China exploits the West’s tolerance

The following op-ed appeared in Taipei Times today:

It is quite the irony when former British prime minister Boris Johnson — a buffoon who for far too long was taken seriously — is branded a buffoon for saying something deadly serious.

Following Johnson’s withering criticism of China at a business forum in Singapore on Wednesday last week, the event’s organizer, Michael Bloomberg, apologized to attendees, saying that Johnson was “trying to be amusing rather than informative and serious.”

However, Johnson’s characterization of China as a “coercive autocracy” that had showed “a candid disregard for the rule of international law” was spot-on.

His comments evoked the wisdom of the Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper — the favorite thinker of one of Johnson’s predecessors, Margaret Thatcher.

In a recent social media meme, Popper’s solution to the paradox runs thus: As intolerant ideologies undermine tolerance in unrestrictedly tolerant societies, they cannot be tolerated. Popper is more cautious than this. He limits potential suppression to ideologies that forbid their adherents to engage in rational debate.

This encapsulates Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ideology under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). By exploiting tolerance in Western democracies, the CCP exports its brand of intolerance to them.

To read the full article, click here. 

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