Ironically, 12 days before the Chinese downed the American EP-3E surveillance aircraft, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) introduced a resolution urging that the 2008 Olympic Games not be awarded to Beijing until the Chinese release all political prisoners and observe internationally recognized human rights.
By March 29, 60 congressional co-sponsors signed on, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Then, on April 2, one day after the Chinese downed the U.S. plane and its 24 crewmen, China's ambassador to the the United States, Yang Jiechi, sent a scathing letter to certain members of Congress, including Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD), who is not even a co-sponsor to Lantos' resolution.
The ambassador pointed out that it is "entirely under the jurisdiction of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to judge whether a city is suitable for the games (and) no individual or organization has the right to influence the IOC on the matter."
Furthermore, Yang charged that the resolution constitutes "a gross interference" running "counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter, which forbids discrimination . . . on the basis of race, religion, politics, sex or any other reason."
In fact, he said, Beijing wishes to host the games to contribute to "world peace and development" and "any attempt to deny China's rights . . . is a challenge to the universal principle of human rights, which will be met with the strong opposition from the Chinese people and all the justice-upholding people the world over."
Jim Backlin, Bartlett's chief of staff, tells this column that his boss will sign as a co-sponsor to the Lantos measure when Congress returns from its Easter recess.
Lack of financial resources is cause for reformed '60s radical David Horowitz and his Center for the Study of Popular Culture to "fold" its flagship publication, Heterodoxy, into www.Frontpagemag.com, discontinuing the printed version.
"If political correctness is a disease, Heterodoxy is the cure," this column once wrote of the monthly, which for 10 years has needled lefties old and new. Like when teachers at Sidwell Friends School, purveyors of book learning to the guilty rich of Washington, assigned eighth graders to write an essay on "Why I Feel Guilty Being White."
Our favorite issue of Heterodoxy, however, included this letter to the editor from Sam Munson, an public-school pupil in Washington:
"I am 11 years old and I cannot thank you enough for publishing this wonderful paper. I go to public school in D.C., and to a lifelong conservative, that is hell. My schoolmates are a bunch of feminist, liberal, PC, vegetarian multiculturalists. Heterodoxy is just the thing for recovering from a 6 and 1/2-hour school day surrounded by them."
BULLY FOR HER
This columnist forced himself to pick up his daughter's latest issue of "Cosmo Girl" to learn Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's "secrets of success."
"Don't let your critics get you down."
How she did it?
"After being made fun of at school one day as a kid, she came home in tears. Her mother told her there was no room in their house for cowards, and made Hillary go right back out and face her teasers. She's been standing up to bullies ever since."
We divert our attention from China to an ongoing crisis in our own hemisphere, where in El Salvador the government anxiously awaits the upcoming visit this month of Elizabeth Dole to assist in earthquake-relief efforts.
The 2000 presidential contender and former president of the American Red Cross will be accompanied by El Salvador's ambassador to the United States, Rene A. Leon, and upon arrival to the Central American nation they will meet with President Francisco Floreso.
Since January, El Salvador has been rocked by four earthquakes. Of its 5 million people, 1 million are homeless.
"I am very honored to contribute to the reconstruction of El Salvador," says Mrs. Dole, now honorary chairman of Project Round House, a Maryland-based nonprofit that is helping to rebuild 150,000 homes in the nation.
Her visit to the cities of San Miguel, Rio Roldan and San Agustin comes just days before the start of May's heavy rain season, which is expected to hamper relief efforts further.
FRANK AND HOSER
He's been soldier and spy, rising from the Army and CIA to head the Washington offices of Rockwell International Corp., McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing. Somewhere he found the time to be Sen. John Glenn's "defense guy" on Capitol Hill, too.
In the midst of it all, Robert Andrews was making a name for himself as an author. He'd published four international espionage thrillers and was working on his fifth - until he and his wife and cat moved from the tranquil Virginia suburbs to urban Georgetown, causing a "continental shift in perspective."
The myriad sights and sounds of city life, some unpleasant, quickly encompassed Andrews' thoughts. The only way to lose them was on paper.
"It's the first in a series and parallels very closely actual crime in the District," says the author of "A Murder of Honor" (Putnam, $23.95), which walks the beat of two D.C. homicide cops, an Irishman and a black, Frank Kearney and Jose Phelps (nicknamed "Hoser").
"They've been together for 25 years, so long that they finish each other's sentences," says Andrews. "And I'm happy to say that readers are already reacting, 'We like those guys.'"