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By Wei Jingsheng

Wei Jingsheng, perhaps China's most famous dissident, was expelled from that country in 1997. He now lives in exile in New York and is chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition.

-- When we invite a guest to our home to entertain, we usually regard this guest as a good friend. At least, such a guest would be a lawful person and would not bring trouble. Otherwise we would rather meet the guest in our office.

When a U.S. president invites the president of another nation to his private ranch and entertains him with enthusiasm, one would assume the guest is the head of an ally country or the leader of a trustworthy nation. At least the guest must not be a dictator of a totalitarian state, not a president of a nation that may bring trouble for the United States. Since President George W. Bush has enthusiastically invited China's President Jiang Zemin to his private farm for entertainment, we cannot help but ask: Is this invitation appropriate?

There are two possibilities.

First, the invitation has been extended to a personal friend of the family. President Bush senior and President Bush junior, of course, have all the rights in the world to entertain their private friends in their own place. There is nothing inappropriate about it. But since when has Jiang Zemin become Bush's personal friend? People have the right to raise this question. People in the United States should be suspicious of any personal friendship struck between the Bushes and the leader of a nation whose ideology is so hostile to the values of Americans. If what is to come from Jiang's visit is completely official, then the choice of private property for the venue is not appropriate.

Second, the invitation has been extended to a friendly ally or a nation worthy of trust. Such was the case for the invitations to the prime minister of England and the president of Russia. These were entirely appropriate. The issue here is that the Communist People's Republic of China always proclaims itself to be the archenemy of the United States. After the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe, Chinese Communists have considered themselves the leader of the anti-democracy, anti-West camp of totalitarian states. Obviously China is not an ally of the United States. Many nations with a grudge against the United States look to China as a source of inspiration and help. Many anti-democratic terrorist nations and organizations learn from Chinese totalitarian values and internal and external subversion practices and regard China as a source of funding and weaponry.

One must be particularly wary of the Chinese Communist state, which has finely tuned the arts of disinformation and manipulation of its own people and those of the Third World. One can be sure that Jiang Zemin will make the most of his visit for his own personal power in China, for the power of those like him who wish to maintain control over the Chinese population and for China's totalitarian interests on the world stage.

It is, of course, in the U.S. interest to keep in contact with those leaders who may oppose the values it represents. However, it is not necessary for American leaders to treat them as allies or personal friends at home. Doing so confuses the friends of the United States and helps the foes. The United States would be stronger and better for helping the friends. But helping the enemy of freedom will only lead to ill fortune for the world. This seeming friendliness not only worsens the human rights condition for those Chinese who suffer persecution under a dictatorial government but also ultimately brings danger to the peace and security of the whole world.

(c) 2002, Global Viewpoint. Distributed by Tribune Media Services International.
For immediate release (Distributed 10/22/02)