For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.
1 Timothy 6:10
There are a lot of arguments that can be made for trading with China,
but none that should be taken seriously about making this relationship
permanent at this time. Why then, are Mr. Clinton and congressional
leaders willing to ignore security concerns and China's horrendous human
rights violations in order to please the international business
community? It's about money, our money.
Advertisement - story continues below
If Congress can be persuaded to exempt China from the annual
Smith-Vanick review, these international businessmen can have their
factories in China underwritten by the Export-Import Bank and other
taxpayer-backed programs. This means that companies like AT&T, Bechtel,
Boeing, General Electric and McDonnell Douglas -- the bank's five
biggest recipients of EX-IM largess over the last decade -- will be able
to use tax dollars collected from waitresses, teachers, auto mechanics,
truck drivers and nurses to finance their China projects. If these
projects fail, U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the bag. If they
prosper, taxpayers will not see one dime of those profits. It also will
mean the green light for more private investments.
Members of the international business community have grown
increasingly impatient. For years, they have been forking over lots of
dough for the political coffers of their friends in Congress, and they
haven't seen any results. A couple of months ago, they marched over to
Capitol Hill and told Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House Speaker
Denny Hastert and company that they were sick and tired and they weren't
going to wait any longer. "Deliver Permanent Normal Trade status for
China or else!" The "or else" means: "Get yourselves re-elected without
Just last week Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., urged President Clinton to
declassify CIA documents that he said would show Congress and the
American people the true nature of the national security threat that
China poses to the United States. It isn't going to happen. Wolf's
friends in Congress, who are on the receiving end of all that
international money, aren't going to let it happen, even if Mr. Clinton
were willing, which he is not.
Any member of Congress can receive the same CIA briefing Wolf
received. However, to date, only 40 of our 435 voting House members
have requested it, and the vote on PNTR for China is expected today.
Advertisement - story continues below
How can our leaders in Congress in good conscience allow this vote
without such a briefing? The answer is, they simply have put their
consciences on the shelf. Perhaps in their minds, they see this money as
essential to their re-election and they see their return, and Republican
control of Congress, as a greater good.
Many respected religious leaders also are lobbying hard for PNTR,
which is giving many men and women of conscience permission to ignore
the plight of Chinese Christians and other people of faith who have been
thrown into the Laogai and treated like animals because they refuse to
bow down and worship at a state church. These religious leaders truly
may believe that their ends -- getting their ministries into China --
justify the means, but could this belief be affected by the amount of
money they raise to support their China ministries?
Wei Jingsheng, who spent a total of 19 years in PRC prisons for
fighting against the communist system, says that Chinese Christians, who
are willing to go to prison for their faith, feel some of our religious
leaders have betrayed them.
In England in the 1930s, many political and religious leaders were
willing to ignore the persecution of the Jews in order to push through
the British-German Trade Council. Five years later, the Germans were
carpet-bombing London. How soon we forget.