Newt Gingrich: Western Billionaires Like Michael Bloomberg Are Willfully Lying to Themselves About China | Opinion

A major challenge in developing a long-term strategy for America to deal with the Chinese Communist dictatorship has been the remarkable amount of confusion about the nature and goals of the regime itself.

As I outline in my new book, Trump vs. China: Facing America's Greatest Threat, there has been a long period of American elites kidding themselves about the Chinese dictatorship.

We were treated to a classic example of this self-deceiving approach this week when former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Firing Line host Margaret Hoover that Chinese President Xi Jinping is "not a dictator."

Bloomberg said that "the Communist Party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public," and that Xi "has to satisfy his constituents, or he's not going to survive." As Graham Piro with The Washington Free Beacon pointed out, these comments follow Bloomberg's announcement that he is holding a major economic event in Beijing in November. No doubt, he wants the forum to be well covered and attended.

So, in Bloomberg's fantasy world, apparently the Tiananmen Square massacre never occurred. In his land of make believe, police have not been violently suppressing protests in Hong Kong for months—and this week police did not shoot a protester who was seeking to keep Xi and the Chinese Communist Party from eroding Hong Kong's fragile autonomy. Apparently, the more than 1 million Uyghurs currently in concentration camps in Xinjiang are satisfied citizens to whom the Chinese Communist Party is listening. (As one senior Chinese leader told me, we are to think of the camps as boarding schools, so they can learn to be better Chinese. For me, this was not easy to listen to with a straight face.)

Bloomberg apparently does not grasp the implications of the ABC Australia news report about last week's International Industry Fair in China—in which the country unveiled a new 500 megapixel camera with artificial intelligence and facial recognition that will enable the Chinese Communist Party to identify and track dissidents among crowds of tens of thousands of people. As one of the camera's designers explained to reporters, "it can detect and identify human faces or other objects and instantly find specific targets even in a crowded stadium."

This kind of sophisticated technology of repression fits in precisely with the development of the Chinese Communist Party's social credit system, which will enable Xi and party leaders to punish and repress Chinese people who do not follow the party line en masse.

Given all these facts, it is hard to understand Bloomberg's assertions.

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese former President Jiang Zemin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Chinese Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Wang Yang arrive on the balcony overlooking Tiananmen Square before the beginning of the military parade on October 1 in Beijing. Andrea Verdelli/Getty

In a sign that Bloomberg has learned none of the tragic lessons of the 20th-century dictators, he asserted: "You're not going to have a revolution. No government survives without the will of the majority of its people."

I'm certain Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro would all have loved exploiting Bloomberg's naiveté and gullibility.

Remember this: Xi is general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, chairman of the Military Commission (the Army reports to the party, not the government) and president of the People's Republic of China—in that order.

The fantasy China that Bloomberg is conjuring is just that—a fantasy.

Xi is running a ruthless police state dictatorship with the help of Western billionaires who have their own reasons for lying to themselves about the nature of the regime. Sadly, this makes it harder for the rest of us to develop sound policies based on reality.

And it betrays the millions who are struggling to be free in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang and across all of China.

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.

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