Wei in America

March 10, 1999

China now has about 20 long-range strategic missiles; the CIA estimates 13 are aimed at U.S. cities. Each of the missiles has a huge, single warhead viewed as a "city buster." - Washington Times

The New York Times reports on the theft of military secrets from the US used by China to improve its nuclear arsenal.

July 31, 1998


Despite promises from Clinton of democracy just around the Great Wall of China, that country has decided to prosecute a computer engineer for providing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to a US on-line democracy magazine. According to AP, Shanghai's Internet police division has been reinforced by 150 additional computer experts and pro-democracy web sites have been wiped out by police hackers.

June 25, 1998

US news media critic Norman Solomon offers comments on Clinton's trip to China, the first to China by an American president since the Tienamen Square Massacre.

Wednesday, May 6, 1998; 3:02 a.m. EDT

MONTREAL (AP) -- Wei Jingsheng, a leading Chinese dissident in exile, fell ill and was hospitalized on his way to a human rights conference in Montreal.

There was no firm word on Wei's condition early today, or even where he was: Montreal's St.-Luc Hospital said Tuesday he had been treated and released.

``He suffered a minor heart attack, more or less,'' said Kenneth Cheung, a spokesman for a pro-democracy Chinese group in Montreal.

Wei, 47, was released from prison in China in November to seek medical treatment in the United States. Wei had spent virtually every day since 1979 in prison for his pro-democracy work, and suffered from heart problems, high blood pressure and other illnesses that worsened behind bars.

He had been on his way to Montreal to speak Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the writers' group PEN and the International Center for Human Rights.

Organizers told the audience at the conference that Wei ``had great difficulty'' earlier in the day in Toronto, on his way to Montreal, Cheung said.

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

May 4, 1998

In related news, we received the following from Stan Smith:


"There is not a single solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. Not one. Not one. Not a single one." -- President Bill Clinton, October 1996

The Washington Times' Bill Gertz reports that a new CIA document leaked to him suggests 13 of China's 18 CSS-4 missiles -- with a range of more than 8,000 miles and single nuclear warheads -- are trained on U.S. cities.

William S. Cohen when asked about the contradictory nature of the two items said on CNN's Evans & Novak that the president's statement was "true at that time and may still be true today."

And this . . .

"More evidence of Clinton administration back-door trading with China that has provided that country with supercomputers and other high-security technology. In a letter addressed to Janet Reno, Reps. Henry Hyde and Tillie Fowler have revealed that a 1994 fiber optics deal between the US and China included encryption software. The Clinton administration, while denying export of any crypto to allies, quietly transferred sophisticated communications and encryption technology to China. The congressmembers say the joint venture, called Heu Mei, was approved by the Clinton administration over the objections of the NSA and the Defense Department. The high speed fiber optic secure communications system sold to China, including the advanced encryption software, is now serving the Chinese nuclear strategic forces."

Also see the item from: November 26, 1997

February 28, 1998

In related news, the New York Times reported today that Rupert Murdoch personally intervened to cancel a HarperCollins book contract with Chris Patten, the last British Governor of Hong Kong, whose work "East and West" presents an unflattering portrait of China's leaders.

Stuart Proffitt, the publisher of HarperCollin's trade division said of the book's first 70,000 words: "I don't think I have ever read a book by any modern politician which is so lucid or engrossing or which had quickened my blood so frequently."

When he was ordered to drop the book Proffitt refused. Thereupon he was presented with a letter warning him that discussing the matter with anyone would make him subject to dismissal without compensation.

January 12, 1997

Wei's trip to Europe generated an article in the Financial Times published in the UK. This article has been the first we've seen since Wei' release that has made a serious attempt to explain the nature of Wei's critique of the communist regime in China and the stiff price he has paid for his dissent.

Quotes from the article entitled: "Exiled Wei plans to press China on human rights":

  • "Many dissidents are disappointed with the west because they have unrealistic expectations. But I know the west is not ideal. It know it is not an 'out-of-this-world peach garden.'"

  • If dialogue continues in the absense of human rights improvements, this would amount to an endorsement of suppression, said Mr. Wei, who has set up an office at Columbia University in New York to help articulate and disseminate his views.

  • Mr. Wei says he will not try to unite the disparate personalities and egos which make up part of China's dissident community. China, he says, always manages to wreak havoc in overseas dissident organizations by infiltrating them with agents who sow discord and inflame jealousies.

    "I don't have the energy to deal with all these agents. I am just going to do my own work. I will not try to unite the movement," he said.

    December 23, 1997

    Wei's recent visit to the Bay Area inspired articles in both the Chronicle and the Examiner.

    "Trade and democracy have nothing to do with each other." - Quoted by Examiner

    "The biggest beneficiary of U.S. trade with China is the Chinese Communist Party, not the American people or the Chinese people." - Quoted by the Examiner

    "If the United States continues to help China expand its economy and strengthen its ability to purchase weapons, a conflict with the U.S is bound to happen." - Quoted by the Chronicle

    December 22, 1997

    Since the November 22 report, there has been no mention of Wei Jingsheng in either of San Francisco's two newspapers.

    November 26, 1997

    Stan Smith of the Progressive Review writes to inform us that:

    "In the 12 months before the arrival of Jiang Zemin, reports the US News & World Report, China was visited by two secretaries of state, the secretaries of commerce and treasury, two national security advisers, the head of the CIA, the head of the Navy and about 100 members of Congress."

    November 22, 1997

  • New York Times (excerpts)

    (Wei) quarreled good-naturedly in the interview at being labled a dissident: "Most of the Chinese people want democracy. The people who really differ on this question are actually a little group of ruling elites at the top of the Chinese Communist Party, so they are really the dissidents"

    (To China's democracy forces): "You should not pay attention to the immediate low tide, because after a low tide there is always a high tide that follows."

    Q: "Do you think China will see democracy under the current generation of leaders?"

    A: "Impossible! It would be harder for this generation to realize democracy than the older generation, and I will explain why. The first generation of communists, although they did many things that were wrong, were real idealists. They sincerely believed in Communism and they genuinely wanted progress for China, including some kind of democracy. But the current generation are pragmatists. Communism to them is just a tool to maintain themselves or the interests of the ruling class."


    In the story's third paragraph, the reporter Patrick E. Tyler claims that Wei appeared to be in "fairly good health," a claim which is a direct contradiction of the report from the Detroit physician who first examined Wei. Tyler then refers to Wei's reported health problems as possibly "a strategy . . .to press Beijing's government to release him on medical parole," yet does not mention Wei's own statement on the matter - that Chinese officials specifically denied him medical care as long as he stayed in China - until the eighteenth paragraph.

    In the story's fourth paragraph, Tyler refers to Wei as a potential "complication" of "relations between Washington and Beijing" and in the fifth paragraph articulates President Clinton's position on human rights in China - "Mr. Clinton has stepped back from trade pressure" - a position which mirrors that of the Times' owners.

    Tyler describes Wei as "looking in need of a trim." The one and only reference to the physical and psychological torture Wei suffered while a prisoner appeared in the eighteenth paragraph of the Times' story.

  • Los Angeles Times (excerpts)

    "I have waited decades for this chance to exercise my right to free speech, but the Chinese people have been waiting for centuries."

    "Right now there are several thousand political prisoners still suffering in Chinese Communist Party jails. Our conscience as human beings will not allow us to forget them, not even for a single moment."

    "Loving china is not the same thing as loving the Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party asks the Chinese people to equate this with patriotism, but these are two separate things."

    "Generations of martyrs sacrificed themselves in order to obtain democracy in Europe and North America and many other places in the world. But people should not be satisfied with this. Those who already enjoy democracy, liberty, and human rights should not allow their own personal happiness to lull them into forgetting the many who are still struggling against tyranny."

    Note: In its final paragraph, this article (as it appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle) makes reference to Wei's book in its last paragraph, but does not give the title.

    November 17, 1997

    "It is conisistent with the 'hostage politik' that Chinese leaders have pursued since 1989 - when they need to offer a concession for political reasons, they release someone who should have never been arrested in the first place."

    - Sidney Jones, Human Rights Watch.


    to "The Courage to Stand Alone"