China: February 6, 2001

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: China has long been annoyed by the activities of US missionaries inside China, and is deeply concerned about religious sects and cults (the Falungong cult being only the most reported) which smack of anti-government agitation. The Bush Administration seems to have aggravated the Chinese further by appointing Gerrit W. Gong as the National Security Council staff's China expert and the expected appointment of Jon Huntsman Jr. as the next Ambassador to China. Huntsman is the son of a billionaire in the chemical industry, speaks Chinese, and was ambassador to Singapore during the presidency of George Bush Sr. Both are Mormons, and China fears they are part of a campaign by the Bush Administration to destabilize the Beijing government through the promotion of religious freedom. Both have been openly critical of China, and China views Mr. Gong as lacking the "stature" (read: pro-China credentials) for his new position. President Clinton's NSC China expert was Kenneth Lieberthal, who was solidly pro-China and recently said he would have blocked General Shelton from remarking that China would become the new national enemy of the US.—Stephen V Cole

 

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