Territory in eastern Asia, ruled since 1949 by the Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
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  • FreedomPedia
  • China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary one-party sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area, depending on the source consulted. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. It also claims all of the territories of the Republic of China as part of its "China".

    • Hong Kong - Territory in southeast China, formerly a British Crown colony, ruled since 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of China

    Measures of Freedom

    China | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
    2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 16, Political Rights: 7, Civil Liberties: 6
    "Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping, who assumed his post in 2012, continued to display a centralized and hands-on leadership style—as well as an intolerance for dissent—in 2015. Xi heads a growing list of coordinating bodies that give him direct supervision over policy areas including domestic security, economic reform, internet management, and ethnic relations."
    Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2016
    2014: 5.63, Rank: 141, Personal Freedom: 4.81, Economic Freedom: 6.45, Democracy Index: 3.38
    Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
    2014: 6.45, Rank: 113


    A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
    Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
    "China itself would no doubt like to become the fifth dragon and has taken a series of bold measures to that end. Careful study and application of the economic institutions and policies that propelled the four dragons from third-world to first-world status provide a clear set of measures that can assist China in its effort to modernize."
    Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Mar 1955
    Discusses alternatives to dealing with the 1955 Taiwan Strait crisis and the response in the U.S. Congress and by General MacArthur, the Wolf Ladejinsky case and Federal Government budget estimates
    "To protect the Pescadores, we must defend Quemoy, an island three miles off the Chinese mainland. To protect Quemoy we must equip Chiang's troops for an invasion of the mainland. ... The trouble with this doctrine is that it doesn't work one way. Red China can operate on the same theory, and the inevitable result is war. ... If the Chinese Communists fear that we'll start the preventive war which many Americans advocate, then the 'defensive' strategy which tells us to occupy Quemoy would tell the Chinese Communists to occupy Catalina Island, 22 miles off the California Coast."
    Related Topics: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Taiwan, War
    China: From Brutal Oppressor to Terrorist Victim, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
    Describes how both the U.S. and Chinese governments changed their policies with respect to certain "terrorist" groups to suit their own ends
    "China did not need the U.S. government's permission to repress its own subjects. But the U.S. terrorist designation of ETIM shielded China against international criticism. Wang Yong, a specialist in international relations at Beijing University, observed, 'The U.S. action on ETIM was probably a posture in exchange for China's support on Iraq.' (China is a member of the UN Security Council and could veto a UN resolution endorsing military action against Iraq.)"
    China: Wealth but Not Freedom, by James A. Dorn, 21 Apr 2011
    Contrasts China's recent economic growth and statements of government officials with the reality of the rights afforded to its citizens, in particular to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, co-author of Charter 08
    "China can be proud of the rapid economic progress it has made since 1978, when it was still a centrally planned economy with little foreign trade. Today, as the world's second-largest economy, the People's Republic (PRC) has gained wealth but not freedom. The Chinese people have a vastly wider range of economic and social opportunities than under the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, but their basic human rights continue to be denied by a ruling party determined to maintain its monopoly on power."
    Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Freedom of Speech
    China's Legacy: The Thoughts of Lao Tzu, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 4 Sep 2007
    Contrasts the teachings of Laozi with respect to government intervention with the lingering effects of Mao Zedong's legacy
    "Mao's disregard for private property and human rights still haunts China. Conflicts between developers and farmers over land-use rights are causing social turmoil today. ... China's present leaders are calling for a 'harmonious society', but this is impossible without widespread freedom and a rule of law that limits the power of government to the protection of people and property. They could learn much from the teachings of Lao Tzu and the legacy of liberty that his precepts embody."
    Related Topics: Government, Lǎozǐ
    Fear Not China, by Sheldon Richman, 8 Jun 2005
    Counsels Americans not to be afraid of China's economic activities, debunking concerns over the trade deficit
    "Economically, the Chinese are freer than they used to be. Chinese entrepreneurs can raise capital, and foreigners can invest their money, to create productive enterprises. Chinese workers have far more choices than they used to have. The result has been stunning economic growth and an export boom fueled by low-priced high-quality products. ... The Chinese inroads into the American market have made things more difficult for workers in Bangladesh than for workers here. We demanding consumers deserted other third-world producers as soon as we saw what the Chinese were willing to provide."
    Hong Kong's Legacy, by James A. Dorn, The Journal of Commerce, 1 Jul 1999
    Discusses the potential results of Hong Kong moving away from "its policy of laissez-faire capitalism" such as intervening in support of stock prices versus the effects of Hong Kong influencing mainland China towards a freer and more prosperous economy
    "If mainland China is to become more like Hong Kong, rather than the reverse, the private market must rule, not some mixed system of 'market socialism' or 'state capitalism.' ... Will creeping socialism destroy Hong Kong's institutions and take it back to the conditions of 1844? Or will the ethos of liberty prevail, and infuse Hong Kong's institutions with a new vitality for the 21st century, a vitality that will spill over to the mainland and bring about greater freedom and prosperity for all of China?"
    Related Topics: Democracy, Hong Kong, Rule of Law
    How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 7 Mar 2006
    Discusses the casualties resulting from the 2003 Iraq invasion, the changed world opinion of the United States and the lobbies that benefit from the continuation of hostilities
    "Japan, Canada, the EU, France, China, and India are all regarded as more positive influences on the world than the United States. ... Far from making Americans safe by attacking a country that posed no threat to the U.S., Bush and Cheney have alarmed the Russians and the Chinese. ... China has announced a 17.8 percent increase in its military budget for 2007. China is America's most important banker. How long will China fund America's wars and trade deficit when it finds itself so threatened by America's 'leaders' that it has to accelerate its military spending?"
    Imperial Chinese Welfare State, by Abbé Huc, The Chinese Empire, 1855
    Recounts the socialist reforms of Wang Anshi in 11th century China, opposed by Sima Guang, and compares them to proposed socialist reforms in mid-19th century France
    "The reformer, or chief of the Socialist party, was the famous Wang-ngan-ché, a man of remarkable talent, who kept all classes of the empire in excitement during the reign of several emperors. ... His power was almost unlimited beneath the emperor Chen-tsoung, who, charmed with the brilliant qualities of the reformer, gave him his entire confidence."
    Related Topic: Socialism
    It Came From Washington: A Criminally Insane Government, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Jul 2012
    Examines U.S. government adversarial actions towards Russia and China through NATO, in the Middle East and in the Pacific
    "The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington–both parties–have Russia and China targeted. ... It has proved to be more difficult for Washington to interfere in China's internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world's most powerful economy. Washington is deeply disturbed by this prospect. ... As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises. ... The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China."
    Lao Tzu (c. 600 BC), by James A. Dorn, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay focusing on Laozi's teachings
    "Mao's destructive policies during the 'Great Leap Forward,' which abolished private property, imposed central planning, and led to the imposition of crippling taxes on farmers in the form of compulsory grain deliveries, caused mass starvation between 1958 and 1962. The 'Great Helmsman's' disregard for private property and human rights still haunts China. Conflicts between developers and farmers over land-use rights are the cause of much social turmoil in present-day China. ... The internal passport (hukou) system also interferes with individual freedom and leads to economic inefficiency."
    Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Government
    Libertarianism in Ancient China, by Murray Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
    Excerpted from chapter 1, section 1.10 "Taoism in ancient China"; discusses the Legalist, Confucian and Taoist schools of political philosophy and then concentrates on the latter, covering Laozi, Zhuangzi, Bao Jingyan and the Confucian historian Sima Qian
    "The three main schools of political thought: the Legalists, the Taoists, and the Confucians, were established from the sixth to the fourth centuries BC. ... The Taoists were the world's first libertarians, who believed in virtually no interference by the state in economy or society, and the Confucians were middle-of-the-roaders on this critical issue. ... In practice, though far more idealistic, ... Confucianism was largely dedicated to installing an educated philosophically minded bureaucracy to rule in China."
    Liberty in the Ancient World, by Roderick T. Long, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Surveys the ancient civilizations in Sumeria, Hebrew Palestine, China, Greece and the Roman Republic and Empire, and their thoughts and practices about liberty
    "In China, the effective collapse of the Chou dynasty in the 8th century B.C. fragmented the region into many smaller independent states, inaugurating five centuries of decentralization. Scholars, deprived of their former positions in the administrative hierarchy, competed vigorously for posts as political advisors to these states' parvenu rulers. This intellectual competition stimulated a flourishing and diverse culture of political thought, much of it favorable to liberty. ... Decentralization ended in 221 B.C. when the Ch'in dynasty gained supremacy over China."
    North Korea's Nukes: Why Now?, by Justin Raimondo, 11 Oct 2006
    Comments on the first North Korean nuclear test and the political prospects for the Korean peninsula, considering also China and the United States
    "The Chinese have been increasingly at odds with their troublesome allies ... statements by Chinese officials that some sort of punitive action is necessary in response to North Korea's nuclear test is merely the culmination of a long divorce proceeding that really began before Kim Jong-Il came to power ... the Chinese, grown impatient with the antics of their orthodox Communist neighbors, have largely abandoned support for Pyongyang ... This is what the Chinese fear most: the collapse of the regime and a flood of refugees in their millions, who will pour into China without resources or anything to lose."
    Red Flag Over Hong Kong, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Jan 1997
    Revew of Red Flag Over Hong Kong (1996) by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, David Newman, and Alvin Rabushka, which discusses the then potential effects of the handover of Hong Kong to China
    "Under the old monarchy, before 1911, the royal power was absolute, favoritism and corruption were rampant, and commerce and trade were controlled and manipulated by the state ... After the triumph of Mao Zedong and the communists in 1949, China suffered under totalitarian rule, central planning, and a reign of terror that culminated in the Great Cultural Revolution. Since Mao's death in 1976, China has opened itself up to the West, including ... limited small and medium-size private enterprise. But as the report ... shows, individuals still have neither rights nor any legal protections from the heavy hand of the state."
    Related Topics: Communism, Hong Kong
    Searching for America's Next Enemy, by Doug Bandow, Mises Daily, 17 Jul 2006
    Discusses attempts by some U.S. conservatives to find a new enemy nation and focuses on China as a "threat"
    "But the Pentagon has just issued its latest alarmist assessment of Chinese military spending ... conservative hostility towards China never disappeared ... Anger over human rights violations plays a role. Fears have been rising over China's rising influence in Asia. Now Beijing's critics point to its military build-up ... China today is more prosperous, accessible, and responsible than ever before. Although Beijing is not a close ally, it is not hostile either. ... The idea that Beijing's modest (after inflation) increases in military outlays are preparing it for a global or even regional war of conquest is simply silly."
    Related Topics: East Asia, Militarism
    The Ancient Roots of Chinese Liberalism: Westerners who think that authoritarian rule is China's natural state misunderstand its culture, by Liu Junning, The Wall Street Journal, 6 Jul 2011
    Discusses the "Beijing model" as an alternative to Western economic liberalism in the future of China and reminds the reader of several Chinese scholars (Laozi, Mencius and the 17th century Huang Zongxi) who advocated liberal principles before John Locke
    "This view fundamentally misunderstands the country's growth progress. China has indeed made great strides since 1978's 'Reform and Opening' in alleviating poverty, opening up to the world, and making slow steps down the road of legal reform. Yet on closer inspection, the most significant transformations from the perspective of boosting prosperity have involved loosening of control over the people, not some alchemy of power and Marxism."
    Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Freedom of Speech
    The Iraq War Crash, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Mar 2007
    Discusses a 9% drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 27 Feb 2007, which also affected other markets, in the context of the Iraq War and potential conflict with Iran
    "China's booming stock market – a monument to the victory of China's "capitalist-roaders" over the last remnants of Maoism – doubled last year ... The Shanghai Exchange was about due for a big correction when it dropped by 9 percent the other day ... China is hugely dependent on Iran for its energy needs, or else the rapid industrialization and modernization envisioned by the Chinese elite will come to a sputtering halt. U.S. war moves against Iran threaten China's lifeblood. Stock markets, being very future-oriented, pick up on rumors of war very quickly and the Shanghai Stock Exchange acted accordingly."
    The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 2, by Joseph R. Stromberg, Future of Freedom, Jan 1999
    Discusses the Philippine-American War, that followed the Spanish-American War, and the actions and writings of the Anti-Imperialist League, William Graham Sumner and other opposed to the war and colonialism
    "In pursuit of the mistaken or self-interested political engrossment of overseas markets, American policymakers committed themselves to an 'open door' in China and to the protection of the territorial integrity of China. This sounded good on paper but was not exactly self-enforcing. If other powers stood in the way of U.S. entry into – and eventual dominance of – the fabled China market, only war could sustain the policy. To make matters worse, Teddy Roosevelt, who viewed tzarist Russia as the chief threat to U.S. China policy, deliberately favored the rising power of Japan as a counterweight."
    What Beijing needs to learn from Hong Kong, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 26 Sep 2003
    Discusses China's recent progress in economic liberalisation and the need for further reform, particularly in protecting private property
    "Commenting on the principle of non-intervention, or wu wei, a young Chinese liberal recently wrote: 'If our government had understood the importance of non-interference, it would be good news for both the Chinese economy and the world.' The Communist Party's decision to fire upon innocent students during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 was a huge step backwards. But today, as a result of further economic liberalisation, China is much freer than it was during the pre-reform era when Mao Zedong ruled with an iron fist."
    Related Topics: Hong Kong, Property Rights

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "China" as of 25 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.