The Age (Australia) tells the following story today:A heckler from the Falun Gong spiritual movement, who entered White House grounds as a reporter, interrupted a formal arrival ceremony for Chinese President Hu Jintao today, prompting President George W Bush to apologise to his guest. After being welcomed by Mr Bush, the Chinese President was just beginning his response when a woman, who had been allowed into the press section, started shouting. She was escorted away by a uniformed US guard. "President Hu, your days are numbered. President Bush, make him stop persecuting Falun Gong," the woman yelled. US officials later identified her as Wang Wenyi, 47, a reporter with The Epoch Times, an English-language publication strongly supportive of the meditation movement that is banned in China. "This was unfortunate and I'm sorry this happened," Mr Bush told Mr Hu, according to Dennis Wilder, a senior official with the National Security Council. The Secret Service charged Ms Wang with disorderly conduct under local statutes. The US Attorney's office was weighing federal charges of "willing intimidation or disruption of a foreign official", said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.
In addition they show a picture of a Secret Service officer literally covering Wang's mouth so she cannot continue to talk.
Before we talk about the Falun Gong, lets remember some recent Bush statements about the importance of Democracy Promotion throughout the world:
From his state of the Union"it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
More from the state of the Union"The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom," said the president. "Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the 'evil principle' of democracy.
Perhaps most important to this subject, however, was another speech. On March 29th 2006 Bush spoke specifically about the importance of Freedom of Speech:"Free societies are peaceful societies. When governments are accountable to their own citizens, when people are free to speak and assemble, when minorities are protected, then justice prevails. And so does the cause of peace. "
In other words, we think freedom of speech and assembly are important to peace and prosperity just not when those ideals come into conflict with Presidential meetings with the leaders of dictatorial countries? What about the Chinese government and the Falun Gong. Was
Wang being unfair to Hu Jintao?
The Seattle Post Intelligencer says:But the protesters' message on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Seattle today and Wednesday was grisly. The Chinese government, they alleged, is killing Falun Gong followers in a Nazi-style concentration camp in Liaoning province and harvesting their organs.
Even if that is not true, when all the international cameras are turned on to see the interaction between Hu Jintao's China and Bush's America, after all of his public speaking for Democracy, ought Bush be showing the world how we support free speech and assembly?
Can there be any other message taken from this other than "Do what we say and not what we do?"wang wang+wenyi bush hu hu+jintao jintao wenyi secret+service freedom free+speech first+amendment democracy democracy+promotion china sino+us