- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2006

Nobles: Dr. Wang Wenyi, for welcoming the Chinese president to America the democratic way.

Interrupting a public speaker with shouts, insults or catcalls is generally frowned upon, and for good reason. In a democratic society, one is able to express an opposing viewpoint in a variety of ways without being rude about it. But in China those ways are shut.

Which is why Dr. Wang’s performance on Thursday is an exception to the usual rules of decorum and decency. Just as President Bush finished introducing Chinese President Hu Jintao during a ceremonial visit to the White House, she began her protest.

“President Bush, stop him from killing,” she shouted from the camera platform. “Stop persecuting the Falun Gong,” she said, referring to the outlawed religious sect in China of which she is a member. “President Hu, your days are numbered,” she said in Chinese. “No more time for China’s ruling party.”

The verbal lashing went on for about three minutes before Secret Service agents could muzzle her. During that time, Mr. Hu continued his speech, though clearly he was upstaged by a common citizen — what would generally be considered a “loss of face” in Chinese society.

Back in China, where the ceremony was televised live, albeit with a short time delay, the state-run media censored Dr. Wang’s protest. More’s the pity, but it’s also the point. Dr. Wang was speaking for those who cannot. She has been charged with disorderly conduct, whereas in China such an outburst is a certain ticket to prison.

For giving Mr. Hu a welcoming he’ll never forget, Dr. Wang is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Sen. Harry Reid, who forgot that “flip-flopping” is a bad thing.

Taking a page straight from Sen. John Kerry’s campaign playbook, the Senate minority leader is now for unilateralism, after he was against it. Readers might recall that one of the Democrats’ biggest criticisms of the Bush administration is its “unilateralist” foreign policy. Times do change and unilateralism is apparently the new black.

According the Associated Press, Mr. Reid said Tuesday that the administration is “relying too heavily on other countries in the international effort to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”

The Editorial Page welcomes Mr. Reid to the dreaded “neocon” camp, but with the necessary reservations: If the United States is to be involved “diplomatically” with Iran, as he suggests, wouldn’t it be wiser to keep all options on the table, like a military strike? Not so, says Mr. Reid. The United States doesn’t “have the resources to do it,” he said. That’s sure to scare the mullahs into negotiations.

For his reckless unilateralism, Mr. Reid is the Knave of the week.

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