- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 30, 2003

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to praise the State Department. On Tuesday, however, the bureaucrats at Foggy Bottom put calculated delicatesse aside and did the right thing for the right reasons. State announced that it was cutting off funding for the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium, because an arm of the group is involved with programs that undertake forced abortions and forced sterilizations in China. Thankfully now, those population controllers will be forced to find financing from somewhere other than Washington.

Fighting forced abortion in China is one foreign-policy area in which progress has been made since George W. Bush became president. Last year, the Bush administration halted $34 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund because of its connection to China’s one child per family and forced sterlization policies. These moves reflect the Bush administration’s posture of putting slightly more pressure on Beijing to clean up its act than did the Clinton administration. The week before the abortion consortium was defunded, Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner stated that Beijing’s track record in meeting its human rights commitments was “disappointing.” According to the State Department, China still has major problems with state-sanctioned religious persecution, torture in prisons and a lack of due process.

Diplomats and Sinologists are forever making excuses for the inexcusable human-rights abuses that are part of everyday life in the Middle Kingdom. The West should send billions of dollars to China to help it grow, but then stay out of its domestic policies, they say. Eventually Beijing will behave, they promise, so long as the civilized world gives the Communists everything they want and the system is allowed to mature at its own pace. The problem with this theory is that it is a proven failure. Human-rights abuses — particularly religious persecution — increased before and after July 2001, when China was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics, and after the nation was admitted as a member of the World Trade Organization five months later. According to Amnesty International, recent trends show that a tougher stance begets better results. Last month, Beijing caved to international protests and closed violent concentration camps “set up to control the flow of migrant workers to urban areas.” Pressure does work. It just isn’t tried often enough.


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