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Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Guess Neo-Conservatives Only Want the American Way of Life in Other Countries 

(Be thankful. I am refraining from Abbott and Costello jokes.)

From AP/Yahoo:

In a surprise outburst that cast a diplomatic shadow, a screaming protester confronted President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao and interrupted the welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn Thursday....

"President Bush, stop him from killing," the woman shouted, to the surprise of hundreds of guests spread across the lawn on a sunny, warm day. "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong" — a banned religious movement in China.


Chinese leaders place high importance on protocol and symbolism, and Bush moved promptly to deal with the protest on the lawn. Once they reached the Oval Office, Bush apologized to his guest.

"He just said this was unfortunate and I'm sorry it happened," said Dennis Wilder, acting senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff.


I'll grant that one can make a case that Chinese sensibilities should be respected in the United States, but why aren't American sensibilities being respected in China?

In this country, the First Amendment protects both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Ironically, I bet that people are arguing that members of the press should have LESS freedom. But the blogosphere reaction is fairly predictable.

Yo, Adrian:

[T]he symbolism of the event is the real story. In America, a woman is making it known to world leaders of human rights violations and religious persecution through a public declaration of free speech. In America, she is silenced and taken away. Let's look at the topics of Bush's lecture again: Human rights + Free Speech + Free Enterprise = Good China/USA Relations.

However, some argue that the Falun Gong may be wearing out their welcome:

This group of Chinese spiritualists has protested in Manhattan for years, trying to gain attention for their plight—their brethren are not treated well in Communist China (shocker)—while at the same time refusing to get out of your way. At first, I was wholly sympathetic. Anything anti-Communist China is good, right? I mean, their government is so disgusting only Iran and Russian and the U.S. and Yahoo! would see them socially. But the Falun Gong are obnoxious. One woman literally followed a co-worker up into our office to force literature on her (she is Taiwanese-American), and even came back after I sent her away the first time—not quite believing me that my co-worker did not care to receive her. They have worn out their welcome in New York, and that is a hard thing to do in a city so liberal that even its Republicans turn Jerry Falwell's stomach. I only recently, thanks to my friend Gordon Wallace, learned something more about the Falun Gong—that they think homosex is a major no-no, and that it brings you down (funny, it tends to perk me up)....But doing some more digging on Falun Gong, I've discovered that they're not some ancient, persecuted religion—they're just a bunch of whack-jobs who happen to come from a civilization with ancient roots. They believe in clearing your mind with meditation...and I'm afraid tthat aliens are involved. In short, these are nothing but Chinese Scientologists without so much Kirstie Alley, and for this THEY MUST DIE. (Not really, but it does sort of put their unfair torturing a ways down on my list of things to care about for two seconds every day.) If someone would like to inform me why I should not be glib about the Falun Gong, I am very open to hearing it—I would hate to be the asshole who's making Jewish jokes in the late '30s before realizing that Hitler is the real deal. But speak of the Fuhrer, the Falun Gong have incorporated a swastika into their little group insignia. Granted, I know that symbol has other, more ancient, less evil meanings. But dude, your organization was formed in 1992, so show some common sense. Even Tom Cruise knows better than that and he's feasting on Suri's (or did it technically belong to Katie?) afterbirth. Careful, Tom—you'll only be hungry a half hour later.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

I agree. If I had been there, I would have yelled "You go girl!"
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