June 4, is the 24th anniversary of the slaughter of 3,000 unarmed student protestors in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. On Thursday, June 6, the President of the United States will be schmoozing the ideological heir to this massacre at the ultra-swank Sunnylands resort near Palm Springs California.
President Obama will likely avoid offending his guest with the mention of any specific past or current episodes of mass murder by China's communist regime. There will be smug photo ops with the smiling leaders hugging and the release of statements about working together on the "important issues of the day." This view of "important" will not include any meaningful approach to human rights. In his last summit with Hu Jintao, Obama stated that "China has a different political system than we do" and that American views "about the universality of certain rights" would not "prevent us from cooperating in these other critical areas." i.e. The borrowing of Chinese money to stimulate American consumption of Chinese goods and the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to China will continue unimpeded. Profits will continue to flow into the coffers of multinational corporations and the Wall Street investment banks that funnel American capital and technology to China.
Because addressing the specific ongoing crimes of the Xi regime would be tacky, the ethnic cleansing of Tibet and the Uighar territory will not make the agenda. Nor will China's heavy-handed treatment of the Catholic Church and the persecution of House Christians be discussed. We can be absolutely sure that there will be no mention of the systematic detention, torture and murder of the Falun Gong.
That makes the DVD release of the documentary film, Free China: The Courage to Believe very timely. This English language film (with Chinese subtitles) tells the harrowing story of two Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their dedication to their religion. Be warned, this is a very disturbing tale that is eerily reminiscent of Nazi atrocities. The film, directed by Michael Perlman (Tibet, Beyond Fear), opens by showing how Mao Tse Tung and his sociopathic, communist followers intentionally undermined the moral foundations of ancient China. Mao's various movements, purges and pogroms including his infamous "cultural revolution" were aimed at the very soul of China. The goal was nothing less than to replace centuries of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian thought with the amoral philosophy and disastrous economics of a drunken German and the brutal politics of Marx's mad Russian protégés.
While the face of China, with its new veneer of mobster capitalism, looks very different today, nothing has changed politically. The folks that sent the tanks and troops into Tiananmen are still in charge. Freedom of speech, religion, and democracy remain distant dreams. Least you swallow the big lie that China's is on a slow path to reform, consider that according to his bio on the People's Daily President Xi spent 1998-2002 at Tsinghua University studying Marxist Ideology and Political Education. That is not the resume of a likely reformer.
The fourteen year communist party crackdown on the Falun Gong has been a methodical campaign of religious extermination with disturbing similarity to Hitler's final solution. Along with the propaganda attack, forced labor, and torture Free China documents the Chinese government's gruesome international trade in human organs. Peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, being China's largest group of health conscious prisoners have become the disproportionate victims of this business.
Despite the macabre subject, this film is beautifully shot and edited and the music is particularly powerful and inspiring. The protagonists, Jenifer Zeng and Dr. Charles Lee are genuine and powerful. Two of the West's great voices for human dignity, Canada's David Kilgour and American Congressman Chris Smith, make poignant contributions to the film.
Free China's producer, Kean Wong, will host an important press event this week that will bring a very substantial international voice to bear on the Chinese human rights disaster. Protestors of all sorts are also preparing to descend on this inauspicious summit. At some point the reality of America's China relationship will no longer be deniable, even to a President who aspires to get along with everyone.
This administration or the next will have to admit that our forty-year experiment with "engagement" has been an utter failure. It has not produced the promised economic benefits of access to China's markets, it has not empowered the voices of reform within China and it has not secured peace in the region. Just the opposite: with the very best of intentions seven U.S. presidents have built a relationship that guts America's manufacturing base, funds the continued repression of freedom in China, and threatens East Asia with war on multiple fronts. The only way out of this is for America to stand up to her principles and demand a Free China.
Greg Autry is the author of Death by China and serves as Senior Economist for the American Jobs Alliance and Economist with the Coalition for a Prosperous America. He teaches Macroeconomics at the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. You can find him on Facebook.