Saturday, June 04, 2005

The 16th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

It's hard to believe that that one courageous man stood in front of a line of tanks sixteen years ago. Unfortunately, his sacrifice, & that of the countless other who lost their lives to that one brief flicker of democracy in China has been for naught. China is still a dictatorship & is as oppressive as ever. The government monitors all communication, particularly electronic, & censors the news heavily. Free elections & real democracy is forbidden. The one thing that has changed is the rapid pace of industrialization. It seems that the oppression has gotten worse with no resistance what so ever. It makes you wonder if there are still people like that man, people willing to risk their lives for liberty in China.

How is it that in this age of the world wide web, in a country were a fair percentage of the population has access to the Internet, a Communist dictatorship remains unquestioned by anyone? The Chinese have created their won brand of despotism by weaving a capitalist economy with a Communist government. Let me qualify that statement by adding that they do not practice true capitalism, all enterprises require the blessing & "patronage" of a Communist party official. You can imagine what a bonanza this is for them, unlimited power & easy money.

Of course the reason it has been allowed to progress is, because this arrangement has imparted some benefits to the ordinary people of China by allowing a middle class to grow & prosper. These were people who lived without plumbing & running water, therefore, being able to get these basic facilities was a cause of great satisfaction. They have been led to believe that this arrangement will continue to allow them to prosper.

But, not everyone has prospered under the arrangement. The rural peasants, who make up a majority of the population, are doing worse that ever. However, their plight is kept our of sight & out of mind by the glitzy images of gaudy neon lights & skyscrapers & cell phone toting city dwellers in designer clothes. However, the real genius of the new Chinese leaders is their PR strategy. Their propaganda machine is far more effective than Stalin could ever have dreamed of. Save for a token mention of human rights here & there, no one is too concerned about the situation, nor is anyone doing any sort of real investigation into the true state of the lives of the Chinese people.

But, the despots know that their time is running out. They do not feel secure & are prepared to take action in order to maintain their cushy positions. Recently, they arrested a journalist from Hong Kong, Ching Cheong, to prevent him from publishing a series of secret interviews of Zhao Ziyan, conducted over a period of several years. Mr Ziyang, who passed away in January while under house arrest, was a former premier and party chief who opposed the Tiananmen massacre. He was arrested & interrogated (AI gulag watch, were are you?) concerning the details of a manuscript of a book he was planning to publish the conversations with Zhao Ziyan. Not only did they trick Mr. Cheong into coming into China, but they tried to do so to his wife. Luckily, she remain safe in Hong Kong thanks to Mr. Cheong's courage, he yelled for her to stay in Hong Kong, when a guard detaining him invited her to come & see him. I can't imagine what price he paid for that heroic act. God Bless him.

Another telling incident has been the arrest of a New York Times researcher Zhao Yan. Authorities have yet to release the full reason for his arrest, the current one being "providing state secrets to foreigners". The true reason for his arrest, he has been denied access to a lawyer & his family is barred from seeing him (AI gulag watch, were are you?), is most likely his reporting of instances in which party officials abused peasant farmers. Mr. Yan had also spent three years in prison for being a member of a failed attempt to create a new political party, according to China Labor Watch, which first reported his detention.

Are these signs of the possibility of a free China? Clearly, the panic shown by the Communist party at the prospect of the publication of a book about the Tiananmen massacre tells of the existence of a hidden desier for liberty. The existence of movements to start new political parties is also indicative of a want for a new direction for the governance of China. However, the question remains, will the forces of freedom be able to overcome the ruthless & efficient despots clever enough to maintain the beautiful facade?

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The Detainees Flushed & Desecrated the Korans

I have full confidence that Amnesty International & the ACLU will take prompt action on this. After all, shouldn't they work to prevent ANYONE from ever desecrating a Koran? And the mobs all over Pakistan & the Middle East will, I am sure, resume their rioting activities in light of this latest development.

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WMD's

Were they removed right before the overthrow of Saddam?

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French "Fighter" Jets

This is just too funny.

Nine French fighter jets and a radar plane stayed overnight at Atlantic City International Airport after bad weather prevented them from returning to their aircraft carrier off the Virginia coast, authorities said Friday.
The planes, low on fuel, initially asked for permission to land Thursday at a United States military installation but lacked the clearance number, said Noel Clay, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department.The planes, which had been conducting military exercises, then sought and received permission for emergency landings at the airport here around 3:45 p.m.

Hmmm. They are conducting military exercises, which are generally dress rehearsals for actual situations, & they run out of fuel while over a foreign country. Lucky for them we don't hold grudges. Imagine if this had happened over a country that was really ticked off with them. Gen. Schwartzcopf's comment that "going to war without the French is like going hunting without your bagpipe" is starting to make more sense than ever. Maybe we should thank them for not joining the coalition. Incompetent allies like this can be a bundle of trouble.

HAT TIP: NRO Corner, K. J. Lopez

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Europe

I must admit that I find Europe baffling. We saved them from untold horrors TWICE, gave them generous economic assistance through programs like the Marshall Plan, and still, they are incredibly hostile to us. Not just disgruntled or annoyed, but actively hostile.

Another thing I don't understand is, how it is they can brush off the threat of Islamic terrorism. When Bin Laden talks about restoring the caliphate, he means Europe too. There are groups who openly state their goal as being the Islamification of Europe. The murder of Theo Van Gogh seems to have opened up the eyes of the Dutch. Who knows, perhaps the recent No, to the EU constitution, which would have made bureaucrats in Brussels responsible for setting immigration policies, is a sign of the Europeans waking up & smelling the invaders at the gates.

Like it or not, we have deep ties to Europe, not just diplomatic, but ties of blood. Many of us have family across the pond, therefore, the fate of Europe is not one we can ignore. Also, like the 9/11 cell, many terrorist groups have operations on both continents, it appears that most Islamic terrorists do not distinguish between America & Europe, they simply group both as, the West.

As Aaron points out, part of the reasons behind the European reactions to the war on terror, is the intransigent anti-Americaness which is endemic to Europe. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, seems to be the anthem to this sad drama. This attitude is a lot like that of a rebellious teen who takes drugs simply because it upsets his parents, in spite of harm it does to his own mind & body. I hope they grow up soon & realize that we are not the enemy.

To learn more about the situation in Europe, visit Aaron at Partial Transcripts.

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