Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Summer Events Past and Present

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Summer Events Past and Present

Article excerpt

Anniversaries of great occasions are news events that can be covered with care. Assignment editors, who rarely have the luxury of dealing with the expected, are rubbing their hands at 1994's summer of commemoration.

First: June 3, 1994, is the fifth anniversary of the bloody suppression of the peaceful demonstration in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

A fitting way to mark this historic occasion is to reprise in every medium the indelible photograph of the lone man stopping the line of tanks.

The most suitable way for politicians to observe what the Chinese press delicately calls "the incident of June 3" is to accommodate the private wishes of the Chinese leaders regarding our threatened withdrawal of most-favored-nation trade status.

That surprising suggestion is based on the iconoclastic theory that Beijing is acting rationally in its recent human rights crackdown.

Inflation in China has soared to 26 percent a year. This loss of purchasing power is a source of growing anger among workers, threatening the ability of the jittery regime to avert turmoil after Deng Xiaoping dies.

How to stop rampant inflation? By slowing the economy, of course - but that will increase unemployment. How does Beijing divert blame for austerity to foreign devils? With subtlety: by re-jailing the paramount dissident, Wei Jingsheng, thereby forcing President Bill Clinton to suspend most-favored-nation status.

Result: sharp reduction of Chinese exports to the United States, which will close inefficient factories, raise productivity and curb inflation. Villains throughout the painful adjustment are the intrusive Americans and the destabilizing dissidents.

No Beijingologist has a better theory to explain why China is provoking Clinton to suspend its favorable trade status. If cutting off trade to spite inflation is their way of ensuring both economic and political stability, we should accommodate China's desire to scuttle the most-favored-nation status on the June 3 deadline date.

Three days later is the 50th anniversary of D-Day. American, British and other Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, and Clinton will be there to remind Europeans of our recurrent repayments to Lafayette. …

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