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July 31, 1979 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1979-07-31

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Page 4-Tuesday, July 31, 1979-The Michigan Daily
e Michigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 55-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Mihigan
AATA's chance
to recoup losses
P UBLIC TRANSPORTATION should be
aimed at serving the entire community as ef-
ficiently as possible. The board of the Ann Arbor
Transportation Authority (AATA) is now con-
sidering ways to accomplish that goal without en-
ding up in the red each year.
AATA has relied on state and federal support to
maintain the costly dial-a-ride (DAR) system
throughout the four years of DAR's existence. But
that dependence, as well as gasoline price in-
creases, make that practice unfeasible. The board
has been analyzing the entire system for some
time now, to see where cuts should be made.
It appears that dial-a-ride service will be
eliminated on Sundays, and probably after 7 p.m.,
during the week as well. The latter curtailment
would be an unfortunate move, since many han-
dicapped and elderly area residents rely upon the
system for social activities, classes, and shop-
ping. Many of these people have no alternative
source of transportation.
AATA board members are also considering
hiking fares on the fixed line routes from 35 to 50
cents per passenger.
It is not clear whether cutting dial-a-ride is an
alternative to the fare increase or an additional
measure aimed at getting the system out of debt.
If the two proposals are tradeoffs, bus riders
should pay the price. No one likes price hikes,
least of all students who have little income from
which to draw. But 15 cents depletes the average
rider's pocketbook less than taxicab fares do fixed
incomes.
The board must plan wisely so that Ann Arbor
can depend on public transportation increasingly
in the future. Dial-a-ride is a perpetual loser when
offered to the general community. It must be used
by those who need it, while the abler segments of
the community turn elsewhere.
AATA policymakers must examine fixed line
service, eliminate those which are little-used and
beef up those in high demand. Once service is ef-
ficient, well-publicized and on time, ridership will
increase. Trends point to public transit as the
wave of the future. The AATA board can plan
prudent policies and ride that wave to prosperity.
SUMMER EDITORIAL STAFF
ELIZABETH SLOWIK
Editor-in-Chief
JUDY RAKOWSKY.......-...... ......... Editorial Director
JOSHUA PECK .............Ar Editor
MARKPARRENT Supplement MITCH ANTOR
Editors
BUSINESS STAFF
ISA (1LBEB5()N ......... .... Boosinro,, Manager
SEALENFSNYsAA..... .. ae.Maagr
BETH BASSLER........... Csified Manger
E:I f r:h .3t rationssuprrior
.ETE...... - d rti'inggo"aordiatr

Who's to blame for boat people?

HANOI-The Chinese, Britigh
and United States governments
are all deeply involved in the
complex question of respon-
sibility for the continuing exodus
of the boat people from In-
dochina.
China, for deliberately
provoking the flight of ethnic
Chinese from Vietnam, halting
work on all 72 economic aid
projects and finally launching a
full-scale invasion of Vietnam in
February of this year.
Britain, for not instructing its
Hong Kong colony to clamp down
on the traffic of unseaworthy
boats and on the racketeers who
sent them to sea under a Panama
registry and Taiwan-officered
crews to exploit the boat people.
THE U.S., for its 20-year war
which left the Vietnamese
economy in ruins and destroyed
the traditional social structure of
the South, and for repudiating the
pledge in the 1972 Paris Peace
Accords to contribute to the post-
war reconstruction of Vietnam.
China's responsibility is less
obvious and less well known
abroad.
In March, 1978, the Vietnamese
nationalized a major part of
wholesale and retail trade in
South Vietnam. 3,000 big mer-
chants were affected, 2,400 of
them ethnic Chinese, or Hoa, as
the Vietnamese call them. Two
months later there started an
acrimonious exchange of notes in
which the Chinese charged, and
theaVietnamese denied, that the
Hoa were being 'persecuted,
ostracized, discriminated against
and expelled."
THEN, FIERCE FIGHTING
erupted along the Kampuchea-
Vietnam frontier. The Chinese
government openly sided with the
Khmer Rouge government.
Chinese agents urged the Hoa to
start moving back to China as
quickly as possible. The line was
that the Kampuchea-Vietnam
conflict would inevitably widen
into a Chinese-Vietnamese war.
The Hoa would then be regarded
by the Vietnamese as "enemies"
and be dealt with as "traitors" by
Chinese troops.
It was such rumours, spread
like wildfire by word-of-mouth,
that started the otherwise inex-
plicable mass exodus of Hoa from
Vietnam in the summer of 197.
They were urged to sell up their
businesses, their homes and
belongings and return urgently to
the "motherland."
Visiting the Langson area,
through which passed the highest
number of Hoa fleeing across the
land frontier, last December. I
spoke with some who had been
urged to flee but had not and
others who had fled, but retur-
ned. All stressed that the main
argument in nocturnal visits by
Chinese agents was the im-
minence of war.
THE OLD PEKING HABIT of
considering anyone with Chinese
blood as Chinese and not subject
to the jurisdiction of the countries
in which they reside remains a
sharp bone of contention between
China and all countries in
Southeast Asia. It is among the
reasons for the violent reactions
of Singapore, Malaysia, in-
-donesia, Thailand and other
-Southeast AsiaF coutries again-
st refugees 'who are over-

By
WILFRED
BURCHETT
whelmingly of ethnic Chinese
origin.
The desultory trade in "boat
people" suddenly assumed
limitless proportions with the
Chinese invasion of North Viet-
nam on February 17, 1979. From
that moment on the Hoa were
"discriminated against and ex-
pelled."
Hanoi was taken by surprise by
the Chinese attack, the timing
and its scope. Above all, the Viet-
namese leadership was stunned
by the "Fifth Column" activity of
the Hoa in the northern frontier
regions. Males of military age
who had left in the panic exodus a
few months earlier, returned as
commando groups or Viet-
namese-wpeaking scouts to guide

States, France and other coun-
tries with which both Vietnam
and the UN High Commissioner's
office thought they could
negotiate reception arrangemen-
ts.
MEASURES AGAINST THE
Hoa were harsh and doubtless af-
fected many who were loyal
citizens, good cadres and even
devoted members of the Viet-
namese Communist Party. But
after the total destruction of
economic, cultural and social in-
stitutions in the northern frontier
areas, Hanoi's leaders could af-
ford no risks. The situation was
aggravated by the statement of
Chinese deputy-premier Teng
Hsiao-ping to UN Secretary-
General Kurt Waldheim in
Peking at the end of April, that it
would probably be necessary "to
teach Vietnam a second lesson."
In such circumstances, gover-
nments normally take harsh

last week in the South China Sea.
trails to attack the defenders a potential aggressor. On the eve
from the rear of flanks. of World War II, Britain deported
AT LEAST THAT WAS the pic- German Jewish refugees to be in-
tore as I could piece it together terned in Australia; the United
from a second visit to the States interned its American-
Langson Pass area in early April, born Japanese (the Nisei) at least
confirmed in greater detail in a in the West Coast areas; Hitler
third visit at the end of May. gassed Jews, Slavs and political
There was a double-barrelled opponents at Auschwitz and other
reaction to all this. Hanoi decided extermination centers; Stalin
it could not risk the presence of deported the Volga Germans to
Hoa cadres in sensitive positions "the other side of the Urals" and
in the potential targets of a so on.
Chinese second atttack. Also, a Vietnamese measures against
substantial number of Hoa the Hoa, tough as they are, are
believed the Chinese threat to ex- mild in comparisonand would
terminate them as "traitors" have been milder still had it not
should they be found on Viet- been for Chinese threats of a
namese soil during a second at- second attack,
tack. The candidates for "boat In placing the blame on the
people" exits were vastly in- Vietnamese for the plight of the
creased. "boat people" there is a massive
On February 25, Hanoi started dose of hypocrisy in high places.
negotiating with the United The responsibility of countries
Nations High Commissioner's Of- which have bowed to United
fice for Refugees on the orderly States and Chinese pressures to
evacuation of those who wanted deprive Vietnam of economic
to leave the country. The Hoa in aid-and even normal trade-is
sensitive areas such as Hanoi, extremely great. They have con-
Haiphong and the coal-mining tributed to devaluating the word
area of Hongay-Campha north of "humanitarianism," which now
Haiphong-and probably some covers the hypocritical approach
other centers-were iven three by many Western countries to the
choices. Leave for the "new whole problem.
economic zones" in the Central Wifred Burcheit, who wrote thtt
Highlands, leave by land route piece for Pacific News Service,~based
for China or by sea for Hong this report on several recent trips tt
Kong, Malaysiw, the United 'the Vierna 'iftgheeror 4rejoeos.

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