Free Burma or China-Free?

Next week I’ll finish the post I started last week, but right now there is something more timely.

We American Christians need to support the Buddhist monks in Burma, in their struggle for freedom. (See the “News” page) President Bush is calling for international pressure, especially from China, to pressure the military dictatorship to respect human rights. I don’t see how anyone can disagree with the president on this issue.

By the way, since evidently the pro-democracy advocates prefer to call their country Burma, I don’t think we should use the name that the dictators chose for the country.

This may not seem directly related, but it has a bearing. Sonja and I are justifiably proud of our niece Melissa, who is representing our state right now in the Special Olympics in China. See video here. The doors opened by Richard Nixon allow the kind of relationship where we can talk to China.

China buys oil and natural gas from Burma and supplies the generals with weapons. Chinese guns are killing peaceful demonstrators.

Another issue that does not seem connected, but may be: Last week the Mattel toy company issued an official apology to China for criticizing their factories for producing dangerous toys. Mattel said, the fault was their design, not negligence by the manufacturers or the government inspectors, that resulted in children’s toys being painted with lead paint. (See also the prior post “Fido’s Revenge)

There was once a time when another government thought we couldn’t do without their tea; but a grass-roots movement proved them wrong. I’m suggesting that we use our good relations with China and their desire for prestige in the eyes of the world with the upcoming summer Olympics to entice them to use their influence for good. If that doesn’t work, I would hope there would be a grass-roots movement to look for products made elsewhere.

A while back I bought a toy for the child of a friend. It was not imported from half-way around the world, and had no lead paint. It was made of wood by a local craftsman, and sold at a local fair.