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Why Is Jack Cafferty In Trouble Over China?

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Poor old CNN and Jack Cafferty. They can't win for trying. I'm sure that plenty of newsroom types at all outlets know that when they have controversial material, they are "damned if they do, and damned if they don't" put it out.

On the whole, I am ready to give credit to mainstream news outlets and to CNN in particular for covering the Tibetan uprising that began on March 10's anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. On March 14, what were peaceful protests turned violent, with a harsh crackdown ensuing at the hands of authorities from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The issue of Tibet is the gnarliest issue that remains an ongoing controversy for the CCP-led Chinese government in Beijing. Perhaps the incumbent government is incapable of resolving the issue or dilemma of Tibet, because they caused the trouble for themselves. Troops of Communist China stormed into Tibet in 1950, shortly after they had seized control of the mainland in 1949. Tibet became occupied; that much is indisputable. Next, it was either colonized or annexed. The choice of word can be debated. Many Tibetans would say colonized, and China's central authorities would say annexed.

It's really not Jack Cafferty's job to resolve the Tibetan issue, and some debate will remain, no matter what outcome or resolution is reached. That is because history supports both sides of the debate.

On one side, central leaders in China say that "Tibet was always a part of China." That's a stretch. It begs the question, why did Chinese troops need to invade there in 1950? That invasion itself is a tip off, or clue, that Tibet was independent prior to the invasion.

However, the status of Tibet has gone back and forth before, in Chinese history. If one points to the Qing dynasty, Tibet was under Chinese rule. If one points to the Tang dynasty, Tibet was a fierce empire of its own -- even capturing China's capital in 763. Supporters of the CCP government line would point to the Qing dynasty in support of their assertion.

On the other side of the debate, they would observe and maintain, correctly, that the CCP government line is false. The word "always" could be replaced by "previously" to form an accurate statement.

Tibet wasn't always a part of China, but Tibet was previously a part of China. The substitution of one word yields an accurate statement which partially supports (and partially annoys) both sides in the argument.

As far as I know, the Tibet issue was not the cause of recent controversy in which Jack Cafferty has found himself. Rather instead, he made these remarks about the U.S. relationship with mainland China: "We [in the U.S.] continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export . . . jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart. So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed."

I cannot find any fault with Cafferty's words above, although to speak of "a dollar a month" exaggerates how low the wage rates go in China. The number is higher than one dollar, but the number is still low by American standards. Cafferty's point was made, albeit with imprecision.

Cafferty's woes came moreso from his next line: "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." I am one who understands that Cafferty was referring to goons and thugs of the Chinese Communist Party -- the rulers in the dictatorship which began under Chairman Mao in 1949. On that basis, Cafferty is right and I find no fault with his statement.

However, he neglected to specify that he was speaking of China's government, not its people. Ethnic Chinese who felt slighted -- or those given to hardcore nationalism -- took offense and began to protest CNN and Jack Cafferty. The protestors are also upset by what they perceive as bias in the Western news media's coverage of the recent Tibet crisis.

Do I think that Tibet has sympathy in the West? Yes, for very good reasons. Tibetan Buddhism is known as a peaceful religion of non-violence; the Dalai Lama is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; and in recent history, Tibet did not kill 1.2 million Chinese; rather instead, it was Communist China that killed 1.2 million Tibetans. Tibet's population circa 1949 was only 5 or 6 million to start with, so Communist China has killed a portion of the populace in the vicinity of 20% or 25%. That's an enormous slaughter. Attorneys could say that the balance of hardships tips in Tibet's favor. Yes, the West does have sympathy for Tibet, and yes it is appropriate and justified.

Those conditions -- the circumstances of today -- are not put there by Jack Cafferty. They were put there by the CCP. Those Chinese who are rabid, hardcore nationalists ought to examine China itself. China has 5,000 years of history, and only 59 years under the CCP. The CCP is killing people, including those whom it persecutes for the non-violent "crimes" of speaking out and practicing religion. And, are these really crimes when the Chinese Constitution says that there is freedom of speech and freedom of religion in China? There is much that is hideously unfair about persecution under the CCP.

It is also true that the CCP was originally a copy of the Soviet Communist Party, and that communism arose in Europe, not China. Therefore, Chinese Communism is not Chinese; it is a foreign import. Hardcore Chinese nationalists ought to see and acknowledge the world wide imperative to get rid of the CCP as the only way to stop its killing spree and to restore human rights to the people -- Chinese as well as Tibetan, and others who are persecuted in Darfur, Burma, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos.

Since 1949, Tibet did not kill 1.2 million people. Jack Cafferty did not kill 1.2 million people. However, the CCP did kill 1.2 million people. Some people want to criticize and protest. The first priority for criticism and protest should be the CCP. Chinese who point their fingers elsewhere are only fooling themselves, and Jack Cafferty is not the type to be taken in by propaganda as written by Chairman Mao. Blame Mao, not Cafferty.

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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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