Marx, Gary Bauer and the Beastie Boys

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WASHINGTON: Karl Marx had it right — almost 150 years after The Communist Manifesto, "the specter of communism" is still provoking the union of strange political bedfellows. The enemy this time: cherubic Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Leading a sparsely attended anti-China demonstration at Lafayette Park Wednesday was an alliance unholy enough by Marx's standards, ranging from Gary Bauer of the conservative Family Research Council to Adam Yauch of the less-than-conservative Beastie Boys. That pair's political polarity was fleshed out by a diverse collection of exiled Tibetans, Chinese dissidents, and of course, Hollywood movie stars. "This is not a cuddly new China," thundered Richard Gere to an appreciative crowd.

The small demonstrations that are following Jiang on his first American tour are unlikely to stop President Clinton cozying up to China, cuddly or not. But they certainly make for great people-watching.