Nothing New Since Nixon Met Mao

Four decades ago today, Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon departed China. The dignity of diplomacy still rides a forgotten luggage carousel at Anchorage airport, Alaska, where he arrived (1). Frozen in time and no-one brave enough to touch it.

An awful lot has changed since Nixon met Mao. But one thing remains the same. Chinese people, under the leadership of the CCP, are being oppressed…a lot are slaughtered. Right now, whilst this is being typed on a computer largely manufactured in China (life as we enjoy it as usual), the horrors of the Holocaust are being repeated…the difference is, we know it is going on!


The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. (2)

Those are principles which the US has never been shy about espousing the virtues of to others. Wars have been waged in their honour. Dictators deposed. Communism opposed (indeed, Chinese communist ideology is the antithesis of this ethical code). Richard Nixon had forged a career challenging communism. Why then, did he meet the man responsible for more deaths than WWI and WWII combined? The priority was geostrategic, for both parties. A case of “my enemies enemy is my friend”. The enemy being the USSR.

The passage of time has rendered his reasoning insignificant. What has happened since is of huge significance…at least for those who care about the right to be human.

After the rise and subsequent fall of Hitler’s Fascist regime, Communism became the next foe. The Korean war of 1950-1953. Vietnam war 1955-1975

John F. Kennedy – US President, 1961-1963:

“Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.” (3)

The threat feared most was to the supremacy of America. The Cold War’s Cuban Missile Crisis almost brought the world to a nuclear end. Which, had it happened, would have made every decision ever made a questionable one. The purpose of this piece is to propose that world leaders have gotten the basics of their jobs wrong…they are getting away with their imperfect decision making because we don’t know enough about what is going on. Those who do know enough, simply don’t care enough.

International politics is a complex and tricky subject. The positions that leading politicians are placed in is unenviable (picture a plate juggler at a circus…walking a tightrope…a lion at one end and a tiger at the other). Alliances are forged, and frequently forsaken. The truth is, what binds nations together has never been about you or I as people. Nor the greater global society in terms of what it means to be human. It has always been about peace and economics (political philosophy hasn’t played the role it should). True, we all benefit from peace. Economics, however, and we as consumers (maintaining economies), is what it really comes down to. Purchases lead to profits. Profits (taxation) lead to political stability and military proliferation (the ability to maintain peace). Political stability allows a nation to move forward without the constraint of inner turmoil. Politicians use the press to ensure that the people who vote them into power (if that is what really happens in a democracy), are informed, just enough, in just the right way, to remain subservient to this agenda. When you are a Super-Power, this all becomes increasingly important.

Although racial segregation was only flushed out of the US in the 60s, South Africa was marginalised by the international community for their archaic approach to what it meant to be human. In 1968, the UN proposed ending all cultural, educational and sporting connections based on a philosophy. The USA was a major influencer. The Olympic Games of Moscow 1980 saw the USA boycott due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan (a country they eventually invaded themselves). Human rights abuses in Iraq, Latin America, Burma, Zimbabwe, Sudan etc have all been condemned and confronted. Or have they?

June 4th, 1989. Tiananmen Square became the focal point of international scrutiny in the same year a wall dividing East and West Germany crumbled due to public pressure and persistence for freedom. The massacre (mere incident is the term used today) took place under the watchful eyes of the Western world. Oppression in China was caught on camera for the first time, and couldn’t be ignored. People, the general population, knew what was going on and voiced an opinion.

Dr Chan Hing-Lin – Professor of Economics, Hong Kong:
(Transmission 6-10 interviewee)

“…they were not allowed to export the US high technologies because they fear that they use that technology to develop their military power. But these kind of sanctions becomes less and less significant as China enter into the WTO. Also, many international companies, multinational companies, want to invest in China and use China as a manufacturing basis for their goods selling in the West.”

Sanctions were ustilised as a method to express a growing concern that the CCP was not living up to the expectations of its United Nations partners. An organisation of which it was a founding member in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust (Correction – The country known as Taiwan was a founding member. Their contribution was ripped up when the West favoured The People’s Republic of China over the Republic of China – told you it was complicated). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the foundation upon which this global organisation was forged – significantly contributed to by China’s P.C Chang – or was he from Taiwan?!

A decade after the 1989 massacre came a peaceful vigil, held by practitioners of Falun Gong, outside the Communist Party compound of Zhongnanhai in Beijing. The desire for freedom from oppression was once again being expressed by the people of the world’s oldest and largest civilisation. 13 years later and their silent protest has not been heard. China (PRC) remains an integral part of the United Nations, despite continuously opposing the forum’s ideology (most recently with regards to Syria). Yet China is on the rise. Its economy is booming. The West watches in alarm as their power grows without signs of slowing, whilst its internal policies are unanimously deplored, but only debated with a whimper.

Jonathan Mirsky (Transmission 6-10 interviewee), Journalist & China Historian, describes this phenomenon as “China Magic”. When did the magician first roll up sleeves to deceive a willingly beguiled audience (as the juggler walked the rope)?

40 years ago, the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, met the dictator of China, Mao Zedong. The clandestine talks (code name: Polo One) were organised by Henry Kissinger under the radar of key allies, such as Britain (who subsequently objected). Staunchly anti-communist, the year before his election, Nixon wrote in the magazine Foreign Affairs, “There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation.”

After decades of ‘engagement’ with China, a new quote could read: “There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in tyranny.” It would have been true in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and since the 90’s the only thing that has changed is there are an extra 300,000,000 (approximately the population of the US) living in such conditions.

The above statement may seem extreme…false even. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Commercialisation is an illusion of content (the magician on stage for Act Two).

Virtually no Westerners had entered China during the 50’s, and a few carefully chaperoned journalists were shown around in the 60s. Prior to Nixon’s trip, the US table tennis team toured the country by virtue of a chance encounter between a top American player and his Chinese counterparts. They were greeted by signs such as “People of the world unite and defeat the U.S. aggressors and all their running dogs!” (guess they forgot to take that one down). The Chinese team then toured the US, bringing an end to the trade embargo on Chinese goods in the States (which had lasted 21 years). This all sounds very friendly and what the world required. A coming together of formerly hostile nations. Under Deng Xiaoping, China was demonstrating (try searching that on a genuine desire to change.

“Ping-pong” diplomacy became the catchphrase. A term that Mao Zedong is reported to have loved. Perhaps he forgot this quote of his:

“Regard a ping pong ball as the head of your capitalist enemy. Hit it with your socialist bat, and you have won the point for the fatherland.”

The frost (if you haven’t watched the film Frost/Nixon, do so) between the fatherland and the land of the free was thawing. The 70 million dead Chinese citizens were forgotten. China joined the United Nations in 1973 whilst Nixon was still at the helm. Jimmy Carter (Nixon’s successor after Ford) bestowed the honour of Most Favoured Nation {special} on China. Anti-Soviet crusader, Ronald Reagan, deepened ties by allowing military sales to Beijing. It took several thousand new deaths for the US to reconsider the blossoming relationship. George H W Bush (former Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China) was hit with a double whammy. The collapse of the Soviet Union saw the USSR become less of a threat to China, and the Tiananmen Square incident saw the movement for human rights take centre stage. So much so that the CCP saw this as a direct attempt by the US to bring down their communist rule.

With America being decades head in terms of technological, societal and economic superiority, an opportunity arose to make money from Deng’s capitalistic reforms of the 90s. Nixon was brought down by Watergate. President Bill Clinton came to power in the wake of Chinagate (an alleged effort by the People’s Republic of China to influence the domestic policies of the United States, before and during the Clinton administration, involving fundraising practices).

Al Gore was his Vice President. Could that be why China got off so incredibly lightly in An Inconvenient Truth (despite building two power stations…per week).

In the year 2000, President Clinton granted the PRC with PNTR (Permanent Normal Trade Relations) {extra special}. Both economies were booming. Happy days. Except, of course, for the practitioners of Falun Gong who were being systematically eradicated. In that year, Falun Gong was mentioned 80 times in the US Department of State report on human rights in China. The year before (when the persecution officially began), the group was mentioned 97 times. Fast forward to the latest report, that of 2011, and regardless of the indisputable fact there is a Genocide taking place, Falun Gong was mentioned a mere 10 times in the 126 page review. Conversely, China’s share of the US trade deficit in non-oil goods, for the same period of time, has risen from 26% to 83%. Could there be a correlation? Gore likes his graphs…..take a look at this one:

On the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (the right to hold them being given under the premise of improved human rights and press freedom), then President, George W Bush, said “America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents and human rights advocates and religious activists…” A day later he was attending the opening ceremony. Not exactly firmly opposing. This is what “ping-pong” diplomacy really is. A game of quotes that appease a passively compassionate public that principles do indeed still play a part in politics.

Note the above link. Bush attacks. More of an underarm serve than a smash!

How have things faired under current US leadership?

The Telegraph:

“US President Barack Obama told Chinese leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping on Tuesday that Beijing must play by the same trade rules as other major world powers, and vowed to keep pressing China to clean up its human rights record.”

Xi Jinping must be having nightmares about the kind of “pressure” he could be facing in the near future!

Nixon’s visit to China was heralded as “the week that changed the world”. The world has changed. There is a supposed (I say supposed because it is debatable – the money is still all here, just in different places) global recession. With American companies so reliant on cheap manufacture in China to reap massive profits and keep prices low enough to sustain continued consumption, the dependence on China remaining in the grip of an oppressive regime (who are willing and able to build two power stations a week to facilitate the factories at the expense of mother earth – the fatherland wears the trousers) has never been so high.

The Honourable Albert Ho – Lawyer and legislator, Hong Kong
(Transmission 6-10 interviewee)

“Even the most powerful county, such as the USA, would have to think twice or thrice, before she could impose sanctions on China, not to mention intervention.”

So economic sanctions are a no go to enforce the kind of change that President Barack Obama is so forcefully for. What about intervention then?

The Pentagon concluded that although there is “some ambiguity over the conditions under which China’s [no-first-use] policy would or would not apply…there has been no indication that national leaders are willing to attach such nuances and caveats to China’s ‘no first use’ doctrine” (5) With the People’s Liberation Army being substantially larger than that of the “world’s police” (and equally equipped), there is no chance of military force being brought to the table. (6) No-body wants that anyway.

Consider also the new space race. Despite the Obama administration looking to scale back expenditure on NASA (particularly afflicting the Mars missions), can they really relinquish control of space? China, again, may be decades behind, but they went from fission-to-fusion in the arms race faster than any other nation. (7) They have the resources and the desire to reign supreme, not only in this world, but others.

Dean Cheng – research fellow at the Heritage Foundation (a conservative public policy think tank):

“We don’t know enough about the Chinese space policy system and the very heavy military element that permeates the Chinese space program.” (8)

Think Ronald Raegan’s Star Wars (thinking about George Lucas’ is much more entertaining) and the financial burden such an undertaking would have on the already flailing US economy. Despite repeated calls for the Yuan to be more reasonably valued, to ease imbalances between the economies of China and the US, the Chinese Communist Party currently owns 26% percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities. A debt that is too large a figure to bother writing down. Fortunately, somebody else did…here. The CCP could quite simply bankrupt the USA. Realistically, that wouldn’t happen. The relationship is symbiotic.

Dr Chan Hing-Lin – Professor of Economics, Hong Kong:
(Transmission 6-10 interviewee)

“…people start to worry if they sell those bonds, then the currency of the US dollar will drop if they sell out all the $US they have. And in order to keep the $US high, then the US Government has to keep up the interest rates. When they have to raise the interest rates the economy will get into trouble. So people in the US worry that one day China will sell on a massive amount of the US bonds…But I think China would not do that because they want to keep the interest rates low, in order the US consumer will buy the goods they export to US.”

Hilary Clinton – United States Secretary of State:
(remember that title when the State Department’s human rights profiles are discussed)

“How do you deal toughly with your banker?”

Her husband formally separated the MFN status from human rights. (9)

So. These are the paramaters by which ping-pong diplomacy is played out. Peace (the military aspect) and economics (your way of life, which sustains the government). It works out well for both the US and China…why change?

Dr Chan Hing-Lin:

“I think they are dependent because the US have moved out a lot of the productions to China. I heard about WalMart – which is one of the most significant supermarkets in the US – 10% of the export from China to the US were ordered by the WalMart…”

More than 70% of WalMart products are made in China.

It should come as no surprise to those who have read this far, that if you were to browse the 26 page U.S Department of State notes on China, this is the only reference to Falun Gong:

“The government also severely restricts the activities of groups it designates as “evil cults,” including several Christian groups and the Falun Gong spiritual movement.”

Ethan Gutmann – Investigative Journalist:
(Transmission 6-10 primary interviewee)

“If you were to ask yourself “what is the number one issue in China, for the last 6 or 7, 8 years?” Was it the Olympics? No. The economy? Not really. Taiwan? No. It’s Falun Gong!”

So why the only reference? Why a reduction of mentions in reports on human rights abuses in China? Why is Genocide in arguably the world’s Super-Power not front page news on a daily basis? The answer is shockingly simple. You might, just might, out of conscience, buy less crap if you knew the truth! The crap not merely being products, but the pontifications of politicians.


Should philosophy dictate political foreign policy? It meant something, domestically at least, to the Founding Fathers of the American constitution. It meant something during the establishment of the United Nations. The absence of an ethical base has to be more complicated. It cannot be this obvious. There must be more going on that only those of higher levels of consciousness can comprehend. The surface reality is unconscionable.

Whose responsibility is it to champion the people? The United Nations? Most certainly so! But the UN is comprised of global leaders for their respective nations. So the burden of responsibility must rest on the shoulders of those who are elected (well that isn’t the case for communist China of course). Yet those who are elected to govern their countries seem incapable of making decisions guided by morality (fundamental ethical principles). Then, perhaps, it is up to those who put them in power to begin with. That is you!

Dr Charles Lee – survivor:
(Transmission 6-10 interviewee)

“…in America, the principle in this country is freedom of religion, freedom of, you know, press. But if the US people, the US capitalists, help those people, the communist regime in China, they are selling these principles…”

The world could be a different. It really could be a better place. What if manufacturing returned to the nations that consumed the products produced? No more unemployment. Far less pollution from unnecessary transportation. Sure, sacrifices would have to be made. We would all pay a lot more for everything – what price is currently being paid in ethical currency? The deficit in that case would be beyond computation. What if wars were not waged on lies (which cost billions that could be used to fully realise a sustainable way of living) about WMDs (Want More Diesel)? What if……..that is another blog!

*T610 does not vote. Never has done and will continue to not vote until governments place principles at the pinnacle of political decision making.*

±The State Department reports are repetitive in nature, both in each addition and from one year to the next. The figures sited are not considered a statistical analysis, but representative.±