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Opinions please--do you feel it is wise to fly from U.S. to Bejing while we are at war?

Opinions please--do you feel it is wise to fly from U.S. to Bejing while we are at war?

Oct 8th, 2001, 02:07 PM
  #1  
Ginger
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Opinions please--do you feel it is wise to fly from U.S. to Bejing while we are at war?

My daughters are planning an adventure in Bejing for Feb. and I feel a bit concerned about them being half way around the world with a war going on. What do you think?
 
Oct 8th, 2001, 02:39 PM
  #2  
Sarah
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I would be concerned but if your daughters are giving you a hard time about this why not appeal to their possible political sensibilities. Just one Sunday before September 11 the front page of the NYT highlighted political rights abuses in China. They were discussed 1000's of missing persons cases and executions. They showed young people that looked like they could be from queens with popular dress kneeling and frightened and identified as prisoners waiting for interrogation and with guards along side of each. Ask your daughters if they want to support a tyrannical government. Got to NYT.com and pull up a photo and article. Ask them to read Wild Swans if they want to understand more about how oppressive China is. Why would they want to support such an oppressive government travel does provide support. Good Luck so difficult to make young people understand the possible dangers. I was in Turkey day 1 of invasion of Kuwait never even occurred to me that I should check in at home. I was never ever even afraid. In those days I would understand not supporting a brutal government. I would not travel to places like Cambodia.
 
Oct 8th, 2001, 02:43 PM
  #3  
Sarah
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That is newyorktimes.com
 
Oct 8th, 2001, 03:35 PM
  #4  
asiatraveler
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Sarah - I see your point, BUT by not traveling to places governed by entities with which you disagree, you are also not doing any favors to the citizens oppressed by those governments. Do you realize how much it helps the residents for travelers to spend money at their little craft stands, food stalls, etc.?
 
Oct 8th, 2001, 07:09 PM
  #5  
Ginger
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I must clarify-the "adventure" is only a week with a travel agent/friend who has visited Bejing and China many, many times. The girls are not giving me any trouble about taking this trip, it is up for discussion. I am seeking opinions based on those more familiar with China/American relationships than I.
 
Oct 8th, 2001, 07:13 PM
  #6  
Kathie
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February is a long way off. I'm sure you will monitor the international situation closely. At this point, China appears to be safe, and airplanes are less likely to be a target of the next wave of terrorism if/when it occurs.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 04:59 AM
  #7  
Sarah
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Sorry to take up time on your post Ginger but I do want to briefly respond to Asiatraveler. I think we all know what is going on in China. I do think going to China and telling yourself it is to help the small business owners is not being honest with yourself. The government is once again reaching a new height in human rights abuses. I think your money would be better spent if you sent it to an advocacy group working here to help. This is a personal choice but I have ask myself how can I vacation when thousands are being executed and thousands are missing? I donít think picking up a doll for $2 helps as much as the $100 plus to advocacy groups here that bring us the very info we need to know about this tyrannical government.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 05:20 AM
  #8  
Robert
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Ginger if what Sarah is saying is true it sounds like you are getting info on "Chinese-American" relations. Don't you think if China once again is recognized for new incidents of human rights abuses on the scale mentioned above the U.S will limit relations. Sounds more here like you just want to know if your daughters will be safe from terrorist threat. This has little to do with China-U.S relations at the moment.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 05:29 AM
  #9  
kang
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The problem is when you say "I think we all know what is going on in China", you in fact have no idea what is going on in China.

The following is from CIA information sheet:

"In the first half of the 20th century, China was beset by major famines, civil unrest, military defeats, and foreign occupation,...then Mao' horror period,... After 1978, Mao's successor DENG Xiaoping gradually introduced market-oriented reforms and decentralized economic decision making. Output quadrupled in the next 20 years and China now has the world's second largest GDP. Political controls remain tight even while economic controls continue to weaken."

I don't want to defend Chinese goverment for its human rights abuse, but at the same time, I do know that most Chinese are enjoying the best prosperity, in fact, the best time in their life, even politically. And in the past 25 years, China has created the greatest economic miracle in morden history of the world and lifted billions of people out of poverty.

Go to China, stay for one day, talk to the Chinese, and find out what Chinese people are really thinking before you form your opinion based on NY times.

Also, when you say something like "when thousands are being executed and thousands are missing", please also point us to the information sourse.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 05:44 AM
  #10  
kang
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Ginger,

It is still over 4 months until Feb and many things could happen so it is too early to make decisions. However, unless you are really worried about flight safety, you can be sure that China is one of the safest places to travel these days in the world.

It is also very beneficial for the yongs by visiting China to learn that we are living in a world with so much diversity. It could greatly open their views of the world in many positive ways.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 06:10 AM
  #11  
Sarah
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Kang I know Chinese who live here and have family there and they would not identify this time as that of the greatest. I have in very recent years also met people who recently have made their way to the U.S, not born again capitalist but not fond of the government at home by any stretch either. I will not dismiss thousands murdered, thousands missing just because someone living in china did not tell me about it. Talk to me about a time in recent history where the NYT lied or I will even accept mistakenly reported about people being murdered in these numbers. Well aware of what the communist have been able to establish does not make right current human rights abuses. You should consider what you are asking the people to sweep under the carpet here.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 07:40 AM
  #12  
xxx
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...funny Kang, like the Chinese people can speak openly about discontent with the government. What planet do you live on?

Ginger: In regards to terrorist threats China has accepted U.S. bombing of Afghanistan with reticence, won't supply troops and believes the U.S should look to the UN to find resolve. Earlier reports suggested that the Chinese would come on board with an international network against terrorism if we also included a subversive group in Tawaiin (wink wink) in the group to be watched (sorry I read the NYT also, guess it just not compare with free expression in Beijing papers).

In August the U.S imposed sanctions against a firm that was transferring missile technology to Pakistan, breaking a 11/ 2000 bilateral agreement (Reuters 10/8)....Pick your horror here. I think our relationship with China is tenuous at best and I suppose the upcoming visit with Bush will shed some light but probably only momentary light. I think it is very appropriate of you to be wary of travel at this time including Feb.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 07:47 AM
  #13  
xxx
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That would be subversive groups in Taiwan
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 07:57 AM
  #14  
kang
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Sarah:

Please don't get me wrong. As a Chinese living in America, I am greatly influenced by American values and truly admire the pursueing of Americans as a people to equality and justice under perhaps the greatest constitutional structure.

That being said, however, as a Chinese, I am also deeply convinced that the biggest chanllenge that China has been facing, for the best interests of the vast majority of Chinese, people and goverment alike, is NOT how much it has improved its human rights record; the biggest chanllege is how to feed the 1.2 billion people and in the meantime, keep political stablebility. Without a stable society, and goverment, a disasteous chaos is guranteed. History has repeatedly told the story numrous times. As for improving the living conditions for her people, China has no doubt done a superb job.

There are so much to be improved in China, human rights is definitely on the top of the list. But it has to be one step at a time.

The discussion is way off Ginger's question. I shut up.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 08:09 AM
  #15  
kang
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Dear xxx,

I live in the out planet Earth.

If you do go to China, you will be surprised how these days that ordinary Chinese openly critisize the goverment, curse the communist officials, and tell you all these corruptions. But in the meantime, they will no doubt also tell you how much their life and their country have changed for the better over the recent years. They are a proud people.

No more from me. It is enough.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 08:12 AM
  #16  
Ginger
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Thanks for the replies, I asked for opinions and I welcome all-keep 'em coming. Feb.is 4 months away but the decision to go must be made in the next few weeks. The two things I worry about most are possible anti-whatever demonstrations and the possibility of them becoming stranded over there for any length of time. They aren't crusaders just tourists with a capital T wanting to experience an interesting culture and wonderfully exotic sights. That didn't seem like to much to ask about a month ago but now, I just don't know.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #17  
kang
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Ginger,

No politics.

For the two concerns you mentioned.

There are about 2% Muslims out of the whole population in China. Very very few of them are extremenists and indeed received trainings from bin Laden's camps. They live in Xijiang, way away from the major attractions. It is highly unlikely there would be any anti-whatever demonstrations even remotely related to the current event.

The whole world has changed because of the WTC attack. I do believe in the coming months and years, relations among USA, Russia, and China will open a new chapter for better. No one has any choice but to join the international struggle against terrorism. China is scared too by terrorism.

Interestingly, I got many calls after 9/11 from my family and friends in China advising me to go back staying in China for a while due to all those safety concerns in the states. China is and will be safe. Period.
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #18  
deej
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Ginger, you've started a very interesting discussion!

Sarah, you don't mention whether you've been to China recently, but perhaps I can give you another perspective. I have no doubt that there are human rights abuses in China, and certainly do not condone them. But I believe you'd be surprised at the openness, and prosperity and relative freedom you'll find on the streets of China's major cities. The China today is very different from the China during the cultural revolution portrayed by Wild Swans. I was based in Hong Kong working for AT&T, and on every business trip into China was amazed at the changes taking place even in the space of a couple of months.

There is a point of view which says that China's continued economic reforms, WTO entry and growing prosperity will ultimately lead to political reform. What are the alternatives? Sanctions? Bombs?

Cutting off travel and business ties doesn't hurt the Communist party leaders. Far from it! It hurts the people who are hired by the hotels, shops, restaurants, airlines...
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 04:40 PM
  #19  
Peter Neville-Hadley
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The Muslim population of China is usually given as considerably more than 2%, and there are groups of Muslims called Hui (almost indistinguishable from Han Chinese--the majority ethnic group) in every major Chinese city, although they often face discrimination. Since the events of Sept 11 there have been several reports of attempts to drive ethnic Uighur people back to Xinjiang. However neither Hui, Uighurs, nor other Muslim minorities are going to pose a threat to visitors, even to the (very interesting) region of Xinjiang although there is occasional separatist violence. Xinjiang's borders with Aftghanistan and Pakistan are currently closed.

Here are some notes on the Muslim presence in China:

Conversion of Chinese peoples to Islam began in the 10th century and by the time of the Mongol invasion of the 13th century was widespread. It had originally arrived at China’s southern ports in the 8th century with Arab merchants, but also spread in what is now China’s northwest through land contacts. While the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1276-1368) had no religion (Kubilai Khan asked the Pope for religious teachers who never arrived, and had a Tibetan lama as his main religious adviser), it had Muslim allies who undertook the suppression of parts of China on behalf of the Mongols. The vast borderless area that constituted the Mongol empire allowed Muslims from Central Asia to move more freely into China’s north- and southwest. Small Uighur states continued to exist during Mongol rule. Educated Uighurs became influential at the Mongol court and taught the Mongols how to write using the Uighur script, although they eventually abandoned this themselves in favour of the Arabic script of the text of their new religion.
From the beginning of the closed and inward-looking Ming period to modern times, Muslims in China have been cut off from the Islamic mainstream, and become Chinese Muslims. In much of China, Muslim intermarriages with the majority Han Chinese and their adoption of Chinese names, customs and language made them almost indistinguishable from other Han, and today they are labelled by the government as a separate ‘nationality’, the Hui. The other Muslim minorities, such as the Uighurs, are mostly of Turki stock, and despite their shared faith do not always have good relations with the Chinese-speaking Hui, who apart from their dietary restrictions and prayer habits seem little different from the Han. The decline of the Qing in the 19th century saw a re-emergence of Muslim sensibilities and a number of revolts, mostly in provinces such as Xinjiang and Gansu where Muslims of all kinds were in the majority.

In general Chinese government policy towards Muslims has tended to fluctuate in relation to its sense of threat from the outside, and Muslim occupation of sensitive border areas has informed a history of intolerance by the Han. The Muslim response has varied, those Muslims forming visible minorities in the major cities of China proper tending to be quiescent, and those forming majorities in outlying areas whether Hui or Turki periodically rising up against Han oppression. Islam draws no distinction between religious and secular behaviour, and thus is bound to try and obtain Islamic government in order to ensure that the will of Allah is carried out. Muslim minorities therefore suffer strain between loyalty to the countries in which they live and loyalty to Islamic principles. Left to themselves they can submit to the non-Muslim ruler, but when oppression becomes too great, as it has periodically in 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century China, there is a tendency to rise up. This is a lesson that the Han have had to learn again and again.

More in next posting...
 
Oct 9th, 2001, 04:44 PM
  #20  
Peter Neville-Hadley
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Continued...

On the other hand, if given a larger voice, Muslims will tend to speak up for secession (as during the ‘Hundred Flowers’ campaign, the one time when criticism of the Party was invited). However, much play was made of Muslim protests during the Tian’an Men Square protests of 1989 which were directed to the government rather than at it. These were ‘good’ protesters in contrast to the ‘bad’ students who had occupied the square.

The recent emancipation of Muslim communities in the neighbouring newly independent states of Central Asia has caused the Chinese government some disquiet, fearing that the Uighurs of the northwest will want to emulate their neighbours. There is plentiful talk of emancipation amongst Uighurs, but except for occasional local outbursts of discontent and isolated acts of terrorism, including bomb attacks in Beijing in the late 90s, this is likely to remain just talk. Secessionists seem to be emotional and impractical, especially considering the lack of defensible borders to Xinjiang’s east, and the maintenance by the Chinese of more than two million men under arms.

All but the Indo-European Tajiks of western Xinjiang are considered Sunnis, although the isolation of Chinese Muslims has meant that not many fully understand the differences between Sunni and Shia (a matter of argument about descent from the Prophet, and interpretation of his actions). Should you see the Hui at prayer, they will immediately seem to be considerably more serious about it than people of other persuasions you may see in Beijing’s temples and churches, except possibly Tibetan visitors to the Lama Temple.

Hope that helps put things in context.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 

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