President Clinton defends the indefensible — his plan to visit
Tiananmen Square during his trip to China — by claiming that Beijing is
making progress on the human rights front.

When asked for evidence of this progress, Clinton points to one thing
— the deportation of dissidents such as human rights activist Harry Wu,
who spent years in the Chinese hard-labor gulag for political prisoners.

But Wu makes a great point. Since when is it a benchmark for human
rights progress when a totalitarian regime deports its political
enemies? Such actions have traditionally been considered proof that a
nation does not tolerate dissent. Clinton, in Orwellian fashion, has
turned it into a badge of honor for the butchers of Beijing.

As Wu says, exiling dissidents “itself is a violation of human

Clinton is clearly desperate in his search for any sign that China is
changing its evil ways. “Look,” he seems to say, “they’re not shooting
democratic activists any more. They’re just deporting them.”

Not true. They’re still shooting them, jailing them, forcing them
into slave labor for the state and deporting a handful when it is more
politically expedient than killing them.

Wu didn’t want to leave China. He has risked his life to return so
that he can fight for freedom for the more than 1 billion of his
countrymen all living in one form of slavery or another. He was cast out
twice. Now he wages his fight from America. But, he fears, with the
Clinton administration coddling the vicious dictatorship and U.S.
corporate interests investing heavily in building China’s war machine,
his voice has been effectively muted — just as Beijing had hoped it
would be.

“Appeasement never improves human rights,” Wu said earlier this week.
“Clinton should not show himself in Tiananmen Square. The Chinese want
just that — the leader of the world’s first country at Tiananmen Square
giving the message, ‘The massacre is over.'”

Clinton has agreed to be welcomed in Tiananmen Square — the scene of
the 1989 massacre of thousands of pro-freedom students — because he
doesn’t want to offend the Chinese, according to White House mouthpiece
Mike McCurry.

Clinton argued, in an article he wrote for Newsweek magazine, that
his trip is justified because “the more we bring China into the world,
the more the world will bring freedom to China.” It’s more likely the
more we bring China into the world, the more influence this tyrannical
regime will have on the world — the more accepted its barbaric human
rights record will become and the more other governments and foreign
businesses will kowtow to its every whim. That’s the real paradigm
Clinton is creating — not constructive engagement, but
Chamberlain-style appeasement.

It would be indefensible if Clinton were making this gesture in
normal times. But these are not normal times. This nine-day trip to
China comes at the very moment his administration is under investigation
for selling vital national security secrets to Beijing, for accepting
huge amounts of illegal campaign cash from Beijing and for personally
promoting Chinese military interests here in the United States.

He is being attacked for this visit by Republicans and Democrats
alike — many of the same politicians who sat by tacitly for the last
six years while he demeaned and degraded the office of the presidency in
a thousand other ways and moved our nation in the direction of fascist
police states like China.

Perhaps he admires the way his friends in Beijing operate. Maybe Bill
Clinton, if left to his own devices, would imprison or deport
dissidents, muzzle free speech, make political enemies disappear and
control every aspect of life including even limiting couples to one
child. Will Clinton speak out against such atrocities when he’s in
Beijing? I challenge him to do so. But I doubt he will. He’s made it
clear: He likes the way things are going in China.

To such criticism, listen to the way Clinton defends himself to the
controlled press in China: “There are some people who criticize
everything I do. If I walked out of the White House and I spread my arms
and I proved I could fly, some people would claim that I had done
something wrong.”

No, Mr. President — not if you flew away, never to darken and
cheapen America’s legacy of freedom again.

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