Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Rice should see China's true face

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began her first trip to Asia after taking up her new post in late January. Besides the issue of peace between India and Pakistan, another likely focus of Rice's trip will be the current unstable situation in East Asia. The two most dangerous hotspots in the region are caused by two Stalinist regimes -- North Korea and China -- which threaten regional peace.

After former US president Richard Nixon opened the door to China in 1972, the US' China policy -- under the guidance of national security adviser Henry Kissinger -- became enthralled by a romantic, even mystical view of China's potential. That led to the mistaken belief that this socialist regime with so-called "Chinese characteristics" would be different from other such regimes. The striped-pants set at the US State Department convinced itself that patience and gentle prodding would create economic development, the appearance of a middle class and the peaceful transformation of China into a stable society. This, despite the fact that the Communist regime had just killed 20 million of its own people during the Cultural Revolution.

We hope that on her trip through Asia, Rice will discern the true face of China's communist government. There are some signs this has already happened. Why else would the US have used unusually strong language in its human rights report published on Feb. 28 to condemn China's violations, including the use of the US-led war on terror as a pretext for brutally suppressing Uygurs and Muslims in China's northwestern Xinjiang Province? The report points out that in 2003, China imprisoned hundreds of thousands of its own people without trial. This is evidence that the result of China's growing economic prosperity and national power has merely been to let a small, corrupt clutch of leaders and their families enjoy the fruits of reform and deregulation, while the Communist Party's monopoly on power and willful disregard for human rights remains unchanged.

If former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) really had been the enlightened person some in the West believed him to be, then he wouldn't have secretly deployed more than 500 missiles aimed at Taiwan in the 1990s, at a time when Taiwanese businesspeople were investing hundreds of billions of US dollars in China. Today, estimates put the number of these missiles at 700, and rising fast.

Furthermore, there was no need for Jiang's successors Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) to pressure Washington early this year to restrain Taipei from pursuing formal independence. Although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Feb. 24 reiterated his pledge not to declare independence during his term, the National People's Congress still passed the "anti-secession" law. While doing so, it has tried to dupe both the Taiwanese and US governments by claiming that the law is only meant to suppress Taiwan "independence forces." Just as there were signs of cross-strait detente, Beijing dropped a bomb which has ignited tensions further. Small wonder then -- given China's blatant violation of commitments between it, Taiwan and the US -- that the Washington Post used the phrase "Brazen China" when condemning China's actions in its Monday edition.

Rice should see through Beijing's two-faced strategy and realize that in China's repressive regime, there is no such a thing as an enlightened leader. They are all a bunch of thugs whose paramount interest is to preserve the CCP's stranglehold on power. Beijing's autocrats will not risk losing their cherished monopoly on power by introducing a democratic electoral system.

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