According to Dan Rather, appearing on Larry King Live last month, the “biggest, most important story unfolding now is the transformation of China into a world power on two fronts—economic and military.” This may seem obvious, and it is also clear that, beneath the surface, there is a huge revolution brewing in that country over human rights and the related political rights of speech, religion and consent. Typically, as with the massive repression of the Falun Dafa religious sect, as well as Christian, Muslims, and Buddhists, the Chinese Communist Party is intent on restricting spirituality because it feels it must control all aspects of Chinese life. In the short run, they will succeed; longer term, they cannot suppress this basic human yearning and Beijing will ultimately lose the human rights debate. In the meantime, the Clinton administration continues single-mindedly to pursue permanent most favored nation trade status for mainland China without due regard for these human rights abuses or Taiwan security concerns. In fact, argues Michael Leeden in the Nov./Dec. 1999 issue of The International Economy, “the greatest blunder in recent history is the Clinton administration’s policy, through liberalized trade, of arming the People’s Republic of China.” Further, Abe Rosenthal of The New York Times says that he has never seen the U. S. as much in the thrall of a foreign philosophy as it is now to Chinese communism. These are strong sentiments, but it does seem that the hope, or mirage, of a billion customers has overwhelmed all other motivations. I agree that trade engagement should be pursued for non-military items, but only on a year-to-year basis as to favored nation status, while keeping the heat on human rights abuses by publicizing them directly and through the United Nations. We should also visibly show our support and encouragement to the new democratically elected President of Taiwan by approving the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act and ultimately sponsoring their entry, along with Communist China, into the World Trade Organization. Sen. Jesse Helms makes an apt analogy of the two Chinese states with the former East and West Germany, which were ultimately united under democracy. This is a long-term objective for China that is worthy of our values and our support.
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