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Repeal China's Normal Trade Relations status

By Tom DeWeese
web posted May 7, 2001

China attacked our intelligence gathering plane, almost killing the U.S. airmen and women on board. They held our military personnel hostage. They have stolen our most sensitive technology. China violently oppresses its citizens. It uses our trade dollars to expand their military power. They imprison, torture and kill those who advocate freedom in their own nation as well as religious adherents. They hate Western civilization in general and America in particular. In all likelihood, Chinese nuclear missiles are pointed at America. They help to flood the United States with illegal drugs.

Writing recently in Newsweek, James R. Lilley, a former ambassador to China from 1989 to 1991, put it bluntly, "China's leadership demonizes the United States." Despite this, Red China receives the same trade benefits that the United States grants to most of its allies. Considering America's $80 billion trade deficit with this communist nation, some would say they receive even more favorable treatment.

Ambassador Lilley warns that China's leaders "have been skillfully fostering American feelings of guilt for five decades, putting us on the defensive, extracting concessions and then using them to their advantage."

How long will we be lulled by the voices of some on Capitol Hill who contend that open, limitless trade with China is reforming them? Supposedly, our democratic principles are "rubbing off" on Beijing and, meanwhile, we should just be patient while the slow transformation of China from a ruthless dictatorship to a peaceful capitalist society takes place. This is self-delusion on a stratospheric level.

Clearly, our current open trade policy with China does nothing but embolden the ruling thugs. We are giving credence to this barbarous government. China's growing sense of power and influence is well documented in their hostile actions towards the U.S. The playgrounds of our nation teach that you don't stop a bully by giving him more and more of your lunch money.

In March of this year, China's Finance Minister, Xiang Huaicheng, let it be known that defense spending will rise by 17.7 percent. How much of this will be financed with the money China earns from trade with America? So why do we continue to cater to a nation that some foreign policy analysts believe is openly preparing for war with us? And when will this nation learn the lessons that led to the downfall of the Soviet Union? Throwing money at China is a fool's game.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has introduced H.R. 1467, which would repeal China's "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) status. Because China has yet to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), their normal trade status must come up for congressional review on an annual basis.

In June, Congress will vote on China's trade status and it is therefore imperative that Congress pass Rep. Hunter's bill. If China retains PNTR, the communist nation will have the prerequisite it needs to join the WTO. When that occurs, there will be little to impede its economic and military progress. The sanctions the free world can bring to bear will be greatly reduced and the price we will pay for failing to draw a line in the sand will be increased.

Tom DeWeese is the editor/publisher of The DeWeese Report, a monthly newsletter, and president of the American Policy Center. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org.

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