Friday, February 27, 2009

War of Words continues

War of Words re/China continues

U.S. and China spat while GOP Congressman and Chinese dissidents decry Hillary Clinton's recent stance on Chinese human rights

In U.S.-China relations, a series of shoes have been dropping within the past week (Feb. 20-26, 2009).

Shoe #1. Hillary Clinton, in Seoul, South Korea, speaking to reporters on her way to China, said that while the U.S. would continue to press China on human rights issues, "our pressing on those issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis." Clinton telegraphed her intentions, attitude, and prioritization for human rights. We learned that human rights are de-emphasized in her foreign policy, and that she has no ambitions to prevail upon Chinese leadership for actual improvement in that area. Indeed, Clinton said, "We pretty much know what they are going to say," and it was reported that she would "agree to disagree."

Shoe #2. Rights groups slammed Hillary Clinton for those remarks. In fact, we could speak of Shoe #2A, from Amnesty International, Shoe #2B, from Students for a Free Tibet, Shoe #2C, from the China Support Network, and Shoe #2D, from the Wei Jingsheng Foundation. Amnesty was "shocked and extremely disappointed." SFT said, "The US government cannot afford to let Beijing set the agenda." CSN said, "Hillary Clinton played her cards by basically folding," and called for Clinton to resign, within an article titled "Hillary Clinton Visits Her Communist Masters In Beijing." Leading dissident Wei Jingsheng wrote to Clinton, "There is a huge wave of criticism of your conduct related to your China visit" because she did not "re-emphasize the human rights issue in China."

Shoe #3. On Sunday, Hillary Clinton said, "We have to incur more debt ... the US needs the investment in Treasury bonds to shore up its economy to continue to buy Chinese products." Apparently, philosophers can stop wondering about the meaning of life. As per Clinton's policy, the meaning of life is "to buy Chinese products."

Shoe #4. GOP Congressmen piled on. For a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, "In a shocking display of pandering, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear in Beijing, that the Obama Administration has chosen to peddle U.S. debt to the largest dictatorship in the world over combating torture, forced abortion, forced labor, religious persecution, human sex trafficking, gendercide, and genocide."

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) asked rhetorically, "Silence is itself a message. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, 'In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.' America has always been a friend to the oppressed, the persecuted, the forgotten. Has our allegiance changed?"

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) said, "For 200 years, people living in oppression around the world have looked to the United States for inspiration and support for their cause," Pitts said. "We should not turn our backs on the importance of international human rights because we are in a recession. We must not let human rights become trivialized. I urge Secretary Clinton to repair the damage she has done with her comments by expressing the importance of human rights in the U.S. relations with all nations, especially China."

Shoe #5. Addressing Congress on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said, "We are working with the nations of the G-20 to...avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism." Evidently, nothing -- not human rights, not economic sanity, and not even national security -- will be allowed to interfere with the administration's highest priority, "to buy Chinese products." The disclosure led to Shoe #4B, my article in which I nicknamed Obama "The President of Bait and Switch."

Shoe #6. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department (without comment by Hillary Clinton) criticized China in a new report released about its human rights abuses. According to the AP, "The State Department report covers 2008 and was largely drafted during President George W. Bush's administration, although Clinton signed off on the findings." Amnesty International praised it as a "candid review of the worsening human rights situation in China."

The Wednesday report "accuses China of stepping up cultural and religious repression of minorities in Tibet and elsewhere and increasing the detention and harassment of political dissidents. It said authorities continued to limit citizens' right to privacy, freedom of speech, assembly, movement and association. Authorities also committed extrajudicial killings and torture, coerced confessions from prisoners and used forced labor," according to the AP.

Shoe #7. China itself fired back. It criticized the State Department report and issued its own report about human rights failings on the part of the United States. According to China, the U.S. has "violent crime, a wide wealth gap, police abuse of force, racial discrimination and unemployment." China's report also faulted the U.S. for human rights abuses beyond its shores, like in Iraq.

Shoe #8. A Thursday press conference was scheduled to repeat the Congressional criticism of Tuesday, but this time joined by Congressman Mike Pense (R-IN) and human rights campaigners Wei Jingsheng, Harry Wu, Rebiya Kadeer, Sharon Hom, and Bob Fu. Fu, the President and founder of -- which focuses on Christian persecution -- said, "It's disheartening to hear Secretary Clinton's remarks that human rights issue will be a 'non-interference' factor to other so-called crisis issues - the economy, environment and security, implying somehow that universal human rights or human lives are irrelevant or have nothing to do with the 'three big items.' On the contrary, a country disrespecting and disregarding of its own citizens' basic rights and value will make the U.S. and the world less prosperous, more polluted and less safe."

Additional dismay. Commentators in articles have also been expressing dismay at the situation. The International Herald Tribune ran a column by Connecticut-based academic Sonia Cardenas. It noted, "recognition that human rights is one of several interrelated foreign policy interests is well established in domestic legislation and political discourse.

"This is what makes Clinton's remarks all the more baffling. She was not obligated on this visit, her first official one to China, to delineate specifics. She could have taken a pragmatic stand, issuing a vaguely worded but firm statement supporting human rights.

"Instead, she went out of her way to downgrade human rights, placing economic, environmental and security relations above the abuse of countless individuals under Chinese rule - members of minority and religious groups who are systematically repressed, detainees and prisoners who are tortured, human rights and civil society activists arbitrarily detained, women and children routinely subjected to violence and discrimination and tens of thousands without recourse to an effective justice system, as well as widespread censorship."

At OpEdNews, Betsy L. Angert lamented:

"Indeed, America, the Moneybag Democracy has forfeited ethical influence. Economics has replaced principled certitude as US policy. The press understands the priority. The commercial media knows dollars deliver. Damn the lives and liberties of our brethren abroad. In the United States there is but one mission, moneybag democracy."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fallout from Clinton's China trip

Clinton's China trip:
Another shoe drops as Wei Jingsheng
releases open letter to Clinton

Feb. 22, 2009 (CSN) -- The fallout continues as the Chinese democracy movement reacts negatively to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first trip overseas, a visit to Asia from Feb. 16-22, including China on Feb. 20-22. The Chinese democracy movement had its reasons for latent discontent. As previously reported by CSN, "For 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, U.S. China policy has been morally indefensible."

The Chinese democracy movement can rightly feel injured by Clinton's husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In this frame of reference, Bill Clinton did three things of note. (1.) He made use of Chinese dissidents as props in his election campaign. At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, two student leaders from the Tiananmen Square uprising appeared and gave speeches. (2.) He promised to renew China trade only with linkage to progress on human rights. In 1994, he broke that campaign promise and gave us the phrase "Clintonian duplicity." (3.) He took Clintonian duplicity to the next level when, in 1999, he signed a PNTR deal for "permanent" free trade with a politically unreformed China that is still led by the Chinese Communist Party. Arguably, it makes Bill Clinton look bad in his timing, that the regime in China simultaneously (in 1999) began a crackdown to eradicate the Falun Gong spiritual movement that is known for meditation and qi gong exercises.

All of the above is backdrop and informs the latent discontent that China's democracy movement rightly has for the U.S. executive branch. Human rights in China became worse under Bill Clinton's bright idea of unquestioned free trade between the U.S. and Red China.

Then Hillary Clinton did something to inflame the situation. On her way to Beijing last week, Hillary Clinton telegraphed her attitude about human rights. The Washington Post cited her: "We pretty much know what they are going to say" on human rights issues such as greater freedoms for Tibet, Clinton told reporters traveling with her on a tour of Asia. She made it clear that she does not want human rights to "interfere" with her services for communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs.

She generated headlines. A CNN headline said, "Clinton: Chinese 'human rights can't interfere' with other crises." An Australian headline said, "In China, Clinton avoids rights issue." The headlines also included reax from rights groups -- campaigners, commonly found shoulder-to-shoulder with the Chinese democracy movement. In India, a headline said, "Rights group slams Clinton's China remarks." In the Netherlands, a headline said, "Rights groups shocked at Clinton's China stance." USA Today's headline said, "Amnesty Int'l 'shocked' over Clinton's human rights remarks."

As reported by AFP:

"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns
hinder cooperation with China.

"Paying her first visit to Asia as the top US diplomat, Clinton said the United States would continue to press China on long-standing US concerns over human rights such as its rule over Tibet.

"'But our pressing on those issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,' Clinton told reporters in Seoul just before leaving for Beijing.

"T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA said the global rights lobby was 'shocked and extremely disappointed' by Clinton's remarks.

"'The United States is one of the only countries that can meaningfully stand up to China on human rights issues,' he said.

"'But by commenting that human rights will not interfere with other priorities, Secretary Clinton damages future US initiatives to protect those rights in China,' he said.

"Students for a Free Tibet said Clinton's remarks sent the wrong signal to China at a sensitive time."

The reaction became more heavy on Saturday, as the China Support Network released an article, "Hillary Clinton Visits Her Communist Masters In Beijing." Amid his scathing and blistering criticism, CSN's founder John Kusumi called for Hillary Clinton to resign. "We have no confidence in her here," Kusumi said Sunday. "I think that (U.S. President Barack) Obama could replace Clinton with (U.S. Rep. Nancy) Pelosi, and that might work."

Many times, it is true that the Chinese democracy movement has both moderates and hardliners, and this allows for a good cop / bad cop routine to be played out. The China Support Network moved into the bad cop position vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton.

On Sunday, The Wei Jingsheng Foundation moved into the good cop position vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton. They released an open letter, from famed Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng to Hillary Clinton. Its text is inserted here:

Open Letter from Wei Jingsheng to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

February 21, 2009

Respectful Secretary of State Clinton,

I am a political prisoner rescued from China during President William Clinton's term. I was fortunate to be invited to the White House to meet with then President Clinton, as well as to be introduced to you by President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic during a banquet hosted by him. The rescued political prisoners like us, and the Chinese people during that era, had all appreciated very much the human rights diplomacy of the USA. We have cheered for its success, as well as sighed for its shortcomings. We are actively seeking the reasons for the shortcomings. When there is inappropriate wording, please forgive us.

Unfortunately we saw some huge mistakes during the President Clinton's Administration. The first was the unlinking of Chinese human rights from trade issues, and the second was forcefully pushing the Congress to offer PNTR (i.e. Most Favored Nation status) to China. The result was that it not only reduced America's international prestige and damaged the democratic progress in China, but also brought disastrous long-term results for America's own economy and employment opportunities. According to the data released by the US government, during this period, the US trade deficit with China grew rapidly by a factor of 10 to more than 300 Billion Dollars annually, accumulating a total of more than 2 Trillion dollars.

Generally, people expected you to make a correction to this important historic mistake after you become the Secretary of State and to re-emphasize the human rights issue in China. However, from what you said and did during your visit to China this time, it was not the case. Using the words of the Chinese Communist government's Internet agents, the human rights diplomacy of the USA has come to its end.

Is it true that there is no relationship between Chinese human rights and the US interests? That is not so. Although the trigger for the economic crisis in the USA was in the financial sector, the root cause was the trade imbalance, especially the huge trade deficit with China that has effectively destroyed the real economy in the USA. The Obama Administration has been mobilizing Americans to overcome the difficulty and revive the real economy, as the prerequisite to tide over the current economic crisis. The real prerequisite of this policy is to block the huge loophole of the foreign trade deficit. Otherwise, billions of dollars from the economic stimulus package will simply become the profit of the multi-national companies and the Chinese government.

How was this huge US trade deficit to China formed? The most important reason out of the many was due to unfair and unequal trade with China. China is not a free market economy but a totalitarian country under one party dictatorship. The Chinese Communist government controls China's trade. Chinese workers do not have rights to protect their own interests. The government controls the Chinese media. It is exactly these human rights problems that result in the unfair and unequal trade, producing the abnormal trade deficit, tipping the economy of the developed countries, and finally ending with the current economic crisis. The imbalanced economic development in China has also resulted in the global energy crisis and environment pollution, and indirectly threatens the global security. All of these issues were of your attention during your trip to China, yet you have failed to put human rights as your top priority.

Thus, not to talk about Chinese human rights issues is effectively blocking the effort by the Obama Administration to solve the economic and security issues. I do not think that fits your responsibility as the US Secretary of State, or your purpose of visiting China now. There is a huge wave of criticism of your conduct related to your China visit this time, both inside China and Overseas, as well as in English and in Chinese. This failure has severely damaged the image of the Obama Administration, resulting in a huge misunderstanding of the US government, and also severely harming Americans' expectation of President Obama. I wish that you would take effective steps to remedy that.

If you think that there is a need, I am willing to discuss the related issues with you further.

Best wishes that your work will be productive and successful.

-- Wei Jingsheng
Chair, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition
Washington DC, USA

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hillary Clinton Visits Her Communist Masters In Beijing

Hillary Clinton Visits Her
Communist Masters In Beijing
And, President Obama should fire her.

By John Kusumi

After the dismal and disgusting debut of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. President Barack Obama ought to be firing her. He ought to fire her; but he likely won’t, because it would be an admission of his own poor judgment in filling that cabinet post with his former rival and the wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Communist China is a rogue nation and failed state, which shelters a smaller rogue nation and failed state known as North Korea. Through this trip (in Asia, Feb. 16-22), Clinton reaffirmed many long standing double standards in U.S. foreign policy – double standards that are twisted and diabolical. For example, deploring North Korea for its dictatorship while celebrating China for its dictatorship.

In the past, I had bad things to say about former U.S. President Bill Clinton, but I actually found it in me to say some good things about Mrs. Clinton – because when running for President, Mrs. Clinton had some (evidently insincere) tough talk about China. Now, I must eat my kind words, and bring out the harder words for Hillary Clinton.

She shares her husband’s tin ear, obliviousness, and easy countenance for evil. She and her husband are two people with zero moral compass between them. Both think that sucking up is all that is needed to be successful climbers, and both readily climb into the laps of communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. They are the pro-Maoist first couple.

Her husband’s administration was a disgrace to America and a boon to the Chinese Communist Party. Indeed, Clinton took campaign cash from Red China and transferred nuclear technology back to China in return. The aid and comfort for Chinese Communists would qualify as treason if Red China were seen as the enemy that it may in fact be. Indeed, prosecution for the Clinton-China dalliance is long overdue.

Like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime, Hillary went to China this weekend. If I recently became the new U.S. President, I would have recognized Taiwan, dispatched an ambassador, and the Secretary of State could have made a first stop in Taiwan. I do not buy into the nonsense entailed in Mao’s One China principle and Kissinger’s One China policy.

If you live under the dictatorship of North Korea, Hillary Clinton feels your pain. If you live under the dictatorship of China, so what? –Hillary is too busy carrying water for her Communist masters in Beijing, your oppressors.

Hillary Clinton found it in her to wag her finger on the topic of North Korea. But, she punted on the issues of human rights, Taiwan, and Tibet. In fact, by having a troop surge into Tibet at the same time as her visit, Communist China managed to thumb its nose at U.S. concerns and humiliate Clinton at the same time. To be effete on human rights was not inevitable for the U.S., but it was the choice of Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton played her cards by basically folding. She may have inadvertently signaled to Beijing that they have a green light to invade Taiwan. This trip was a loss of face for the United States, and a blazing display of weakness. The only winners from this trip were communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs – they got the signal that they can continue doing business as usual.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are forever in a hasty rush to Maoism. Barack Obama ought to fire Hillary Clinton. If you are a freedom lover in North Korea, you may feel well served by the lip service in this trip. If you are a freedom lover in China, Taiwan, or Tibet, the message that one can read from Hillary Clinton is familiar, since every U.S. White House from 1989 (the year of Tiananmen Square’s massacre) to the present has signaled the same to China’s oppressed: that “Death for you is fine by them " (meaning, fine by the White House).

America is now signaling much the same as it has for twenty years. An administration that advertised itself as a change agent is showing a “steady as she goes,” “stay the curse” policy that is unimaginative and amounts to no change in east Asia. It’s disgusting. Hillary Clinton, resign!