The headline news report titled "How Did Chinese Volunteers Offer Good Treatment to American POW?" published on the front page of the People's Daily (Overseas Edition) on May 25 has aroused extensive repercussions at home and abroad. Many readers expressed their feelings or impressions about the different treatments of POW by Chinese and Americans, in their letters to the newspaper. Following are three of them.
Volunteers' practice is the best manifestation of respect for human rights
By Fang Xiangcheng, vice president of the Meidong Anhui Cultural and Educational Association
Having read the headline report "How did Chinese Volunteers offer good treatment to American POW?" carried on the front page of People's Daily (Overseas Edition) May 25, I was deeply moved by the historical facts about how US soldiers captured on the Korean battlefields were given preferential treatment by Chinese People's Volunteers, as revealed by lady Zhou Yuanmin with her personal experience in participating in the management of the captives of US troops.
As a Chinese, I am proud of our motherland being a land of propriety and righteousness which has the traditional virtue of giving others good treatment. On the Korean battlefronts, the series of Chinese People's Volunteers' practices of favored treatment to prisoners of war (POW) are the best manifestations of the Chinese who act upon international law, stress humanity and respect human rights as well as embodiments of the broad-mindedness and noble character of the Chinese who are strict with themselves and lenient with others. By contrast, the recently exposed event in the report about US troops' abuse of Iraqi prisoners has shocked the world. The facts about prisoners abuse event laid bare in the report are in a great variety, cruel and obscene, and yet the behaviors are shown in photos, video and online and circulating and boasted of, this suffices to prove that some US soldiers are uncultivated, mentally void and of low grade, they ignore international law and disregard human rights. The United States is a country shouting loudly about respect for and protection of human rights, the prisoners abuse event has damaged US international image and thoroughly discredited the country.
Is USA really concerned about human rights?
By Cao Yanling, president of the Europe Overseas Chinese Communities Federation
The photos showing US troops' abuse of Iraqi prisoners recently carried as head reports in the newspapers of various countries have aroused the concerns of the world people. In the face of the notorious behaviors of US soldiers' mistreating Iraqi prisoners, people cannot but ask: isn't America always flaunting "freedom, democracy and equality"?
In sharp contrast to the evil doing of US troops, Chinese armed forces treated US prisoners of war in an extremely humane manner on the Korean battlefronts over 50 years ago.
Uncle Sam who likes to find fault with others accuses other countries round the world of their human right situations each year. Of course, it is irreproachable if the United States, in an objective and fair attitude without any other purposes and attempts, criticizes other countries that really infringe upon human rights. But the case is far from being a fact. The question of racial discrimination in the United States has not been eradicated; Washington sends and stations troops everywhere in the world, what's its aim? Even if you justified the two wars you launched against Iraq, be they directed against terrorism or against weapons of mass destruction, but how can you explain the abuse of prisoners? Can it be that only Americans have human rights, and only they are qualified to be human beings? Is the United States really concerned about world human rights? Why did the Americans themselves mistreat prisoners in the jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, disrespect human rights and dare to say that they are particular about human rights?
Democracy and human rights cannot be divorced from specific cultural circumstance
By Li Siyuan (words sent from Germany)
I've glanced over the People's Daily Online in the past two days. The report "How did Chinese Volunteers offer good treatment to US POW?" attracted my eyes and touched off a train of thought in me.
In my opinion, the modern conceptions like democracy and human rights, of course' are likely to have universal value, but when it comes to different countries and cultures, these conceptions may possibly meet with different soil, different understanding and treatment and thereby bearing different fruits. Talking glibly about so-called universally applicable democratic idea divorced from concrete cultural circumstance and social reality not only deceives self and others, but also possibly injures others and self.
Positively speaking, the Chinese nation which had gone through vicissitudes of life and experienced untold sufferings is capable of absorbing all advanced ideas, and of breeding systems which reflect the details of Chinese culture and conform to China's reality, and is able to build a prosperous, strong, democratic and culturally advanced modern China, thereby making its due contributions to world peace and development and common progress of humankind, not only economically and politically, but also culturally and morally.
(People's Daily June 4, 2004)