On July 1, 2021, Xi Jin Ping hopes to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Here are two contrasting sets of observations about why there isn’t as much to celebrate as Xi hopes.
I ordered a new hoodie on a link via Facebook. I bought the beautifully presented story of Chloe, Lauren & Phil starting their high quality fashion business in Birmingham. I ignored the url which didn’t show .co.uk. And, I didn’t dig into the Legal Notice on the website that a random company in Zhejiang would fulfill my order. I liked the story and believed that I would receive organic cotton from a UK business. Shame on me.
Many delays after buying my £38 hoodie — organic cotton. I received a poorly sown polyester hoodie. I immediately complained. I just needed to send it back and they would refund my money. Return cost with tracking £12. And, they won’t refund until they receive the hoodie. Now, that I am burned, do I really believe that I will get my money back?
The PRC may currently be the world’s workshop. But, let’s contrast this with a bad experience that I had in the UK with a regulated UK company. My broadband provider, due to a damaged cable charged me for a week that I couldn’t use the broadband. The provider’s corporate complaint procedures are cumbersome and based on a 1999 understanding of customer service. So I complained to their regulator. Within two weeks, the regulator ruled in my favor, and a found a credit for one week of service on my next monthly invoice.
The lesson is that a messy democracy like the UK holds merchants and service providers to account. Bad actors are present, mistakes are made, but accountability is enforced more often than not. Nobody is overseeing the behavior of producers in the PRC. Quantity and one-off transactional behavior is rife in the worker’s paradise. Without accountability, there is no trust.
About the worker’s paradise. The forced internment and labor of the Uyghur minority is visible. Any country that oppresses its weakest will find itself the object of opprobrium. The PRC’s dollar diplomacy has deferred reactions from many Muslim governments, but has not gone unnoticed by ordinary people.
You might counter that the US doesn’t look very good with its police shootings of black citizens stopped for traffic violations. And, you are correct. But, from Black Lives Matters to the courts and in between, the US is transparent about its failings and earnest about its desire for change.
Xi’s CPC fails to hold its merchants to account, thereby tarnishing the PRC’s reputation.
Xi’s CPC does not take responsibility for its human rights violations. It glories in the genocide of a connected minority with ethnic and religious relations across Central Asia and the world.
As Xi proves more totalitarian, these types of contrasts portray a PRC that is unworthy of our trade and respect.