Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Chinese espionage
stands fully revealed

Bullet The issue: Chinese theft of U.S. military secrets has been going on for decades on a massive scale.
Bullet Our view: Disclosure of the spying should force a shift in U.S. policy on China.

WHY was China so outraged about the bombing of its embassy in Belgrade? It was a dreadful accident, certainly, but hardly deliberate, as Beijing claimed. And why did the regime refuse to tell the Chinese people for days through the government-controlled media that the United States had apologized?

Although many individual Chinese were genuinely angry about the bombing and actually believed it was deliberate, this was not the case for the government.

To the leadership, this was an opportunity to strike back at the Americans who were tormenting them. They couldn't have been displeased to find the students -- who fought them at Tiananmen Square 10 years ago -- denouncing the Americans this time.

In other words, it was an opportunity for the Communist leadership to play the aggrieved party at a time when their ruthless tactics are coming under critical scrutiny in Washington.

The Chinese are squirming over the confirmation of their illegal contributions to the 1996 Clinton presidential campaign -- through the guilty pleas and confessions of the Chinese-American intermediaries -- and especially the disclosures of decades of spying that stole some of the United States' most prized military secrets.

The latest blow to Chinese credibility came in the release of the 700-page report of a congressional investigating committee. Its chairman, Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., said China has stolen classified information about every currently deployed nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal and it is "exceptionally likely" that Chinese spying continues to this day.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, called the security losses "one of the worst counterintelligence failures in the nation's history."

The Clinton administration was criticized for failing to react quickly enough to evidence of Chinese penetration of U.S. nuclear laboratories. This evident laxity might have been related to the administration's desire to maintain the closest relations -- it spoke of a "strategic partnership" -- with Beijing at almost any cost.

Now the masks are off. The Clinton policy of appeasement is in shambles. The claims of Beijing's apologists that the criticism was unwarranted China-bashing or anti-Asian racism are fully discredited.

The president's kowtowing during his trip to China last year and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's attempts to gloss over strains in the relationship during his recent U.S. visit are all for naught.

China stands revealed not as a friend to be cultivated but as a rival and potential enemy. The United States must continue to deal with China on strategic, economic and human rights issues -- but with its guard up and with no illusions.

Sumo champ

Bullet The issue: Waianae native Fiamalu Penitani has been elevated to grand champion status in sumo wrestling.
Bullet Our view: Hawaii can be proud that two of sumo's four grand champions are island products.

WHILE Hawaii struggles to gain national attention in some sports, it retains its place as a prime launching mat for the best in Japan's ancient sport of sumo wrestling. The elevation of former Waianae High football player Fiamalu Penitani, who competes under the name Musashimaru, to sumo's top rank of yokozuna -- grand champion -- means two of the four spots belong to Hawaii-born wrestlers.

Such an achievement did not come easy. The Japan Sumo Association's 1992 denial of promotion to yokozuna to Nanakuli product Salevaa Atisanoe, competing as Konishiki, was widely regarded as racially based.

Less than a year later, Waimanalo's Chad Rowan, wrestling as Akebono, became the first foreigner to be promoted to the elite status. Akebono later became a Japanese citizen. Akebono remains a yokozuna, along with Japanese brothers Wakanohana and Takanohana.

Blazing the trail for all the wrestlers from Hawaii was Jesse Kuhaulua from Maui, who achieved much success and popularity but never reached yokozuna rank.

Musashimaru's route to the top was a slow one, begun 59 tournaments and 10 years ago when he entered professional sumo in Japan. Only eight of the 66 others who have attained yokozuna status have taken longer since professional records were kept in the 16th century.

It came after the 490-pound Musashimaru, now a Japanese citizen, toppled Akebono in the title match of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, which eclipsed Musashimaru's defeat of Akebono in an exhibition in Hawaii six years ago.

The Sumo Association's advisory council recommended on Monday that Musashimaru, 28, be elevated from second-tier ozeki to yokozuna.

"His record meets our criteria and the decision was unanimous," said council chairman Kazuo Ichiriki. "He has the merit of never having had a losing record in his last 52 tournaments and we consider him a promising yokozuna."

Musashimaru is expected to act with dignity and humility during ceremonial activities over the next few days. Hawaii can take pride in being the source of two grand champions in this ancient Japanese sport.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

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