I have been asked to speak briefly on U.S. China relations.
And for the invitation, I thank Tang Baiqiao, one of the strongest anti-communist student leaders from the June 4 uprising – the occasion in 1989 that led to the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Tiananmen Square was like a ton of bricks for Generation X; it was a savage atrocity, a crime against humanity, and an affront to Western sensibilities and American values.
On world television, we got to see the blood, the guts, and the gore from innocent Chinese in Beijing, while they bravely stood for freedom, democracy, and human rights.
It was not forgivable. It was a hideous turn of history, by the hand of evil.
United States China policy took a wrong turn, right then and there. One can say that United States China policy–itself–has been a hideous turn of history, by the hand of George Bush senior; and then by Bill Clinton; and then by George Bush junior.
America could have stood by its values, and stood by its anti-communism. That would have been the right thing to do.
Far from doing the right thing, the U.S. White House began to reward Communist China for bad behavior. The U.S. executive branch seemed to synchronize with the dictators of Beijing, like one hand washing the other.
Far from being curtailed, trade was renewed, and then expanded. This was wrong to begin with, and this remains wrong today. Communist China should be treated like the Soviet Union.
In the past month and a half, it has been heartening to see some stiffening in the spines of the U.S. White House and commentators. And public opinion polling remains anti-communist. Americans were 79% against the “permanent” normalization of trading relations (PNTR), and now they are 75% in favor of a Free Tibet, and staunchly on the side of Taiwan in its ongoing faceoff with Communist China.
Anti-communism never really went away, but it was eclipsed by the treasonous policy of three recent U.S. Presidents. Free trade finances military build up, and enriches China’s communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. It finances human rights abuse–crimes against humanity that will inevitably be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
And in some way, President Hu Jintao is in the same boat with President Barack Obama. Each has a predecessor who launched crimes against humanity. If Hu was an upright leader for China, he would correct the excesses of former President Jiang Zemin. Hu should prosecute Jiang for launching the Falun Gong crackdown with faulty justification.
And, if Barack Obama was an upright leader for America, he would correct the excesses of former President George Bush. Obama should prosecute Bush for launching a war of aggression with faulty justification.
Hu and Obama would have a good place in history if they would alleviate the flawed policies–and deadly outcomes–that they inherited in their national policies.
History is a funny thing. It’s now 21 years since Tiananmen Square, and U.S.-China policy has been an abomination for every minute of those 21 years. –But, the history of these years has included establishment of the International Criminal Court. A new player has quietly made its entrance onto the world stage.
Jiang Zemin and George Bush acted like the ICC didn’t exist, and like they could simply ignore its implications. The world will still come to appreciate the implications of the ICC: Genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity now have recourse. The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but they turn inexorably.
A brighter day is coming for the human rights community. There is a term for the Falun Gong crackdown. It is a bullshit crackdown. And, there is a term for the Iraq war. It is a bullshit war.
Presidents Hu and Obama are world leaders who could make a difference for the better; yet, China and America each need a course correction, and the correction has not yet come from those two offices. Does this mean that Hu and Obama would like to be in the dock with Jiang and Bush, facing justice about the same policies?
Since this is a Chinese democracy event, it is fitting to warn and to caution Beijing. We saw that Tiananmen crackdown; we know it was wrong. We see that Falun Gong crackdown; we see that Tibetan crackdown; and we see that Uighur crackdown. We know these are wrong.
And, it is fitting to appeal to Barack Obama: Stand with us in the face of history’s largest humanitarian disaster: The rule of the Communist Party in China. Change is not optional.
In this movement, we will stand with humanity and demand justice. Thank you very much.