Our Relations with China
Jude Wanniski
June 16, 1998


Memo To: Trent Lott
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: China Chamber of Horrors

Please give me some signal that you were kidding on the Sam and Cokie show Sunday when you reeled off the standard chamber of horrors propaganda on China.

1. We are not at war with China. You appear to have fallen under the evil influence of The Weekly Standard, which thinks we should be at war and are doing everything they can to promote one. They provide the platform for the  military-industrial complex and the Christian Coalition, who have joined in an attempt to provoke Beijing into a confrontation.

2. If China were guilty of the atrocities in your catalog, you should not hesitate to demand an end to the policy of engagement that began in the Nixon administration. We should end MFN and treat this barbarous nation as a rogue nation and prepare for another long Cold War.

3. There is no evidence that the central government or any provincial government has been engaged in forcing abortions in the past dozen years. There have occasionally been reports of local officials in parts of China using some sort of force to prevent families from violating the rules that require payment of a fee to exceed the childbirth resolutions. There are thousands of western journalists roaming all over China these days and if any of them found barbaric practices at this level, they would be known to all of us. You must show more skepticism when the human rights propagandists show up in your office with moth-eaten assertions based on hearsay. If China were a closed country, we could give the wild assertions the benefit of the doubt. It is not a closed country anymore.

4. China’s Ambassador Li, on the Jim Lehrer "NewsHour" Monday night, flatly denied having assisted Pakistan in developing nuclear weaponry. He pointed out that China is a signator to the NPT and has scrupulously lived up to its international commitments. There is no reason to disbelieve him, except for assertions that make the rounds in our press corps without anyone being able to trace them back to a reliable source. When you are confronted by the Weekly Standard propagandists with these arguments, please ask for documented, reliable sources. Don’t let them get away with: “Everyone knows China is lying, Trent.”

5. The idea that China is leasing satellite time from American companies is being treated as evidence of technology transfer, but it is quite the opposite. If our national security was at stake, we should happily subsidize the Chinese leases, making it so cheap for them that they need never attempt to spend the resources developing their own. If they are entirely reliant on our satellites to convey information throughout their military establishment, we could put them in the dark with the flick of a switch.

6. There are no restrictions on religious services in China -- as there are in many part of the Islamic world, among our allies in Saudi Arabia for example. The only complaint comes from Catholics who argue that China will not permit Roman Catholic services unless the congregation in question registers with the state and signs a declaration that it does not recognize the authority of the Holy See. But then, Trent, the Vatican does not recognize Beijing. That will happen soon, I think, as there are private negotiations underway and the Pope is now considering including Hong Kong on his Papal tour next year. The attempt to paint China as a ferocious persecutor of Christianity does not stand up to even casual scrutiny. But then the boys at the Weekly Standard do everything they can to cover up the truth so they can ply their evil among unsuspecting Majority Leaders.

7. There is a rumor the CIA says the Chinese are targeting several west coast cities with ICBMs. Ask for the source of the rumor, Trent. China says there are no warheads on its ICBMs, which the evil plotters quickly say does not matter, because they can be armed in a few minutes. Think of it Trent, the missiles could be targeting Shanghai and with the turn or a few dials they could be armed and aimed at us. What in God’s name is it worth to you as one of the most important political leaders in the world to hear from these clowns that it makes any difference to us that China has ICBMs. We are not at war and unless you weigh in on the side of war, we shouldn’t worry about war with China for at least another hundred years.

8. Ambassador Li on the same Jim Lehrer show defended the military action against the protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989. He argued that it was the right decision for the national government to use force to stamp out the student uprising. It was certainly not surprising to me at the time that the government would use force. Nor is it surprising that the Indonesian government used force in April when 500 rioters died while trying to bring about revolutionary change in the central government. And didn’t you cheer when Boris Yeltsin got control of the military and blew up the Russian White House, its parliament? I’m not saying I approve of any of this killing, Trent. Don’t get me wrong. I am saying that when a body of protest loses control of itself and seeks to overcome an Establishment, it had better prepare to be wiped out. In each of these three cases, by the way, Tiananmen, Moscow and Jakarta, the uprisings and deaths would not have occurred if it were not for the economic instability engendered by policies of the IMF.

9. Otherwise, I thought your performance on Sam & Cokie was most informed. When you deal with information close to home, Trent, your grasp of information is practically flawless. It is when you swallow stuff that is beyond your normal experience that you mess up.