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Too hot for Asia Times?

April 4, 2010

I have been a regular patron of Asia Times for a long time, it is a nice online paper that prides itself for covering different perspectives, unlike the mainstream western media.  For example, it is one of very few places that have provided Dr. Kim Myong-chol a platform to speak on behalf of the DPRK. Over the years I have actively participated in both the letters and forum section, and I must give Atimes editors credit for their open-mindedness and tolerance (something the censors in Beijing can’t fathom). Unfortunately, my luck with them ran out recently. None of a string of my letters to the editor were published and my e-mail inquiry did not generate a response. I checked Atimes posting rules and guidelines to see if  I may have unwittingly crossed the line.  Now you be the judge:

Dear Editor,

Benjamin Shobert’s frustration over China can clearly be felt throughout his article “Google, a Sino-US Marker“. He bemoans the inability of the Chinese government to accommodate/cave in to Google’s demands and argues that this will create suspicion and distrust among the Americans toward China. Not saying that he is incorrect, but since when have the Americans not viewed China with suspicion and distrust? The Chinese are very well aware of the fact that the Americans see China as an enemy at worst and a competitor at best, a sentiment proven again and again by numerous polls. I don’t want to belittle the likes of Benjamin Shobert and James Mann and their seemingly noble intentions: by doing business with China perhaps China will liberalize and westernize (politically), but to argue the “average lay person” in America is concerned about democratization, liberalization and the direction in which China is heading is a bit of a stretch. And what “political and economic costs” doing business with China burden/exhaust the average American lay person? Among other things, doing business with China has enabled the average American lay person to purchase most consumer items at an affordable price (while American corporations gobbled up the big bucks), it also enabled the average American lay person to buy a home at a relatively low and stable interest rate. I don’t think the vast majority of Americans, as noble and righteous as Shobert wants to believe, are willing to trade in these perks for democratization and political westernization in China. I just don’t believe for a second that the Americans wanted to do business with China to make China a better place. They are here for the cheap labor, untapped market and ultimately, profit. As for those few noble Americans who actually care about steering China in the direction they prefer, may I suggest that perhaps they should simply give up on the idea of imposing their wish on something that’s entirely none of their business in the first place? Shouldn’t these decisions be left to the Chinese, after all it is their country, not yours?

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