The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Zachary Hubbard

October 12, 2012

Zachary Hubbard | China’s free pass must be rescinded

— The online CIA World Factbook contains a comparison of the “Current Account Balance” for the world’s countries. The figures “record a country’s net balance in goods and services plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world.”

Current rankings place China at the top, with an annual surplus of $201.7 billion. The United States is dead last, ranked 192 with a deficit of $473.4 billion. Given that America’s current account imbalance and massive debt to China threatens U.S. security, one has to wonder why we continue to give China a free pass on everything from human rights violations to political plutocracy.

The Chinese must think we are the stupidest people in the world – our leaders keep increasing the country’s debt to them while Americans keep gobbling up Chinese manufactured goods.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t seem to care.

Consider human rights. American presidents like to portray themselves as human rights crusaders. One of President George W. Bush’s common themes regarding the decision to invade Iraq was a need to free the Iraqi people from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Likewise, President Obama has supported the recent Arab Spring uprisings, including military intervention in Libya. These uprisings have left the Middle East in near chaos and an American ambassador assassinated.

Amnesty International lists China as one of the world’s greatest human rights violators. According to Amnesty, China sanctions “… torture, execution (in which it is world leader), excessive use of force in public order policing, repression of dissent and forced repatriation of asylum seekers without recourse to a refugee determination procedure.”

Since 1999, China has brutally suppressed the spiritual movement Falun Gong, incarcerating and “re-educating” many Falun Gong members.

China has occupied Tibet, which it claims is a historically Chinese territory, since 1949. Tibetans rebelled in 1959. Subsequently, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India, and its leaders formed a government in exile. That government claims that a fifth of Tibet’s population was killed during the uprising and that China systematically destroyed more than 6,000 Tibetan monasteries and other cultural structures.

While America debates pro-choice versus pro-life, China mandates forced abortions under its one-child-per-family policy. According to Mail Online, “… the policy has led to violent and forced abortions and sterilizations, as local authorities try to meet birth quotas set by Beijing.” 

Much of the political discourse in the current U.S. presidential campaign centers on whether wealthy citizens pay their fair share in taxes. The debate has grown ugly, yet it barely compares to the situation in China.

In February, Bloomberg reported that, “The richest 70 members of China’s legislature added more to their wealth last year than the combined net worth of all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, the president and his Cabinet, and the nine Supreme Court justices.”

The report claims their combined net worth in 2011 was $89.8 billion. While this is probably the world’s best example of plutocracy, the term is rarely used when discussing China.

The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney featured extensive discussion of environmental issues ranging from green energy production to clean-coal technologies and petroleum exploration. The Chinese acknowledge the need for environmental protection, but their leaders value economic growth over environmental protection.

National Geographic reported in May 2008 on a number of serious environmental problems in China. For instance, only about 40 percent of China’s municipal wastewater is treated before being returned to streams and rivers. Approximately 300 million rural Chinese lack access to clean drinking water due to industrial and farm pollution. About 60,000 Chinese children die per year from diarrhea associated with unclean drinking water.

Science Daily reported in October 2011 that pollution was responsible for a 450 percent increase in birth defects in rural China. About 70 percent of China’s energy production comes from burning domestic coal, which is high in sulfur and heavy-metal content.  

There is also the problem of forced labor in China. While American politicians debate proper minimum wage levels, Chinese leaders sanction the use of forced laborers, including children, to increase productivity and lower the cost of manufacturing.

An Al Jazeera report published in March 2011 claims China has more than 1,000 prison camps where forced labor is used to support national production.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor published a booklet titled “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.” It indicates that artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, electronics, fireworks, footwear, garments, nails, textiles and toys (all products the United States imports in quantity from China) are often produced by child or forced labor.

While many of America’s problems pale in comparison to China’s, we rarely hear this mentioned by our politicians. China is simply not being held accountable.

If we are truly serious about change in America, we must become equally serious about change in China. Like it or not, America’s future is inextricably bound to China. We simply can’t afford to keep giving the Chinese regime a free pass.

Zachary Hubbard is a retired Army officer and freelance writer residing in the north Pittsburgh area.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Zachary Hubbard
  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Some actions defy explanation

    Like a poorly delivered joke that leaves a comedian’s audience waiting for the punch line, there are scores of factors about American society that make me moan, “I don’t get it.” Sometimes it seems as if we Americans are losing our minds. I see evidence of this every day.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Obama should study Powell Doctrine

    During his tenure as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell elaborated on eight questions he believed should be considered before committing U.S. military forces to war.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | EPA taking jobs, hope from coal country

    I just returned from a visit to my birthplace in Harlan County, Kentucky, which lies in the southeast corner of the state.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Random thoughts on politics, our money

    Lately, the news has contained more baloney than usual. Let’s start with Ukraine, where I left off last time.

    April 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Obama's diplomacy pickle: Crimea crisis

    With all of the political pundits piling on about the current crisis in the Ukraine, I’m puzzled that I have yet to hear anyone seriously discuss Russia’s Near Abroad policy.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard | Federal contracting system broken, out of control

    I’ve been feeling surly. It started several weeks ago when Congress passed legislation making large cuts in the annual cost-of-living pay adjustments for active and retired military personnel.

    February 24, 2014

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | It was so cold ...

    Late last night I got a phone call from a friend stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. He told me that since early morning, the snow had been coming down steadily.

    January 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Throwing veterans under the bus

    Americans love honoring their military veterans. They cheer loudly for troops returning home from combat zones in far away countries; they hold veterans’ parades and decorate veterans’ graves; and they walk up to veterans and thank them for their service. Unfortunately, most of the honors end there.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Republican Party is in need of a facelift

    Thirty-nine House Democrats facing re-election in 2014 recently jumped ship and sided with Republicans to vote for changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

    November 25, 2013 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | For military brats, Germany was a magical place

    A long chapter in U.S. history is closing. The once behemoth U.S. military forces in Germany are slowly withdrawing. In April, the last Army tanks were shipped home, marking the first time in almost
    70 years there were no American tanks on German soil. While most Americans would consider this a political development, for some of us, it’s quite personal.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads