Pasadena Star: Letter - Time for shouting
Re Tim Kelly's recent article, "Time for dialogue with China:"
The suggestion made by Kelly - to conduct an open dialogue with China - is a decent idea, but it will probably never happen. What has happened historically, especially after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, is China's willingness to hold only a closed-door dialogue about human rights rather than an open dialogue. It's unfortunate that Western countries have cooperated with China in this regard.
The closed-door dialogue has gone nowhere. Professor Charles Burton of Brock University in Ontario, Canada, produced a widely publicized report last year for the Canadian government concluding that the China-Canada bilateral human rights dialogue has been completely ineffective. He stated that the current Chinese government is not willing to comply with universal norms for human rights because it would undermine its power.
A genuine, open dialogue with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about human rights will probably never happen because it quite possibly would mean the end of the CCP. Why? In an open dialogue, the CCP would be pressured to admit to its wrongdoings and take corrective actions. If hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, religious believers and dissidents were released from prisons and their stories were disseminated worldwide, the CCP would be facing worldwide public condemnation.
Kelly's message is quite hopeful. I would like to clarify, however, a couple important points. It appeared from his article that both sides, the Chinese government and human rights organizations, are obstinate and unwilling to listen to each other. Kelly states, "Instead of civil public discourse and dialogue, we have polarization, vilification and threats that accomplish little." Perhaps he is unaware that for the past eight years in China, 70 to 100 million non-violent Falun Gong practitioners have been slandered, and many have been fired, expelled, tortured or even killed - all the while trying to appeal to the government and create a dialogue.
Furthermore, for the past several years, almost on a daily basis, a handful of elderly women have gone to the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate and attempted to open a dialogue with its officials about human rights, but they have been ignored. There are countless more examples in this regard. I dare say that one side is willing to talk openly.
As for both sides "vilifying" each other, I also do not see it that way. Several human rights organizations attended a recent Pasadena City Council meeting to offer facts about the lack of freedom in Communist China. Five women shared their experiences of being tortured in labor camps or prisons because of their beliefs. This is called exposing, not vilifying.
Some might contend that pressuring China to end its human rights abuses by threatening to ban its float in the Rose Parade is mixing politics with a non-political event. Kelly asserts, "Human rights groups are intent on using the 2008 Olympics as a platform for advancing the cause of dissidents in China and victims in Darfur." The truth is that once the Chinese government is associated in any way to the float, then the float in the parade becomes a political affair in which the CCP can showcase its influence and legitimize its power; it is, therefore, certainly appropriate to take the opportunity to pressure China to disengage in its direct and indirect involvement in killing innocent lives.
It's also important to put China's human rights condition into perspective. In an urgent situation, it is reasonable to shout. When we see that innocent people are being killed, we should shout at the criminal,
Now millions of innocent Chinese people are being persecuted by their government; the first priority should be to stop it as soon as possible. Why are we trying to be friends with the killer?
Letter: Poll says no to float
I want to thank your newspapers for the online poll on whether to have the Beijing Olympic float in the Rose Parade.
As of Oct. 10, there is an overwhelming and resounding opinion to not have the float in the parade. Your readers understand that giving any publicity of this kind to the Chinese Olympics legitimizes the human rights violations that the CCP has perpetrated not only on the citizens of China, but all over the world and specifically Darfur and wherever Falun Gong practitioners reside.
I hope that parade organizers not only disallow the float but that they replace the float with a Chinese non-Communist marching band such as the Tianguo Marching Band. Then people could really see the true nature of Chinese people without the influence of Chinese communism.
Huntington Station, New York