Meaningless Sanctions on Chinese Proliferation Dec 28
Silence on North Korea Dec 27
fire kills protestors in Dongzhou Dec 26
Tiananmen happen again? Dec 26
December 28, 2005
America Imposes Meaningless
Sanctions on Chinese Proliferation
Yesterday the United States imposed sanctions on six
state-owned Chinese enterprises for aiding Iran’s chemical weapons and
missile programs. Two of the sanctioned companies—China North
Industries Corporation, better known as Norinco, and China Aero-Technology
Import Export Corporation, often referred to as Catic—are closely connected
to the China’s People’s Liberation Army. Three companies from India and Austria were also sanctioned.
The sanctions, announced by the
State Department, mean that the Chinese companies may not receive U.S. import licenses and may not do business
with the U.S.
The penalties have little
practical effect. Some justify light treatment to avoid riling Beijing. Yet this
approach has not stopped proliferation from China. On the contrary, it
probably has encouraged Chinese leaders to continue irresponsible policies.
If Washington is serious about stopping Chinese
proliferation, it could, for example, impose sanctions where it counts—on the
Chinese government itself—instead of on its instrumentalities. Because
the proliferation of weapon and missile technology poses a serious threat to
the United States,
the penalties should be proportionally severe.
And because sanctions have been
ineffective for such a long time, we have to assume that they were intended
to be so. Why should we expect the Chinese to stop proliferating when
the actions we take are meant to be meaningless?
December 27, 2005
Seoul Defends Silence on North Korea
Unification Minister Chung
Dong-young, at a press conference held today in the South Korean capital,
responded to charges that Seoul has been soft
human rights violations.
“With regard to the human rights
conditions in North Korea,
has made all efforts to improve the situation, except open criticism,” Chung
Seoul has refrained from
public criticism of Pyongyang
since 1998 when Kim Dae Jung assumed the presidency and adopted the so-called
Sunshine Policy. Roh Moo-hyun, Kim’s successor, has continued that
approach under a new moniker, the Peace and Prosperity Policy. Critics,
both domestic and foreign, have severely criticized the South’s failure to
speak out loud on various transgressions of the other Korean republic.
It is telling that at the same
press conference Chung stated that Pyongyang
placed a higher value on establishing diplomatic relations with Washington than in
receiving additional assistance. If Chung is correct—and there is
historical evidence to support his conclusion—it is primarily because North Korea wants the international legitimacy
that recognition by America
would immediately convey.
There is little that Seoul can do at this
time to immediately improve the rights of people in the North, largely
because North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is intransigent on this and other
matters. Nonetheless, the failure of some people in the South to speak
up for fellow Koreans is, at the very least, troubling. By not making
public its criticism, Seoul
is giving the North a measure of legitimacy that it cannot earn on its own
and which it does not deserve.
Despots cannot be changed by
engagement, but they can be shamed. Many ridiculed Ronald Reagan when
he called the Soviet Union an “evil
empire.” Now we know that his willingness to tar Moscow’s rulers did much to encourage
dissidents inside the Soviet state. Andrei Zorin, a Soviet literary
scholar, heard the Gipper’s words on the shortwave BBC World Service in
1983. The next thing he did was risk imprisonment by spreading the
news. “I jumped out of my chair and started calling,” he
recalled. “Of course, to us it was no surprise that the Soviet Union was such an empire, but the idea that
somebody would say it from the podium, out loud, was a revelation.”
Because we have lived in freedom for so long, we often forget that
stirring words have significance in and of themselves.
If anyone should remember the
power of words, it is South
Korea’s current leader. A former
human rights lawyer, Roh Moo-hyun leads the people who in the 1980s chanted,
sang, and shouted in the streets as they demonstrated against military rulers
and eventually toppled them. Now living in democracy, these same
demonstrators have assumed power in Seoul
and remain silent in their desire not to anger Kim Jong Il, a tyrant far
worse than the ones they deposed.
December 26, 2005
Police fire kills protestors in
Early this month riot police
killed at least three protestors in the Guangdong
village of Dongzhou. At this time, there is
no agreement on the death toll. Some reports say as many as 20
died. The villagers were protesting the lack of compensation for the
taking of their land for a power project.
Protestors initially used pipe
bombs to attack police formations. As a result, authorities sent
reinforcements with guns. The police opened fire during two nights of
rioting. Villagers also hurled bottle bombs at police.
One aspect of the Dongzhou
protests that has escaped notice is that demonstrators have begun to use
deadly force as an initial tactic against local authorities. The
violence is a sign of increasing volatility in China and an indication that the
Chinese political system is having difficulty in channeling discontent.
The killings recall the shooting
of Beijing residents and students in Tiananmen Square and surrounding streets. There
is little in common between the protests of June 1989 and those of December
2005, but domestic Chinese commentators, common citizens, and foreign
analysts have linked the two events. The Communist Party has refused to
reverse its initial harsh verdict on the Tiananmen demonstrators.
Dongzhou shows us that if senior Chinese leaders do not begin a reassessment
themselves, they will soon lose control of this topic.
Eventually, people outside
Dongzhou will forget what happened there. Yet every time protestors die
at the hands of the police, people will recall 1989. Unfortunately for
the Communist Party, too many Chinese remember—and want to talk
December 26, 2005
Can Tiananmen happen again?
The local cadres in Dongzhou were
willing to use deadly force to keep order. This raises the issue
whether senior leaders in Beijing would do so
as well if Chinese citizens again massed in Tiananmen
The country’s current leaders are
from a different generation than the one that ruled in 1989 and undoubtedly
realize their country is far too integrated into the world to survive the
global condemnation that would follow large-scale killings. Yet even if
they would think of using force this way, they undoubtedly could not do so:
no current civilian leader possesses the personal authority to command an
atrocity, it’s highly unlikely that senior generals would comply with such an
order, and few common soldiers would shoot at a million peaceful
demonstrators in Tiananmen on behalf of a regime that has lost the love and
loyalty of most of its people. At this time, senior cadres can only
hope that the Chinese people will not be moved to protest in the spiritual
heart of their nation.
Gordon G. Chang