Given his extensive specialisation in and exposure to life in China, Paul Tembe’s opinion piece in which he asserts that China’s “people-centred” policies “benefit everyone” (The Mercury, May 19) strays far from actual reality.
Among China’s policies which Tembe hails with approbation, are: delivering material public goods in an ethical fashion; promoting harmony between nature and humanity and promoting peaceful international relations.
Amnesty International’s report for 2021 records a very different picture of human rights in China in which dissent is outlawed and treated as a subversion of the Communist Party (CCP). In pursuing what it calls the “three evils” – ethnic separatism, religious extremism and terrorism – the CCP applies draconian restrictions and measures.
Minority groups like the Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Moslems are subjected to arbitrary mass detentions, forced labour and mass indoctrination. Individual political dissidents are tortured and subjected to lengthy periods of solitary confinement. The Personal Information Protection law subjects cyberspace to surveillance and monitoring and effectively prohibits freedom of expression.
It is difficult to see where Tembe finds ethical standards when coercive population control measures include forced abortion, forced sterilisation and involuntary implantation of birth control.
Regarding “harmony with nature,” air pollution in China is the most extreme on the planet. Huge bio-diversity losses, soil erosion and water issues cast further doubt on Tembe’s claims of how beneficial the CCP’s policies are.
In 2019, China declared the USA to be “an enemy of the people.” By stealth, infiltration and financial inducement, the CCP coerces academics, cultural figures, sports heroes, politicians, media houses and businesses to adhere to its narratives on issues. Investigative author Peter Schweizer exposes those details in his recent book titled Red Handed.
In that Tembe regards the implementation of CCP policies in South Africa as the cure for our ills is not only typical ivory tower thinking but shows the extent to which he has succumbed to China’s narrative.
Sent into The Mercury and Published, 19 May 2022.