Seventeen years have now passed since tanks, armored cars and troops from the People’s Liberation Army swarmed into Tiananmen Square in Beijing and massacred young pro-democracy demonstrators who had gathered there. Soon skeptical Americans were being reassured by leaders in both parties in Washington, D.C., that we had to continue "engaging" China to liberalize its Communist regime. President George H. W. Bush "engaged" China. President Clinton "engaged" China. Big business, including major defense contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, "engaged" China by helping it acquire and develop dual use technology.
Last year, President George W. Bush declared in his second inaugural address that it was the policy of the United States to support democracy everywhere and end tyranny in the world, sounding very much like ill-fated liberal Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. But last week, when Hu Jintao (below left), General Secretary of China’s Communist Party, visited the White House, Bush neither talked up democracy nor condemned tyranny. At a White House ceremony with Hu, when a woman credentialed as a reporter shouted, "President Bush, make him stop persecuting Falun Gong," Bush attempted to comfort the Chinese dictator. Hu for his part made no substantive offer to improve China’s efforts to pressure North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il (below right) to give up his nuclear weapons or pressure Iran not to develop nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the new State Department report on human rights in China details Hu’s repression of his own people, which includes "harassment, detention, and imprisonment of those perceived as threatening to party and government authority."
Among those detained by Hu’s regime were Protestants who published Bibles without government approval and Roman Catholic bishops and priests who refused to join a "government-approved" alternative to their church.