October 26, 2002

To the Times: As our president prepares the nation to go to war to topple a dictatorship in Iraq, let us be aware of the terrorism that exists right here on American soil, created by one of the most powerful dictatorships in the world, China.

President Bush will be hosting Jiang Zemin at his ranch later this week, as will other cities in our nation. Jiang's regime wants us to believe that China is serious about cooperating with our government against terrorism, and that it supports human rights, but its policies distinctly indicate otherwise.

The transgressions of Jiang are legion, including his crimes against humanity, which are documented by well-known human rights groups. He has moved from implementing state-run terrorism through the brutal suppression of many spiritual groups in his own country, to terrorizing Americans here, for their beliefs.

For more than three years, Jiang'sNo. 1 domestic priority has been his personal campaign to 'eradicate' the peaceful exercise-meditation practice, Falun Gong, which was once endorsed by his regime, before it grew in size to outnumber its Communist party's membership.

Ever since Falun Gong has become popular in the U.S. for its positive effects to health and well being, there has been detailed documentation about how Jiang has interfered with all levels of government, through the long arm of his embassies and consulates. Defamatory letters and phone calls have been placed, or personal visits have been made, incorporating vicious propaganda. Scare tactics have implied diplomatic and economic pressure.

In July of this year, the House passed Concurrent Resolution 188, which addresses the Chinese regime's attempts to interfere directly with the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens in our country who practice or support Falun Gong. In July, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus acknowledged U.S. mayors who were pressured by Chinese consulates to rescind proclamations in support of Falun Gong.

Worldwide current events reflect that the world is profoundly interconnected, and whatever affects a part affects the whole. If we still don't see the connection between how the health and well being of China directly affects us here, then we need to take a simple inventory of all personal and household items that we own. Most likely, a majority of them were made in China, perhaps through the forced labor of innocent people, incarcerated for their spiritual beliefs. China is a microcosm of the world, and to know and understand the situation of Falun Gong in China is to understand China today, and comprehend how our personal destinies are undeniably linked.

Most importantly, what this totalitarian regime doesn't get is that Americans honor individual choice, especially regarding matters of faith. After 9/11, we have become more sensitized to the nature of totalitarian regimes. Any seed of terrorism here in the U.S. should not be allowed to propagate in any form. As our country prepares to host China's leader, we must make it clear that our government upholds liberty, justice, and freedom for all.