Thursday, April 20, 2006


I don't know much about China, but I know enough to be unsettled by our President personally apologizing to China's leader, Hu Jintao, today for a heckler and protesters during his visit to Washington, D. C.

Here's some of the little that I know...

- I know what I saw on TV during the Tienneman Square stand-off and subsequent repression of the Chinese student-led freedom movement in 1989. Those images are etched in my mind. We know from the free press that many of these students and their families were jailed, tortured, and some killed.

- I know from news sources that China's detention, torture, and killings of thousands and so-called dissidents are well known internationally. I listened to a report on the radio about it again today.

- I know that news media, Internet and e-mail is heavily monitored and censored in China. Again, the free press makes this clear.

- I know that some forms of religion are heavily monitored and suppressed. I correspond with Christian missionaries working in China who cannot let it be known that they are Christians or missionaries. We cannot use the key words "prayer," "Bible," "God," "Jesus Christ," etc. in our correspondence or their cover will be blown. They tell me Christianity is alive and well--and growing--in China, but still in underground mode because, for all its attempts to put on a different image, China is not a free society.

WHY APOLOGIZE? So, why would the President of the nation that claims to set the moral standard for human rights, personal freedom of expression, and freedom of religion apologize to the Chinese head of state for American people expressing their grief and angst over the realities of oppression in China? Why apologize? China makes a mockery of openness and a move toward a free society. Instead of apologizing, our President should be turning up the pressure on Chinese leadership regarding human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of worship.

WHEN THE BOTTOM LINE IS MERELY BUSINESS. And all those on the right who ridiculed President Clinton for his soft approach on China during his state visit there should be turning up the heat on Bush now--because he is doing the same thing Clinton did. When the bottom line is merely business--which is the modus operandi of this regime--human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of worship take a back seat or are moved off the agenda entirely. As long as our national leaders pretend that China is a trustable and reforming partner instead of the greed-driven, power-obsessed oppressor that it really is, it doesn't seem to me that China will do anything differently regarding values that are dear and critical to a world in which freedom rings.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John -- my friend Nancy Stimson asked me to post this to you -- so it may not be in the appropriate place -- but I didn't have an e-mail for ya either. So i hope that's alright.

    John - Mike Mather told me about you and showed me your blogspot on Thursday. Love this blog. I think the whole point of the church is to be a kind of "show and tell" for the eschaton. I was wondering in the shower today whether that means an absence of sin, or grace so abundant that it continually heals and redeems. I was a pastor and am a biker, becoming a bike hiker myself. I'm in awe of your trip to India. Have you read Willie Weir's Spokesongs? If not, do, by all means. And he told me the other night about a woman named Darvla Murphy that toured India solo in the '30's and has written about it. The library has both.
    Nancy Stimson


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