China's abuse of human rights remains acute The Sun's...


October 29, 2002

China's abuse of human rights remains acute

The Sun's article, "For unlikely Chinese leader, a legacy of peaceful change" (Oct. 23), notes that "Jiang [Zemin] represents a nation with ... an improving image on human rights."

However, Amnesty International has documented a series of human rights abuses in China, including large-scale detentions: China currently has more than 1 million people detained in 300 "Custody and Repatriation Centers," along with an intensifying repression of the political freedom of individuals and organizations.

During Mr. Jiang's presidency, China also has sentenced more than 10,000 people to death and executed at least 6,800. And the use of torture to extract confessions continues unabated.

Clearly, it is imperative that the Bush administration proactively encourage the Chinese government to improve its human rights record by giving the issue high priority in all discussions.

Failing to do so would betray millions of people and encourage a disreputable U.S. relationship with China.

Helen Sullivan


The writer is state legislative coordinator for Amnesty International USA.

Calls for gun control miss the point, again

Why is it that every time a sensational crime involves a firearm, Democratic politicians call for more gun control laws? Why do they think more laws will keep criminals from buying guns illegally?

Why don't they call for enforcement of the current laws?

Why don't they call for laws that make sure the criminals who use guns during a crime are put away with no hope for parole?

Zev Griner


Doctors can't afford unlimited awards

At last, a malpractice issue on which this doctor and the trial lawyers can agree: That the reduced award of $600,000 to compensate for the pain and suffering of the poor lady afflicted with skull cancer is grossly inadequate ("Attorneys seek removal of ceiling on awards," Oct. 22).

The original $8 million jury award in this case, however, is also inadequate compensation for this truly horrible cancer. Twenty million dollars or $40 million or $100 million would also be inadequate.

No rational person would trade any amount of money for this woman's lesion -- and therein lies the problem with unbounded pain and suffering awards. We cannot afford juries' attempts to place unlimited money value on that which is truly priceless.

And seeking to value the infinitely valuable with finite dollars can only lead to bankruptcy. In the present environment of de facto price controls, doctors cannot generate continually increasing income to pay continually increasing insurance premiums to support continually increasing pain and suffering awards.

Dr. Israel H. Weiner


Founders gave juries control of verdicts

While I respect Steve Chapman's opinion about finding solutions to egregious legislative punishments, I think he is wrong ("Fix laws through elections, not juries," Oct. 15).

The Founding Fathers framed the Constitution to provide absolute civilian control over judicial outcomes through the jury process. The fact that the process has been distorted by legal decisions and the meandering desires of whoever is making political points is irrelevant.

And "unelecting" legislators and district attorneys and prosecutors because they either vigorously enforce (or don't enforce) laws passed by legislators is a perfect example of closing the barn door after the horses are out.

It doesn't address the creation of the problem or provide a real solution. It only attempts to punish "bad" legislators after their "crime" of passing bad laws.

Better we should aspire to follow what the Constitution says in all respects; then the idea of regulating morals and culture through legislation becomes moot. Each of us then becomes responsible for his own actions, good and bad, and society exacts an appropriate punishment for unconstitutional behavior.

Barry Dennis


Appeasement better than Bush's bullying

I resent the inflammatory and distorted views presented in Mona Charen's column "Clinton's lax foreign policies emboldened N. Korea" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 21).

The current administration, with its arrogant, self-righteous, bully mentality, is to blame for the increase in hostility toward the United States that has given rise to increased terrorism. I would rather my country's leadership attempted to understand, communicate with and "appease" other governments than threaten and bully them into following its dictates.

Leslie Ebert


Why push Hussein to desperation?

Saddam Hussein may have amassed a stockpile of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and may also be close to adding nuclear weapons to his arsenal.

So what? He can't do anything with them.

There is no reason to suppose he is suicidally irrational. He must know that using his weapons would trigger a retaliatory strike of such proportions that it would produce not "regime change," but regime obliteration.

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