Valentine: Welcoming Chinese sends wrong message

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank the Lord someone in Washington is immune to the Chinese flu. Newly-minted House Speaker John Boehner declined an invitation from the president to attend a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Hu Jintao. Beltway tongues were wagging at the apparent faux pas. You see, the Obamas and practically everyone else in Washington on both sides of the aisle were falling all over themselves to impress the leader of the most brutal regime in the history of the world.

Understand, a state dinner is a dinner to honor someone or some country. We already rolled out the red carpet when the Empire State Building was lit up to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Communist Chinese takeover. Sadly, the same folks declined requests to likewise honor Mother Teresa.

Today more than 70 percent of the items you buy in Walmart are made in China. Heck, it should be renamed The Great Walmart of China. And what's so wrong with buying products from China? Well, let's first talk about the human rights abuses. The communist Chinese have killed millions of their own since their founding. Most are tortured or killed because they dared voice opposition to the iron-fisted regime's twisted and oppressive policies. Even today slave and near slave labor is used to manufacture many of the products we blindly purchase without as much as a thought.

In fact, I remember a story from just a few years ago where a young woman escaped from a slave labor camp and was smuggled out of the country to America. Her job? Making Christmas lights for Americans. Imagine the symbolism of that. While we're gathered around our trees each year exercising our freedom of religion countless imprisoned Chinese who had the audacity to question their lack of freedom made the very lights that illuminate our prosperity.

And the very same liberal corporations like Nike and Apple that left the Chamber of Commerce over its lack of support for global warming legislation do business like crazy in a country where there are very few limitations on true pollution like carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, the key ingredients in smog. China is one of the biggest emitters of real pollution in the world. They spew nastiness into the air and dump it into rivers and lakes and these so-called corporate do-gooders pat themselves on the back because they're friends of the earth.

All the while workers are so despondent over their working conditions that the factory in China that makes the iPhone had to erect netting to catch those who tried to throw themselves to their death.

And we're honoring their president?

What's particularly chilling is we have Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, both giddy at the chance of dining with President Hu. I suspect if you did a little digging you'd find their parents or grandparents possibly fled China because of people just like Hu. Now their descendents are lining up to kiss his ring.

Meanwhile, President Hu brings news that the day of dollar's dominance in the world is over. Instead of dressing him down over human rights and pollution violations we honor him with a huge gala. At least George W. had the dignity to simply meet this guy for lunch and forego all the unseemly hoopla.

But the visit by Hu strikes me less as a visit from a foreign dignitary than a visit from a new owner surveying his new purchase. And Washington's finest are falling all over themselves to put on their Sunday best to meet the new bossman.

Phil Valentine is an author and syndicated radio talk show host. His website is