Madeleine Albright Goes to China

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 27, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Madeleine Albright Goes to China


Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ended her first, very brief, world tour with a visit to China and a discussion with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders. The good news is that Mr. Jiang agreed to see Mrs. Albright at all since China was in the midst of a six-day mourning period following the death of supreme leader Deng Xiaoping. The other good news is that Mrs. Albright took the opportunity of her first visit to China, as she put it, "to tell it like it is." Specifically, Chinese human rights abuses and the United States' concern about those abuses were clearly conveyed to the men in Beijing. The bad news is that such criticism is unlikely to have any effect.

"There is no question our relations with the Chinese are a key to stability as we go into the 21st century," explained Mrs. Albright to a group of U.S. embassy workers after her meeting. True enough. At present, we have an important - if lopsided - economic relationship with China that neither side wishes to damage. Mrs. Albright did comment on the growing trade deficit, from $33 million in 1995 to $39 million for 1996 admitting that between the two countries "problems do remain." Those include, along with the economic question, China's reported sale of weapons technology to such countries as Pakistan and Iran, worrisome for the U.S.

But more important still is the fact that since 1989's massacre in Tiananmen Square, any and all Chinese dissent has been shut down hard and fast. Previously imprisoned democracy and human rights activists have been reimprisoned for long periods while church services and religious worshippers have been persecuted.

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