Eagle River, Wisconsin

By John Ruberry

“‘Many are the strange chances of the world,’ said Mithrandir, ‘and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.'”
Mithrandir (Gandalf), in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Simarillion.

This week greets the first anniversary of Donald J. Trump’s historic election to the presidency.

Historic? Yes. Trump is first first non-politician–or former general–ever elected to the nation’s highest office. The Manhattan billionaire was one of 17 candidates for the Republican nomination and it’s very safe to say that among the GOP establishment, Trump was the least popular member of this group.

But among the unpolished masses–the folks that Hillary Clinton dubbed “Deplorables” a year later–Trump was their champion. House Speaker Paul Ryan said after Trump’s upset win over Clinton, said that the president-elect, “Heard a voice that no one else heard.”

Clinton, on the other hand, was clearly the choice of the Democratic Party insiders, and that point was driven home last week by Donna Brazile, the interim DNC chair when Trump scored his upset win.

Trump was branded a racist when he said that Mexico was sending “rapists” and “criminals” over the border and he vowed to build a wall at the Mexican border. Was he wrong to say that? Yes. But Trump revealed a glaring hypocrisy among the Republican Party. The GOP’s idea of “getting tough” on illegal immigration was to talk tough about illegal immigration. And suddenly, the emerging Trump base learned, here was a candidate who will do something about illegal aliens–who yes, not only take away American jobs, such as in food service, but also drive down wages.

Barack Obama waxed eloquently–he’s good at that–about the plight of the laid-off workers at a Maytag refrigerator plant in Galesburg, Illinois–the manufacturer shifted that work to a factory in Mexico, both in his memorable keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and in Audacity of Hope. Trump vowed–and vows–to stop the exodus of blue collar jobs to south of the border. After eight years of President Obama in charge, whose response to these job losses was to offer retraining to workers for scarce jobs in “green industries,” Trump’s message resonated. While Clinton doubled-down on green failure.

Last week Rush Limbaugh praised Trump’s making an issue during the campaign of China cheating on trade deals and its currency manipulation “China is ripping us off on trade,” Trump screamed. At the time El Rusho saw it as too esoteric of a topic for presidential campaign. But the “weak” understood while the “wise” faltered.

And the Deplorables of Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan–many of whom voted twice for Barack Obama–went with Trump last year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The National Congress of the Communist Part of China, which sets the course of the nation’s leadership and policies every five years, opens next week during one of the most critical times in the relations with the United States.

President Xi Jinping, [pronounced she] who will be elected to a second, five-year term, faces some interesting problems, including the probable retirement of some top leaders, the ongoing North Korea nuclear program, and relations with President Trump.

It has been customary for leaders to retire at the age of 68. That would include five of the seven most powerful leaders in China, including Wang Qishan, Xi’s right-hand man and anti-corruption campaign leader.

SupChina, a great source for anyone who wants to follow developments in China, provides as excellent backgrounder at http://supchina.com/2017/09/26/will-happen-19th-party-congress-fall/

As SupChina notes: “Contrary to many who have posited that Wang is too important to Xi’s agenda to be sidelined, the Macro Polo initiative at the University of Chicago has come down firmly on the position that retirement norms will be followed this year. The initiative’s experts assigned only a small chance to the ‘norm-wrecking’ scenario that keeps Wang in his position, saying that ‘even with a very strong Xi Jinping, [this] would face significant criticism and pushback at every level of the CCP.’”

Xi is likely to opt for a selection of loyalists that both accelerates the ascension of some people leading to more attention “devoted to focusing on executing the many economic reforms that have stalled or taken a backseat to politics.”

On North Korea, China has initiated steps to implement the latest United Nations sanctions. That doesn’t mean that China and the United States are on the same page, but the relationship is better than most legacy media types would have us believe. An exception is a recent Reuters story at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-usa-congress/china-support-for-north-korea-clampdown-growing-u-s-official-idUSKCN1C32J2

Only a few weeks after the China meeting, President Trump will visit Asia, where he will travel to five countries from November 3 to 14, attending summits held by both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Expectations for a shift in U.S.-China relations are high, according to the influential South China Morning Post.

POLITICO also reports that the Trump Administration is conducting an extensive review of policy toward China. See http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/28/white-house-china-policy-review-243274

During the past three years I have spent visiting China, I found that the Chinese, particularly business people, see Trump as someone they can deal with. It may not be a perfect marriage, but neither is it as vitriolic as it was under President Obama. Moreover, U.S.-China relations would have been disastrous under Hillary Clinton. Simply put, China was rather curious and somewhat relieved when Trump became president.

For the last two weeks the media’s meme on the North Korean issue was a story of spectacle.

We had the spectacle of North Korea making belligerent threats against the United States and specifically targeting the US territory of Guam and the spectacle of the media going after the Trump administration on North Korea and convincing their followers that war was just around the corner.

Now none of this is new, As I’ve written over and over again North Korea makes it’s living off of threatening the west and the payoff it produces when the west gets spooked.  It’s all smoke from a very old game.

And then came President Donald Trump who changed the rules.

He directly answered the North Korean threats promising to release “Fire and Fury and Frankly Power the likes the world has never seen before” and as you might guess the media and the “experts” they employ who have been going after him 24/7 since election day went absolutely nuts:

CNN:

That stance was pilloried by many experts in the foreign policy world as deeply naive. Since then, however, he had significantly ramped up his rhetoric against Kim. He also has hardened his stance against China and that country’s need to exert its influence over North Korea 

Politico:

The seemingly off-the-cuff broadside also reignited concerns raised during the presidential campaign that Trump’s tough rhetoric, including his previous calls to build up the American nuclear arsenal, could be dangerously destabilizing.

 “The greatest North Korean threat we face is not from a nuclear-tipped missile hitting the U.S. mainland but from Washington stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula,” Siegfried Hecker, a former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and a nuclear expert who has visited North Korea seven times since 2004, said in an email.

“The president’s statements exacerbate” such concerns, Hecker said.

The Huffington Post

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized Trump’s rhetoric in an interview with KTAR radio on Tuesday.

“I take exception to the president’s comments because you’ve got to be able to do what you say you’re going to do,” McCain said. “In other words, the old walk softly but carry a big stick, Teddy Roosevelt’s saying, which I think is something that should’ve applied because all it’s going to do is bring us closer to a serious confrontation.”

NBC:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., criticized Trump’s comments as further isolating North Korea — a strategy she says has not worked to advance American goals in the region.

“The United States must quickly engage North Korea in a high-level dialogue without any preconditions,” Feinstein said in a statement, stating “in my view, diplomacy is the only sound path forward.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement: “We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe.”

Bloomberg:

Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs committee, said Trump’s latest comments “undermined American credibility by drawing an absurd red line.”

The Washington Post:

With ‘fire and fury,’ Trump revives fears about his possession of nuclear codes

and of course the NY Times:

President Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea sent a shudder through Asia on Wednesday, raising alarm among allies and adversaries and, to some observers, making the possibility of military conflict over the North’s nuclear program seem more real.

No less that the deputy head of the Democrat National Committee declared the dictator of North Korea more stable than the President of the United States at the Netroots gathering before backtracking after the panel was done.

In other words the media, the left, the anti-trump pols in short the “experts” were all united.  Donald Trump’s rhetoric was going to get us all killed.

But a funny thing happened, while the media was busy distracted by their latest anti-trump meme the Chinese who have been using North Korea as a way to keep the US off balance and in check for years said this:

In an unprecedented move against North Korea, China on Monday issued an order to carry out the United Nations sanctions imposed on the rogue regime earlier this month.

China made the announcement amid not only Pyongyang’s escalating war of words with the United States regarding the North Korea nuclear missile program, but also as President Trump was reportedly set to order an investigation into China’s trade practice — a probe which could lead the U.S. to levy its own sanctions on Beijing.

and this:

China agreed to ban imports of North Korean iron, lead, and coal as part of new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang. That’s hitting Kim Jon Un’s regime where it hurts.

But there was also the statement in the Chinese-run state newspaper Global Times on Friday that said that if North Korea attacks the U.S., China should remain neutral. In other words, they’d be on their own.

Less than 24 hours later the same North Koreans, who had been launching missile after missile into the ocean scaring and who we were told would only be inflamed by the rhetoric of Donald Trump suddenly  said this:

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”

(For a deeper analysis of the issues in this story, please see “North Korea Backs Off Threat to Hit Guam”)

The report, published early Tuesday, could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

There is a lot of surprise in the media (at least there would be if their latest “Trump/Nazi” meme wasn’t sucking up all the air) but we at DaTechGuy blog saw this coming the day President Trump hit Syria with the Russians right there:

if Trump wants to make a deal to stop the war on Syria, to stop North Korea or to take the pressure off the Baltic states afraid of a future Russian invasion he needed to demonstrate a willingness to actually strike, not only did he do so, but he did so While the head of China was his guest, meaning he was willing to demonstrate that diplomatic niceties and timing mean nothing to him when he wants to act.

As did Scott Adams who has seen called almost the entire Trump Saga from day 1:

President Trump just set the table for his conversations with China about North Korea. Does China doubt Trump will take care of the problem in China’s own backyard if they don’t take care of it themselves? That negotiation just got easier.

Donald Trump demonstrated that the US is no longer the weak horse of the Obama Years and that his foreign policy is not going to be driven by a panicked media, scolding from professional experts, or lawmakers anxious for a sound bite, it’s going to be driven with one goal in mind, getting results.

Don Surber put it best

Chairman Xi saw The Donald during their dinner at Mar-a-Lago deliver fire and fury to Syria.

And then two days later, Afghanistan

On Monday, China backed down.

Nine politically experienced presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama — acted presidential and got nothing done, while the Kim Jong clan nuked up and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The amateur – the mad man — the unpresidential one — got China to rein in North Korea.

The US is the strong horse again and our enemies are acting accordingly, the media, American left and #nevertrump are hardest hit.

#unexpectedly

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The sand dunes along the Silk Road

Dunhuang, China, is probably the most important city you’ve never heard of.

Tucked into a corner of Northwest China, Dunhuang [pronounced DONE-hwong] was a major outpost on the famous Silk Road trading route and has become a symbol of the current government’s attempt to rebuild the image and the use of the international connection.

Marco Polo traveled through Dunhuang in the 13th century and spent 17 years as an aide to Kublai Khan, the Mongol leader of the Yuan Dynasty in China and conquered an area from Asia to Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.

But Dunhuang played a major role in building China’s role in the world long before that.

Buddhist monks arrived in China from India by the first century AD, and a sizable Buddhist community eventually developed in Dunhuang.

The caves carved out by the monks, originally used for meditation, developed into a place of worship and pilgrimage called the Mogao Caves.

One of the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang, China

During a recent trip to Dunhuang, I had the opportunity to see the caves. I actually went back for a second look because they are simply incredible! You only get to see eight to 10 of the more than 700 caves, but they are a breath-taking example of Buddhist art from 400 to 1200 A.D. The caves also kept a secret of thousands of hidden documents about culture and religion through the world—only discovered in the early 1900s when a monk found them hidden behind a wall. A number of Christian and Jewish artifacts have been discovered in the caves, including a Bible from Syria.For more information, see http://en.people.cn/english/200006/20/eng20000620_43468.html

From Dunhuang, you also get a sense of the extraordinary effort and will of the people, like Marco Polo, who traveled through the deserts of the world. The nearby Gobi Desert is the third largest in the world behind the Sahara and Arabian deserts. The Taklamakan Desert, which also sits nearby Dunhuang, is the 16th-largest in the world and is almost the size of Germany and exists almost entirely of sand dunes.

Today, the central government of China is trying to make Dunhuang a major tourist attraction, particularly the Mogao Caves. I hope the leadership succeeds in the effort because the caves are one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen.

Me and my new buddy hangin’ with some bamboo appetizers.

Sometimes you just have to chill out from the problems of the world.

That’s why I decided to travel on a whim to Chengdu, China. It’s the capital of Sichuan Province, known for panda protection and procreation, the world’s tallest Buddha sculpture and seriously hot food.

There’s good news on the panda front, although the Chinese still consider the furry guys endangered. The artificial insemination project in Chengdu resulted in 20 live births last year, raising the number of living pandas to more than 2,000.

I went to one of three panda sites near Chengdu, where two-year-old pandas are getting ready to be set free back into the wild. I got to sit with one, who thought I was either interesting or pretty weird.

The following day I traveled to Leshan, the site of the tallest Buddha in the world. It took nearly 80 years to carve out of the stone until it was done in 803. It stands more than 200 feet tall–an impressive accomplishment for an era long ago. Think of it as the Mount Rushmore of China.

The Leshan Buddha is the largest statue in the world in the Buddhist culture.

Finally, I tried true Sichuan hotpot, the favorite of  the Chinese, who, when they eat at a restaurant, order this dish almost one-quarter of the time.

The hotpot, which is a boiling mixture of water, peppers and other ingredients, provides the stew for whatever you want to eat: beef, chicken, duck, mushrooms, potatoes and much much more.

Duck blood soup with tripe

No one believed me that I wanted tripe–aka pig intestines–because I was the first Westerner known to want to eat the stuff. I know many of you find that disgusting, but I found it delicious.

It was a wonderful trip–one that made me forget for a few days about the turmoil swirling around us.

And who couldn’t love the photo below from the center of Chengdu?

China also celebrated a three-day holiday over the past weekend—a festival commemorating the story of a famous poet.

People in Guangzhou, where I am teaching, packed the route along the tributaries of the Pearl River as more than 100 dragon boats cruised through the city.

The festival is a memorial of the death of the poet and politician Qu Yuan  (340–278 B.C.) of the ancient state of Chu during the Zhou dynasty.

When the Zhou king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, the creators of the Terra Cotta warriors in Xi’an, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason.

In exile, Qu became China’s first great poet.

Years later, the Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

The story goes that local people raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. Thus, the story of the dragon boats began. When his body could not be found, the locals dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu’s body. Thus began the legacy of zongzi, or sticky rice. Hint: if you have never eaten sticky rice, you take off the leaf and the ribbon.

Smithsonian Magazine provides some great background:

“One of the most important mythical creatures in Chinese mythology, the dragon is the controller of the rain, the river, the sea, and all other kinds of water; symbol of divine power and energy…. In the imperial era it was identified as the symbol of imperial power,” writes Deming An, a professor of folklore at the Institute of Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “In people’s imaginations, dragons usually live in water and are the controllers of rain.

“Dragon boat racing is ascribed to organized celebrations of beginning in the 5th or 6th century A.D. But scholars say the boats were first used hundreds of years earlier, perhaps for varied reasons. On the lunar calendar, May is the summer solstice period, the crucial time when rice seedlings were transplanted…. To ensure a good harvest, southern Chinese would have asked the dragons to watch over their crops, says Jessica Anderson Turner, a Handbook of Chinese Mythology contributor. They would have decorated their boats with ornate dragon carvings, “and the rowing was symbolic of the planting of the rice back in the water,” Anderson Turner explains.

Read more at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-legends-behind-the-dragon-boat-festival-135634582/

The  People’s Republic of China did not officially recognize the celebration as a public holiday. But the dragon boat races spread throughout the world. Since 2008, “Duanwu Jie” as it’s known in China, has been celebrated not only as a festival but also as a public holiday. It’s a whole lotta fun!

One of the most important events of the year happened last weekend in Beijing, but few U.S. news organizations gave much notice.

President Xi Jinping and representatives of more than 100 other countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, got together to hash out how to spend nearly $1 trillion—that’s TRILLION—of China’s money. The United States’ delegation got an upgrade in the growing bromance between President Trump and Xi.

The project, now called “Belt and Road,” is arguably the most extensive and expensive rebuilding program since the Marshall Plan after World War II.


Following the old trading routes of the infamous Silk Road, the projects stretch across 65 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe via land and sea in a mixture of financial investments and foreign policy. Here is just a taste of some of the plans:

–China is financing more than a third of the $23.7 billion cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant on the Somerset coast of southwest England. The project, in a major western economy, was added to the Belt and Road plan to give added prestige.

–China financed most of the $4 billion cost of Africa’s first transnational electric railway, which opened this year and runs for 466 miles from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

–A deepwater port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea will be linked by new roads and rail to western China’s Xinjiang region, creating a shortcut for trade with Europe. The port is part of $46 billion China says it is spending on infrastructure and power plants in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

–China is leading a $6 billion investment to build a 260-mile rail line from northern Laos to the capital, Vientiane. Mountainous terrain means bridges and tunnels will account for more than 60 percent of the line, and construction is further complicated by the need to clear unexploded land mines left from American bombing of the country during the Vietnam War.

This map shows the extent of the Chinese initiative in more than 60 countries.

Although most of the work will be done by Chinese companies, U.S. businesses like GE and Caterpillar are vying for some of the action.

The plan is not without its critics. India, for example, failed to show up for the weekend meeting because its leaders are not happy about a project that goes through Kashmir, land claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Whatever the case, the initiative will be the signature dish of President Xi—one that is likely to gain more than a few friends throughout the world.

Note: The Wall Street Journal has a funny piece about the PR campaigns for the plan at https://www.wsj.com/articles/coffee-classical-music-and-wrestling-celebrate-chinese-infrastructure-1494862432

Xi’an, the former capital of mainland China, may be the best example of the country’s heart, power, history and future of the country.

Emperor Qin [pronounced chin] Shi Huang unified China in the Third Century B.C, making Xi’an [pronounced she-ON], the country’s most important city for roughly 1,500 years.

During his reign, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state. He enacted major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of such things as roads and currency. He is said to have banned and burned many books and executed scholars,  but experts dispute these claims.

His public works projects included the unification of diverse state walls into the Great Wall of China and a national road system, as well as the city-sized  mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terra Cotta Army. He ruled until his death in 210  B.C.

Today China looks back at the history and the ties to its national roots.

Nearby lies the tomb of Wu Zetian, the only woman to ever rule China and a key component of the Tang Dynasty’s role in building the Silk Road that made the region rich. She’s well known and revered in China, but I was the only visitor to her massive tomb on a brilliant Sunday morning.

Wu (624-705) and the Tang Dynasty devised The Silk Road or Silk Route, an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West. Think Marco Polo.

While the term is modern, the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk  (and horses) carried out along its length.

Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, Iran, the Horn of Africa and the Arab Peninsula, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was certainly the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, philosophies and various technologies.

Today, President Xi has revived the Silk Road philosophy through his “One Belt, One Road” strategy to improve economic and political relations with a variety of countries.

Essentially, the plan includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges and broadening trade. Apart from this zone, which is largely analogous to the historical Silk Road, another area to be included in the extension of this ‘belt’ is South Asia and Southeast Asia.

A report from Fitch Ratings suggests that China’s plan to build ports, roads and railways in under-developed Eurasia and Africa is out of political motivation rather than real demand for infrastructure. Fitch also doubts Chinese banks’ ability to control risks, as they do not have a good record of allocating resources efficiently at home, which may lead to new asset-quality problems for Chinese banks that most of funding is likely to come from.

Simply put, the plan is believed to be a way to extend Chinese influence at the expense of the United States, in order to fight for regional leadership in Asia. The estimated $1 trillion for the projects can be considered a masterstroke by China to establish itself as a world-leading economy and to spread its power, particularly in the South Asian region. China has already invested billions of dollars in several South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to improve their basic infrastructure, with important implications for both China’s trade regime as well as its military influence.

One final note: Put Xi’an on your bucket list. It’s easy to get to and easy to get around. But make sure you see more than the Terra Cotta Army!

My new friends in Xi’an

For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach students at the International School at Jinan University in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in South China.

The trip allows me an opportunity to travel throughout China, Thailand and Myanmar, where I continue my own “Asia pivot” after years of reporting on terrorism and the Middle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my travels and travails. I start in Xi’an, the one-time capital of China, where the Terra Cotta warriors were found in the 1970s. I visited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624-705), is buried.

Wu was the concubine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she married his successor—his ninth son, Emperor Gaozong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, a position equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qianlong Mausoleum, which is something I’ve always wanted to see.

A mural in the Qianling Mausoleum

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal system of the country.

Hangzhou

After that, I head out of China as it celebrates May Day, and millions of people throughout the Communist world launch some sort of remembrance for International Workers’ Day.

In Thailand, which has no May Day parties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ousted the longtime dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the politics; I am visiting for the famed Buddhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

Buddhist shrines in Myanmar

Then it’s back to southern China, where I will teach Journalism Research and In-Depth Reporting for sophomore students. Here is what my class produced last year: www.writingforjournalism.com. The stories include some about abortion, the elderly, urban policy and more.

The Chinese students are among the best and the brightest, and it’s an opportunity for me to see what the next generation from the Middle Kingdom will be like. For the most part, they resemble my students from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.

 

President Trump’s State Department has told the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to get along without U.S. financial support. There are people who think this is a bad idea. I’m not one of them. Neither is Reggie Littlejohn.

I met Reggie very briefly a couple of years ago, when we were speakers at a pro-life convention in New Hampshire. My job was to talk about effective use of social media. Reggie’s job was to talk about China’s coercive abortion policy. She got better billing – and deserved it. Her stories were compelling and persuasive.

She became interested in Chinese policy when as an attorney she represented a Chinese woman seeking political asylum in the United States. It was Reggie’s first exposure to the wretched effects of the One-Child Policy: forced abortion, forced sterilization, and gender imbalance as boys are more valued culturally than girls. The revelations changed her life. She later established Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition dedicated to fighting forced abortion in China.

Wherever she speaks, she points out the support China’s policies have received from UNFPA. She has called repeatedly for U.S. de-funding of the organization. She released a statement the other day when de-funding was finally announced.

“We are thrilled that the U.S. is no longer funding forced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.  The blood of Chinese women and babies will no longer be on our hands. My very first press release, in 2009, was entitled ‘You Are Funding Forced Abortions in China.‘ I have consistently advocated for the defunding of UNFPA over the years…

“The UNFPA clearly supports China’s population control program, which they know is coercive. Under China’s One (now Two) Child Policy, women have been forcibly aborted up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Some of these forced abortions have been so violent that the women themselves have died, along with their full term babies. There have been brutal forced sterilizations as well, butchering women and leaving them disabled. Where was the outcry from the UNFPA? In my opinion, silence in the face of such atrocities is complicity.   Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ The UNFPA’s silence in the face of decades of forced abortion has been a sword in the wombs of millions of women and babies of China. I rejoice with them that the foot of the UNFPA is finally off of their necks.”

Well done, Mr. President.

I remember listening to Reggie speak around the time China shifted to a Two-Child Policy. She was unimpressed by the change. “What matters is they’re telling people how many kids to have and they’re enforcing it with forced abortions.” She elaborated on that in a 2015 press statement about the policy shift.

“Characterizing this latest modification as ‘abandoning’ the One-Child Policy is misleading. A two-child policy will not end any of the human rights abuses caused by the One Child Policy, including forced abortion, involuntary sterilization or the sex-selective abortion of baby girls….Noticeably absent from the Chinese Communist party’s announcement is any mention of human rights. The Chinese Communist Party has not suddenly developed a conscience or grown a heart. Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception.

“…In a world laden with compassion fatigue, people are relieved to cross China’s one-child policy off of their list of things to worry about. But we cannot do that. Let us not abandon the women of China, who continue to face forced abortion, and the baby girls of China, who continue to face sex-selective abortion and abandonment. The one-child policy does not need to be modified. It needs to be abolished.”

Let’s hear UNFPA speak up for Chinese women that way. Until then, the agency can get along without U.S. taxpayer support.

Ellen Kolb blogs about New Hampshire life-issue policy at Leaven for the Loaf and looks farther afield in ellenkolb.com

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