New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has long made known affection for China. Oh…why won’t he just move there already!
Some if his more hideous statements include his wish that America could be “China for a day,” and that China’s autocracy is acceptable because it is “led by a reasonably enlightened group of people.”
Perhaps Friedman should read another section of the Times. In today’s World section, Times reporters Ian Johnson and Jonathan Ansfield report that a few “enlightened” Chinese officials have repeated beaten a leading democracy activist — the blind, self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng — and his wife while they (and their five year old child and an elderly parent) endure total isolation while on house arrest.
Chen already endured over four years in a Chinese jail because he uncovered evidence of government-forced sterilizations and abortions in the eastern Chinese city of Linyi. Upon his release, he was sentenced to “ruanjin,” or “soft detention,” a kind of house arrest used by Friedman’s pals in the Chinese government to silence activists like Chen.
Earlier this year, a video was smuggled out showing the circumstances of his detention. Reporters who tried to visit him were turned away by undercover police officers who had encircled his home.
Now ChinaAid, a human rights group based in the United States, says it has evidence of increased harassment, including beatings and the confiscation of personal property. The group, which released Mr. Chen’s video, says it has obtained a letter from Mr. Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, that details the couple’s most recent travails. Contents of the letter were confirmed by a friend of the family, He Peirong.
According to Ms. He’s account and the undated letter, Ms. Yuan said that in February and March, Communist Party officials from Shuanghou, a suburb of Linyi, stormed the couple’s home. Ms. Yuan said she was bundled into a blanket and repeatedly kicked so hard that she still cannot stand straight. She said she saw her husband being tortured by the men, who twisted his arms and neck until he passed out. The couple were denied medical aid, she said, except for one intravenous drip from a village doctor. They had to stay in bed because of their injuries, she said.
The men came back repeatedly, according to Ms. Yuan’s letter, and confiscated legal documents related to Mr. Chen’s case as well as a computer, video camera, audio recorder, flashlight and television antenna. Metal sheets were fixed over the windows, and the power was cut off. Telephone lines had already been cut.
Still later, she said, men took away their books, pictures of their daughter and calendars off the wall. The authorities installed video cameras to monitor the couple. The house arrest extends to the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Ms. Yuan wrote, and Mr. Chen’s mother.
Thomas Friedman should be ashamed of himself. As the people of China suffer, he offers nothing but praise for these brutal Chinese dictators.
Someone should really hand him today’s New York Times. He needs a little enlightenment.