China is one of those problems that we are incapable of solving, or even acknowledging. This is because there is no meaningful faction in American public life willing to live with the consequences of what would need to be another Cold War. This is not just because Democrats and Republicans alike are beholden to Wall Street and to the soothsayers in our economics departments who tell us we have no choice but to pursue free trade even as our enemies laugh at us. It is also because we, the American people, want things this way.

We are addicted to the endless supply of plastic junk and to the Chinese slave labor that makes it possible. We are not even curious about what might happen if we were ever made responsible for building our own weapons and airplanes and battleships. We do not especially mind if our military hardware and pharmaceuticals and technology infrastructure are sold to us by a totalitarian regime as wicked as the ones we spent the better part of the last century fighting. And we certainly do not mind what Hollywood and the NBA do to placate the Chinese Communist Party, even as we tell ourselves absurd bedtime stories about the evils of censorship.

So of course we accept the reality of mass imprisonment; of forced labor; of brainwashing and involuntary programs of re-education; of rape, forced contraception, and sterilization; of sickening medical experiments; of mass surveillance and torture.