Tonight, the Empire State building will light up in red and yellow. It’s not an odd sight to see multi-colored lights shining in the night from the tallest building in New York; the lights are red, white, and blue for July 4th and 9/11, green for St. Patricks Day, pink and white for breast cancer research, etc. The meaning behind tonight’s lighting, however, is not exactly what one would expect. The Empire State is lighting up tonight to honor the 60th Anniversary of Communist China.
Many people are devoutly against this, but I have mixed feelings. Looking at it from a humanist point of view, I can clearly sympathize with the dissenters; China has a horrible human rights record. More people are jailed and killed for political dissent in that country than in any other, and the government seems as though it couldn’t care less about the quality of life of its citizens. From a political and business perspective, however, things get a little more complicated. China is our ally….and our banker. China is who we go to when we need money, and who we rely upon to help keep North Korea in check, and we need their support when dealing with Iran. The majority of products in the United States bear tags reading “made in China.”
We may be a Democracy that is ‘officially’ against Communism and that wishes to spread our form of government to the rest of the world (not that we have any right to challenge another country’s sovereignty), but the fact is that we need them more than they need us. True, it was our outsourcing that helped bring on their rapid economic growth, and they still have at least 50 years before they catch up to our standards and quality of life, but they’re more independent than we like to think. So let us light up the Empire State for them. We may not agree with how they govern or all the things that they do, but when it comes down to it, they are our ally, and we must treat them as we would treat any of their European counterparts.