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White House Hypocrisy

Friday, April 21, 2006

Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a visit to Washington D.C. to meet with President Bush to discuss nuclear proliferation and energy policies as they work for closer U.S.-China ties. From this NPR article:

With the White House in a sea of U.S. and Chinese flags, President Hu and his wife, arriving in a large black limousine, were accorded full military honors. The two presidents reviewed a fife-and-drum corps, and a 21-gun salute was fired as a military band played the American and Chinese national anthems.

President Bush spoke first, praising China as peaceful and prosperous. But he also called for more freedoms for China's citizens, saying the country "can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship."

When it was President Hu's turn to speak, a woman standing on the top level of a viewing stand set up for the press began to shout loudly, yelling in Chinese that, "President Hu, your days are numbered". In English, she shouted, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong," referring to the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government.

Hu stopped briefly but continued his remarks. In several minutes, uniformed Secret Service agents removed the woman, still screaming, from the South Lawn. The protester was later identified as a reporter with credentials issued for a Falun Gong newspaper.

Today, we learn the protestor's name is Wang Wenyi, aged 47. She was officially arraigned in court on charges of  seeking to "intimidate, coerce, frighten or harass Chinese President Hu Jintao, a foreign official in the performance of his duty." David Bos, Wang's court appointed lawyer, made a motion to dismiss the charge but this was rejected by Judge Deborah Robinson. Continuing from this AFP article we learn that:

Bos said the charge made the first amendment of the US Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, "just evaporate."

He said the statement of facts did not support the charge. "There is no evidence whatsoever that the defendant tried to intimidate or harass the president" of China. He said there was not even evidence that Hu heard the shouts.

What an absolute travesty! Here we have President Bush chastising the Chinese leader for not allowing Chinese citizens the right to express themselves then turns right around and punishes someone for doing exactly what he was advocating. Is it any wonder why the rest of the world despises the United States when we are so blatantly hypocritical? This woman called upon President Hu to stop his persecution of the Falun Gong and now she's being prosecuted for her actions. This sends the message to the world that while American Presidents talk about the need for governments to respect their citizen's rights, it doesn't actually practice what it preaches. It's all for show.


Blogger Mark said...

But wait! The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the First Amendment doesn't apply if the speech is offensive to the hearer, at least in public school. We'll see if the Illiterate Ninth's interpretation of the First Amendment is confirmed in DC.

My bet is that charges will be dismissed. But that's beside the point. What the government does is arrest people and throw them in jail, knowing that the charges will be dismissed. This is government harassment and makes people less likely to take advantage of their protected right to speak because they will not want the "inconvenience" of being tossed into jail and having to hire a lawyer to fight a case in court.

Instead of vigorously acting to protect individual rights, the government deliberately tries to quash them.

3:34 PM  

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