Newt Gingrich: The Fantasy of a Benevolent China Is Over. Fortunately, America Has Trump | Opinion

For decades, American leaders have accepted a fantasy version of China.

We have believed that China is a fragile, peaceful, developing country that is trying to shed outdated, backwards policies and philosophies. We believed it wanted to participate in global markets and ultimately become freer and more open. We believed all of this because it was our strategy for avoiding potential future conflict with the massive, ancient and re-emerging power. Simply put, if the Chinese leadership evolved away from being an oppressive Communist totalitarian dictatorship—and played by the same rules on the world stage—we could all get along and mutually benefit.

The Chinese Communist Party, which has had complete control over China since 1949, has allowed us to believe these things because it has been a part of its strategy for consuming, overwhelming and defeating any entity that threatens the ultimate power and control of the party.

As China's market opened to the world, many of our businesses (and those of other nations) invested heavily in its enormous economy. Our supply chains became increasingly dependent on cheap Chinese manufacturing and labor. At the same time, China's Communist leaders leveraged their markets to incentivize more American investment, subsidized their state-owned industries to create more economic dependence on China, and systematically began stealing foreign knowledge and intellectual property to gain further advantage over industries vital to the modern world economy.

As a result, many of our investments have been pilfered, our own traditional industries have been starved out of business by unfair competition, some of our best ideas have been stolen and virtually every product that is critical to the modern world is made (at least in part) in China.

Still, many in government, the mass media and academia don't realize—or refuse to accept—that the fantasy is over. We now face a serious competitor that does not want to share the world stage—it wants to dominate and control it. Luckily, for the first time in decades, we have a president of the United States who understands the gravity of this competition—and is working to level the playing field. This is why I wrote Trump vs. China: Facing America's Greatest Threat, which was released on Tuesday.

As I wrote in my book, it is important to understand that I am not describing a competition between Americans and the Chinese people. This is not a fight between cultures or ethnicities. This is a struggle between two competing systems. There's no evidence that the Chinese people as a whole want to undermine our way of life and dominate the world. However, in my new book, I cite a great deal of evidence that the Chinese Communist Party (a totalitarian dictatorship) wants to do exactly this—and is actively working toward the goal of returning China to its historic place as the Middle Kingdom at the center of global affairs.

This book is also based on fact, not fear. It is well-documented that the Chinese Communist Party is instituting a system of censorship, surveillance and control within its own borders. It is a fact that right now more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims and other non-Han Chinese ethnic minorities are being held in "re-education camps" in China's Xinjiang region. It is a fact that the Chinese Communist Party is seeking to undermine and eliminate freedoms in Hong Kong, which by law has a right to democratic elections and autonomy from Beijing. Even today, we saw the Chinese Communist Party–controlled government in Hong Kong attempt to minimize sympathy for pro-Democracy protesters by re-announcing it had formally withdrawn the proposed law that sparked months of protests. It had already done this in September.

Donald Trump China meeting
President Donald Trump speaks after announcing and initial deal with China while meeting the special Envoy and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Liu He at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on October 11. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

We are also seeing the Chinese Communist Party begin to test its ability to exercise control in other countries. For years, China has ignored international agreements and norms by occupying and militarizing the South China Sea—to the detriment of all its Southeast Asian neighbors. We are seeing the Chinese Communist Party absorbing property and gaining regional control over poorer countries ensnared in its Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative.

Even in America, consider the recent Beijing-NBA clash when a U.S. team manager expressed support for pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Before that, think about China's economic attack on Western airlines which had referred to Taiwan and Hong Kong as independent countries.

These may seem like small things, but they are parts of a much larger, long-term plan to overcome and supplant America as the world's leading superpower.

As I wrote in my book, "President Trump's concept of Making America Great Again (and now Keeping America Great) is simply incompatible with General Secretary Xi's China Dream. One or the other will ultimately define the future of the human race."

This is a serious competition. If we lose, America as we know it could be submerged by a totalitarian dictatorship.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is the chairman of Gingrich 360, the host of the Newt's World podcast and author of the New York Times best-sellers Understanding Trump and Trump's America. His latest book, Trump vs. China: Facing America's Greatest Threat, is out now.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.