Moral Treachery

  Judging by mainstream press accounts, President Clinton's recent trip to China was a resounding success. The media "oohed" over the President's so-called human-rights debate with Chinese leader Jiang Zeming. They "aahed" at his address before students at Beijing University. But while the press may have called Clinton's visit a triumph, for the persecuted church, it was nothing less than a disaster. Thank goodness, at least a couple of observers have called him on it. One of them is Michael Kelly, a senior writer at the National Journal. Kelly called the president's China trip "extraordinary"-but for reasons that the president would not have liked. As Kelly put it, "We didn't change China. China changed us." Until recently, Kelly said, our policy toward China was characterized by linkage. We linked economic and political favors to improvements in China's behavior, both within China and without. Not anymore. Clinton says that "partnership and honest friendship" with China are so important that we just have to accept the Chinese-warts and all. As Kelly writes, the net result of Clinton's trip was that Chinese leaders "learned that they may do as they wish. Linkage is dead." The Chinese now know that they may throw dissidents into prison, force women to have abortions, and sell missiles to anyone they like. And what will Americans do while they're doing it? According to Clinton, we're going to focus on "acknowledging our own human-rights sins" and reminding ourselves not to "impose our [own] vision on" the Chinese. In other words, it's open season on our persecuted brothers and sisters in China. There's only one word for this, and to anyone who remembers Neville Chamberlain and Adolph Hitler, it's one of the ugliest words in the dictionary: appeasement. But, as New York Times columnist A. M. Rosenthal points out, as regards China, the American people are just as guilty as our president. In the face of Chinese atrocities, we have, Rosenthal says, been generally "uncaring, passive or supportive [of the president's policy]." Why? Because we believed that "his betrayals [of democracy] and appeasement policies were creating huge profits for the U.S." For that reason, Rosenthal says that Americans cannot simply sit back and "enjoy the shame of Bill Clinton, assuming he feels any." We have to do something to reverse his moral treachery. Rosenthal is right. And now we have a chance to do just that. Last week, I spoke with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott about the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act. He has agreed to co-sponsor the bill in the Senate. Even better, Lott says he will attempt to use Senate rules to get the bill to the floor for a vote before Congress adjourns. The president is fighting this bill fiercely, so you and I need to call our senators and ask them to support the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act. Since Chinese leaders understand only toughness-which they won't get from Clinton-Jiang and his cohorts need to hear a decisive "no" from the American people. We must overwhelm the sound of those "oohs" and "ahhs" from the American press with the sound of rage.


Chuck Colson


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