Editor's note: The following article was written by William M. Kupec, director of Syosset International Ltd., in response to a piece that appeared in the US weekly Parade Magazine. It is printed here courtesy of Mr. Kupec.
I object vehemently to David Wallechinsky's inflammatory inclusion of President Hu Jintao of China as one of the world's worst dictators (Parade, February 22, 2004, "The World's 10 Worst Dictators"). This is a terrible affront to a dedicated leader who is guiding modern China into an era of tremendous economic growth, while significantly improving the people's way of life and gaining respect for China in the international community.
In bashing Hu Jintao, you really point your barbs at the system as well as the leader. An "unusually repressive regime"? Go to China, hear the people, and be amazed at the opinions voiced without fear or restraint as they project their love of their motherland and the progress of their lifestyle. It is genuine love, not forced. In contrast, the author implies a feeling of fear, suspicion and hostility by the Chinese people of their government and leaders.
Human rights? The do exist in China, not the American style, but developed via the country's history, traditions and culture. These are similar to the influences that shaped our country's progress in human rights.
Freedom of opportunity for individual progress? In abundance! Availability of health care, advancement of education for all, free choice of employment, freedom to worship, development of a judicial system, freedom to travel, opportunities for students to study abroad, tremendous progress for women at all levels of Chinese involvement -- these among all other areas of Chinese life.
Rigid security? For a country of 1.3+ billion people, 55 minorities and bounded by 14 nations, security is essential for the stability and safety of the nation.
Execution of 4,000 annually? Divide that number into China's 1.3+ billion population -- a ratio of 1:325,000 executions annually in a country that recognizes capital punishment of rapists, murderers, drug dealers, extreme embezzlers and corrupt officials -- enemies of the people.
Political rights? Vast improvement with elected Congresses, advisory groups and parties, and emerging democratic action in the villages.
At the helm, with a guiding hand and standing tall as China's leader? President Hu Jintao.
China has made tremendous progress over the years. Let's reword the less informed author's use of negative phrases like, "unusually repressive regime" and a more positive and realistic identity of China: "an unusually progressive regime," respected by the international community and supported by its people.
Rather than place President Hu in the category of World's Worst Dictators, let's place him in the category where he rightfully belongs: World's Most Effective Leaders. He is a president who serves his people with dedication and effectiveness, in leading them toward an ever-improving way of life.
I suggest a new category: World's Best Leaders. My nomination for an entry into the new category? President Hu Jintao of China.
(China.org.cn April 9, 2004)