Addressing basic human needs

Hong Kong

To Rowena Xiaoqing, the writer of The Washington Post article “China: no answers and no justice” (which ran in The Japan Times on June 14): I share Tiananmen Mothers’ indignation and never doubted the idealism of the Tiananmen protesters. Ultimately, a China that understands its past and recent history will be a better, kinder and gentler nation for the Chinese. This, however, is not to deny the possibility that some foreign powers wish to see China fall apart so that they can take advantage of the situation.

I am constantly reminded of what happened during the disintegration of the Soviet Union and how the Russian people and those of the former Soviet republics suffered. Through it all, the West and the United States stood by and clapped their hands without offering any real assistance. The lack of action on the part of those who could have helped led to the Putin presidency.

If China had disintegrated (after Tiananmen), the U.S. and the West would have been more than happy to stand on the sidelines and enjoy the spectacle. As history repeats itself, there’s no reason to believe that the West and the U.S. would not have acted as it did during the dying decades of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

Meanwhile, many of the former Tiananmen protesters who successfully fled the country are engaged in ideological infighting 23 years after the event. This suggests that if they had gained control of China, the entire country might have fallen apart amid conditions not very unlike those of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when China was divided by regional warlords.

As a father, I am forever haunted by the image of Russian women who had to enter the flesh trade in the streets of Bangkok and other parts of Southeast Asia in the 1990s if only to put food on the table for their families back home. While human rights are important, addressing basic human needs is even more important. The schadenfreude of the West and the U.S. definitely has done nothing to help the Russians, the Chinese or their former colonies in Africa and Asia. I pray that the author will one day outgrow her naivete.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

raffles tsang