Friday, November 15, 2019

CANADA AND CHINA. From Slavery to Managed Citizenship on the Globe. PART ONE.

CANADA AND CHINA.  From Slavery to Managed Citizenship on the Globe. PART ONE.

By Robin Mathews, November, 2019

The great civilizations of Greece and Rome were founded upon slavery at a time when physical labour was basic to managing individual life.  But life could have proceeded there, happily without slavery.

China used slavery through some of its history, but does not seem to have founded its community on slavery as did Greece and Rome.  There were, indeed, times when slavery was outlawed in China. (The history of China is very long over three thousand years, and so almost any generalization about China can be challenged.)  Wars killing millions have been fought there by the ambitious.  Competitions for suzerainty have been common. Some scholars suggest Mao's (modern) policies and actions resulted in the brutal death of untold millions.

In what we choose to speak of as modern times (post the Christopher Columbus discovery of the Americas, 1492), one of the most brutal, oppressive, and warlike (democratic) Imperial Powers “the USA“ was also founded upon slavery. Even while composing its great Declaration of Independence (declaring that all men are created equal) and for many decades after it the U.S. welcomed ships full of Black Slaves and put them to (mis)use.

Indeed slavery has much to do with the difference in development between Canada and the United States.  The U.S. has a more productive climate, about seven times as much arable land, and it produced an independent central government nearly a hundred years before Canada did. But perhaps the most important element of its growth to wealth and power was SLAVERY which flourished in the USA for 250 years before its erasure. One of the major expenses in the Capitalist System (we all know) is The Cost of Labour.  In the U.S.A. for nearly 250 years the Capitalist system could develop with a huge slave population almost erasing “the cost of labour” from the account books of huge portions of the U.S. economy.

China's (recorded) history is very old and fascinating.  The communities, clans, ethnic groupings, movements of population resulting in the Han people and its equation with the Chinese may play a small part in the present sinofication of the Uyghur (Islamic) population allegedly being re-educated (inside kinds of settlement areas) into conformity with present Chinese values. Put very simply, the imposition of present values under the for life head of the Chinese government, Xi Jinping, will want to erase (or at least defuse) the Muslim faith, assure use of the Chinese language (Mandarin), and teach acceptance of whatever iteration of Communist belief is dominant in China. (Managed citizenship?) That is not at all to say the Chinese Mainland population is servile.

Indeed, public protests and disagreement have not been uncommon, and the Central Government takes pains to work on the living conditions of average Chinese people ... raising the standard of living of a gigantic population as a major program.

We cannot say with the wildest stretch of the imagination - that a good (U.S.) democratic country is in contest with an evil (China) undemocratic country for global dominance or that a freely choosing, enlightened population faces a managed population under the heel of communism.  The U.S. population is as managed as any population on the globe.

For the 35 or so millions of (mostly) Euro-Canadians in a Canada that crystallized in 1867 (upon a sub-group of indigenous peoples roughly brushed aside), the one billion and a quarter population/Chinese phenomenon (in a country smaller than Canada) shaping itself over 3000 years until the 1912 Declaration of the Republic of China (ending 2000 years of dynastic rule) presents a reality and a modern State of a stunning and complex kind.

In 1949 the Chinese State was won to Communism by a romantic, adventurous, daring, imaginative, and (more recently) much maligned wartime leader called Mao Tse-Tung.  He was, among other things, a political philosopher, military leader, and a poet and even a theorist on the need for democracy within a centralized system.

Today China still presents itself as a Communist society (a semi-Command Economy).  It is, in fact, a One Party State and the One Party has opened itself to something like Capitalism within a Communist State.  Within that One Party State ties to increasingly large and successful Capitalist corporations are made with the governing class, a class that cannot be called dynastic certainly, but which has visible ties to the Mao generation as if succession in power is based upon Party affiliation and merit married to some kind of affiliation with the Mao generation.

After two thousand years of dynastic rule, could it be possible that a natural tendency of spirit, historical experience, and a special understanding of rulership is moving China close to old ideas?  Time will tell.  When democratic government is not in use in a country, the search for top governors tends to move into and among people with familiar backgrounds, historical relations, and genetic connections.  And those people tend to forge relations with especially helpful associates found among those with (apparently) civic, non-political, kinds of Corporate power.

Does that mean serious exchange and relation cannot exist between such a government and democratic governments of the West?  Not at all.  It means simply that special care must be taken to fashion meaningful ties.  Special care on all sides.

In the meantime, in Vancouver, a drama is playing out with the arrest and extradition proceeding (requested by the U.S.A.) related to Meng Wanshou, who is a top officer of Huawei, said to be the world's largest telecommunications technology corporation. Wanshou is accused by the U.S. of violating (U.S.) Iran sanctions (questioned and/or rejected by many countries).

THAT situation has played upon and plays upon Canada's relation to China.  And since China is vying for predominance as a trading and military power in the East (at least) of the world Canadians would do well to think about it and about Canada/China relations. It is not, however, a one-way street by any means.  To achieve its aspirations, China, too, must think of its one-on-one relations with other countries on the Globe.  Moving into a relatively new relation in the world, China is flexing its muscles and seeking super-power relevance and influence.

 Contact: Robin Mathews

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