- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Chinese rights

Ironically, 12 days before the Chinese downed the American EP-3E surveillance aircraft, Rep. Tom Lantos of California, a Democrat, introduced a resolution urging that the 2008 Olympic Games not be awarded to Beijing until the Chinese release all political prisoners and observe internationally recognized human rights.

By March 29, 60 congressional co-sponsors signed on, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Then, on April 2, one day after the Chinese downed the U.S. plane and its 24 crewmen, China's ambassador to the the United States, Yang Jiechi, sent a scathing letter to certain members of Congress, including Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, who is not even a co-sponsor to Mr. Lantos' resolution.

The ambassador pointed out it is "entirely under the jurisdiction of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to judge whether a city is suitable for the games [and] no individual or organization has the right to influence the IOC on the matter."

Furthermore, Mr. Yang charged the resolution constitutes "a gross interference" running "counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter, which forbids discrimination … on the basis of race, religion, politics, sex or any other reason."

In fact, he said, Beijing wishes to host the games to contribute to "world peace and development" and "any attempt to deny China's rights … is a challenge to the universal principle of human rights, which will be met with the strong opposition from the Chinese people and all the justice-upholding people the world over."

Jim Backlin, Mr. Bartlett's chief of staff, tells Inside the Beltway that his boss will sign as a co-sponsor to the Lantos measure when Congress returns from its Easter recess.

Chinese toast

Yang Jiechi, the new ambassador of the People's Republic of China, was a guest of the Asia Society yesterday at a luncheon in his honor at the Metropolitan Club. Executives of more than a dozen large U.S. corporations that do business, or want to do business, in China turned out to greet him and ask a few questions about business prospects in the Middle Kingdom.

It was off the record, but suffice it to say that Mr. Yang was genial and charming it's not easy to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary from Beijing in America right now and he put the best face he could on the situation on Hainan Island, and spoke warmly of the need for continued or perhaps for repairing U.S.-Chinese "friendship."

At the end of the lunch, Leo Daly, the chairman of the Asia Society, offered a toast to Mr. Yang and to the U.S.-Chinese relationship.

At that, Wesley Pruden, the editor in chief of The Washington Times, couldn't restrain himself. "And a toast to the 24 Americans being held illegally in China, and to a quick release for all of them," he said, "or there won't be a U.S.-Chinese relationship."

He got a few amens.

Hostages swap

A well-known Washington figure who doesn't want to be identified called with a novel idea for getting the hostages back from China. Noting, to his amazement, that a certain former president (remember him?) still plans to speak in China next month, he makes this suggestion: "Let them keep Bill Clinton in exchange for the American hostages. After all, they bought and paid for him and it's proper that we trade their hero for our heroes." (They might count the chopsticks before he leaves.)

Sam's loss

Lack of financial resources is cause for reformed '60s radical David Horowitz and his Center for the Study of Popular Culture to "fold" its flagship publication, Heterodoxy, into www.Frontpagemag.com, discontinuing the printed version.

"If political correctness is a disease, Heterodoxy is the cure," this column once wrote of the monthly, which for 10 years has needled lefties old and new. Like when teachers at Sidwell Friends School, purveyors of book learning to the guilty rich of Washington, assigned eighth graders to write an essay on "Why I Feel Guilty Being White."

Our favorite issue of Heterodoxy, however, included this letter to the editor from Sam Munson, an public-school pupil in Washington:

"I am 11 years old and I cannot thank you enough for publishing this wonderful paper. I go to public school in D.C., and to a lifelong conservative, that is hell. My schoolmates are a bunch of feminist, liberal, PC, vegetarian multiculturalists. Heterodoxy is just the thing for recovering from a 6 and 1/2-hour school day surrounded by them."

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