October 22, 2002
Few people had reason to rejoice after Sept. 11, but there were a few who did. Palestinians danced in their streets, Gary Condit slipped from the front pages to the gossip columns and pressure eased off of China, perhaps America's foremost post-Cold War threat.
China's communist leader Jiang Zemin will make a rare appearance in College Station Thursday under the auspices of friendship. Not since Yasser Arafat has such a mischaracterized leader met with the president. It is only due to China's status as a potential economic market and potential diplomatic disaster that Zemin is consulted. China's government must be recognized for what it is: the missing member of President Bush's "Axis of Evil."
Contrary to current proposals, the United States should not lift military sanctions against the Chinese government. In 1989, the world watched as a student-led protest in favor of democracy surfaced in China. In the public area known as Tiananmen Square, student protestors were viciously suppressed with military tanks, resulting in the deaths of more than 500 civilians, according to declassified U.S. intelligence reports. After the massacre, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping fired subordinates he believed were too kind towards the protestors, according to CNN. In this power vacuum, Jiang Zemin rose to the top of the communist party and, later, the country. There are numerous reasons why, under this current leadership, China should not be considered a friend.
In an unusual display of interest in democracy, three Chinese nationals were found to have funneled money into the Democratic National Committee prior to the 1996 presidential election through false companies and aliases.
One of those convicted, Charlie Trie, admitted in a congressional hearing to procuring germ warfare material for China, according to NewsMax.
China's behavior in regard to human rights is appalling. Last summer, President Bush withdrew $34 million from the U.N. Population Fund despite the cries of American feminists. His reasoning: the funds were supporting forced sterilizations and abortions in China. The Chinese government has ordered one of its regions to perform 20,000 abortions by the end of 2002, according to the U.K. Telegraph.
Guaranteed to be an issue this week is Falun Gong, a group that partakes in spiritual and physical exercise similar to yoga and was outlawed in China in 1999. According to the group's Web site, more than 1,600 practitioners have been killed by the Chinese government and more than 20,000 were sent to labor camps. Up to 3,000 followers of Falun Gong may protest Zemin's visit to the Bush Library, according to an interview in The Eagle with University Police Department Director Bob Wiatt.
For security at the Falun Gong protest, which takes the form of peaceful meditation, a seemingly excessive eight local, federal, and foreign security agencies will be in attendance. In a fashion that has been increasingly questioned for First Amendment reasons, the protestors will be only allowed in "free speech zones."
"The Chinese government, not content with persecuting the Falun Gong in China, has (urged) local U.S. officials to shun or even persecute them right here in America," a Feb. 21 Wall Street Journal article said. "The approach ... tends to combine gross disinformation with scare tactics and, in some cases, slyly implied diplomatic and commercial pressure." Sadly, Thursday's events may come to reflect the communist Chinese stance on freedom, not America's.
Why does America need enemies when it has friends like China? America and President Bush should not reward dictators the ilk of Jiang Zemin with improved trade status, the lifting of sanctions, or barbecues in Crawford. America should return to the era of recognizing and defending democracy, not just those in power. Bush should concede nothing to Zemin.
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