Civil Liberties: Learning from China

Fallows compares Arizona's new immigration law to China's handling of foreigners:

Here's the point of comparison between the impending Arizona situation and China: it's no fun knowing -- as citizen and foreigner alike know in China, and as Hispanic-looking people in Arizona soon will -- that you can be asked to show proof of your legality at an official's whim. But if it's sobering to think that the closest analogy to a new U.S. legal situation is daily life in Communist China, we should also look on the bright side. With some notable and serious exceptions, I typically did not see Chinese police asking for papers on a whim. Usually something had to happen first. Maybe soon the Chinese State Security apparatus can travel to Arizona and give lectures to local police and sheriffs. They can explain how to avoid going crazy with a new power that so invites abuse. "Civil Liberties: Learning from China" can be the name of the course.

I think what we're seeing in Arizona is a glimpse of a possible Republican future: a police state directed against dark-skinned immigrants, legal and illegal. It's the creation of a sub-class of suspects who are guilty until proven innocent. It was the same attitude toward terror suspects. I do not believe that torture would have occurred in this country if the victims had been white.