By: Gordon G. Chang
“We do business in 100 countries,” said Jamie Dimon to Fox News Channel’s Maria Bartiromo in early August. “And we do, we do it under the laws of those lands and under the law of America as they apply.”
“Foreign policy is set by the American government, not set by JPMorgan,” Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, argued.
Dimon is correct. The U.S. government does not prohibit banks or other companies from doing business in China.
Yet doing business in China strengthens a horrific regime, so the issue is not about legality, as Dimon suggests. It is about morality.
We must, therefore, ask: Is it moral to do business in the People’s Republic of China?
The Communist Party of China operates one of the most immoral regimes in history. For instance, it kills in great numbers.
We begin in the metropolis of Wuhan. The world still does not know how COVID-19 started, but it is 100% clear that Beijing deliberately spread the disease beyond China’s borders. While lying about contagiousness for at least weeks — Chinese doctors knew it was highly transmissible human-to-human but officials said it was not — Beijing was busy locking down Chinese cities while pressuring other countries to not impose travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China. Then, after finally admitting transmissibility, China’s officials said the disease would infect fewer than SARS, the disease at the turn of the century that sickened 8,400 people worldwide and killed 810.
Therefore, each of the more than 5.1 million COVID-19 deaths outside China should be considered a murder. The intentional spread of the disease is, so far, the crime of this century.
Also murdered are the tens of thousands of Americans who each year have overdosed on fentanyl compounds, which are formulated in China. The ingredients — and sometimes the final products — are made in that country. The Chinese fentanyl gangs are far-flung and international in scope. They have their money laundered by other Chinese gangs through China’s state banks.
The Communist Party, in its near-total surveillance state, knows about the activities of these gangs and therefore approves of them. Chinese officials undoubtedly profit from the fentanyl trade. The intentional killing of others without just cause — the inevitable result of Beijing’s protection of the fentanyl gangs — is also murder. In one year alone, from May 2020 to April 2021, fentanyl killed about 64,000 Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
China, in addition to murdering foreigners, is “disappearing” and killing its own people, starting with critics and dissidents.
Most notably, it has, in the horribly misnamed Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, built a chain of concentration camps that have held an estimated three million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic minorities. Minorities are dying in those camps in large numbers. We know this because officials built a crematorium and cemetery between two of their internment camps, in Aksu City.
Inside those facilities, inmates are systematically tortured. Beijing has institutionalized slavery, offering the labor of tens of thousands of minorities to domestic and foreign companies. The Chinese state maintains a policy promoting the rape of Uyghur and other Turkic women. Officials are organ-harvesting minorities and imprisoning children in “orphanages” resembling prisons. Policies imposed on Tibetans appear to be similar in many respects to those forced on the Turkic peoples.
These crimes against humanity in Xinjiang constitute “genocide” as defined in Article II of the Genocide Convention of 1948. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have declared that China is committing this unspeakable crime.
The Genocide Convention, in Article I, requires signatories such as the United States, “to prevent and to punish” acts of genocide.
Preventing and punishing does not include strengthening the despicable ruling group by, for instance, buying Chinese products. “We are each responsible for our actions, whether they’re in our backyard or an ocean away,” Jonathan Bass, CEO of Los Angeles-based WhomHome.com, told Gatestone. “In 2010, I realized that the way Chinese factories treated workers was not in line with the values that America represented. Slave labor in any form is unacceptable.” Bass then moved high-value jobs to North America and assembly jobs to Mexico.
Is there a moral imperative to leave China, like Bass? There is such an imperative if the Chinese regime cannot be dissuaded from committing atrocities.
Those impossible-to-justify crimes have been the work of one of the most dangerous figures in history, Xi Jinping, the current Chinese ruler. Some have suggested that Xi is merely an aberration of China’s communism, implying that his crimes are his doing, not inherent in the communist system.
Xi’s era, marked by an attempt to return to totalitarianism, resembles that of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic. Mao turned what was supposed to be a regime run by a committee into a regime run by one man, and then he almost destroyed the Chinese state with ruinous campaigns such as the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward.
Mao’s eventual successor, Deng Xiaoping, normalized politics. Deng started institutionalizing the Communist Party by developing norms, guidelines, understandings and rules. Foreign observers gushed over the rise of what they called a “meritocratic” system.
Xi, in a Mao-like grab, has reversed the process, deinstitutionalizing the Party by seizing power from just about everyone else. Mao has also been called an aberration, but he was not. China has been ruled by strongmen both at the beginning of the Communist period and now. That system, which from its Maoist beginning has idealized struggle, demands a strongman. It is Deng and his two successors who are the aberration.
The Chinese communist system, by its very nature, demands uniformity, and to further its goals justifies the elimination of all refusing to conform. All China’s communist leaders, but especially Mao and Xi, are blood-soaked.
If there is now no reasonable hope for a benign Chinese communism — almost all observers and political leaders once thought the system would evolve in a welcomed direction — then we must not tolerate the regime, which means we have, in the first instance, a moral imperative to cut ties with it.
Cutting ties would result in ending the reign of the Communist Party, which has always been dependent on continual infusions of foreign cash. Among other things, ending Chinese communism would make Jamie Dimon, who quipped this month that his bank would outlast the Communist Party, look prophetic.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.