Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 8 News List


Barking up the wrong tree

The speech entitled "A strong and moderate Taiwan" delivered by US Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Thomas Christensen to the US-Taiwan Business Council Defense Industry Conference at Annapolis, Maryland, on Tuesday was unusual diplomatic posturing that serves the purpose of appeasing China's communist rulers but does nothing to advance the objective of securing long-term peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the root of cross-strait tension is the inability of China's communist rulers to respect the will of people both inside and outside China's borders. With the ever-increasing Chinese military build up and the US' growing objection to overseas military intervention, the notion that the US is indefinitely capable of or willing to maintain tranquility across the Taiwan Strait is simply a myth.

The US' policy needs to focus steadfastly on transforming China into a stakeholder that is confident enough to negotiate with Taiwan on an equal footing. To do otherwise, such as the ill-conceived "frontal attack" on a democratically elected president of Taiwan, will do nothing but leave China's pledge of a "peaceful rise" sounding hollow and deceitful.

Lee Tun-Hou

Boston, Massachusetts

The IOC should wake up

When police in Beijing prevented the wife of an imprisoned Chinese social activist from going to the Philippines to receive a prestigious international humanitarian award on behalf of her husband, the international Olympic community should have been outraged by this brazen Soviet-style thuggery. And yet barely a peep was heard around the world. Even the Magsaysay Foundation, a private organization, refused to criticize China publicly.

What is going on here? In the run-up to next year's Olympics in China, the Chinese government forcibly prevents a Chinese citizen from traveling to a foreign country to receive a humanitarian leadership award for her imprisoned husband -- a 35-year-old blind man who is behind bars for unmasking abuses such as forced sterilizations and women being made to have abortions eight months into their pregnancy -- and the international Olympic community behaves as if nothing happened. Where is the world's conscience today?

Yuan Weijing (袁偉靜) is the wife of Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), and she should be free to travel anywhere in the world. She has a valid passport and a visa from the Philippine government. What China did to her is immoral, unconscionable.

Why did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) give next year's Games to China if this same nation is going to make a mockery of the concepts of freedom and justice and morality? It's not as if the IOC wasn't warned.

This incident should really serve as proof that China does not deserve to host the Olympics. It's time to call China on the carpet and stop all preparations for the Olympics. A country that does not allow the wife of a jailed man to travel abroad to pick up an international award for her husband is a country that does not deserve to host the Olympics. It's that simple. Is an international boycott gaining steam now? Maybe.

When will the international community wake up to the very "un-Olympic" spirit of the current Chinese communist regime?

If China can prevent one of its own citizens from going overseas to pick up an international leadership award without any rational explanation, then how can the members of the IOC in all good conscience continue to prepare for next year's Games in Beijing? What China did to Yuan's wife is an outrage, or should be.

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