China still clinging to that communist label

Alex Wong/Getty Images News The Chinese government is in high dudgeon over U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent tribute to the victims of communism. Speaking at the dedication ceremony for a new memorial here in Washington on Tuesday, Bush made the following perfectly accurate statement: According to the best scholarly estimate, communism took the lives ...

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601171_070615_communism_05.jpg

Alex Wong/Getty Images News

The Chinese government is in high dudgeon over U.S. President George W. Bush's recent tribute to the victims of communism.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony for a new memorial here in Washington on Tuesday, Bush made the following perfectly accurate statement:

Alex Wong/Getty Images News

The Chinese government is in high dudgeon over U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent tribute to the victims of communism.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony for a new memorial here in Washington on Tuesday, Bush made the following perfectly accurate statement:

According to the best scholarly estimate, communism took the lives of tens of millions of people in China and the Soviet Union.

China, although it has pretty much become a communist country in name only, didn’t appreciate this one bit. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry shot back:

Some political forces in the United States, driven by a Cold War mentality and by political imperatives, are provoking confrontation between ideologies and social systems.

Until President Bush made his entrance on stage, no one had yet heard any mention of Russia or China. Rep. Tom Lantos confined his bashing to Europe, expressing sympathy for “everyone who experienced communism from Albania to Estonia.” Lantos also advised former French President Jacques Chirac to “go to the Normandy Beaches” and called former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder a “political prostitute” for working for Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom after leaving politics.

All in all, anyone who attended the event had the impression that the targets to be bashed had been allotted according to rank: Russia and China to the president, with Europe relegated to the congressman. Yet more proof of the inarrestable decline of European grandeur, perhaps?

Erica Alini is a Rome-based researcher for the Associated Press.

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