TOMORROW, THE president who once denounced his predecessor for "coddling dictators" in China will coddle China's supreme dictator at the White House. The obscenity of the moment will be mitigated only by the fact that thousands of protesters will be in the streets, bearing witness to the truth of the brutal junta Jiang Zemin commands.
President Bill Clinton toasts Chinese ruler Jiang Zemin at a White House banquet.
Everywhere he goes — Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the memorial at Pearl Harbor, Harvard — Jiang is being fawned over by government officials and flattered by corporate eminentos. For China's Communist rulers, this is a week of triumph. For China's persecuted people, it is another week without freedom; another week of oppression.
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"The police have come to make arrests," the party secretary declared. Immediately several men in black padded jackets . . . pulled the alleged culprit out of the crowd. I watched with horror. One of the black jackets . . . thrust the victim's arms behind his back while another pulled from his pocket a length of rope and expertly lashed it around one of the frightened worker's wrists. Instantly he passed the rope toward the man's chest, under one shoulder, behind his neck, and under the second shoulder before tying a quick slip knot onto the second wrist. A third security guard then kneed the accused man in the stomach and forced his chin sharply backward. . . . This trussing took only a few seconds.
Within a minute or two the victim had fallen on the ground unconscious. I watched his face turn from red to dark brown to almost black before all the color drained away, leaving a deathly white. . . .
During my nine years in the camps, I had seen many beatings but never the cold efficiency of this rope torture. The meeting left me shaken.
— Harry Wu, Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag (1994)
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Huang told us that the birth planning workers in Anshan had not been content with half-measures. All women of childbearing age . . . had been subjected to quarterly pelvic examinations. Women pregnant with illegal children had been exposed early and ordered to go in for an abortion. According to Huang, the Anshan cadres gave women a simple choice: "Either go willingly, or we will take you by force."
To illustrate their resolve, she recounted how they had arrested a woman who was 8½ months pregnant. . . . It had taken four or five birth-planning workers to drag her, struggling and crying, through the streets to the hospital. Her husband and parents had followed in tears, forming a kind of funeral procession for the doomed baby, who was promptly aborted. "You might think that this was a barbaric act," Huang concluded. "You would be wrong. The Anshan workers were carrying out the great birth planning program of the party. Without such determination, how will we ever achieve the Four Modernizations?"
— Steven W. Mosher, A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy (1993)
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Tibetan children are also reported to have been tortured. In one of several testimonies received by Amnesty International, a teenager said that he and five other youths, including one aged 13, were kicked and beaten with belts by police officers when they were arrested in December 1993 for singing nationalist songs. After being taken to a police station, the youth were forced to remove most of their clothes and were beaten with a whip made of wires. . . .
Torture and ill-treatment are also reported to be routine during police raids on unapproved religious meetings. In February 1995, Li Dexian, an evangelist from Guangzhou, was about to address a house-church meeting in Beixing township near Huadu in Guangdong when police officers arrived. According to reports, they kicked him in the groin in front of the congregation, then took him to the police station, where he was beaten with a heavy pole, jumped on, and kicked . . . until he vomited blood.
— Amnesty International, China: No One Is Safe (1996)
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The Chinese government has praised Shanghai's municipal orphanage extensively as a national model. . . . Behind the institution's glossy official image, however, lies a pattern of horrifying abuse. The brutal treatment of orphans in Shanghai, which has included deliberate starvation, torture, and sexual assault . . . led to the unnatural deaths of well over 1,000 children between 1986 and 1992 alone. . .
The vast majority of children's deaths recorded at the Shanghai orphanage resulted not from lack of access to medical care but from something far more sinister: an apparently systematic program of child elimination.
— Human Rights Watch, Death by Default: A policy of fatal neglect in China's state orphanages (January 1996)
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In 1996 . . . all public dissent against the party and government was effectively silenced by intimidation, exile, the imposition of prison terms, administrative detention, or house arrest.
No dissidents were known to be active at year's end.
- US Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices: China (January 1997)
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).
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