Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I find this a bit sinister:

Chinese wooing thinkers on right

Talks with hard-liners seen as part of a push to lift influence in US

Building on strengthening ties between China and the Bush administration, Chinese leaders are quietly wooing influential conservative think tanks in Washington.

A delegation from the educational arm of the Chinese Communist Party last month held back-to-back meetings with the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, incubators of conservative thought on everything from US foreign policy to taxation. The closed-door sessions, which were led in part by Republican Newt Gingrich, were unusual for their candor on such issues as Taiwan and China's growing AIDS problem, according to participants. The meetings revealed an increasingly confident China eager to discuss competing ideologies with hard-line American conservatives....

Members of the American Enterise Institute made the initial invitation. The delegation reciprocated by inviting Gingrich and institute president Christopher DeMuth to China....

Kevin A. Hassett, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute who advised Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, during the 2000 presidential campaign, embraced China's argument that its $140 billion trade imbalance with the United States is a necessary but temporary price for economic growth in both countries.

"I do think the trade deficit issue is overblown," said Hassett.

...John Tkacik, an Asia specialist at the Heritage Foundation, said the meetings were "cordial and professional. I told them what I think, and they told us what they think." Tkacik had just returned from a visit to China where he lectured various official groups and universities on American conservatism.

"They were mostly interested in trying to figure out who's who in the American conservative movement and the difference between neocons and regular cons. No one convinced anyone of anything but they were happy to have us because Heritage paid for the whole thing."

--Boston Globe

The Chinese model is big business without democracy. Are we surprised that the people in power find it appealing?

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