Wednesday, January 19, 2011

USA and China normalized relations in 1979: How have human rights fared?

“I want to suggest that there has been an evolution in China over the last 30 years since the first normalization of relations between the United States and China. “And my expectation is that 30 years from now we will have seen further evolution and further change.” - President Barack Obama, January 19, 2010

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

First let us examine the impact of Washington’s engagement with the Chinese government and how it has changed the United States for the worse. On January 1, 1979 the United States normalized relations with China. That same year the one-child policy was instituted. A decade later on June 4, 1989 the Chinese dictatorship engaged in a massive crackdown killing 3,000 Chinese students and workers who had been non-violently protesting in Tiananmen Square. One month later on July 4, 1989 George H.W. Bush sent a secret high level delegation to meet with the Chinese regime and join with them in celebrating American Independence while downplaying any pro-forma criticisms made by the Administration. Candidate Bill Clinton would critique this de-linkage of human rights and commercial interests only to continue the practice during his own administration. This reached a symbolic low point in 1996 when the General responsible for the 1989 massacre was received at the White House with an honor guard.

Twenty years later on July 20, 1999 the Chinese Communist regime banned the Research Society of Falun Dafa and the Falun Gong organization under its control after deeming them to be illegal. Those who refused to renounce their faith were dealt with brutally. In April 2000, Ian Johnson reported on the fate of one of the practitioners:

The day before Chen Zixiu died, her captors again demanded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head. Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited and collapsed. She never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 21.
Since then thousands more have been tortured and killed while many more have been sent into forced labor camps. These practices continue to the present day.

In 2011, Women's Rights Without Frontiers is denouncing forced abortions, sterilizations and sexual slavery in China. This policy that began 32 years ago in 1979 has not improved, but in fact gotten worse:

China’s One Child Policy began in 1979 and continues to the present day. Amnesty International has monitored how it operates in practice and in 1996 published the report China: No one is safe and presented details and specific cases:

Birth control policy in China

The official line
Family planning is “voluntary”, although birth control has been compulsory since 1979. Government demographers recommend stabilization of the population at 1.3 billion by the year 2000, which they say can only be achieved through “strict measures”. “Coercion is not permitted”, according to the State Family Planning Commission.

Some facts
-Women pregnant outside the plan have been abducted and forced to have abortions or undergo sterilization.
-Pregnant women have been detained and threatened until they agree to have abortions.
-People who refuse to comply with the policy have been harassed and some have been ill-treated by officials.
-“Above-quota” new-born babies have reportedly been killed by doctors under pressure from officials.
-The homes of couples who refuse to obey the child quotas have been demolished.
-Relatives of those who cannot pay fines imposed for having had too many children have been held hostage until the money was paid.
-Those helping families to have “above quota” children have been severely punished.
-Those committing human rights violations while enforcing the birth control policy often go unpunished.

A victim
An unmarried woman in Hebei province who had adopted one of her brother’s children was detained several times in an attempt to force her brother to pay fines for having had too many children. In November 1994 she was held for seven days with a dozen other men and women. She was reportedly blindfolded, stripped naked, tied and beaten with an electric baton.
Quote: ‘It was part of my work to force have abortions. In the evening, when the couple was likely to be at home, we would go to their houses and drag the woman out. If the woman was not at home, we would take her husband or another member along and keep them in custody until the woman turned herself in.’ - A former family planning official, 1993

In April of 2010, Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director said:"Forced sterilizations carried out by officials amount to torture and the haste of the procedures raises questions about their safety and possible health impacts."
Is it normal to embrace a mass murdering genocidal regime and treat it as an equal partner and proclaim that things have improved when they have in fact gotten worse? As to the Chinese leadership talking the talk on human rights? They've been doing that since 2000 without improvements on the ground. On the other hand corporate America has sold its soul in the effort to win market share in communist China and even the victims of Chinese repression may have been used for entertainment in BODIES...The Exhibition. This has generated debate in Canada over the exhibition.

This may be change but it is in the wrong direction and it is the United States and other countries that are compromising their moral and ethical traditions and undermining their own societies. Martin Luther King Jr. in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963 observed that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." That also applies to China.

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