It’s time for the world to wake up to the global threat that is China.
For a long time, many political leaders subscribed to the view that as China developed economically it would embrace democracy. This theory was called “convergence theory.”
American foreign policy regarding China followed this theory. We supported China’s efforts to modernize; we invited China into the World Trade Organization; and we sought out China as a trading partner even when China did not reciprocate.
Now, it is clear that the convergence theory is dead. President Xi Jinping has killed it, and the sooner American leaders wake up to this reality, the sooner we can confront it.
I had the opportunity to speak about the Chinese threat last month at the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul, South Korea where I called out the Chinese threat.
- The Chinese government’s singular strategic goal is the preservation of the Communist Party. Those that pose a threat to the party are thrown in “education camps,” imprisoned, or killed.
- Far from loosening his grip on power, President Xi is using technology to create a surveillance state that keeps tabs on massive parts of the population.
- China is flexing its muscles outside its borders, seizing islands in the South China Sea and constructing military facilities there.
- China regularly threatens Taiwan, violating Taiwanese airspace and manipulating Taiwanese politicians and journalists.
- China’s policy of kidnapping critics has expanded to foreign critics, with kidnappings occurring in Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- Chinese companies habitually steal intellectual property from U.S. companies.
- Most worrisome is China’s use of “civil-military integration policy” – a policy that mandates that new technology developed in the private sector must be shared with the Chinese military.
The Chinese threat is very real. I hope you will watch my entire speech below.
It is critical that we rethink how we interact and engage with China. The old theories about convergence are naïve at best and dangerous at worst. China does not fit any prior foreign policy models. It is at once a major threat, a U.S. trading partner, and a key player in the global economy. We must confront China carefully, and without any naïve preconceptions about its intent.