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'Take away' from O'Malley trade mission: U.S. and China are sooo alike!

National GovernmentChinaExecutive BranchCensorshipWhite House

This is what happens when you reduce your big international trade mission to a tweet, as Maryland Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson did:

"Key take away from Governor and Madame Liu mtg at Chinese 'White House': 'There is more that unites us than divides us.'"

Really?

I can think of a few differences right off the bat:

1. In the U.S., we celebrate our Nobel laureates. In China, they imprison them. And their wives.

2. In China, the military massacres unarmed civilians. In the U.S., not so much.

3. "Since mid-February," Human Rights Watch says, "the [Chinese] government has arrested, detained, 'disappeared,' put under house arrest, summoned for interrogation, or threatened with arrest more than 200 people who were merely engaged in peaceful dissent or social activism. The government has also significantly increased internet censorship, forced several newspaper editors to step down, and imposed new restrictions on foreign media reporting in Beijing." In the same time period, the U.S. government has been too busy not fixing the economy to "disappear" dissidents, etc.

Of course, the United States and China do have some things in common thanks to the trade partnerships that Gov. Martin O'Malley's trip aims to expand. Through the importation of Chinese products, Americans have had the pleasure of sampling China's lead- and cadmium-laden toys, melamine-tainted foods, cancer-causing shrimp and toxic drywall.

Lest you think Johansson is spending his whole time in Asia tweeting cliches that gloss over the human rights abuses of an important trading partner, I will note that he also tweeted a photo of himself embracing the head of a top Chinese biotech firm after signing an unspecified deal.

Whoo-hoo! More tainted Chinese pharmaceuticals coming our way!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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