Testimony of Wei Jingsheng

Testimony of Wei Jingsheng
Visiting Scholar
Columbia University Center for the Study of Human Rights

Before the United States House of Representatives
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997

February 3, 1998

The United States foreign policy strategy has always had a short-coming, perhaps one inherent in parliamentarian, democratic systems: thinking for the short-term. People are not too concerned with what may happen beyond their term of office. They're usually not too concerned with affairs beyond their vested interests. The government is like this. The Congress is like this. So much so that a lot of people and research organizations also think in these terms when they come to consider or make proposals in foreign affairs. The result is best described by and old Chinese saying, "If you don't look far ahead, then you will have immediate difficulties." As the most developed, the richest and the strongest country in the world, the United States is often ridiculed, its efforts blocked and plagued by undue setbacks. I believe this short-term thinking is precisely the reason.

After World War Two, the United States unwisely ceded all the Eastern European countries to Stalin. This resulted in a bitter struggle for the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe that lasted for decades before they broke from the shackles of communism. This also resulted in a heavy Cold War burden for the peoples of the United States and is western allies. There were many serious, but avoidable, setbacks. Soon thereafter, in order to save a few pennies, to settle certain personal scores, and on the basis of lies spoken by friends of the communists wearing the cloak of so-called "China experts", the United States helped a supposedly more "democratic" communist regime pass through a critical period, which then quickly seized political power in China. Thereby, the United States casually turned its back on a most important long-term ally in Asia. This resulted in the deep suffering and hardships of one quarter of humanity which lasts until this very day. Allies and friends of the United States did not dare to fully trust this big, vacillating American friend. And shortly thereafter, tens of thousands of American sons paid the price in blood on the Korean peninsula.

However, the American people have become carried away by their own greatness. They refuse to draw lessons from their failures. Within the span of a single generation, they forgot the lesson paid in blood. Duped by the lies of a dishonest politician, the American people hailed their President on his visit to Beijing to see Mao Zedong, the greatest butcher of this century, and rescued the Chinese communist regime from the jaws of death. The Chinese communist regime, which was facing imminent breakdown and total demoralization, was thereby able to prolong their tyranny to this day. On top of that, this regime was presented with veto power at the United Nations. And every year, the United States is compelled to yield to the Chinese communists because of this veto. It is not for me to say if the acts of that politician or his president should be considered as patriotic or treasonous. No matter how great a country may be, if it fails to learn from its past and unite and expand the scope of its allies, but persists in committing the same strategic mistakes, then it will not be able to maintain its power and prosperity for long and quickly go into decline.

Most of you present here are experts in foreign policy strategy, so I don't need to elaborate on the importance of China potentially serving as your greatest ally or your greatest enemy. Because of the policies of censoring information, deception, bribery, and intimidation carried out by the Chinese dictatorship, I only wish to tell you that many journalists, experts and scholars from the west, have often been misguided in their assessments of China. Because the United States has in the past relied upon these mistaken assessments to formulate policy, the United States government has made repeated mistakes that echo for decades.

Today, China is once again at a critical juncture. And the United States is faced with a momentous choice. Is it to help the enemy of the United States pass through its difficulties and gain more strength? Or is it to help its friends pass through their difficulties and work together for the maintenance of world peace and stability? This is the most important choice to be considered in the foreign policy of the United States. However, what I can sense, is a most dangerous, mistaken choice; or at least the tendency towards making such a choice. For example, as a result of the long-term squeeze of the international community, the Chinese regime was compelled to release me and a few other political prisoners in order to relieve some economic, political and public opinion pressure. But the Chinese communists want to save face; so they let the United States claim the credit and expect very little in return. But to their surprise, the United States not only agreed to their many secret conditions, but also agreed to make deals on human rights and democracy through entering into "dialogue" or "closed door schemes." This way, the people will not be able to see how shameless the politicians are as they bargain away. The people in the democratic countries now have reason to suspect that their governments are selling out their friends and their interests. As for the Chinese government, they can more easily go back on their own promises. The Chinese people are accustomed to hearing lies from the Chinese communists, so they don't believe them. But the American people are not familiar with the nature of the Chines communists. In addition they only have the duty to oversee the American government and not the Chinese communist government. This way, the United States government cannot help but explain away the lies of its closed door partner, otherwise it cannot explain away its own actions to the American people.

We have already seen that the traps set by the Chinese communists are working. In order to ease the domestic pressure resulting from the suppression of human rights and the democracy movement by the Chinese government, the United States government has gone so far as to disregard the facts and beautify the Chines communists in this year's State Department human rights report. My expulsion from China, against my will, is now described as "allowing me to leave the country for medical treatment." Some of my friends inside the communist party who have joined us in the fight for democracy and human rights have been the target of persecution, but this has been explained as exhibiting "some limited tolerance." And so on. More importantly, the United States government seems to say in this report that the results achieved through the pressure of many years are not important. Moreover, it seems to say that all the credit should go to the secret negotiations of the present administration. Of course, politicians in democratic countries like to claim all the credit. And this is a domestic political necessity. But the danger lies in the fact that it shows that the Chinese communists have learned how to make use of the political weaknesses of the United States in order to control American politics, and have learned how to draw the American government into their traps. The manipulative skills of the Chinese communists are not far off from those of the American businessman. They have not only forced the American government to deceive the American people, but they have also succeeded in breaking up the coalition of the western countries on the questions of human rights and democracy. Also, they have forced the United States to soften its positions step by step. Last year's Human Rights Commission at Geneva is the primary symbol of the Chinese communist victory. The Chinese communists were joyful beyond themselves over this unexpected victory. But has the United States government explained this defeat to the American people?

No. In order to cover up this defeat, they tell the American people they have established a so-called "strategic cooperative partnership" with their enemies, those hoodlums and scoundrels who butcher their own people and deceive world opinion. They have not only said so, they have done so. By tolerating this unreasonable trade system, it subsidizes this communist regime tens of millions of dollars a year enabling the Chinese government to prop up the decaying structure that would have collapsed long ago. And every year, the direct assistance to the communists for the so called "cooperative items" reach hundreds of millions of dollars, but the money spent by the west in helping China's democratic causes is next to nothing, so little that the American taxpayers find it hard to believe. Even that small pittance must be balanced between helping the victims of persecution in China and assisting for the democratic movement. Friends, ninety nine percent of the American tax dollar spent in China has gone to the Chinese communists, the remaining one percent must pass through the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Is this balanced? Or is this obviously biased? It is easy to answer this question.

It is not for me to tell Americans what to do, but I want to tell my friends that the Chinese communists have never considered the United States or other western countries as friends or potential friends. They have told their members, and the Chinese people, in no uncertain terms that American imperialism will always be their greatest enemy; all the dealings with the United States are to deceive the enemies and to make use of the contradictions among them. For decades the Chinese communists have not changed this position one bit. Should the United States fail to see who in China can be the friends of the United States, should the United States government continue to support the enemy of the Chinese and American people, then it will not only bring certain difficulties for foreign policy over the next half century -- it will also result in great disaster for world peace and stability. I stand ready to work with all of you to prevent this avoidable disaster for the Chinese people and for world peace. There is still time.

Thank you.