The Western press is full of stories on China’s arrival as a superpower, some even predicting that the new century will belong to it. And Beijing, of course, is hosting the 2008 Olympic Games.
But as Guy Sorman reveals in The Empire of Lies, a book based on extensive travel and interviews within the country, China’s success is, at least in part, a mirage. True, 200 million Chinese—those fortunate enough to be working in an expanding global marketplace—enjoy a middle-class standard of living. The remaining 1 billion, however, are among the poorest, most exploited people in the world, with little or no schooling, health care, or political rights.
China’s brutal police force suppresses discontent and rebellion, which are widespread, especially in the country’s interior, while human rights activists and religious leaders are imprisoned, or worse, by the Communist Party, which retains its hold on the country. Sorman believes that without democratic reforms, China faces a precarious and unstable future.
In its Spring 2007 issue, City Journal published an essay-length version of The Empire of Lies. The essay attracted considerable media attention and provoked debate among China specialists. Please join us as Sorman, a leading European intellectual, author of more than 20 books on contemporary affairs, and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro, and many other publications around the world, explains how the West has conferredgreater legitimacy on China’s government than do the Chinese themselves.