ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Some local Chinese are calling on the St. Louis China Hub Commission to address issues of human rights abuse in China.

In a strongly-worded letter,  Peng Su, a spokeswoman for the local Falun Gong community,  tells the commission that Christians, Buddhists and members of her group are being arrested for their beliefs.   The letter argues that business and human rights are “not mutually exclusive issues.”

“Can we expect a regime that deprives its own people’s basic human rights to give its business partners all rights they deserve?” the letter asks.

Commission Chair Mike Jones tells KMOX that the issue of alleged human rights problems in China has never been broached by the commission.

“Because I’m not with the State Department, that’s one reason,” Jones said, “We have one set of business with the Chinese and that’s this.  The people we’re talking to in China are not at that level.  They’re in the airline business.”

Jones tells KMOX that any deviation from the mission of establishing a cargo hub, no matter how worthy the cause, would be “mission creep.”

But Su says the commission should raise some human rights issues within the context of the cargo hub.

“For example, I think they can raise, how can they make sure those products imported from China are not made in the labor camps where those innocent Falun Gong practitioners are kept and forced to do the slave labor?” Su said.

But Jones disagrees.  “We have specific business with the Chinese,” Jones said, “The Chinese have a specific business interest with us.  That is the scope of the relationship and that is the extent of it.”

Su, who left China in 1996 and became a U.S. citizen two years ago,  says the commission should have a higher purpose than “getting the deal done.”

“I’m not against any trade or anything,” Su said, ” But I think they have to know who they are dealing with.  Otherwise when they get more involved, there could be a lot of damage to themselves.”

Copyright KMOX

KMOX obtained a copy of the letter sent to the Midwest-China Hub Commission:

May 13, 2011

Michael W. Jones

Chairman, Midwest-China Hub Commission

41 South Central Avenue, 9th floor

Clayton, MO 63105

Dear Mr. Jones,

As you are preparing for the hearing on the business deal of making St. louis an airhub for trade with China, we could like to bring to your attention the intensifying human rights abuses in China, as we believe they are not mutually exclusive issues.

As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a recent interview with The Atlantic magazine, “China’s human rights record is deplorable.”  Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently intensified arrest of human rights lawyers, dissidents, Christians attending family churches, Tibetan Buddhists, even artists who are vocal on human rights.

Moreover, the CCP has been continuing its 12-year long brutal persecution against Falun gong.  Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and a moral philosophy centered in the tenets of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.   The practice enjoyed meteoric growth in Mainland China in the 1990s, eventually attracting an estimated 70 million practitioners.   Fearing its size and independent moral philosophy , in 1999 the Chinese Communist Party initiated a campaign to suppress Falun gong through propaganda, mass imprisonment, torture, and other coercive “re-education” techniques.  Today, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong adherents remain imprisoned extra-judicially, facing torture and abuse in custody.  Currently Falun gong practitioners constitute the largest groups of prisoners of conscience in the world.

The CCP not only has been carrying out this persecution in China, but also exporting it to the United Sates by Chinese embassy and consulates from spreading its propaganda of defaming Falun gong to undercut people’s sympathy, to supporting mobs in Chinatown to physically attack Falun Gong practitioners.

In St. louis alone several of us have either personally experienced this persecution in China, or have relatives persecuted in China for practicing Falun Gong.  Here we are thankful not only to find a new home in St. Louis, but for our elected officials who speak up for those still suffering.  In March, 2010, the U.S. House nearly unanimously passed a resolution condemning Beijing for the persecution of Falun gong in China.  We are especially proud of Congressman Lacy Clay and Congressman Todd Akin who were among the 81 co-sponsors of this resolution.

Secretary Clinton, said in an interview with The Atlantic magazine published Tuesday that China was wrong if it thought it could hold off change in the wake of the pro-democracy protests sweeping the Arab world.   “They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand,”

The change from her remarks in early 2009 that “our pressing on those issues (human rights) can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” clearly indicates the administration has realized the danger and disadvantage of downgrading human rights in its China policy.

Indeed, can we expect someone who abuses his own children to be a good neighbor in the community?  Can we expect a regime that deprives its own people’s basic human rights to give its business partners all rights that they deserve?  As former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in the PRC, James McGregor said on his Op-ed titled “Time to rethink U.S. China trade relations,” on Washington Post on May 19, 2010, “American business has to figure out how to balance out today’s profits with tomorrow’s threat.”

We hope you can put human rights in perspective in your decision — a decision not only based on business interests, but also based on moral principals and humanity.   That will give St. Louis its long term and genuine prosperity.


Peng Su

On behalf of St. Louis Falun Gong practitioners

Comments (7)
  1. J.Q. says:

    Just a reminder to Mr. Jones: he is doing business with CCP-controlled enterprise; his counterparts are not businesspersons, they’re CCP-appointed officials (essentially CCP members).
    Based on this, it’s a little rush and naïve to conclude that the business between the Commission and the Chinese hasn’t been entwined with issues other than business. Here is a good example of the mission (establishing a cargo hub) defensive effort: US Governor Bows to Chinese Pressure, Cancels Taiwan Trip (12/16/2010,
    This trip, canceled due to pressure from the Midwest China Hub Commission and the Chinese consulate, was expected to sign a LOI under which Taiwanese businesses would commit to purchasing US$600 million of Missouri products, including corn and soybeans.

    Please wake up, Dear Business Leader! We’re losing our own business interest in favor of Chinese business/political interest. We can’t afford to lose our universal value, in order to have Chinese as business partner.

  2. Frank says:

    St. Louis needs to be careful. A lot of American business were deprived their intellectual property or deceived by Chinese business partners, etc. Many of these businessmen kept quiet even after their loss. They may fear more retaliation.

    Fellowes, American Stationery Giant, Brought to Its Knees in China

    Hope the business leaders in St. Louis don’t get into that situation.

  3. Tracy Gilroy, The Gilroy Law Firm says:

    For the St. Louis China Hub Commission to stay on “mission” without considering China’s abuses to its labor force may avoid “mission creep,” as Mr. Jones stated. But, it does not avoid the labor abuses; AND, THAT’S CREEPY.
    We all know that by providing tax dollars to create a China Hub at Lambert, St. Louis gives China more room to grow into America. Yet, we all also know that China’s business model is one of abuse of workers and the environment.
    Is this the kind of business St. Louis wants to grow?
    Do we really need to grow China’s business when our own businesses are failing?
    Shouldn’t our tax dollars go toward our own businesses and our own education?
    With each crate and barrel from China et. al, St. Louis will target Americans for unemployment. More cheap products will undercut the well-made American products, which is not good for our economy.
    Americans are willing and able to make, package and market products similar, yet better, than the products produced by China et. al. But, our government is not supporting those efforts.
    Rather, our government is convinced that we need to give away our tax dollars to China and Walmart et. al. that sell goods from China.
    With each China portal, we choke the American worker. America already has only a few shops with homegrown American items. Soon, if our government continues this effort, we will have only the “marts” that sell inexpensive and low quality products made in China
    I have heard people say: “Well, America USED to be that way, i.e. abusing workers and abusing the environment. So, America should let China learn the lessons just like we did.” “They’ll come around; meanwhile, we get cheap stuff”.
    In retort, I say: I don’t want cheap stuff. I want quality at a reasonable price. I want to keep the things I buy for years or decades, not months. I want America to be the Leader. America needs to lead China and others to NOT make the same mistakes we have made against women, laborers, and against the environment. America needs to honor our creed – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness….and JUSTICE FOR ALL.
    AND, BTW, the “cheap stuff” is NOT cheap. It has a cost far more than we can imagine: job losses, pollution in the making and in the “throwing it out” phase. We have lost our standards of quality products, i.e. the American Seal of Quality. We have lost the concept of “saving to buy something of quality”, which item could be passed down for generations. We have become a “have it now” and a “throw away society” because cheap stuff is certainly available on every corner and it is not of the quality to keep.
    Yet, Americans keep buying it. Why? Answer: Americans have lost their alternatives. We have no other stores where we can go to buy American products.
    SO, WAKE UP AMERICA and MAKE the coffee! America MAKE the clothes, and the tools, and the machines, and the cars, and the technology, and the “everything else” that we used to make. WAKE UP and MAKE IT. Make America Great Again….and make us all proud to be American.
    Buy American Quality. OR, if you buy in the “global market”, then buy from countries that respect their workers and respect our environment. We are all in this together, so let’s play by the same rules when it comes to human rights and the environment.
    Stand up for all people everywhere and STOP ignoring the fact that China et. al. are not compliant with our country’s existing laws for workers and the environment.
    If China wants a portal, Mr. Jones, then China should prove that it has complied with laws set in this country to protect labor and the environment. Otherwise, you are ignoring the very laws we ask our government to protect.
    Further, even if compliant with our laws, China does not need our tax dollars for its portal. All cities in America need to quit negotiating with developers with our hard earned tax dollars. Providing our own much needed tax dollars to this China hub effort is immoral. Our tax dollars, paid into the system by individuals, needs to go to services that individuals want and need. Our tax money is not for Walmart or China et. al. So please stop giving it to them.

  4. DB says:

    Then, let us all stand together and refuse to purchase Chinese imports because they could be produced from compromised labor? Perhaps, as the United States of America, a country of people who, not too long ago, used slave labor in producing much of its economy, we could become an example of how to turn around from these unfair labor practices.

  5. ManInTheStreet says:

    The China Hub project is not a well thought out community based project that allows everyone to participate with subsequent benefits for all. It is the latest round of Stone/McKee get rich initiatives at the expense of the community. And for Mike Jones it is his tenure as Chair of the China Hub Commission to finally get his MBA from Stone/McKee University. Good luck Mike and remember to pick up your MBA diploma or is it actually called a LLC ??

  6. HijackingUrGOD-Christianity says:

    Wow, nice dose of xenophobia. redneck much?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From CBS St. Louis

Download The App

Listen Live