President Clinton was right when he said the American people believe that the use of force and the tragic loss of life at Tiananmen Square was wrong. The President was wrong in trying to relegate the Tiananmen Square tragedy to the realm of "past action," and missed an opportunity to associate himself with China's reformers. Unfortunately, the President's approach is a rejection of former Communist Party Chief Zhao Ziyang's brave initiative to get China's leaders to reverse the Tiananmen Square verdict.
As long as people are still being held in prison for the peaceful expression of their religious and political beliefs and dissidents are not free to speak freely in China, the Tiananmen Square era continues.
On human rights, President Clinton has said just enough for U.S. domestic consumption, and not enough to produce results for the Chinese people.
Results were lacking in other areas, too. Progress at this summit has been reduced to a rehashing of earlier announcements and the acceptance by this Administration of a series of promises the Chinese government had already made and not kept -- in some cases, repeatedly. Once again, the Chinese government has gotten away with promising to study the Missile Technology Control Regime, and promising to sign, at some later date, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The press conference was a victory for Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Without making any concessions on trade, proliferation or human rights, China's president has accrued all of the benefits of standing side-by-side with the President of the United States.
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