November 27, 2005

Words of hope on the Internet Railroad...

Tienchi Liao writes in the NY Daily News W's message will inspire millions of Chinese thanks to an Internet underground railroad,

...The police indeed had a stressful time, because they needed as many helping hands as possible in order to produce a pleasant atmosphere in Beijing for President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. All disturbing elements had to be eliminated before the arrival of the guests. The protesters, the dissidents and the active members of the democratic movement had to be kept either under house arrest or sent out of town. The renowned dissident writer Liu Xiaobo saw his connections to the outside world cut off before and after Bush's visit. He had no phone connection and no Internet access until the presidential couple had left the capital. However, Liu did not begrudge the U.S. President these inconveniences. "No, I do not complain; I am thankful that President Bush visited China," said Liu. "He urged the Chinese leaders to grant more freedom to the Chinese people in his Kyoto speech. He went to a church in Beijing. Bush has not abandoned us, even though the authoritarian regime greeted him with 150 Boeing contracts."

Bush's visit has prompted, in some small way, freedom of speech for the Chinese. The President's remarks encouraging human rights have been disseminated to students and others by the country's intellectuals, who are able to bypass the government's Internet blocks. These leaders, among the 80 million to 100 million Web users, are tapping into the U.S. State Department's site to pass along Bush's remarks urging freedom and democracy.

Neither China's elite nor its common people care how many billions of dollars in contracts have been signed by the two countries. They now know that George Bush has spoken on behalf of their rights and their views. They are not angry that they suffered a temporary loss of freedom because of Bush's visit. They hope to gain lasting freedom, which Bush has pleaded for on their behalf.

I suspect that we will look back on this time much as we look back now at another much-hated cowboy, Ronald Reagan, and remember how his words and actions helped end the Evil Empire.

But words alone can't accomplish anything important. Anyone can demand human rights for some oppressed group, but so what? Who's likely to listen? Reagan earned the right to be heard by using his political capital to rebuild our military, to start SDI, to deploy Pershing missiles in Europe, to bomb Libya. Each of these was the result of a bitter messy political brawl, in which Reagan held firm, and won. They were bellicose actions that led to peaceful change.

Today, President Bush has earned the right to speak for people oppressed under communist regimes. Earned it by standing firm for freedom despite the attacks of terrorists and their leftist allies...

And the possibility of peaceful change is now much greater due to the credibility we have earned. If the "pacifists" and peaceniks were not politicized frauds, they would laud these possibilities and not try to undercut them.

Posted by John Weidner at November 27, 2005 8:30 AM
Weblog by John Weidner