Wu Jianmin: People regard the Falun Gong as a sort of cult

23 Sep

Talk about stimulus. In 1997, China had 1,200 miles of highway. Today, it has 37,000 miles.

That’s according to elder statesman Wu Jianmin. At 70, Wu is one of the most influential foreign-policy advisers in China, the country of more than 1.3 billion. He visited Portland this week to talk up U.S.-Chinese relations just as a trade dispute broke out over tires.

Wu interpreted for Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai. Wu’s wife, who like her husband served as an ambassador, worked for years as interpreter for Deng Xiaoping, the leader who transformed China’s economy into a dynamo.

“Ah, the stories he could tell, if he were willing,” Maria Wulff, World Affairs Council of Oregon president, said Tuesday of Wu while introducing him for a luncheon speech.

The former envoy to France and the United Nations shared insights earlier Tuesday during an interview with The Oregonian. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: The Internet is censored, for example no references to the Falun Gong movement?

A: Some members of the outside world regard it as censorship. China is moving forward in that respect.

People regard the Falun Gong as a sort of cult. In your country you are so tolerant toward cults. This is not the case in France, where they passed a law against cults.

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