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When you look at the list of members of the U.S. House of
Representatives who last week voted against the resolution to disapprove
Normal Trading Status for China, you will find the names of many moral
conservatives, men and women of conscience, who under most any other
circumstance would have put their jobs on the line in order to do the
right thing.

Nine of the 13 House managers, who went to the mat on the impeachment
of William Jefferson Clinton, succumbed: Bill McCollum, George Gekas,
Charles Canady, Steve Buyer, Ed Bryant, Steve Chabot, Asa Hutchinson,
Christopher Cannon and James Rogan.

Four of the five Republicans, who are members of the House Select
Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns
with the People’s Republic of China, voted to overlook the facts laid
bare in their shocking three-volume report released in May. Porter
Goss, Doug Bereuter, James Hansen and Curt Weldon apparently don’t see
the fact that the PRC has acquired “classified U.S. nuclear weapons
information as the result of a 20-year intelligence collection program
to develop modern thermonuclear weapons,” and that this spying is
“continuing to this very day” as such a big deal that it can’t be
ignored when push comes to shove with their big business campaign
contributions. In fact, the only members on that committee who voted to
deny China NTS, were Chairman Christopher Cox and Democrats John Spratt
and Bobby Scott.

Why were all these men willing to reward China at a time like this?
Even well known Christians like Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, Earnest Istook,
Steve Largent, Jim Ryun, and J.C. Watts were willing to ignore the
plight of their brothers and sisters in chains long enough to cast their
“no” vote? China’s most famous dissident, Harry Wu, believes it was
because two of this nation’s most respected Christian ministers gave
them permission to do so. During a key moment in the debate, after Rep.
Frank Wolf, R-Va., had made a particularly compelling case for denying
China NTS, Rep. Philip Crane, R-Ill., shot him down by saying that Billy
Graham and Pat Robertson believe it best to keep China’s trading status
in place. Wu said, “This is what disturbs me most.”

Wu, who spent 19 years in the laogai, says the long hours of
backbreaking work that never ends in those Chinese hell holes is not the
worst thing that happens to those who are imprisoned for their faith.
It’s the re-education methods employed by the guards. He related a
story of a priest, who recently was thrown into solitary confinement for
seven days because he was caught praying. This poor man was put into a
cramped, dark cubical where he could not sit or lie down because the
floor of the cell, which had no toilet, was covered with one foot of
water. Wu said, “This is not uncommon.” He said that when he was in
the laogai, the only way he managed to keep his sanity under those
conditions was to think of himself as an animal with no rights.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who chairs the House subcommittee on
International Operations and Human Rights, echoed Wu’s sentiments on the
part that Graham and Robertson played in derailing this vote. Smith
said, “While I believe that Billy Graham is a great preacher of the
gospel, he actually gives aid and comfort (to China) and his son more
so.”

Smith related details of a meeting he had with Franklin Graham, who
brought some Chinese leaders to his office to meet with him. “I
confronted those leaders with the fact that they are in charge of
keeping anyone who really wants to practice his faith out of the state
churches. Whole parts of the Bible are excised out, including the
entire book of Revelations, and no one under 18 is allowed to study the
gospel. Franklin got very upset because he thought I was being impolite
to his Communist friends, but their whole role in life is to make sure
the church does not expand and that it is a showcase for international
audiences.”

Smith believes there is a problem with that. “Mathew 25 asks, ‘When I
was in prison, did you come and visit me?’ I always raise that with
those who work hand in hand with the Communists thinking this is the
best deal they can get. I raised this with the clerics in Romania who
were backing Nicholas Ceausescu. I always ask these people, ‘When is
the last time you went and visited your tortured Christian brethren in
those prisons or raised these matters with your Communist friends? Here
you have a situation where you could mitigate some of their suffering,
maybe make sure they get at least one meal a day or make sure the cattle
prods aren’t used against them.’” Smith says that when he asks these
questions, he always gets blank stares.

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, says
he understands perfectly well why Pat Robertson and Billy Graham are
saying “nice things” about China. “They want their particular
organizations to be able to operate in China. Pat Robertson is now able
to hold events in China. Billy Graham is able to go to China and
preach. I encourage them to go to China to try to convert the Chinese
people, but they shouldn’t allow themselves to be used by China in this
way.”

Two years ago, Ned Graham of East Gates sent out a donor letter
telling why he didn’t speak out publicly against China. He wrote of the
opportunity that his sons had to visit the region and “experience
China.”

Fortunately, American Christians do not have the opportunity for the
real China experience. If we did it would provoke an international
incident. Rev. Steven Snyder, the founder of the human rights
organization, International Christian Concern, just returned from
visiting members of the underground church there, and told of the
deaths, beatings, torture, and lengthy prison sentences of Christian
believers who definitely worship outside of the state-controlled
churches. Snyder questioned, “What possibly can we teach them about
faith?”

In addition to the human rights abuse and the attempt to buy our
elections, most members of Congress say they are extremely concerned
about national security and the theft of our defense secrets. However,
by day, many of the same people who were voting for the status quo, by
night were on national television hyperventilating over the latest
Chinagate revelations. Can anyone take their concerns seriously now?

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