Democracy and human rights: At the time that China joined the WTO in 2001, it was rated “unfree” by Freedom House. Specifically, it earned a 7 on political rights and a 6 on civil liberties, on a scale from 1-7, in which the higher the number, the less free the society. Some who advocated engagement with China argued that the country’s integration into the global system would lead to gradual political changes. However, 17 years later, China has exactly the same rankings. China experts were skeptical right from the start that there would be political change anytime soon. However, as the economy became more free, it seemed plausible to some that there would be more scope for debate among academics and in the press, and that minority groups such as Tibetans and Uighurs would be given some room to practice their religions and preserve their cultures. To the contrary, the repression of scholars, journalists, Tibetans, and Uighurs has only increased over the past decade. China has made great technological strides in AI-enabled digital surveillance. Not only is it using this technology to control its people at home, but there is a growing risk that it will export these methods to other authoritarian regimes. [Source]
Even though David Dollar wrote that, he doesn't see opening China as a failure. That's because he lumps in a number of other areas that have nothing to do with freedom for the general public. However, look at the end of his statement about the lack of democracy: "... there is a growing risk that it will export these methods to other authoritarian regimes."
China's dictator, XI, has said that the world should follow the Chinese model. He has call democracy the enemy. We need to keep things prioritized correctly. David Dollar mentions the lack of democracy last. He doesn't mention it as a goal in his opening statement, as if we weren't told it was THE goal. We were told it was the THE goal, as without it, the vast majority of Americans would never have gone along with the opening of China in the first place.
It's quite clear that the US government said one thing and did another, promoted one thing but never had it as a true goal.
We are all paying the price for that now. It's a huge price that never should have been allowed to start.