Bill Gates and Co have a very cosy relationship with Chinese Communists:
Back during the heady days of the Cold War many analysts were rightly concerned that dupes and stooges in the West were actually helping the Soviets in their totalitarian aims and objectives. A quote attributed to Lenin (or Stalin) went like this: “The capitalists will sell us the rope we hang them with.” Whether these tyrants said these exact words, the sentiment behind them is certainly true.
While the Berlin Wall may have come down some decades ago, this reality of clueless Westerners assisting the West’s enemies fully remains. Today anyone who is concerned about tyranny and dictatorship, and who values freedom and democracy, should be greatly concerned about Communist China. And this should be even more the case for its near neighbours, such as Australia. What happens in Beijing will certainly have a direct impact on us in Australia.
So we need to be aware of what is going on there, and we must be willing to resist it – at least in terms of saying no to how so many Western nations and businesses are happily siding with the CCP. Such connections should bother all of us greatly. But, you ask, in what ways are Western entities colluding with China? I am glad you asked.
This has been well-examined for quite some time now. Here I want to make use of just one vitally important volume that thoroughly documents all this. I refer to Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win by Peter Schweizer (Harper, 2022).
There are all sorts of ways that the West is aiding and abetting China. It could be all the way up to the top, with the Bidens, Trudeau and other leaders. It can be via Wall Street, the universities, and other avenues. But here I will focus on one worrying arena: Silicon Valley.
The big tech boys have long been happy to do business with China, even as it becomes ever more totalitarian and ruthless in repressing dissent at home and exporting communism abroad. So it is crucial that we look at how the tech giants are in bed with China. Early on in his chapter on this matter Schweizer says this:
Silicon Valley’s tech giants seem enamored with the Chinese dictatorship’s ability to get things done. They are also partly blinded by their technological ambition and are therefore prepared to collaborate with the notorious regime to accomplish their silicon dreams. While they are well known for their wealth and the hubris that comes with it, they often appear to have a euphoric attitude – even giddiness – when dealing with Chinese officials. Yes, they will genuflect for access to the Chinese market. But there is also a sense of personal awe there – and it is not just for President Xi.
And China of course is fully appreciative of their fawning support and cooperation: “China, with the help from Silicon Valley elites, hopes to become the world’s number one power. What Chinese leaders seek is ‘technological supremacy’ because that will provide them with economic supremacy, and the ability to match American military capabilities.”
Schweizer examines in detail the big players here: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and so on. Let me begin with Bill Gates, who has a “deeply troubling relationship with the Chinese regime.” Indeed, he has “cooperated with the regime in ways that other tech titans have not.”
He has been either woefully ignorant or willingly evil (or both) in his collaborative efforts with China. He has heavily invested in companies there with clear ties to the CCP military industrial complex. And he has been happy to talk ‘freedom of information’ while too readily complying with strict Chinese censorship:
In June 2005, Microsoft launched a blogging software program called MSN Spaces in China, just as blogging was taking off. But the program censored words including “democracy,” “human rights,” and “freedom of expression.” If you typed in those words or phrases, the blogger would receive an error message. The system also blocked or limited results of searches for specific names or phrases like “Tibet independence,” “Falun Gong,” and “Tiananmen Square.” On December 30, 2005, when a Chinese blogger and journalist named Zhao Jing criticized the censorship on his MSN Spaces blog, Microsoft shut him down, “following a request from Chinese authorities,” according to Amnesty International. The problem extends even to today.
In early June 2021, users of Microsoft’s Bing search engine in the United States, Europe, and Asia reported that they could not pull up images and information concerning the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on their laptops. Microsoft blamed it on “human error,” but did not specify what error would have caused images of “tank man” and others to disappear.
And it is a two-way street: Gates slavishly praises Beijing and they return the favour:
Gates’ efforts to support the regime’s policies have been rewarded over the years. In 2006, the state-run People’s Daily Online named Gates among “50 foreigners shaping China’s modern development.” Joining him on the list were Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and Joseph Stalin. Gates was the only person from the world of technology on the list. Earlier that year, when Chinese president Hu Jintao made his first official visit to the United States, he stopped in Seattle for a visit with Gates at his “palatial home” before heading to Washington, D.C. ABC News declared, “Chinese President Meets Bill Gates First.”
But the other big-time players hardly fare any better. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Intel, Cisco Systems, Elon Musk and others all benefit greatly by doing business with Communist China. Schweizer documents all this as well. It is a real bad look indeed.
But this is crony capitalism at its worst. Big business techies are happily doing the bidding of not just their own governments, but of Communist governments as well. Both benefit and are enriched while the masses languish and suffer. Says Schweizer:
“Dictatorships in the real world work nicely with dictatorships in the digital world. Power – along with market access – can indeed be intoxicating. And authoritarian regimes are capable of granting both without the sort of ethical restraints that apply in a free country like the United States.”
More can be said on all this, but one last point. I recently wrote a piece on TikTok and the Communist surveillance state: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2023/03/31/the-surveillance-state-tiktok-and-the-ccp/
Let me finish by quoting what Schweizer says about this:
Another well-known Chinese company in the West is ByteDance, which runs TikTok, the social media platform with over one hundred million users in the United States alone. While it pretends to operate like any other company, ByteDance’s CEO has been outspoken about the need for the company to follow the guidance of the Communist Party in its business operations. There are Party cells within the corporate structure, and the company admits that it censors political content. Former employees complain that the “content moderation process [is] strongly influenced by Beijing” and that it is used to “downplay subjects Beijing finds sensitive.” In Washington, it has two former U.S. senators on the payroll, Democrat John Breaux of Louisiana and Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi. (Breaux once famously said that his vote in the Senate was not for sale, “but it is available for rent.”)
So what was that about ‘selling them enough rope’?