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Opinion: America's Tortured China Policy

May 15, 2009

By Maura Moynihan
Phayul
May 13, 2009

When Americans discovered that the Bush
Administration used torture techniques detailed
in a Chinese Communist military manual from the
1950’s, citizens and legislators across the
nation were outraged and demanded an
investigation. Torture is illegal in the United
States, and President Obama has stated that
torture does not reflect American values.

In the People’s Republic of China there is no
such public debate, for in China’s totalitarian
dictatorship, soon to celebrate 60 years in
power, torture is an integral part of governance.

So why does the United States of America continue
to relocate manufacturing, sell T-Bills and hand
over all manner of high-tech hardware to the
Chinese Communist Party, a regime that routinely
tortures Buddhist monks, AIDS activists, bloggers
and labor organizers? Has America’s policy of
“constructive engagement” with China deteriorated
into craven appeasement of a vast totalitarian
dictatorship? Our close relationship with China
is deemed “vital” to preserving the global
economic order, but it has entangled America in a
policy that is both morally repugnant and politically dangerous.

As America and China have become close friends
and trading partners in recent years, America’s
democratic institutions have been dangerously
attacked. We have witnessed a shocking erosion of
civil liberties and press freedom, the doctrine
of “pre-emptive war” and a vigorous effort to
legalize torture. Is it merely coincidence? The
tragic legacy of allowing bankers to dictate
foreign policy? Those Wall Street analysts whose
passion for de-regulation created the global
economic crisis are the same fellows who for
years predicted that market capitalism would
magically give rise to democracy in China. Now
the global economy is collapsing, China is
becoming more repressive and playing tough with
every neighbor and trading partner, and getting
its way. Where's the free press and independent
judiciary that the MacDonald’s Corporation was supposed to fabricate?

If you wish to study the grotesque particulars of
Communist China’s torture techniques, study
Tibet. Human rights researchers have for decades
agreed that China uses Tibet as a torture
laboratory, to develop and practice torture
methods of extreme cruelty, a reminder to all
free-thinking Tibetans that the totalitarian
order prevails, and anyone who challenges it will
be shackled, whipped, beaten, starved and killed.

Torture in Tibet has increased as an instrument
of state policy under China’ "Strike Hard" policy
-- implemented in 1995, moments after the Clinton
Administration de-linked trade and human rights.
Tibetan civilians, of all ages, are routinely
arrested and tortured for such crimes as waving
the Tibetan flag or proclaiming allegiance to the
Dalai Lama. New videos and film of men, women and
children killed under torture have streamed out
of Tibet since the populist uprising of March
2008. The Chinese Communist torture tactics
dating from the Korea War are not only still in
use, they have been enhanced by new technologies,
in particular, electric batons and wires.

Nonetheless, policy makers in the west continue
to de-link the obscene record of barbarism in
China’s Tibet from the "constructive engagement"
myth. Meanwhile, China is exploiting the economic
crisis to push human rights and Tibet off the
table, and is aggressively punishing heads of
state who have the temerity to meet the Dalai
Lama, the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate. Many heads of state are bending to
Beijing’s will. Support for Tibet is eroding, as
foundations, academies and governmental agencies
discreetly cancel funding for projects linked to
the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The Dalai Lama’s
popularity does not translate into tangible
support for his people; the Tibetan refugees hang
by a slender thread, which cannot hold indefinitely.

The disastrous misreading of the nature of the
Communist China regime has western powers
ensnarled in a policy morass. A new report from
the European Council on Foreign Relations states:
"The EU’s China strategy is based on an
anachronistic belief that China, under the
influence of European engagement, will liberalize
its economy, improve the rule of law and
democratize its politics. Yet ... China’s foreign
and domestic policy has evolved in a way that has
paid little heed to European values, and today
Beijing regularly contravenes or even undermines them."

For decades Chinese soldiers have slaughtered
men, women and children in Tibet as heads of
state looked away in uncomfortable silence.
China's barbarous treatment of a helpless
civilian populace in Tibet exposes the
uncomfortable truth that China remains a rigid
totalitarian state. 30 years of market capitalism
and foreign investment did not nurture democracy;
it made the Chinese Communist Party rich and powerful.

America spent billions to fight communism in the
former Soviet Union, while investing billions in
the People’s Republic of China. America has
become the Chinese Communist Party’s chief
enabler and ally. As the economic crisis
threatens the supremacy of the western powers,
China is poised to become global emperor, and
will likely accrue more power in the Maoist way;
from the barrel of a gun. How will the United
States and other NATO powers respond should China
strike hard on India, Taiwan, Japan, or the West?
What cards will the western powers have to play,
when it was western corporations who willingly
handed China our computer codes and surveillance
cameras in the quest for profit?

Chin Jin, of the Federation for a Democratic
China, journeyed to Dharamsala to stand with the
Dalai Lama on March 10th 2009, the 50th
anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising. On his last
day in India, Chin Jin recalled; “I was a
teenager in Shanghai in 1972, when Nixon came to
China. An elderly friend of my father’s started
to cry when Nixon came, he said, ‘now the USA has
come to the rescue of the Communist Party, and
this will prolong the suffering of the Chinese
people for many more years.’ He was right. If the
western powers don’t use their leverage to
promote political reform in China, if they keep
this dictatorship in power, it will be a tragedy
not only for the Chinese and Tibetan people, but the world."
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