- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

A new address for the U.N.

The United Nations needs to relocate, not beg for $1 billion to renovate its headquarters in New York City ("U.N. considers face-lift," Page 1, Friday).

Because the United Nations welcomes membership from communist, totalitarian and terrorist-supporting governments that despise the United States, this is a perfect opportunity for the United States to forsake another donation to this globalist monstrosity and send it packing to a place where it will feel more at home say, Beijing or Havana.


MARK KWASNY

Ashburn, Va.

China wants Falun Gong off-line

I wish to clarify a few points made in the article about the Chinese government's continuing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners ("Crackdown targets use of Internet by dissidents," World, Saturday).

First, the reporter's observation that Falun Gong has grown quickly through the Internet is on the mark. Web sites carrying the texts of the books, audiovisual materials and lists of local exercise instruction and other activities enable people interested in Falun Gong to begin learning the practice. Likewise, e-mail enables the curious to inquire about it and practitioners to share their understanding with each other.

However, the article credits Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, with actions that some practitioners but not he himself took. Mr. Li did not set up the secret press conference that was held in a Beijing hotel in October 1999.

To say that Mr. Li "fled to the United States in 1999" also is not correct. Mr. Li began to take Falun Gong outside China in 1995 and traveled to numerous countries to lecture and give exercise instruction at conferences organized by practitioners. He first came to the United States in 1996 and left China voluntarily to become a permanent resident in 1998, long before Falun Gong was declared illegal in July 1999.

It is known that Mr. Li does not read or speak English, and he would have no need to set up e-mail lists. Practitioners, many of whom have advanced degrees in fields such as engineering, computer science and medicine, are very capable and have taken the initiative to set up these communication channels.

Likewise, practitioners in Beijing were fully capable of setting up a secret press conference and were committed enough to accept the consequences. Several of them were arrested, and one of them eventually died as a result of torture by police. Mr. Li was living in the United States at that time, and there has been no report of his having contact with them. One of them lives in Sweden and can attest to this.

Otherwise, allow me to express my appreciation for the many accurate articles about Falun Gong that The Washington Times runs. As we Falun Gong practitioners strive for constant self-improvement, we want to offer these few minor corrections in the corresponding spirit of improving the accuracy of your news product.


TAO WANG

Washington

Condoleezza Rice walks 'in faith'

Thank you for running excerpts from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's talk to her Sunday school class ("Walking in faith," Culture, Tuesday). It is encouraging to hear someone who is shouldering the weight of the nation's security to speak with such calm assuredness and optimism.

It concerns me that there seems to be an ever-widening gulf between people who are afraid to proclaim their spiritual beliefs and those who share with clarity and peace of mind the roots of their souls' anchor. Whether someone is Buddhist, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim or of any other religious or spiritual persuasion, I am always grateful to hear the heartfelt words of faith in a higher power. I believe it is in our acceptance and sharing of where we derive our souls' strength that we strengthen others.

I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Within my extended family, there are Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, Protestants, and possibly more varieties to come. I have always felt that because of the diverse beliefs in my family, we learn what are the common roots of spiritual strength that bind us. In my family, that common root is the love we have for each other. We agree on the need for peace, for increased love and for hope. I believe that regardless of one's religious conviction or nonreligious determination, if we have open hearts and minds, we can learn optimism and hope from each other and people such as Miss Rice: optimism for where we are now and hope for the future.

Thank you for printing that article. You did the right thing.


SARAH KENT

Los Angeles

New Hampshire public schools are not state factories

Nat Hentoff, in his Aug. 19 Op-Ed column, "The dollars and sense of education," approvingly quotes the New Hampshire Supreme Court's decision in Claremont School District vs. State of New Hampshire on the state's "duty" to provide "broad educational opportunities," a duty the court conjured out of thin air by rewriting the state constitution. He might be interested to know what else the court said.

Ignoring the dearth of evidence to connect spending and educational attainment, as well as the clear meaning of the state constitution, the court declared that the purpose of education is to create "citizens on whom the [state] may rely to meet its needs and further its interests." Forget about inalienable rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The New Hampshire Supreme Court asserted, in language that would satisfy Lenin, that citizens are so many worker bees, toiling away for the good of the hive.

Furthermore, Chief Justice David A. Brock, in response to criticism of the decision, proclaimed that "such criticism is dangerous to a free society." Mr. Hentoff, let me introduce George Orwell's Big Brother.

An earlier court didn't bother to festoon its language with any happy talk about the "right" of students to "broad educational opportunities." In its 1912 decision in Fogg vs. Board of Education, the court stated, "Free schooling furnished by the state is not so much a right granted to pupils as a duty imposed upon them for the public good." Take a wild guess as to who gets to define the public good.


ABBEY LAWRENCE

Tuftonboro, N.H.

Traffic jams are the least of D.C.'s worries

I would like to know the criteria upon which D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton bases her approach to dealing with national security issues ("Traffic terror," Op-Ed, Aug. 20).

She does not speak for all D.C. residents when she declares in her column that we "seem less concerned about another attack than a new attack of street closings, ugly barriers and unnavigable detours." What a silly thing to say when this city is so vulnerable.

There is an airport near the District; there are unsecured water reservoirs; there is no evacuation plan for the city; there is no emergency communication system; and there are no designated emergency shelters.

We live in the most powerful capital in the world. Therefore, instead of being worried about the traffic, we should be concerned about being attacked at any time.

Instead of complaining about traffic, Mrs. Norton needs to inform her electorate what to do or where to go in case of an attack against this city. September 11 showed we did not know how to respond to a terrorist attack. Neither an emergency alarm nor the emergency broadcasting TV alarm system, tested so frequently, went off when the Pentagon was attacked.

I worry about the lack of vision of some of our legislators. Meanwhile, every action taken by the Bush administration is an action to defend this country. The world is watching us. The world must know that we are ready.


ROBERTO CHAMBERS

Washington

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