Today, Farah and Martinez discuss the broad question of U.S. engagement with China. Later this week, they'll debate killer toys, military threats, Olympic boycotts and more.

See the evil

Dear Andrés,

It's funny how some people see evil in the world selectively.

They can see it in apartheid, but not in communism. They can see fascism for what it was in Nazi Germany, but not in today's China. They can see threats to life, liberty and property coming from George W. Bush and the Republicans, but not from nuclear-armed tyrants being subsidized by greedy U.S. corporations that would sell their American souls, if they had any, to make a fast buck.

Let's start with the foundation that more people have been murdered in the name of Chinese Communism than for any other cause in the history of the world.

Unfortunately, today's American history books pay little attention to this uncomfortable fact — maybe because so many of them are printed in China by those avaricious U.S. corporations and because our public schools are run by the National Education Assn., which would, if it could, turn the U.S. into a socialist workers paradise along the Beijing model.

Of course, we're told that China has "reformed" since the days of Mao Tse-tung. Most of those making that case, however, were 40 years ago gleefully quoting from the Little Red Book and wearing made-in-China buttons of the genocidal maniac.

Let's look at China today from the perspective of those forced, and I use that word advisedly, to live there.

Citizens of China must get permission from state authorities to have more than one child. Forced abortions are still a reality for those couples who defy the law. As a result, China today has far more boys and men than girls and women. Why? Because if a couple can have only one child, they prefer it to be a boy. As a result, unborn female babies are aborted at a much higher rate, and some female infants are killed at birth to stay within the draconian laws of this perverse tyrannical state.

Chinese subjects work where they are told and for the wages they are offered. That's because in a workers' paradise there is no need for unions independent of the government. So Beijing forbids them— locking up activists who dare to attempt to organize them.

We needn't worry about this debate being read in China, because the government doesn't recognize the most fundamental right to free expression and keeps a tight lid on what can be accessed on the Internet, thanks to partnerships with search engines like Google who do the regime's dirty work in exchange for corporate favors.

There's also no religious freedom in China, which means even the most private and personal thoughts of the people are considered the state's business.

You may have read recently that China has begun recognizing the most fundamental principle of private property ownership. What many in the West missed, however, was that Beijing still regards all land as owned by the government. As the author of a book on property rights, I can tell you the very concept of private property is meaningless without the right to own the land beneath it. And remember, this new untested law, under debate for 19 years, merely provides lip service to private property. The laws on the books in China have long guaranteed freedom of religion, even when there is none.

I began this debate by invoking the term "fascism," which is a very accurate description of China today. Fascism, socialism and communism all favor — to one degree or another — government control of production and distribution. The only thing that distinguishes fascism from socialism in economic theory is how the government gets that control.

Fascists realize the government doesn't need to own industry to control it. Through regulation and taxation, fascists know they can achieve the same results without nearly as much work and responsibility. The "economic reforms" we have seen taking place in China for the last few decades are not reforms at all. They are actually moves away from the inefficiency and outright failure of communism to fascism — which, according to the American Heritage New Dictionary definition of the term, does not require state ownership of the means of production. This is the single biggest difference between the two extreme forms of totalitarianism. I can understand why corporate titans, with no sense of personal morality and no conscience, can justify their investments and partnerships with China. I can understand their desire to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil with regard to this emerging giant on the world scene. I can understand why those chasing a quick buck might pretend China is something it is not.

What I can't understand is why journalists, whose very living is a byproduct of human rights and freedom, would turn a blind eye to the reality of China's brutal reign over its 1 billion subjects — not to mention the threat it poses in the future to our own lives and liberty.