WHY APOLOGIZE TO HU FOR HECKLERS?
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.