: Lives at StakeEditor: Although I do not wholly oppose...


January 06, 1991

: Lives at Stake

Editor: Although I do not wholly oppose America's actions in the Persian Gulf, one aspect does disturb me. The recent escalation of troop levels and equipment has increased the potential for an immense loss of American life.

In view of this revelation, one question develops: Can Americans accept the reality of another Vietnam Memorial, only this time significantly larger?

Brian Scally.


Chinese View

Editor: I deeply regret Galen Rowell's Dec. 16 Travel section article, ''Tibet: Outer Conflict, Inner Peace,'' which referred to Tibet as a ''country'' and made up a sketch map that separated Tibet from China.

Since the 13th century, Tibet has been an inalienable part of China.

Allegations of ''continuing human-rights abuses in Tibet'' are untenable. Before the democratic reform of 1959, a ruthless serf (or slave) system existed in Tibet. Since then, especially since 1978, the Tibet Autonomous Region has witnessed great progress in politics, economy, culture, education and religion. In recent years, the Chinese government has earmarked large quantities of funds for the renovation and maintenance of many temples and monasteries. Now Tibet boasts of over 1,400 temples at religious sites with 34,000 monks or nuns.

The Chinese government's efforts to protect environment in Tibet are another example. In order to preserve the natural beauty of Mount Qomolangma (called Mount Everest by foreigners), a natural protection area has been established in co-operation with the Woodlands Mountain Institute in the United States.

The article's accusation that ''1.2 million people were killed by the Chinese Communist regime'' was sheer fabrication. Any responsible writer would find out that the population in Tibet in 1951 was about 1.2 million, and has grown to 2.196 million by 1990. Among them, 96.4 percent are Tibetans and six other minority nationalities.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about the Dalai Lama. He is not a religious figure in the ordinary sense, but a political figure in exile. He has long been engaged in activities aimed at disrupting the unity among Chinese nationalities and splitting China by supporting separatists, both in and outside China, and abetting riots in Tibet.

Xiao Houde.


The writer is the Chinese Embassy's counselor for political affairs.

Linowes and Light Rail

Editor: With the Clean Air Act now in force, government revenues declining and inadequate funds for highways, it is most gratifying to learn of the highly public-spirited Linowes Commission's recommendations to reduce the tax burden for so many modest people while restoring lost government income. I don't know of a better proposition to the public.

At the same time, it is a shame that minor politicians with no answer to the huge problems facing society are carping about it as if it were bad. Will they do anything to get public attention, even if it is counterproductive?

The same applies to their carping about the $78 million, 15-year bond issue to help pay for the central light rail line. Interest rates are down. Now is the time to borrow money.

The huge savings on high-interest bonds are well worth obtaining.

With the Clear Air Act, the light rail line is the best action that could have been taken. New buses are no longer permitted to use diesel fuel the same way. New buses will be more costly and more difficult to maintain. A light rail car is so much more productive than a bus and costs only a fraction more. With this tiny added cost come great advantages. The operating costs in Calgary, Portland, Sacramento and San Diego average half those of bus operation per passenger-mile. Ridership on the new rail lines is growing rapidly while bus ridership is level. New rail lines reduce highway problems.

The central line will cost $19 million per mile, including an energy-efficient car fleet. It will be well worth it.

E. L. Tennyson.

Vienna, Va.

Funny Style

Editor: I found something more amusing than the comic pages: the Today in Style section.

If our economy is sliding into a recession, why show models wearing $120 sweaters and $67 pants? The clothes may be fashionable, but they're definitely out of my price range.

Thank-goodness us average folks have K-Marts, Ames and Jamesway etc., with their down-to-earth prices.

See you at the next ''Blue Light'' special.

Kimberly Ratliff.


Smart Chickens

Editor: Richard O'Mara's comments regarding chickens in ''Fear of Food'' entail a mixture of truth and error.

It is true that the modern poultry factory resembles an inferno. However, the packing violence and cannibalism referred to by Mr. O'Mara are recognized, even by the poultry industry, as abnormal behaviors manifesting the stress produced in domestic fowls by intensive farming practices. As for the modern egg-layer, she is far removed from the ''leisured birds of the barnyard,'' being a high-strung laboratory strain forced to live out her life in a cramped indoor cage with other egg-producing hens.

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