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China policy shows Clinton’s morality has public consequences, Bauer, Land


WASHINGTON (BP)–President Clinton’s handling of relations with China demonstrates his private morality is manifesting itself negatively in public policy, Gary Bauer and Richard Land wrote in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times.
In a column in the paper’s May 19 editions, Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, and Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said presidential defenders who assert the public should focus on Clinton’s job performance and ignore his private behavior are wrong.
“Not only has the president’s personal life completely captured the public’s attention, lowered respect for political leadership and threatened his hold on office, but his penchant for deception and double talk has bled over into our relationship with foreign powers, with fatal results,” Bauer and Land wrote. “‘Compartmentalism’ is this year’s Big Lie and its deadliest deception.
“Some of us have argued that a man who will lie to his family will lie to the rest of the world,” they wrote. “The ever-widening squalor of the Clinton administration, with its deadly worldwide consequences, proves that every public horror has its roots in private moral belief — or lack thereof.”
The president’s policy on China is the major example of this private-public overlap, they said. Not only is Clinton “essentially running a pro-China public relations campaign,” Bauer and Land wrote, but his administration has failed to hold the communist giant accountable for human rights abuses.
“When the Clinton administration threatened $3 billion in sanctions unless China stopped pirating CDs, it showed its sense of priorities: Pop stars are worthy of protection, but political and religious dissidents are not,” Bauer and Land said.
Clinton’s position on China differed when he challenged President Bush in the 1992 election. He criticized Bush for “coddling” China’s leaders and promised to be a “watchdog, not a lapdog,” Bauer and Land wrote. Instead, Clinton “has exceeded Bush’s shameful accommodation,” they said.
The president is promoting the sale of nuclear technology to China, despite its history of weapons sales to Iran and Iraq, and made it possible for American communications satellites to be launched by Chinese rockets, they wrote. According to The Washington Times, some critics have charged the satellite sales enabled China to improve the guidance systems of its long-range missiles, including some aimed at the United States.
Bernard Schwartz, the chairman of Loral Space and Communications, one of the firms that sold satellites to the Chinese, was the Democratic Party’s largest contributor in 1996, when Clinton made such exports possible and also was re-elected. The Justice Department has started a preliminary investigation of the decision, according to news reports.
Congress will investigate whether Chinese contributions to the Democrats in the ’96 campaign influenced the president’s decision to allow technology transfers to the world’s most populous country, said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R.-Miss., according to The Washington Times. Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung has told the FBI a Chinese military official gave him $300,000 for the ’96 campaign, The Washington Post reported. Three Democrats — Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, Sen. Daniel Moynihan of New York and Sen. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska — have called for an investigation of possible Chinese influence, The Washington Times reported.
The president has denied any foreign policy decisions were impacted by campaign contributions.
In their column, Bauer and Land said Clinton promised in 1994, when he was promoting most-favored-nation status for China, he would increase efforts to gain approval of a United Nations resolution condemning Beijing’s human rights abuses. While the State Department’s most recent report on China said there still were well-documented abuses, such as coercive abortion and sterilization as well as persecution of religious believers, in the country, they wrote, the United States refused to support such a resolution at this year’s U.N. conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The torture and murder will continue, with the Clinton administration’s tacit blessing,” they wrote.
Bauer and Land also cited Clinton’s opposition to the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act, which would create a State Department office to monitor persecution overseas and would require sanctions for governments found guilty. The House of Representatives approved the bill May 14.