4.25.2006

Apology Shmology

Boy, it's really fun to try and blog once in a while while you work full time. You read something, get yourself all worked up about it, write about it, then kind of forget about it for a week, at which point you don't want to waste what you wrote, but now the story is old news. Great.

So yeah, I wrote this last week. Sue me.

Chinese President Hu Jintao made a visit to the U.S., and some shit went down. Wang Wenyi, a reporter for a Falun Gong newspaper, heckled the President, yelling "Evil people die early! Hu, your days are numbered." To President Bush, she yelled, “President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong! Stop him from killing! Stop the torture and killings! Falun Dafa is good."

"What the hell is she talking about?" you ask.

I don't really know how to describe Falun Gong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong. To me it seems like a weird mix of yoga, Scientology, Buddhism and whatever those dudes in Heaven's Gate believed in, except without any placenta-eating celebrities. Weird and eccentric? Yeah. Dangerous? I don't theenk so.

Well, the Chinese government does think so, and in 1999 made the cult illegal and has been cracking down ever since. Falun Gong members have been beaten, sent to “reeducation” camps, imprisoned, and sent to mental institutions. Many have died while improsoned. I think Scientologists are friggin' weird, but I would never support any sort of government crackdown on them (we'll leave that job to Gawker), unless they were doing something out and out illegal.

The persecution of Falun Gong is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chinese repression of it's citizens and political opponents. Just ask Tibet, Taiwan, and anyone in China who dares challenge or even question the political order in China (thanks Yahoo!).

So, keeping all of this in mind, what do you think President Bush's response was to the heckling by Wang Wenyi? That's right, he apologized to President Hu, and now Wenyi faces Federal charges for “harassing, intimidating or threatening a foreign official”.

Why is the president bending over backwards to protect the feelings of the leader of a country that doesn't allow political or religious freedom? Well, because money talks, motherfucker.

China has managed to keep the repressive political side of Communism. But economically, it has transformed its system into one that has more in common with capitalism than communism. Hear that? I said capitalism. To the U.S., if you embrace any sort of capitalism, then your political sins and repression can be overlooked.

You think I'm wrong? Then tell me, Dear Citizen, why don't we ever invite the head of Cuba, another Communist country, to the U.S.? Hmmm? Is Cuba more of a threat than motherfucking China? I don't theeenk so.

Now don't get me wrong, I actually think it's a good thing to have a dialogue with leaders of other countries, no matter what we think of their political system. What we shouldn't be doing is excusing their behavior and apologizing to them when they are called on their shit. We should be talking to China, but we should also be talking to Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Hamas. We should never excuse their heinous ways, nor should we apologize if one of our citizens calls them on their shit. But we should at least talk. Let them know there is a place at the table for them should they choose to shape up, or at least get on the path towards shaping up.

Ahh...there's the rub.

Our actions of the last five years, the authorization of torture, renditioning of suspects to totalitarian regimes, secret “black site” prisons, illegal wiretapping of citizens, outing covert CIA agents, holding prisoners for years without bringing up charges, all of it combines to rob of us of any moral authority we once had.

Which leaves us sucking up and apologizing to dictators, at least those not named Fidel Castro.
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