Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The World Health Organization has criticized China for withholding information about SARS, which has spread throughout the international community. Yet when talking to relatives in China, they find it hard to believe that SARS is a serious issue and describe it as "no big deal." I was told not to believe anyone outside of China because they simply wanted to make the country look bad.

As a native Chinese, I didn't believe that innocent students were killed in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 massacre even after I moved to the United States. It was only after China inundated the public with misinformation about Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned in China, that I finally realized how the government uses its state-controlled media to protect its image. Had I not been familiar with Falun Gong, I too would have believed the propaganda.

While I support efforts to improve international relationships, America should let Beijing know that, in order for this to be achieved, China must be more forthcoming.

LEEJUN IVIE Gloversville