Tue, Aug 23, 2011 - Page 8 News List

High time for China to tear down those gates

By Dan Bloom

Longtime observers of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have said: “The ‘China question’ is open as long as the CCP rules China.”

And as long as the gates of freedom in China remain closed, as long as these ungainly scars of gates are permitted to stand, it is not the China question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all humankind.

Yet, today there is a quiet yet growing message of hope inside China, a message of triumph, where slowly people are trying to take matters into their own hands and set up a democratic movement inside the country that can finally replace the CCP.

Can this revolution happen, and will it happen?

Time will tell and history will be the judge.

Leaders of democratic countries around the world have long understood the practical importance of liberty — that just as truth can flourish only when journalists are given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. China will learn that in time.

In fact, even now, in a limited way, China’s current leaders may be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Beijing about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released, here and there. Certain foreign news broadcasts and Internet sites are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the CCP? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West or to strengthen the Chinese system without changing it?

One must welcome change and openness; for democratic nations believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the CCP can make that would be unmistakable that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, if you seek liberalization: Go soon to those gates of tyranny and replace them with the gates of freedom.

Former US president Ronald Reagan, who understood the old Soviet Union so well, would surely understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict the leaders of China today — and he would know that the West could use all its efforts to help China overcome those burdens. When freedom finally comes to the Chinese people, they and their leaders will be surprised how wonderful it feels.

Today represents a moment of hope.

We in the democratic nations stand ready to cooperate with China to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safer, freer world.

The authoritarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship.

The authoritarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront.

As one looks at China today, from across the seas, one can perhaps catch a glimpse of some words crudely spray-painted upon a city gate, perhaps by a young Beijinger: “This gate will fall. Beliefs will become reality.”

Yes, across China, those unsightly gates will fall someday.

For China, as Reagan knew so well, cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The gates of China will not be able to withstand freedom.

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