Readers Defend Bono, Split on China

Wendy McElroy’s column exposing the U.N.'s probable complicity in China's one-child rule generated mostly supportive comments, though some readers sided with the Chinese policy.

Radley Balko’s article on U2 front man Bono as rocker-cum-statesman was also well-received, although some readers rejected his assertion that the rock star needs to take a “remedial economics course.”

Here’s what readers had to say:

Tania L. Daniels wrote:

Thanks for your editorial entitled "Dark Cloud Shades U.N. Women's Treaty." We are linked to this issue because we are about to travel to China to adopt our baby daughter who was abandoned at birth due to the "one-child policy." I am saving your editorial, as well as many other articles on China, so that one day they will hopefully help our daughter understand why her birthparents felt that they couldn't keep her.

Eric Maclean wrote:

I want to commend you on your article. It was very thoughtful and well stated. Please continue to speak out with the insight you possess. You need your own segment on the Fox nightly news.

Mike Cummins wrote:

Now, I'm not a big fan of China or their track record in general. However, there is something to be said for trying to keep an expanding population from growing out of control. China has developed some draconian policies in order to accomplish this. Perhaps China has one good idea (among few) but they are going about it all wrong. Apparently, there is a well-to-do woman who is paying fairly substantial sums for women to get their tubes tied. That's something worth subsidizing.

Ellen Marie Lindop from Waukesha, Wisc., wrote:

Having adopted a child from China seven years ago, and because I’ve been immersed in Chinese culture, I support China for what they did and what they are doing today and where we see them going in the future. The Chinese people love their children. When I visited the orphanages and saw the poverty, the lack of food and the lack of health care -- I cried. I stopped crying when I saw the love -- the love these children got from their caregivers.

China has 1.2 billion people. Earth has limited resources. We have a population problem not only in China but everywhere in the world. The intelligent thing for this world to do is embark on population control. China did it the only way they knew how…

Frederick Lang from Rodeo, Calif., wrote:

Excellent article -- You have hit the nail on the head with a sledgehammer!  This treaty must be opposed and abandoned by all civilized, moral and clear-thinking people. Thanks again for being a strong voice of reason.

Kevin Williams wrote:

It is also noteworthy to mention the countless little girls in Chinese orphanages that were given up at birth because of the one-child rule. Many of these poor families are farmers and depend upon the physical labor of their sons for survival. Then to make things worse, the Chinese government has many restrictions on foreign families who are willing to adopt these children and give them good homes.

My wife and I couldn't adopt a child from China because we already have five biological children. Another rule states that a family must make $10,000 annually per person living in the household, including the adopted child. People are priceless and shouldn't be subjected to this kind of oppression. We are in the process of adopting a 2-year-old boy from South Korea. God has smiled on us. Thanks for a great article.

Kenneth A. Mull wrote:

Great article on Bono and his misguided attempts to wrestle more American dollars for dictators and despots. When are these third-world countries going to buck up and pull their weight instead of becoming monetary black holes? Why should we do anything for them when they do nothing to help themselves? Where's my debt relief? My job got sent south to another country in 2001 yet no one is excusing me from mortgage payments while I try to find something that pays a livable wage.

No one at the state, federal or international level is doing anything to help me out. It was (and is) people like me who made him what he is today by buying his albums and going to his concerts. Here's one fan though that will be heating his house next winter with everything that is BonoU2 related!

A. Milner wrote:

I was waiting for someone to address his trip. Why did the secretary even agree to travel with him? What a joke! I am sick and tired of spoiled, wealthy celebrities talking about politics and economics like they know anything about it.

Eric Jean from Knoxville, Tenn., wrote:

Perhaps Balko should have done a little more homework about this one or been a little more forthcoming with the facts. Bono's chief platform here is relief for countries where the national debt interest payments are making it impossible for the governments to operate in the black. Many of these countries have already paid the principal amounts of these loans a few times over in interest payments and still owe the original amounts, plus accruing interest. While your point regarding fostering foreign trade is good, nowhere do you mention Bono's efforts to convince creditors to offer some relief to indebted nations. Let's give the pop star a fair shake.

Matt Caruso wrote:

From what I have read and watched regarding this matter, Bono is seeking debt-relief for African nations, not more foreign aid. The objective being if the debt is dropped, then the money paid out in interest could be reinvested back into their countries. Bono also wanted the secretary to admit that there was an AIDS crisis in Africa, which he wouldn't. Other than that the two seemed to be fairly agreeable.

I think its very admirable of Bono to not only speak up for a cause but to also go out and hit the pavement and work to get the wheels in motion. It seems so improbable that he could even get an opportunity to speak to Jesse Helms, let alone gain his admiration or even go on a tour of Africa with our secretary of treasury. Apparently he's a lot smarter then you're giving him credit for.

Samuel King from Concord, N.H., wrote:

The type of socialist, feel good politics promoted by the Hollywood and the music community is unproductive and belongs in the last century, along with LSD and lava lamps. I believe that, apart from a very small percentage (like Ghandi), people are idealistic socialists because they can achieve something without working for it. It is all part of the politically-enlightened rock star image. If Bono truly believes what he says, how about opening his own purse and donating 90 percent of his personal wealth to Africa. I say put up or shut up.

J. Karazulas from Punta Gorda, Fla., wrote:

I agree with "trade not aid" as the way to build wealth in the poorer countries. If Bono took the time to see the big picture and wanted to really evaluate the situation, then maybe his opinion would have some value. But acting like an expert with no factual information backing him up is just flexing his ego. Please keep these enlightening articles coming.

Brian Guimbao wrote:

Perhaps nowadays the general public is jaded as to the intentions and general knowledge celebrities have about causes they champion. However, I believe that Balko is wrong about Bono and his mission to relieve poverty in Africa. I think you'd be surprised by how much he understands about poverty and how to help people instead of just giving handouts.

One of his biggest concerns is debt relief for the third world, which would greatly help Africa build an economy. Bono said, "There is no justification for denying the poorest countries market access." His statement suggests that he understands that Africa needs to build trade relations. In addition, Bono founded DATA (Debt, Aid, Trade for Africa) which supports not only aid to Africa, but also promotes finding ways to build an economic infrastructure for the continent.

Finally, Bono was part of the World Economic Forum in New York just a few months ago, which included a panel of economists and businessmen such as Bill Gates. If you had seen the broadcast, I think you would change your mind as to what Bono actually knows.

Jason Stellman wrote:

I find it curious that Balko is suggesting that Bono knows little about economics and that he should "enroll in a remedial economics course." Without exception those who have discussed these issues with Bono have admitted that he is incredibly well-versed on the subject of economics, sometimes knowing more than those that he is trying to win over. So maybe you should take a remedial course in fair journalism so that you can actually come up with a decent argument rather than belittling someone that many respect.