Tiananmen, China, and What They Call Progress

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Sunday June 08, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The 19th anniversary of Tiananmen Square has come and gone. Over one hundred of those who led and participated in the demonstrations and were not killed are still prisoners languishing in jail. Wang Dan, an exiled leader clearly advocates that what was sought by the demonstration were greater rights for the people of China. He bemoans the fact that little has since been done to advance those rights. What is more, a surprising majority of the observers around the world have remained silent on these facts as they profited from China's cheap goods. Nineteen years later and nothing to show regarding this; this is unfortunate but true. Even more surprising, however is the fact that some have had the gall to write articles or express their opinion that China has made progress in recent years. Ma Ying-jeou, the president of Taiwan, a man with a platitude for every occasion is one of them. The question naturally follows, what sanctimonious criteria do these China praisers use to make such a claim?

Here comes the argument. You see, when China experienced the 1975 Tangshan earthquake, they did not let reporters in to cover it nor would they accept foreign aid responding to the tragedy. Now, however with the recent Sichuan earthquake, a limited amount of foreign media coverage has been allowed and China is accepting aid from outside sources. Isn't that fantastic! In the age of internet, satellites etc. China has allowed limited and late coverage of the quake. True, Tibet is suffering oppressive control, true, the Tiananmen protesters are still in jail, and true, Falun Gong members are being harvested for their organs but this is fantastic progress and in the brief time of only thirty-three years. That is less than two generations!

If this is Ma Ying-jeou's and similar panda-huggers definition of progress, can you imagine the scant number of centuries and generations it will take before some form of democracy will take place?

But that isn't all. As was said earlier, China is accepting aid for those who suffered. Yes the country with the largest foreign exchange reserve (over US$ 1.76 trillion dollars) is coming begging for help. How times change.

Now one may ask how does this country with so much in foreign exchange reserve come up short that it needs foreign aid for the earthquake? Well first of all, someone has to pay for all those troops stationed in Tibet, and then someone has to pay for all the missiles that China has to keep building to protect against the bellicose threats from the bullying nation of Taiwan on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. Finally, after allowing corrupt officials to approve the shoddy school and housing construction that caused most of the deaths, someone will have to pay for rebuilding. Yes, the costs that poor China must bear. We can only thank God that Ma and China's hack writers have been able to lead us to see the light of China's progress.