- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cabbies’ lame excuse

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission deserves commendation for its decision to suspend licenses to taxi drivers who refuse service to customers carrying alcohol (“Muslim cabbies face license loss for refusing fares with alcohol,” Page 1, Wednesday).

No one should be forced to participate in an activity that goes against his or her moral beliefs, and taxi customers should be afforded their legal right to transport unopened alcohol in taxicabs. However, there is a simple solution to this issue. If your moral beliefs prohibit you from transporting alcohol, don’t apply for a job as a taxi driver (or beer truck driver). The same goes for grocery store clerks; if you have moral objections to handling pork, don’t apply for a job that requires you to handle bacon. (Don’t apply to be a meat-packer or butcher, either.)

In America, one has the right not to apply for a job that offends one’s sensibilities. Unemployment rates are at all-time lows, and there are plenty of jobs out there. Don’t apply for one that will put you at odds with your moral values. A little common sense would go a long way.


Arlington, Va.,

Don’t speak ill of China

Anton Foek accused China of cracking down on Xinjiang Uighurs under the guise of anti-terrorism and robbing local people of existence and benefits of economic development (“Beijing tries to rein in Muslims,” World, April 13). He is not only wrong but maliciously biased.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, the Chinese government has written into the constitution and made it a basic state policy to help ethnic minority-inhabited areas with their political, economic and cultural development, and to work for common prosperity for all the ethnic groups of China.

Thanks to this policy and, in particular, the great Western development strategy implemented since 1999, Xinjiang has received sizable financial support from the Central Government and achieved rapid growth. In 2006 the GDP of Xinjiang surpassed 300 billion RMB yuan. As the economy and various social undertakings make progress, the living standard of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is improved year by year. Disposable income of local urban residents reached 9,120 RMB yuan. The living environment, housing quality and hygienic conditions of rural residents have also been greatly improved.

The right to freedom of religious belief for all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is guaranteed by the constitution in China and respected and protected by governments at all levels. Now, there are more than 24,000 venues for religious activities in Xinjiang, of which 23,753 are Islamic mosques. There are 26,800 clerical persons, of whom 26,500 are of the Islamic faith. Every year, the government allocates special funds for the maintenance and repair of key mosques, monasteries and churches.

Religious personages enjoy full rights to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs. Currently, more than 1,800 religious persons in Xinjiang are elected to the people’s congresses and committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at all levels. They participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs on behalf of religious believers, and exercise supervision over the government in respect to the implementation of the policy of freedom of religious belief.

In its efforts to combat terrorism, the Chinese government acts according to law and protects the fundamental interests of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups throughout China, especially the right to survival, safety, and development. China’s efforts are also conducive to security and stability in China’s neighboring regions in Central Asia. There is a large amount of evidence showing that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and other so-called three forces (terrorism, separatism and extremism) are associated with international terrorist forces, and that they have plotted, organized and carried out a series of violent terrorist attacks in China. ETIM is already listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations. In the war against terrorism, there should not be double standard.

China is not perfect in its endeavor to achieve modernization and build a prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious society. Any good-willed suggestion or criticism is welcome. However, Mr. Foek’s report is full of groundless accusations and prejudice, and is totally unacceptable.


Press Counselor

Embassy of People’s Republic of China


Guarding workers’ rights

John Engler of the National Association of Manufacturers thinks the card-check process mandated by the proposed Employee Free Choice Act is less than democratic (“Union coercion,” Op-Ed, Monday). On the contrary, card check allows workers to petition for representation. The petition is a fundamental tool of democracy. Through the petition, the employees can create their own union to represent them and elect their leaders.

NAM is not the guardian of workers’ rights. It has been opposed to almost every measure that has lifted American workers into the middle class. NAM opposed Social Security, the original labor it claims to defend and favored sham unions under absolute company control.

Mr. Engler is entitled to speak for his members but should not pretend to speak for American workers.


Associate professor of

business administration

Morgan State University

Silver Spring

The war funding debate

Perhaps Sen. Lindsey Graham and The Washington Times editorial writers need to consult with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates before lampooning the efficacy of timelines or benchmarks in pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government to make the necessary political accommodations with the Sunnis to end Iraq’s civil war (“The real debate on Iraq,” Editorial, Wednesday). The editorial praises Mr. Graham’s Fox News Sunday comments that “Timetables, timelines for withdrawing troops, benchmarks that give your enemy a road map of how to drive us out of Iraq are bad ideas” and that such “timelines and deadlines undercut [Gen.] Petraeus.”

Lo and behold, one day later, it was reported that Mr. Gates told a group of Pentagon reporters in Amman, Jordan, that “the debate in Congress has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited.” He added that “the strong feelings in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact … in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this not an open-ended commitment.” He also added that support for Mr. Maliki’s government by leaders in the region is tempered because “there is not yet confidence in the region that Iraq’s government represent all Iraq.”

Perhaps the only thing that will motivate Iraq’s government to make the essential choices necessary to a create a truly unified nation inclusive of all stakeholders in its society will be when the United States makes it clear we have a timetable with measurable benchmarks. We must disabuse Mr. Maliki’s government of any notion that we are going to risk any more blood and treasure to prop up an Iran-style theocratic state.



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