US Fanfare for Tibet's Dalai Lama

I watched with appreciation and no little surprise the attention surrounding the Dalai Lama on his visit to Washington. Members of Congress met on Capitol Hill with Tibet's leader-in-exile, and President Bush's private meeting was the first ever between a US president and the Dalai Lama, and one which was long overdue. Also long overdue is a presidential revocation of China's most-favored-nation (MFN) trade status, which is up for renewal June 3. Congress surely would back such a move. A number of government leaders who had never made public their views on Tibet responded to the Dalai Lama's visit with a shower of enthusiasm and support for the Tibetan cause. The top five congressional leaders, in introducing the Dalai Lama, spoke out against the Chinese occupation of Tibet and promised to support efforts to enforce human rights in Tibet.

This year's congressional debates on renewing China's MFN status will heat up in just a few weeks. MFN status is the only measure up for congressional consideration to which the Chinese will respond with any degree of gravity. The Central Intelligence Agency estimates that China would lose up to $3 billion a year in exports to the US due to higher tariffs if MFN status is revoked. This, coupled with increasing unemployment in export-oriented economies, would put pressure on Beijing, finally, to adhere t o internationally accepted standards for human rights.

China's leaders may not care that they are morally ostracized from the democratic world, but, with a foreign debt of $45 billion, and millions of people living below poverty level, they will certainly heed our condemnation in the form of economic sanctions.

Stephanie von Stein, New York

Free trade and the college-educated In the article "Bush Stumps for Free-Trade Pact," April 10, Fred Steeper, a pollster in Michigan, is quoted as saying: "Only college-educated people understand the benefits" of free trade.

Such an ignorant, elitist, abhorrent remark is probably the result of his college education.

Mary Bentley, Lansing, Mich.

US wasn't alone in the Gulf I have heard many times recently that the Americans think they were the only ones involved in the Gulf war.

Here after World War II we became used to being told that Errol Flynn had won the war; today there is the omission of the fact that British forces were in the Gulf.

When Prime Minister John Major put forward a plan for safe camps for Kurds in Iraq, the Americans from Bush down tried to smother the idea. But Major stuck to his guns and now it is being presented as an idea from Bush. The Monitor should take steps to convey the true facts relating to events being reported and commented on.

Roy Alder, Liverpool

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