Moreover, the PRC faces extraordinary demographic and economic challenges. An extended economic slowdown could create dangerous political unrest. Totalitarian controls that limit information, discourage creativity, punish criticism, restrict cooperation, and instill fear are not likely to advance the country’s development. Xi’s confrontational international policy has encouraged neighboring nations to arm themselves and work with India, Japan, and America. Despite its large economy, China remains a somewhat poor country. Future developments are almost impossible to predict, but the PRC’s presumed global dominance is merely one possibility. Beijing certainly will remain an important international player, but where it ends up remains for the future to decide.
Perhaps the most important objective of the West, individuals, nongovernmental organizations, companies, and governments, should be to promote a continuing flow of information so the Chinese people can better decide on their future. One aspect of that should be highlighting those who have stood, sometimes at great cost, for the rights of their countrymen.
As have those associated with Unirule. Mao Yushi, Sheng, and their colleagues have consistently put the welfare of the Chinese people before concern for themselves. For that the folks at Unirule deserve recognition and praise. Hopefully there will come a time when the institute can reopen, larger and more influential than before.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.