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S. and I thought it was worth a broader distribution, especially since it reminded me of points raised in this Danger Room thumbsucker. Enjoy.
Progressives need to be more accommodating to foreign social systems than Americans traditionally have been, but that doesn’t mean that our moral compass goes out the window.
Over the past 18 months, it has become increasingly clear that China uses torture as an overt method of social control. The details are sad and scary. People grabbed off the street by secret police, tortured, and then invariably told to keep silent (excellent logic, of course). Indefinite detention without any due process at all. Torture leading to death of protesters in local conflicts; one lawyer has been lost for several years now, with the central government playing games about his whereabouts. Families kept in the dark intentionally, and even worse, being threatened. Children being followed to elementary school by secret police. This social violence is not limited to dissidents anymore as lawyers, reporters, economists, Christians and even government officials are susceptible to being caught in the insane torture net of the CCP (China Communist Party).
Xi Jinping has already provided a message of peace to the U.S. through the media prior to his arrival. I hope that all progressives will welcome this message of peace, but at the same time ask Mr. Xi whether he condones this violence his government unleashes on its own citizens for the most trivial things. Recently a man was sentenced to a long prison term for writing a poem. A poem! Can you image such a level of repression??
China’s torture destabilizes China, and therefore the world. The CCP acts as if it has no constraints whatsoever, no decency, and there seem to be no limits to the depravity.
Is Mr. Xi willing to defend these actions as necessary? Or can Mr. Xi make peace with his own citizens and help his country to grow in a stable way, as a partner to the US?
Progressives must strive to engage other nations while respecting their sovereignty and cultural character. In regards to China, I hope progressives will be optimistic but firm on our critical values.