Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bipartisan Concerns with China

Holy Bipartisanship Batman! The six Republicans and six Democrats unanimously approve the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2006 Annual Report to Congress. Five years after accepting membership into the World Trade Organization, Chinese behavior is still a cause for concern.

Republican Chair Press Release: China has demonstrated that it understands many of its obligations to the 149 other members of the World Trade Organization. China has made considerable progress in writing the internal legislation and regulations to comply with the agreements it made nearly five years ago to join the WTO. But China is falling short on its implementation of those new laws and regulations and is failing to adequately enforce laws already on its books. One glaring example: China’s obligation under the WTO to combat the illegal piracy of intellectual property.

Democrat Vice Chair Press Release: While China's economic reformation has brought its population considerable material benefits, the nation has serious and growing economic disparities between rich and poor. It has also lagged in creating full opportunities for its citizens to reach their full potential by continuing to violate basic human rights, workers rights, basic political freedoms, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.

China Confidential: "The commission hopes that China will use its position on the United Nations Security Council and its growing influence in Asia and Africa and elsewhere to address a range of serious problems, including the threats of terrorism, weapons proliferation and ethnic conflict," he said. "But it hasn't really happened yet."

One of the last actions of the Clinton administration is granting China normal trade status on a permanent basis. China responds by writing all the necessary rules and regulations into their legal system. Much like immigration in this country, however, there is a meaningful difference between the existence of law and the enforcement of law. Again from the press release:

Yet, during the Commission's trip to China last June, amid the excuses from Chinese authorities about their inability to control counterfeiting, a stark contradiction presented itself: Chinese authorities had somehow managed to prevent any counterfeiting of the 2008 Beijing Olympics logos.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, bribe, bribe, beat, jail, kill. Having laws does not mean society is governed by the rule of law. Absent the principle of individual liberty as the true source of the common good there are only rulers with laws, and thus only rulers with power.