Lee denounces China as `slave state'

INCENDIARY:In the latest speech on his US visit, the former president attacked Beijing, saying it enslaved its people and should be the target of new sanctions


Sun, Oct 23, 2005 - Page 1

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) on Friday accused China of running a "slave state" that uses the false promise of its booming economy to dupe the free world into appeasing its tyranny.

In an explosive speech in Los Angeles on the last leg of a 13-day US tour that has infuriated Beijing, Lee called for capitalist nations to shun investment in China, which he likened to the 1930s appeasement policy towards German dictator Adolf Hitler and later Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

"As long as the capital from free countries continues to pour into China, China's already oppressive practices will become more entrenched and the ensuing and ever-expanding militarism will make the likelihood of transition to a peaceful country ever more unlikely," he said.

He said the US and the world community can influence whether China chooses to pursue regional domination or embrace democracy, and should unite to promote freedom in the world's most populous country.

"Free nations must develop and strengthen their global and regional cooperation in both supporting the people of China in their struggle for freedom and democracy as well as taking measures to stop Chinese acts of oppression and aggression," he said.

"Only in this way will we eventually see a China that is ready to take its place among the family of free nations in Asia," he added in a speech that received a standing ovation from around 100 academics, business leaders and Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher.

Lee accused the West of using a double standard in the way it engages communist China, compared with its isolation of the former Soviet Union that ultimately contributed to its collapse.

"People in the West believed that Soviet human-rights violations and threats to neighboring countries should be stopped.

"But they believe that China's violations of human rights and threats to neighboring countries are `special Chinese characteristics' that can be tolerated," he said.

Lee said that China was using oppression to "create illusory economic growth" that woos foreign investment.

This allowed China "to rapidly build up the economic, military, technological and diplomatic power of its slave system," he said.

"Under conditions that are tantamount to enslavement by the state, [businesses] from capitalist countries are enticed by cheap, obedient labor and cheap land and facilities owned by the state," he said.

Lee, whose last US visit in 1995 prompted Beijing to fire missiles into shipping lanes off Keelung and Kaohsiung, said his country's democracy was threatened by China and its military might and called on the US and he world community to stand up to Beijing.

Lee said China and neighboring North Korea were the last remaining "slave states" holding back the advance of democracy in Asia and threatening the region's security.

"If China insists on maintaining its one-party dictatorship, if it continues to exploit and suppress its people at home and expand its military threats against its democratic neighbors, then China will retain its current status and we will continue to witness the rise of a militarist hegemony," he said.

The speech by Lee was by far the most incendiary towards Beijing of his US visit, eclipsing the rhetoric he used in Washington.

Rohrabacher said it was time for Washington to stop pussy-footing around Beijing, adding that human rights were more important than business dollars.

"I'm not worried so much by whatever the reaction from Beijing will be," he told reporters, referring to Lee's hard-hitting speech.

"It's time for the US government to stop bending over backwards and trying not to make the dictators that run the government in Beijing angry, because we are being too friendly with people who elect their own democratic government in Taiwan," he said.

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