China is still, well, “Communist”... By Tom Tierney11 December 2010The Nobel Peace Prize this year was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, Chinese author of a pro-democracymanifesto and currently residing in jail in China for his “ideas”. Joseph Stalin had been famously quotedas once saying: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, whyshould we let them have ideas?” Apparently, the Chinese government agrees.The United States of America was founded on an idea: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that allmen are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; thatamong these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The People’s Republic of China apparently isfounded on the fear of ideas, a government in fear of its citizens.I work in a field called “angel investment” where we invest capital in small “startup” companies. Weinvest in people called “entrepreneurs”: we invest in them and their ideas. I’ve frequently heardentrepreneurs say they have filed or are considering filing for a “Chinese patent”. Aside from the poorintellectual property enforcement in China, I consider the phrase “Chinese patent” an oxymoron foranother reason: in a country like China where basic human rights are not protected for its citizens, whywould someone expect any respect or protection for intellectual property of a company, a corporateentity?My hope is that as the Chinese middle class grows in their current “pseudo-capitalistic” state, their thirstfor ideas increases. More affluence will buy more “things” but it won’t buy their freedom. MostChinese will long for what we take granted here in the United States: freedom of religion, freedom ofspeech, assembly and the freedom to peacefully protest against your government without the fear ofbeing jailed or run over by a tank.I believe the Chinese Communist Party is on an inevitable march into the “ash heap of history”, asRonald Reagan called it. My hope is that China eventually obtains a government worthy of its people,one founded in basic human freedom and unafraid of “ideas”.A country is considered great because of its ideas, not its fear of them.Tom Tierney lives in Encinitas, CA and is a member of Tech Coast Angels (www.techcoastangels.com).Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tech_coast_angels for more background information on the TCA.