HIGHTOWER: Giving China's Thugs a Hug

American business leaders have become enchanted with China telling us that it is a land of beauty, mystery and enormous economic potential.Yes, and it's also a repressive dictatorship of bloodthirsty thugs who use slave labor and child labor to make the products it sells to us, who routinely imprison and torture Chinese dissidents, who spit on the very concept of human rights, who profit by selling nuclear-war technologies around the globe, who crush democracy in their own land and who threaten their neighbors with annihilating wars."Oh posh and tosh," say the executives of U.S. global conglomerates trying to curry favor with these thugs, "let's not let a few picky problems get in the way of trade. What's a little nuclear proliferation and human-rights abuse when there's money to be made? These guys just need a great big hug, that's all, then they'll behave."So, to give them a hug, about a dozen outfits -- including IBM, Boeing, Motorola and Caterpillar -- have launched the "China Normalization Initiative." What this is is a lobbying and PR front for the Chinese government, paid for and run by corrupt US corporations eager to invest in new factories in China and move more of our skilled manufacturing jobs there, exploiting pathetically-cheap Chinese labor.This new corporate front is launching a national ad campaign to buff-up China's image, and it's using its lobbying clout in Washington to give products made in China privileged access to our market, permanently. It's like saying to the biggest, most-brutal bully in the schoolyard: "Here's a candy bar for you, and we'll give you another one tomorrow and the next day and the next, no matter how you act."Instead of letting greedy corporations set America's China policy, I think we ought to turn it over to a good kindergarten teacher.

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