WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2006
As if payback for W’s locked-door incident in Beijing last year, the White House allowed a string of frat-boy antics to unnerve Chinese President Hu Jintao on his first official visit to Washington.
The American press is entering its second full day of reporting on the (probably deliberate) miscues and a single heckler that got into the White House press pool using one of those infamous “day passes” (the same way male-prostitute-cum-news-reporter “Jeff Gannon” got access to the President numerous times). The heckler, Wang Wenyi, is from the shadowy “Epoch Times” an anti-China propaganda broadsheet that is distributed free throughout the USA by its private publishers.
The Epoch Times website is hosted in Georgia and registered to one “Zhang Tang” of Suwanee, Georgia, in a bland tract home in an area of northern Georgia – South Carolina described as the buckle of the bible belt. The Epoch Times officers are known Falun Gong practitioners and the operation is part of a loose network of media devoted to spreading “end times” and survivalist messages. It is a tool of Chinese dissident Li Hongzhi’s Falun Dafa cult and the recipient of USA taxpayers’ money via the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and probably the CIA.
It is highly unlikely the White House did not expect the Epoch Times crew to protest. The Falun Dafa follow and protest whenever and wherever senior Chinese officials visit “western’ nations. Protesters appeared everywhere Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao went in Australia earlier this month. Further, Wang Wenyi is not unknown. She heckled former President Jiang in Malta back in 2001.
Of course the “in your face” reception (to use the words of GE/NBC’s Today Show White House reporter) to President Hu is designed – and dutifully reported – to obscure the complete failure of the Bush administration to obtain any concessions from the Chinese on trade, currency, or Iran.
The American public is easily receptive to denigrating China on human rights. So we can add the picture of a high-strung cultist yelling at China’s president to the images of goose-stepping soldiers and tanks that usually accompany news stories on China.
The hazing of President Hu only sets back the real need to begin cooperating – not confronting – the Chinese. And cooperation is the only option for our relations with the Chinese. Containment is impossible today and confrontation is lunacy as it risks war – nuclear war.
Unfortunately, neither party in America has a China policy that is the least bit coherent. When push comes to shove the only policy weapon that gets trot out these days is the issue of intellectual property which is absolutely hollow. As if the profit margin of Disney were a national security concern. China is not alone – never has been – in abusing “foreign” copyrights. Who did President Hu visit first this week? Bill Gates. Do you think he’s seriously concerned about intellectual property? Bill Gates is looking beyond the sales of Windows. He’s interested in the already hundreds of millions of young Chinese video gamers.
When he was the Democrat leader in the 2004 race, Howard Dean began the presentation of his foreign policy prerogatives by saying that he believed USA-China relations were governed by the one-china policy and the “three communiqués” (Shanghai 1972, establishment of diplomatic relations 1979, agreement on (ending) arms sales to Taiwan 1982). Dean made this statement with no enthusiasm; indeed it was with a reluctant sigh. The Republicans we can thank for the whole USA-Taiwan-China labyrinth laid out in the Taiwan Relations Act 1979 and the “six assurances” of ’82. But both parties are in complete agreement overall in ensuring only one thing with China relations: unfettered access to China for American multinationals. Even the Taiwan Relations Act is nothing more than Congressional pork for defense contractors in Republican districts.
The argument on trade is absurd. WalMart buys 10-15% of USA imports and resells them for 10 times the price. Most of China’s exports to the USA – our scary trade deficit – are owned by USA multinationals. Not long before he died Richard Nixon said that human rights was dead as an issue with the Chinese and under W we have no moral stand to take whatsoever on that issue thanks to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.
So what do you think Hu and Bush are really talking about? Currency? The important central banks have already factored in the expected appreciation for this year and the next. Trade? We could easily tip that scale in our favor by selling arms to the Chinese or satellites and supercomputers. Our competing interests in Iran? Or just lots of glad-handing by the leaders of two very rich and successful political parties?
©2006 Ben Calmes for Sinomania!