From the People of China
Notwithstanding all of the above, there are a couple of "civil liberties" that are very important to us, ones we don't seem to have at the moment:
Mr. Obama, we know we cannot influence your values, your American Exceptionalism, your attitudes or your intentions. We know we cannot influence your CIA who are tasked with the job of destabilising our country. However, we find your interference in our country's internal affairs unacceptable, and feel that something must be done.
You may not know this, but our country has an amazingly efficient multi-channel communications system. When something interesting happens in our country, people send SMS or QQ messages and make blog posts, and often we know about things before the media are aware of them. Valuable, important, (or simply juicy) news can reach almost everyone in this country within hours.
And this news is not ignored. There was recently a nasty China article in one of your US papers that received quite a lot of attention here. It was translated into Chinese, then posted on blogs and other sites across the country, and while I personally did not visit all of them, I do recall one site that attracted 320,000 posts - mostly negative - toward the US. Can you believe that? More than 320,000 posts on only one article.
You want to reach into China, bypass the government and talk directly to the people? No problem. We do it every day. Now, I hate to raise your hopes and then dash them, but this is something only we can do. You don't know where, you don't know how, and you wouldn't know what to say anyway.
You have a saying in your country that "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." We translated that into Chinese, and then back into English, and do you know how it came out? "You can put American products into all the stores in China, but you can't make Chinese people buy them."
It occurred to us that your government and your military exist primarily to serve the commercial imperial interests of your large corporations - of which we have an abundance in our country. And this may be something we can affect. You don't know this, but we've done it before.
GM, your great American monolith, once boasted "What's good for General Motors is good for America", but is solvent today only because of its sales in China. If those sales die, GM will be bankrupt worldwide.
And we wonder why your American GM should be able to depend and rely on China to save its very life, for us to be GM's only reprieve from the hangman, only to have GM's government surreptitiously doing everything possible to destabilise our country and destroy its rise and development. Now, that can't make sense even to you.
You may know that our airlines in China use both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. But it appears that the Chinese prefer flying on Airbus planes - we're told they are quieter and more comfortable. And people are telling us that before booking a flight, they first inquire as to the aircraft and, if they have any choice, they will book an Airbus flight.
The empty seats might encourage our airlines to reconsider any purchases from Boeing - who we understand is one of the corporations contributing to the manufacture of weapons you intend to sell to Taiwan.
You probably know that China is rapidly transforming from a cash to a credit card society; we already have hundreds of millions of cards. A new consumer trend is that Chinese apparently prefer cards issued by domestic banks. Of course that's unfortunate for US companies like Citibank.
And even our "dictatorial, authoritarian, omnipresent" government cannot make us buy a Buick if we prefer a BYD or (Chinese) Volvo. Nor would they care to argue with us if we prefer a Chinese brand of shampoo to a US brand, or Lenovo to Dell.
We have such a plethora of foreign brands already available to us, that the elimination of a (relatively) few US brands would cause little inconvenience and no hardship to anyone. Of course, that wouldn't help your trade balance.
You might want to consider that the number of our people (probably about 90%) who will work hard and make real sacrifices for the overall good of our country is likely in inverse proportion to the number of your Americans (probably about 10%) who would give up anything or make any kind of sacrifice for the good of your country.
We harbor no illusions about our power or influence. We do not believe we can kill the sales of GM cars in China. But we do think we can reduce them. We do not believe we can kill Boeing sales in China; but we do think that when Boeing sees warning signs it might lose 50 billion in sales to our airlines, they might be able to explain this to you in a way that you (and your CIA) can understand.
And when Citibank, with its large investment and high hopes in China, discovers things are not going according to plan, perhaps they (and 100 other companies) can help GM and Boeing with the explanation. We will pay special attention to those US companies who advertise in your more biased and hateful media, like the NYT and CNN.
There will be no organised, country-wide boycott of American goods in China. There will be no protests, no demonstrations, no public appeals. The Chinese might be noisy in restaurants, but they tend to be quiet otherwise. We will simply be "monitoring" consumer purchasing trends, and possibly reporting on them from time to time.
You may want to refer to our comments earlier about the efficiency of China's communication system. From our collective past experience, we are confident this letter (Chinese version) and its attached information will be read by 100 million people. We know we can get it that far. Our challenge is to extend that total to 300 million or perhaps even 400 million. With our huge population, every 1% of consumers experiencing a 'change in preference' will mean many tens of millions of purchases.
We know we cannot produce any instant victory over foreign interference in our affairs and that we will have to continue our monitoring, perhaps indefinitely. But we think it's important for the sake of our country that we succeed.
It should be noted that our government is not involved in this. In fact, we have avoided any contact with any part of the government in case they want to be more prudent and ... how did you put it ... something about ... "the risk of further destabilizing an important relationship ..."
This is a grassroots nationwide issue involving only "the Chinese people" whom you so much want to "reach out to". It has no central focus, no head office, no place to direct a silver bullet.
Mr. Obama, China's internal affairs are none of your business. We didn't ask your advice on what kind of government we should have, just as we didn't ask your advice on how to develop our economy. And none of us want our country to join your empire, directed only by your own narrow self-interest, based on greed and conflict, exporting revolution and bent on global domination.
We are reminded of Ronald Reagan's quote when your country was devastating Nicaragua: "Make the economy scream." Well, if that was good for you then, it's good for us now.
We are aware that unsought advice is often unwelcome and spurned. But nevertheless, our advice to you and all your friends who think we in China should change our system of government is this: Give it a rest. Drop it. Mind your own business. Go clean your kitchen, or cut the grass. Wipe your own kid's snotty nose and stop meddling in the affairs of people who don't want to know what you think.
You wanted to find a way to "reach into China", you wanted to "engage the Chinese public". Well, you've done it. In fact, you may have succeeded beyond your wildest expectations. We are wide awake and engaged.
You wanted a Jasmine Revolution, and you will have it. But it isn't free; we will now ask your American companies to pay for it.
Sincerely, The "People"
We noted your recent legislative amendments that now permit virtually anyone to contribute to your domestic election campaigns without identification of the source of funds. Has it occurred to you that we (and 200 million of our closest friends) might each donate maybe $10 to ensure the elimination of US candidates (like Jon Huntsman) who are unacceptable to us?
Is it possible that meddling is morally righteous and fun only when you're the one doing it?
Return to Part I - Prelude
Return to Part II - Some Things You Should Know