Yesterday on The Right Balance, Greg Allen made a keen observation. He said, to wit, that China gets away with both the excesses of Capitalism and the excesses of Communism.
China in 2007 is very similar to Britain of the 1800's. In his book, Capital, Marx refers to the business owners as having "the were-wolf's hunger for surplus labor". The Chinese government is today's 'were-wolf' business owner.
Capitalism to excess is bad. Communism is just plain excessive, and therefore always bad. We complain--and rightly so--when American capitalists use capitalism to the point of extortion. But we are strangely silent when the Chinese Communo-capitalists do the same thing.
In Capital, Marx shares anecdote after anecdote of forced labor in Britain, where employees, including youth and children, were compelled to work 12-hour days, and sometimes more. Similarly such frequent anecdotes exist in China today. Here's one:
China's government is forcibly moving young women of the ethnic Uighur minority from their homes in Xinjiang to factories in eastern China, a Uighur activist told the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.Marx writes that
Rebiya Kadeer, jailed for more than five years for championing the rights of the Muslim Uighurs before being sent into exile in the United States in 2005, called for U.S. help in stopping a program she said had already removed more than 240,000 people, mostly women, from Xinjiang.
Kadeer, nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus the women being transferred under the guise of "employment opportunities" were single and ranged in age from 16 to 25.
The women faced harsh treatment with 12-hour work days and often saw wages withheld for months, Kadeer said, describing the women as "cheap slave labor and potential sex workers."
The same blind eagerness for plunder that in the one case exhausted the soil, had, in the other, torn up by the roots the living force of the nation.China can't live forever like this. Unfortunately, the world largely turns a blind eye to the atrocities being committed there, effectively encouraging them to go on for longer than they need to.
But what can we do? After all, we still haven't finished most of our Christmas shopping.