President Bush, China, and human rights

Although I lived in East Asia for four years, I never visited China. Although I’d love to see it, my conscience won’t allow me to give a penny to its corrupt and immoral leadership, particularly after my experience with Tibetan refugees in India.

So I find myself in the slightly odd position of agreeing wholeheartedly with President Bush (!) when he said yesterday,

The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings. So America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents and human rights advocates and religious activists…

Ultimately, only China can decide what course it will follow. America and our partners are realistic, and we’re prepared for any possibility. I’m optimistic about China’s future. Young people who grow up with the freedom to trade goods will ultimately demand the freedom to trade ideas, especially on an unrestricted Internet. Change in China will arrive on its own terms and in keeping with its own history and its own traditions. Yet change will arrive. And it will be clear for all to see that those who aspire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the future of China.

As a member of Amnesty International, I entirely support this view, and applaud his speaking out.

In entirely unrelated news, another superpower has finally tried someone whom it imprisoned for five years with no habeas corpus. The jury disregarded the ruling regime’s request for a 30 year prison sentence, instead choosing to imprison him until early next year. The judge said, “I hope the day comes when you return to your wife and your daughters and your country.”

However, the regime has said that it will not release him when his sentence is finished, but will incarcerate him indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay.

I look forward to President Bush’s similar denunciation of this violation of human rights.

2 Responses to “ President Bush, China, and human rights ”

Comment by iheni

As you know Bruce I am heart and soul about China and it’s people having lived there for 4 years myself.

I agree with you about what Bush has said but much like my attitude to propaganda on Chinese Central Television and Fox News this is all for show which your reference to the detainee in Guantanamo attests to.

It has to be stressed that governments are not people. I know we all know that but it does need to be reiterated from time to time especially when you have high profile figures such as Sharon Stone being so offensive and naive with her recent comments about the Sichuan earthquake.

It is with a mixture of pride and sadness that I’m looking at China today but what I know best are my friends in China, ex students and colleagues all have a firm hold on what is going on and I couldn’t imagine better people to, as quoted above “demand freedom to trade ideas, especially on an unrestricted Internet”.

If anyone is interested in what people on the street are really saying and feeling follow these guys on Twitter:

Christinelu (Founder of The China Business Network, based in LA but very plugged into China)
fuzheado (Wikipedian, book author, China watcher, former journalism professor at Columbia and HKU)
Kaiserkuo (Chinese-American digital strategist, writer, blogger, guitarist, father of two in Beijing)
Kk (Based in Canada but currently in Beijing, great Flickr stream)
beijing888 (tweets from Beijing)

Twitter, for me, is the first time I have felt connected to China since leaving and is absolutely my channel of choice for news.