The Tiananmen Square massacre was a horrible tragedy. I do not, cannot, dispute that. However, the United States has done things just as bad, if not worse. Between 153 and 350 innocent Native American men, women and children were slaughtered in the massacre at Wounded Knee. They had already surrendered and given up their weapons; soldiers opened fire when a deaf man did not immediately comply with orders. America has its own sordid past; yet it is still a great country today. It changed. China is changing as we speak. China has made many reforms and released many political prisoners. Tiananmen Square will not repeat itself, just like Wounded Knee will not repeat itself.
President Clinton did not betray the nation by sharing military technology with China as Ted Cronenwett stated in a recent letter to the editor; in fact, he made a great decision. The technology is of minor actual military significance. (What are they going to do, reduce the entire United States to rubble more accurately?) It is of greater diplomatic importance. Improved relations are a more effective tool than threats and sanctions. If you try and change a friend, he/she will consider it for a while, then decide. If you try and change an enemy, he/she will become more entrenched in his/her own ways.China seems to genuinely want change. Jiang Zemin paid a visit here a few months ago and has tried to ease tensions between the two nations. This shows that they merit our attention and help. However, change cannot happen all at once without causing serious harm to the country (see Russia). We must exercise a little patience with China and continue to improve relations. Only after we are on truly friendly terms can we hope to change China for the better.
David B. Melville
North Salt Lake