Date: Wed, 26 Feb 97 16:10:51 CST
From: rich@pencil.UTC.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: China News Digest: Reactions to the Death of DENG Xiaoping
/** headlines: 131.0 **/
** Topic: CND Speical Report: Reactions to the Death of DENG Xiaoping **
** Written 7:58 AM Feb 24, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 8:43 PM Feb 22, 1997 by firstname.lastname@example.org in reg.china */
CND Speical Report, February 23, 19 ---------- */
From: CND-Global Editors <email@example.com>
Subject: CND Speical Report, February 23, 1997 (GL97-026)
The world, and China in particular, has been expecting Deng Xiaoping's death for several years. Now that expectation has become fact, we are nevertheless left feeling shocked. For better or for worse, it is undoubtedly the end of an era. It is both a time to worry about potential chaos and a time to get excited about the possibilities of a great future. However, it is a sad commentary about the Chinese people that the greatest nation in the history of mankind has to wait for the death of a bedridden 92-year-old man to set the stage for possible change.
The evaluation of Deng Xiaoping the man has essentially been two-fold. First of all, he is generally given credit for almost single-handedly leading China into market economy and become a member of the international community of nations, however uncomfortable it may have been for other members. On the other hand, he is also most responsible for a policy of political oppression second only to Mao Tsetong's rein of terror. Most analysts reserve that unpleasant aspect of Deng's rule to but a foot note, arguing that his contributions outweigh his crimes to humanity by a large margin.
However, such evaluations are badly misguided. No one in America has yet to argue that Hitler was a great man because the German economy experienced enormous growth during his rein. It was the Deng Xiaoping of the early 1980's who instituted economic reform. It was the same Deng Xiaoping who imprisoned famed dissident Wei Jingshen in 1980, refused political liberalization in 1987 and sacked reform minded officials, ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 and instituted the policies of political, religious and ethnic oppression that lasted till this very day. Deng Xiaoping's stamp of approval can be found on the every jailed, tortured and executed political prisoners, religious believers, Tibetan and other ethnic Chinese nationals and countless others held, killed or exiled without charges or trials. Such crimes against humanity can not be canceled out by economic prosperity. Besides, the economic progress in China was largely a function of the Chinese people working hard against enormous odds, including corruption as well as unfair or non-existent laws and regulations. It was not a gift from Messiah.
The death of Deng Xiaoping brings the beginning of a new era in China. What this new era looks like is up to the Chinese people as well as all who have varying degrees of influence. While it is to the best interest of the United States as well as the international community to see a China that is politically stable and economically prosperous, in the long term, it is in the best interest of everyone to have a democratic China where human right and individual freedom and dignity are respected and international laws and standards are observed. Today we share common economic interests. But until we share and respect common values, we will always be nothing more than mutually suspicious bed-fellows.