Jewish World Review
May 15, 2000 /10 Iyar, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH wants you to know that China has made "great strides" in human rights. He is so impressed with China's promotion of individual freedoms that he urged Congress to side with President Clinton and embrace permanent normal trade relations with the communist Chinese government.
There is at least one citizen of China who might beg to differ with Presidents Bush and Clinton. His name is Li Lusong. The 20-year-old villager won't be able to speak his mind, however, because he no longer can speak. Chinese police mutilated his tongue after he criticized government corruption.
Li had tried to complain to the ruling Communist Party's local office about a deteriorating school building in his village that posed a public danger, reported the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy last month. The bureaucrats ignored Li and chased him out of the office. Frustrated, Li protested by writing "Get rid of corruption, get rid of corrupt officials" on the party building.
He was detained, beaten unconscious, and stunned with an electric baton before local cops forced open his mouth with a pair of pliers and then used a knife to carve out half of Li's tongue. Presumably, Presidents Bush and Clinton believe it is a "great stride" that Li's government tormentors spared the other half.
Don't get me wrong. The power of open markets to open minds is undeniable. But why are we pursuing "most favored nation" trading status for the butchers of Beijing while maintaining our four-decade-old trade embargo against the hoodlums of Havana? China's cheerleaders can only answer by candycoating the brutal regime's record.
President Bush, for example, argues that China is light years ahead of the retrograde Cuban government when it comes to protecting personal liberty. Cuba is "still back in the era we walked into in China 25 years ago -- you get followed on the (street) blocks, just restricting all kinds of individual liberties and rights,'' he said from his home in Texas. Bush must have missed the recent news of Chen Zixiu's death. The Wall Street Journal recently published a front-page story about the 58-year-old mother, who was followed and arrested on a street block because she belonged to Falun Gong – a forbidden religious minority.
Tens of thousands of Chen's fellow worshipers have been detained since the movement was banned last summer. In February, Chen endured days of torture at the hands of government officials with repeated jolts from a cattle prod.
In recent weeks, much has been made of Cuba's lack of respect for parental rights. But what of China's? This weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency announced that the country's infamous one-child policy will be refined and "a more perfect control system" will be instituted. It's hard to imagine what more this repressive regime could do to obliterate family bonds. Since the 1970s, the government has required that all pregnancies be authorized. Menstrual cycles are publicly monitored and charted. Women are required to obtain a "birth coupon" before conceiving a child. Mandatory IUD insertions, forced partial-birth abortions, and mass infanticide are routine.
It is true that increased trade and engagement will help improve the average Chinese citizen's life – and the American economy. GOP Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the House majority whip, is right to point out that "[e]xporting American values undermines the Communist regime in China." In making the case for normalizing relations with the Far East, however, many free-traders in Congress refuse to apply their principles consistently to our isolated Red neighbors in the south.
The double standard is maddening and untenable. Fairweather free-traders
who condemn human rights abuses in Cuba while ignoring the voiceless and
the dead in China are not champions of the oppressed. They are propaganda
ministers for the world's worst
05/12/00: Our mothers' hands