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George Bush meets Chinese dissidents ahead of Olympics

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Chinese and Tibetan freedom campaigners will jointly sponsor a protest at Washington's Chinese embassy, Thursday August 7. The 1pm to 5pm protest will be mere hours before the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics Games.

The following article is from a sponsor of that protest, the China Support Network.

White House 'Talking the talk' for Chinese democracy: Bush meets dissidents

United States China policy continues to reward communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs for bad behavior. This was true both before and after a July 29 meeting that happened at the White House, with George W. Bush meeting with leading Chinese dissidents including Wei Jingsheng and Harry Wu. Any change augured by the meeting was symbolic, rather than substantive.

As we know, George W. Bush is on his way to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, hosted by communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. United States China policy has been one-sided in favor of the dictators ever since the 1989 occasion of Tiananmen Square's bloody massacre of unarmed civilian demonstrators who were pressing for democracy. That massacre was an occasion that should have found America taking the side of the beleagured Chinese people, due to America's ostensible anti-communism and support for such matters as freedom, democracy, and human rights.

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As the world gazed at the iconic image of one lone man stopping a line of tanks, there was clearly a confrontation underway -- and a line to be drawn. About the later course of U.S. China policy, there come to be two stories that must be told. There is what America should have done; and there is what America actually did. The latter is a shameful litany of presidential malfeasance begun by George Bush senior, who renewed Most Favored Nation status; dispatched Brent Scowcroft as a high level emissary to reassure the dictators that 'business as usual' would not be disrupted; and in the face of a Congressional ban on weapons export to Communist China, Bush contravened the sanction by approving a sale of satellites to the regime of the Communist Party, which remains in place to this day.

America should have taken the side of the man who stopped the tanks. All of China policy since then has been a bouquet of lollipops to reward the dictatorship for bad behavior. One cannot help but conclude that America took the side of the tanks and their drivers. No self-respecting (or America-respecting) U.S. president would want to be caught dead hewing to U.S. China policy as it has stood since Tiananmen Square. In light of it, no president since Ronald Reagan has been fully credible when wielding the terms "freedom" and "democracy." America just isn't the same; it suffers from leadership that is more corrupt than Ronald Reagan.

The U.S. news media has likewise been a group of shoeshine boys for communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs. Even while the press has held story after story from the nine-year persecution and holocaust for Falun Gong -- a genocide that is still in progress now -- the White House has been feeling the heat about Chinese human rights. Obviously, rights concerns are getting the short end of the stick, in the faulty China policy which I rightly denounce. In some ways, Chinese dissidents scored a victory by getting Tuesday's meeting at the White House. What was in it for George Bush was saving face. He can step up the lip service for freedom, democracy, and human rights -- and about that, I must applaud and praise him. However, lip service remains the matter of talking the talk, while at the same time not walking the walk.

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Because the Chinese regime is one of cunning, conniving, and treachery, it will only respect pressure and strength. If the U.S. were to walk the walk for Chinese democracy, it would discontinue its PNTR and Most Favored Nation trade favors for Communist China. It would choose not to enrich communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. That even means curtailing tourism to China, while the regime should be isolated, contained, and denounced. Chinese dissidents were bitterly opposed to the unconditional PNTR free trade deal with Communist China, and have continually called for pressure brought to bear on the Chinese regime, for encouraging the reform of its human rights practices.

The July 29 White House meeting with Chinese dissidents can lead to buzz, and can be perceived as a snub to the Chinese regime. That much is helpful, and to be applauded. The Chinese regime may have its grandest moment at the Olympics, but it is recently in a state that is weakened and vulnerable. Falun Gong practitioners, who might be termed "neo-dissidents" for China, have pushed back against the regime and created a wave of members resigning from the Communist Party. That wave is now estimated to include at least 24 million people, while a headline number of 40 million people is reported. With push back from its own citizens, change is in the offing for the Chinese regime.

Short of economic sanctions, is the Bush administration doing all it can? No! I concur with the freedom campaigners that America must escalate its rhetoric in favor of freedom and democracy in mainland China. Wei Jingsheng delivered the message: don't just talk to Hu Jintao (the Communist Party chief), but also talk to the news media. Let all Chinese know of his belief in human rights and democracy. In any case, it's high time for China to change.

Second, the French company Eutelsat has done a "cave in" to the Chinese regime, discontinuing the signal for NTDTV, a U.S.-based independent Chinese language television network. For years, some Chinese have been enjoying NTDTV as a breath of fresh air, with its fearless reporting of regime abuses. It is important to continue the broadcast of free world information into China -- the U.S. should ensure that NTDTV has a satellite channel.

Third, there have been brazen and wanton attacks, conducted by New York's Chinese Consulate, against Falun Gong practitioners including U.S. citizens in Flushing, NY. Assaults and violence should not be within bounds for diplomatic decorum! Thirty six Congressmen have urged Bush to investigate the Flushing violence. The request from the freedom campaigners is to expel Consul General Peng Keyu as persona non grata from the United States. America should not take it lying down!


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The author was once the 18-year-old candidate for U.S. President ('84) and later the founder of the China Support Network, post-Tiananmen Square.

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