I have read you column in Macleans yesterday evening, and I must confess that I found it remarkable - in its deep denial of the truth, servility to the Communist regime that hosts and protects you, and utter lack of recognition of how the free world thinks and acts. With any luck, you may read this and come to see your egregious errors. Even in the more likely possibilities that you remain unmoved by this (or unaware of it), others who have read your column may see this as well so that they may not fall prey to your long-winded illusions.
The first of which is your notion that the restrictions placed upon the Chinese people are "minimal." People of faith through the land you call home suffer far more than "minimal" restrictions on their right to practice their religion (Boycott 2008 and Epoch Times). Nor would attorney Gao Zhisheng, who has been imprisoned and tortured simply because he asked for such "minimal" restrictions to cease (Epoch Times). I would also refer you to the relatives of the Tiananmen massacre victims (See also Pajamas Media).
This is a truth that is recognized throughout the world, and neither your attempts to minimize it nor your subsequent descent into moral relativism can explain it away. Even among the center-left in the free world, where your criticisms of democratic nations are most well-received, the step you take towards dismissing the abuses of the Chinese Communist Party is simply not taken (Boycott 2008 and Epoch Times). Even the most virulent opponents of American foreign policy, such as The Progressive, make clear that, in their words: "This is not to say that Bush’s human rights abuses are equal to China’s." Thus the notion you imply and hope to sell to the free world is in fact rejected across the political spectrum here (to see the political right's response, if you wish, I refer to the Washington Examiner).
Having failed to understand our politics, you move on to miss economics. To claim that Communist China is "utilizing the methods of capitalism" without a functioning rule of law or genuine property rights is to completely misunderstand the term. "Capitalism" - or, to be more precise, a free market economy - does not exist without genuine property rights, and as any rural village citizen could tell you (if they felt safe enough to do so), genuine property rights do not exist in Communist China. Neither does the rule of law, although if you perhaps attempted to earn a profit in Beijing rather than hold down a United Nations sinecure you would probably be more aware of that.
Your discussion of "climate change" is also flawed. The idea that "those who have contributed most to the problem of climate change must take the lead" sounds wonderful, but does nothing to address the fact that exempting Communist China from any post-Kyoto agreement (or limiting its impact on it) will do nothing to impact carbon emission now that Communist China is the largest carbon emitter on Earth. To further use the issue to rant against "the wasteful and indulgent appetites of the rich and their pre-emption of a disproportion of the world's resources" is particularly brazen given that your friends in the CCP elite exercise these indulgences and pre-emptions with far more gall and self-absorption than anyone in the free world (outside of its criminal element) would even dare.
Moving on to your historical errors, I am curious as to how the people of East Turkestan and Tibet would react to your assertion that "China's territorial disputes with its neighbours have been confined to differences over their boundaries rather than attempts to occupy or annex them." Not that any Tibetans or East Turkestanis are allowed to speak freely on this matter, thus you can resort to the typical Communist propaganda on Tibet that is justified by nothing but Nazi lies. Then again, that isn't the only time the Communists have looked to the Nazis for inspiration (Small Dead Animals).
Not that your account of recent history is much better. Your assertion of Communist China's acceptance of the "differences that exist" between Hong Kong and the mainland can only come from someone unwilling to pay attention to the events of the last decade there.
I could not help but note several other issues you do not mention: the Communist aid and comfort to the brutal Sudanese regime (Epoch Times and Washington Post), and Beijing's Korean colony (One Free Korea). I was particularly intrigued by your decision to ignore the latter, as you have been the United Nations' special envoy on the subject for many years. Your silence is deafening.
The rest of your column is standard propaganda from expatriates, but I am compelled to point out this particular nonsense for what it is:
Uninformed and ideologically biased critics of China should ask themselves why it is that the majority of Chinese today are better off and better satisfied than ever, why more overseas Chinese are returning to China, and why more foreigners are enjoying conditions of life here that make them want to stay, even if it involves changing their employment to do so.
I can do more than ask myself these questions, I can actually answer them. The Chinese people may claim to be "better off and better satisfied than ever," but one wouldn't have to go far beyond Beijing to see that this is little more than Communist propaganda (in fact, just spending some time with the legions of appellants/petitioners risking arrests and torture should do the trick, but if you prefer, try Hanyuan, Taishi, or Shanwei).
As for "more overseas Chinese are returning to China," there are likely several reasons, but one of them has to be the extension of the Communist Long Arm of Lawlessness into the free world to intimidate exiles into silence. A brave few refuse to succumb to the mobs (Epoch Times), but such bravery is not common in the human condition. I'm sure many Chinese who would prefer freedom abroad to repression at home are deciding that repression abroad is no better.
Your assertion about foreigners is best answered by Ethan Gutmann's Losing the New China, in which he describes the painful manner in which expatriates are compromised ethically and financially by the regime.
I will acknowledge that your particular reasons for remaining in Beijing, which may have more to do with avoiding a certain inquiry into Iraq's Oil-for-Food program than anything else, have probably blinded you to this reality.
In short, your column managed to get international politics, economics, and history wrong in several areas. As such, I can certainly understand why you could not fathom the anger in the free world over Communist China's behavior (Asian-Pacific Post, Between Heaven and Earth, Boycott 2008, Epoch Times, From On High, National Review Online, Washington Post). Not even those willing to enjoy the Olympic Games can suspend disbelief as you have on the Communist regime (Washington Post).
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I do hope that you see this and that it may open your mind. If so, you might want to consider the radio broadcasts from Reporters Without Borders (Boycott 2008 and the Epoch Times). Otherwise, I can at least hope that those who read your error-prone column will also read this and avoid the errors you have made.