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China Trip

June 28, 1998

According to your June 24 editorial, President Clinton should have secured a diplomatic quid pro quo from the Chinese leaders before his visit. This would have been an attempt by our president to influence the internal policies of China. There is nothing wrong with such an attempt. But what quid pro quo should China attempt to secure with regard to American internal policies and politics? It is nearly impossible for us to consider symmetry. Right?

D.A. PAPANASTASSIOU, Pasadena

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Tom Plate (Commentary, June 23) has made a penetrating observation about China, saying, "Despite markedly improved leadership at the top, it's still a developing country with mammoth problems and an unpredictable future." Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the modern Chinese republic, prescribed a three-stage process toward democracy: the military stage, to defeat foreign imperialists and to unite all races under a common goal of equality and prosperity; a tutelage (authoritarian) stage to eliminate poverty, disease and illiteracy; and then the final stage to elect a government by the people, of the people and for the people.

At present, Taiwan can boast a democratic form of government because it already went through the benign dictatorship under the late President Chiang of the Nationalist Party. One can only hope that the mainland Chinese regime is following this pattern.

JACK LIU, Woodland Hills

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