April 01, 2010

Does Google dust-up show fear in Chinese eyes?

Despite many Westerners' view of China as "Behemoth, Inc." on the economic front, Nick Kristof argues there's plenty of angst indeed in the eyeballs of Chinese leadership. He compares China of today with the "paper tigers" of Taiwan and South Korea in the 1980s.

He then wraps up with a kicker of a summary graf:
The Communist Party’s greatest success is the extraordinary economic changes it has ushered in over the last three decades with visionary policies and impressive governance. Its greatest failing is its refusal to adjust politically to accommodate the middle class that it created. And its greatest vulnerability is the way it increasingly neither inspires people nor terrifies them, but rather simply annoys them.
That said, lest anybody is unaware, Kristof notes that both Taiwan and South Korea went down the path of full democracy, and did so successfully.

So, it is Beijing's ultimate fear: the fear of losing power.

Of course, Democratic Party neoliberals will say this shows the power of "engagement." It actually does no such thing. As Kristof notes, Team Obama really doesn't want to go to the mat for Google on a possible WTO case or anything else. "Engagement" only means, "let's engage China in replacing U.S. blue-collar jobs."