I am a university in the U.S. of A.
Becoming more dependent on Red China every day.
We seek out Chinese students for the money that they bring,
While the Confucius Institutes keep propagandizing.

We bow and scrape to please that country’s communist elite,
And neither say nor do what they might feel is indiscreet.
We’ll not dispute their sovereign claim on the South China Sea,
Or that Tibet and Taiwan are part of the PRC.

We won’t condemn the persecution of the Falun Gong,
Or say that China’s foreign policy is right or wrong.
We won’t invite the Dalai Lama to a conference
Because the Chinese leadership has said they’ll take offence.

When China tears all Christian crosses down, what’s there to say?
Instead, we’ll condemn Israel and look the other way.
The Tiananmen massacre is a historic fact
Our China Studies program tries to play down or redact.

Pollution and corruption in Beijing we may acknowledge,
Unless it sparks a threat to cut off funding for our college.
All faculty aspiring to travel, live or teach there
Cannot be China critics if they ever hope to reach there.

For they know China both recruits and hires student spies
To report anything re China they may criticize.
They also know that whether they’re emeritus or young,
Their visas will be cancelled if they don’t control their tongue.

Our campus celebrates free speech, we pamper and adore it.
Unless it hurts our bottom line, in which case we ignore it.
We proudly claim that freedom, truth, and justice are our goal,
But for Red China’s money we have sold our very soul.


James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.

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7 Responses

  1. E. V.

    Rhyme: Check! Meter: Check! Clear Message: Check! This poem would be appropriate from one of SCP’s contests defending democracy and freedom. Thank you, Reverend, for sharing it. And, let’s be grateful that there still are publishing venues (like Society of Classical Poets) where conservative, pro-American voices are still celebrated.

  2. James Sale

    Love it – sadly, the last line is the indictment and it is not against China: “But for Red China’s money we have sold our very soul.” So many good things in America but when money is the god such bad things happen. Well done, this is a wake-up call.

  3. Joan Erickson

    I say WOW to this poem, too!
    It brought both goose bumps and tears.
    Truth so well said.

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    These are in fourteeners, but in many places the meter is bumpy and uneven.

    Fourteeners have to flow effortlessly and smoothly.

    • James A. Tweedie

      I agree with you. I wanted to get Confucious Institute in there somewhere so I cheated on that one. The others I considered minor enough to pass for what was never intended as a flawless classical form. Even so, point taken.


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