It’s never a bad time to call out bad actors, and that’s what we do in the March 2020 issue of Luckbox magazine, which goes live on Wednesday, March 12.
Prompted by the trade war, we sat down a few months ago and began listing potential feature stories about the geopolitical, economic and cultural ramifications of America’s confrontational relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.
Possible articles included the trade imbalance, high tariffs on American goods and intellectual property infringement. Security stories could address concerns about the TikTok social media app, skepticism of the Chinese mobile telecom giant Huawei and trepidation about the rollout of 5G.
The list didn’t end there. China uses questionable accounting practices on U.S.-listed Chinese stocks. The country is expanding its influence through the multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative. It indulges in mass incarceration and persecution of Uyghurs in “re-education camps.” It’s developing Orwellian “Social Scoring” to control the citizenry. It bankrolled a spy on the Harvard University faculty.
We felt compelled to bring readers the perspectives of experts who chronicle the many threats China poses to its own citizens and to the rest of the world.
Some of this is alarming. In putting together the issue, we learned that the Chinese Communist Party intends to avenge the “Century of Humiliation” that China suffered at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialists—good reason for American policy makers to go on high alert.
Our concern intensified when we found out China is exporting censorship and surveillance. In one infamous example, the NBA quickly acquiesced to China’s demands for censorship. Moreover, politicians as different from each other as Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Tenn., and former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden both choose to downplay China’s menacing tendencies.
The fear continued to build with a reading of Stealth War, How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept. Yet the book inspired hope, too, by bringing to mind the iconic imagery of “Tank Man.” He was the Chinese student who stared down CCP tank crews 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square. That recollection, along with Stealth War, influenced the cover.
Then the world changed. Cases of the coronavirus began multiplying, and we wondered if the issue’s poignant cover—along with stories about the CCP battling Western democracies—would appear insensitive in the face of the epidemic threatening the lives of millions of Chinese people.
At press time, the coronavirus had already claimed the lives of 213, with more than 10,000 infected in 23 countries. Airlines were canceling flights to and from China, Hong Kong closed its border with China, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges suspended trading over fears of a crash, and tens of millions of Chinese citizens were quarantined in more than a dozen major cities. Probabilities favor that the situation will worsen.
We decided to add the medical emergency to the ever-expanding list of stories breaking these days in China. With 1.4 billion people, it seems something good, bad, sad or frightening is always happening there.
But headlines aside, the CCP is a bad actor, and it’s never a bad time to call out bad actors.
Our thoughts are with the Chinese people.
Come back on Wednesday, Feb. 12, to read more here.