China: A View of Tiananmen Square and Plea for Tibetan Freedom
I disagree with John Hughes's opinion-page column ``Making Up With China,'' Dec. 15. As a life-long scholar of Chinese culture and politics, author of more than a dozen books, and having visited China every year since 1980, I support Mr. Bush in his prudent approach to China. The Tiananmen Square tragedy was inexcusable. But have we really examined its cause and effects?
I went to Beijing immediately after the June 3-4 incident and interviewed many eyewitnesses as well as government officials. Some blame the government and the protestors equally for the tragedy. I found no evidence of premeditated murder committed by the military.
Why would the government permit so many foreign journalists in Beijing to witness and record the tragedy? It would have been simple for the government to expel all foreign journalists and create a total news blackout prior to a pre-planned open fire.
I am convinced it was an unfortunate accident with a confused, unprepared army and an unyielding, angry crowd.
How many demonstrators participated in this chaotic ``pro-democracy'' movement? In a land of 1 billion people, is even 10 million protestors really significant?
There is no evidence whatsoever that the great majority of China's population is not in support of their government and leaders. The present government under Deng Xiao-ping, most knowledgeable China experts agree, has miraculously achieved more for its people than any government or society in the history of China. And consider that China is the same size as the United States, with a population five times larger and land that is mostly rock and sand. China is free from hunger.
Chinese students enjoy the most pampered status in the world, with free tuitions and stipends. Are their demands that China adopt the US system of society and government realistic? If the students had succeeded in their protest movement last May and June, China would become more chaotic with battles in the streets of Beijing and elsewhere.
A politically stable China is important to the welfare and prosperity of the Chinese population and the world. Do we want China to start a ``little'' war again in the Taiwan Straits? Are we prepared to engage in another land war in Asia? Do we want China to become another North Korea or Iran?
We now have, for the first time, a president who understands China and who has had prior experience in dealing with the Chinese. Let all of us support his initiative. Future generations of Chinese and Americans will benefit from this repproachment. Winberg Chai Laramie, Wyo. University of Wyoming
The article ``Monks Feel China's Heavy Hand,'' Nov. 30, and ``Tibetan Youths Fed Chinese Fare,'' Dec. 7, bring important attention to the tragic dilemma of the Tibetans. But the monk article fails to mention that reporters cannot get into Tibet because of the severe repression there. And the second article neglects the fact that only a very few Tibetan children receive education under the heavy handed Chinese influence. China has committed genocide against the Tibetans, nearly annihilating a very ancient and unique culture. Since the Chinese invaded Tibet 30 years ago, over 1.2 million natives have lost their lives.
China was an early signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it has systematically repudiated Tibet as a nation. It has committed barbarous terrorism against the natives, and it has ruthlessly robbed the Tibetans of their freedom of religion and other rights. It has also ecologically devastated Tibet. R.A. Field Los Gatos, Calif.