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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 10, 2011 / 6 Adar I, 5771

China's Secret Weakness: Is history repeating itself?

By Paul Johnson





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With China's rapidly expanding economy and growing power at sea and in the air, some commentators have taken the view that it's not a question of whether but how soon China will replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower.

This is nonsense. So long as America retains its freedom and thus its unique powers of innovation, it will continue to lead. Besides, China's elite is too scared to follow in the path of freedom because to do so would risk unity, threatening disintegration and a return to the terrible days of warlords and civil war, as in the 1920s.

Moreover, China has secret weaknesses. Its most serious: gambling and drug addiction. China's new prosperity is already producing a rapid expansion of the country's international gambling class, not to mention an appreciable increase in the number of drug addicts.

Though India was known as the "Mother of Opium" and during the 18th century produced large quantities of it, nearly all of India's opium was exported to foreign markets rather than consumed at home. The Chinese love of opium seems to have originated on a large scale with its 18th-century population explosion, when China grew from about 150 million in 1700 to 450 million in 1850. By that time China had become the world's largest consumer of opium.

This was highly convenient for the West. Although the West bought large quantities of silk and tea from China, the Chinese spurned Western goods, regarding foreign imports as immoral. As the authorities did everything in their power to restrict imports, China ran huge trade surpluses with the West. But then Western governments and trading firms discovered the Chinese appetite for opium and began to export it in large quantities through Canton. By the 1830s China's export surplus had turned into a growing deficit.

Alarmed by the loss of silver and the spread of addiction, especially among the ruling class, the imperial court in Peking sought to ban opium and prevent Western ships from bringing it in. The West--in the name of free trade--responded with naval force. Thus began the Opium Wars, which were fought mainly by Britain, to keep China's ports open.

Some experts believe that general prosperity in a society is always and inevitably accompanied by a comparable increase in drug-taking and cite the U.S. as an example. Certainly, since China entered the world market and its living standards began to rise swiftly, its consumption of addictive drugs has risen alarmingly. Australian researcher Susan Trevaskes, who has just published a book on Chinese crime prevention, Policing Serious Crime in China (Routledge, $125), estimates that 40% of the heroin produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan and a similar percentage of the drugs coming from Laos and Burma now go to China. Trevaskes also reveals that China itself manufactures "precursor chemicals" for ecstasy and other substances, for export and domestic use.

Drug use on a large scale attracts organized crime and corruption. Under opium's economic impact government corruption in China became more oppressive, which eventually led to peasant revolts, followed by the government's savage attempts at suppressing them by burning villages. The catchphrase describing this policy: "strengthening the walls and clearing the countryside." The imperial authorities then created "strategic villages" and forced peasants to live in them.

Since the 1980s the Chinese government has conducted similar campaigns, dubbed "Strike Hard," to put down organized crime and corruption. During the last quarter of the 20th century an enormous number of "criminals" were executed. Trevaskes puts the figure at between 2,500 and 15,000 a year and calculates that the total number may have been as high as 250,000.

Such ferocious campaigns to put down crime ended in failure and were abandoned, especially since it seems they often led to the spread of corruption--at all levels of officialdom.

If, as seems likely, the expansion of the Chinese economy and the rise in living standards lead to further increases in the use of heroin and other drugs, how will Chinese authorities deal with the concurrent rise in organized crime?

The Chinese are learning that prosperity comes at a price. The Communist authorities ruling China today have immensely more powerful and repressive machinery at their disposal than had the 19th-century imperialist bureaucracy. However, experience has shown that mere repression does not work.

Meanwhile, more and more Chinese have more and more disposable income--and a significant proportion of it is going to drugs.

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Previously:

02/10/11: Assessing America's Foes
11/29/10: Wanted: Someone to Trust
10/19/10: Are Universities Worth It?
06/01/10: The English Language and Freedom
04/20/10: Listening and Telling the Truth
02/28/10: There Is No Keynesian Miracle
10/20/09: A Job Waiting for a Woman?
07/21/09: Obama Has to Be World Sheriff
03/24/09: Short works of genius that cheer up the writing profession
02/11/09: What would Darwin do?
01/27/09: Are you sophisticated? Here's how to find out
01/06/09: What did they talk about in the Ice Age? The weather, of course
09/09/08: Time, and our appalling ignorance of it
08/19/08: Eye-stopping glimpses of an exotic and forbidden world
06/30/08: How to fill a lecture hall, and how to empty it
06/23/08: Americans should count their blessings
05/20/08: Pajamas for Presidents
05/13/08: Literary woodlice boring needless holes in biographical bedposts
04/01/08: When markets come crashing down, send for the man with the big red nose
04/01/08: Quality for dinner. Pass the Fairy Liquid, Old Boy
03/25/08: In search of an American President with brains and guts
03/18/08: Technological warfare against mice won't work. Try cats
03/11/08: What is a genius? We use the word frequently but surely, to guard its meaning, we should bestow it seldom
03/03/08: Fiction as a crutch to get one through life
02/26/08: Impatience + Greed = Trouble
02/13/08: Shakespeare, Neo-Platonism and Princess Diana
02/07/08: Where Industry Has Failed Us
12/19/07: People who put their trust in human power delude themselves
12/12/07: What is aggression?
12/04/07: Pursuing success is not enough
11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2009, Paul Johnson

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