Rights Advocates Attack Freeman Pick

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 8, 2009 | Go to article overview

Rights Advocates Attack Freeman Pick


Byline: Eli Lake, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Advocates for Chinese human rights are urging President Obama to reject the nomination of Charles W. Chas Freeman Jr. as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, citing Mr. Freeman's defense of the Chinese government's crackdown on democracy activists. The letter challenges the narrative of many of Mr. Freeman's defenders, who argue that pro-Israel groups have sought to torpedo the nomination because Mr. Freeman has criticized Israeli policies and chaired an educational institution that received Saudi funds.

The 87 signatories of the letter to Mr. Obama include several Chinese citizens who participated in the 1989 demonstrations in Tiananman Square, including Dan Wang, Gang Liu and Danxuan Yi.

Mr. Freeman has a longstanding record of defending China's authoritarian regime, the letter says. In his view, for example, China's nationwide democracy movement in spring of 1989, which protested government corruption and embraced international norms of human rights, was only the 'propaganda' of 'dissidents.'

The Weekly Standard first published an e-mail from Mr. Freeman to a private list server that argued the Chinese government should have acted more swiftly to suppress the nonviolent demonstrations in Beijing in 1989 because of their threat to public order. The Washington Times has not been able to corroborate the e-mail, and Mr. Freeman has not responded to requests for comment.

The Times reported last week that the inspector general of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will begin a review of Mr. …

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