October 1, 2019 will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This will mark yet another milestone in the Chinese people’s long march from the century of humiliation to a Chinese century marked by prosperity, stability, and hegemony. The wrongs of the unequal treaties will be righted. China and Taiwan will become whole. The Westerners will be put in their place and bow to the rulers of Beijing. The world will quake at the roar of their rockets and remain in awe of their scientific ingenuity.
Or so is the promise of the Chinese Dream.
Dreams never become reality when preached from the mouths of tyrants. They become nightmares, twisted by humanity’s flaws and the fallibility of systems that belong on the ash heap of history. Under the regime of Xi Jinping, the cyberpunk nightmares have already become reality and continue to grow more disturbed by the day. The only difference between the CCP of 2019 and the CCP of 1989 is that they have learned from their failures, and the failures of the West. Despite the hopes of the West, the CCP has become more brutally efficient, less open, and more of a danger beyond its borders than it ever was during the Cold War. History ended for the West but Beijing kept writing, waiting for its opportunity.
And since the Great Recession, Beijing has begun to seize its opportunities. It has made new territory from nothing in the South China Sea so as to take control of one of the world’s most vital bottlenecks and to project its power throughout the Indo-Pacific. At home, Xi Jinping has reinforced commitments to Maoist doctrine under Xi Jinping thought, his own brand of red Kool-Aid. The CCP has constructed new surveillance apparatus to control its population from mass visual surveillance to a social credit system meant to regulate and score every action. In Xinjiang, there is cultural genocide and internment of the Uighur population on a scale measuring in the millions. The PLA has grown and modernized rapidly since the 1990s, stealing technology from around the world to boost itself to compete with the US. It uses mockups of US targets during anti-ship missiles tests and threatens its neighbors around the Pacific through grey zone tactics and outright belligerency. The fact is that the CCP is not just America’s, but the whole freedom-loving world’s main enemy.
Enter the new China lobby.
Back in the Bad Old Days of the Cold War, the China Lobby referred to a collection of special interests that prior to Nixon’s opening of China argued for pro-ROC policy, but as time went on and PRC influence grew, the China lobby in Washington grew to mean pro-PRC influence.
In 2019, the New China Lobby means something quite different. The New China Lobby is certainly not pro-PRC, nor is it a Taiwan-centric collection of special interests.
No, the New China Lobby is an ad-hoc group of people dedicated to changing US policy towards the Chinese Communist Party. It is not so much staunchly anti-mainland as it is staunchly anti-CCP. After all, no one blames the innocent host for contracting cancer. But that is how the New China Lobby has come to view the CCP as, for all of the reasons listed in the first part of this essay. The CCP threat is existential and our ad-hoc group of analysts, human rights activists, politicians, scientists, and military leaders have all reached the same conclusion that this threat will not pass us by, rather it will only grow worse with time. In that, we are bipartisan. We may not all agree on what the solution should be, but we are all in favor of standing up to the bully in the Pacific that has gone unchecked for far too long. We may disagree on everything else, but what the New China Lobby agrees on is that China under the steel and silicon boot of the CCP is an existential threat to the global liberal world order and America itself.
We care because the threat is pervasive. The tyranny of the CCP is not some niche issue. We are not some collection of business interests or missionaries like in the old days, lobbying for the US government to protect our interests in some far off land. We come from every background because the CCP threat affects everyone at home and abroad.
What we are not is what some in China and in the US have characterized us as in order to discredit us. We are not racists, bigots, or paranoid analysts seeking to profit off of fear. We are not Senator McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover. We do not seek or promote the voices of the likes of Steve Bannon and Frank Gaffney; race baiters and ethno-nationalists who are just as much of a threat to all we hold dear as the Chinese Communist Party.
The fact is that both parties: the CCP and the ethno-nationalists who want to sell a clash of civilizations to promote their book deals and talk shows are unwelcome in the liberal order that the New China Lobby seeks to maintain.
The fact is that the New China Lobby isn’t just a lobby, it is a tidal shift in American politics.
We are the human rights activists and politicians who denounce the repressive surveillance regime that Beijing is building. We abhor the internment of millions of innocent minorities and the brutal repression of dissidents at home and abroad. We reject the fearmongering and hysteria promoted by Beijing, the manipulation of our politics and our media, the grooming of their youth to become political spies at home and abroad. The censorship of free speech not just behind the Great Firewall but around the world as Beijing uses its capital to promote its message and silence others.
We are the national security thinkers and military leaders who have seen enough bullies and read enough history to see through the CCP’s lies of benevolence. We see the dragon’s teeth. We know a threat when we see one, and what we see scares the hell out of us. In a time of innumerable threats from technology to climate to tinpot dictators with nuclear material, we see the CCP as the main enemy, the source of so much suffering and violence and we fear there is so much more to come.
The New China Lobby opposes tyranny and supports the people of China. It is not the Chinese people who are the threat. No, they are merely pressed under the boot of steel and silicon manufactured by the tyrants of the Chinese Communist Party. We have no interest in fear mongering, racist witch hunts or a clash of civilizations. We only seek the containment of a cancer, the end of a relic of the 20th century, the dissolution of the manifestation of evil that is the CCP. We are not beholden to race, to domestic political ideology, to petty cash or pettier feuds. We believe in the good of humanity, the bright light of liberty and democracy, and we will not be grouped in with those that are so weak and small-minded as those values that belong at the heart of the American spirit.