A good economy isn’t freedom

Recently at a small gathering of friends, the subject of Communist China came up. One of the participants was gushing with enthusiasm for the Communist government and economy, speaking to the great progress Communism was making for their citizens. My jaw dropped, and thankfully the subject as well.

However, it does remind me of how some people confuse China’s growing economy with freedom in Communist countries.

I thought of this as I read Sunday’s news.

First I read a story about how Communist Cuba is going to allow this week’s Good Friday holiday to be recognized for the first time since the 1959 revolution. Religious holidays were abolished by Fidel Castro. Imagine, a government dedicated to the proposition that its citizens cannot practice their religion.

Then one can read, “China cracks down on Internet after coup rumors.” It seems there is some controversy around politician Bo Xilai, who was removed from his position. So how does a Communist government respond to political controversy? A “sweeping” crackdown on social-networking by detaining six people for “re-education,” closing down 16 websites and the largest blog services.

We should not allow ourselves to be lured into the false impression that just because the free world likes to buy Chinese goods that there is freedom for the Chinese people. Communist governments still hold to the fundamental tenet of controlling free expression on politics and religion.

Michael Plunkett