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Dont Believe Chinas Promises

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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-05-12 01:35 PM
Original message
Published: May 4, 2012
Fairmount Heights, Md.

FEW people understand the predicament of Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist who sought and then gave up American protection in Beijing, as well as I do. No matter what he has decided, whether to stay in China or to leave, he has made both the right choice and the wrong choice. I faced a similarly difficult situation.

In March 1979, I was arrested and spent more than 14 years in solitary confinement for promoting freedom and democracy, and denouncing Deng Xiaopings attempts to create a new type of dictatorship in China.

In September 1993, one week before the International Olympic Committee voted on Beijings (ultimately unsuccessful) bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics, the Chinese government released me, six months ahead of schedule. This also coincided with President Bill Clintons efforts to persuade Congress to delink human rights and trade by making Chinas most-favored-nation trade status permanent. With Congress deadlocked on the issues, Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher set up a meeting with me in Beijing to seek my views.

When the Chinese government got wind of it, they immediately detained me. The illegal practice, which has recently been written into Chinese law, is called residence under surveillance. An official, who claimed to represent President Jiang Zemin, came to negotiate with me. He had a simple request: I should not meet with the secretary of state, and if I agreed there was no need to make a public statement about my decision.


Our trade relationship with the PRC is perhaps the most stunning example of putting profits ahead of people.
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