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Urging the Government of China to Reinstate All Licenses of Gao Zhisheng and His Law Firm and Revise Law and Practice in China...

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


URGING THE GOVERNMENT OF CHINA TO REINSTATE ALL LICENSES OF GAO ZHISHENG AND HIS LAW FIRM AND REVISE LAW AND PRACTICE IN CHINA SO IT CONFORMS TO INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS -- (House of Representatives - April 26, 2006)

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 365) urging the Government of China to reinstate all licenses of Gao Zhisheng and his law firm, remove all legal and political obstacles for lawyers attempting to defend criminal cases in China, including politically sensitive cases, and revise law and practice in China so that it conforms to international standards.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I thank our good friend, Mr. Mark Kennedy, for sponsoring this important human rights legislation. It is very well crafted. It sends a clear and unambiguous message to the People's Republic of China. Having worked the China issue for 26 years as a Member of Congress, I want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership on this. It is an excellent resolution.

This resolution can probably be summed up in one phrase: Rule of law. When you get past the details, it asks China simply to adhere to the rule of law. First, it demands that China adhere to its own Constitution, its own procedure law, and its own law on lawyers. This is not asking a great deal. These instruments give very few rights, it is true, but unless China protects the rights it already acknowledges, nobody in China can have any genuine fundamental human rights.

China acknowledges the right of defendants to a lawyer, the right of a citizen to seek redress of their legitimate grievances through the courts, and the duty of lawyers to represent clients. Yet China tramples on even these minimal rights.

Lawyers like Gao Zhisheng, who dare to follow the law and represent clients, are harassed, threatened, beaten, forbidden to practice, detained and imprisoned. Defense lawyers are faced with the constant threat of indictment for perjury if and when the government decides their clients have lied. These practices must stop.

Secondly, the resolution demands that China cease its assault on basic human rights, an assault that is the real reason behind the persecution of Gao Zhisheng and other Chinese lawyers.

They are being punished for their courageous defense of religious freedom, the right of women not to be violated by China's coercive population control program, the right of citizens to protest corrupt officials, the rights of citizens to petition their government to redress grievances. Such rights are not Western or American inventions. They are universal. No rule of law can exist unless such rights are acknowledged and protected.

Last week, Madam Speaker, on the eve of President Bush's meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, I held a hearing to examine China's human rights abuses, and it was my 26th hearing on human rights abuses in the People's Republic of China. Our witnesses included three individuals--survivors--who have spent considerable time in Chinese concentration camps--Laogai--including Harry Wu, who spent 19 years in prison. The hearing focused on some of the worst abuses, including Chinese censorship of the Internet, the use of the Internet as a tool of repression, violations of the rights of Chinese citizens to worship freely; also the trampling of labor rights, and coercive family planning, which continue to be a serious and highly pervasive abuse by the Chinese Government.

Madam Speaker, Beijing has increasingly viewed the information available on the Internet as a potential threat to the party's ability to control the population and monopolize political power. It has turned China into one of the most repressive and restrictive Internet countries in the world. It is important to note that freedoms that we enjoy in America allowing individuals to publish information and news on the Web unfiltered is not something that Chinese individuals have. Those freedoms do not exist in China. Individuals who attempt to speak freely are imprisoned and tortured.

At the very least, U.S. corporations should not be aiding in that process. Yet at a February hearing I chaired on the Internet in China, we learned in greater and disturbing detail how some of the biggest corporations of America have partnered with the much-hated Chinese secret police to find, apprehend, convict and jail religious believers, labor activists, and prodemocracy advocates.

Yahoo told us at the hearing how they profoundly regretted sending Shi Tao to prison for 10 years, but then they couldn't tell us and didn't seem to want to know how many others were condemned to jail and torture because of Yahoo's complicity with the secret police. When I asked under what conditions, a court order, police demand, a fishing trip, Yahoo surrenders e-mails and address files, Yahoo told us that they couldn't reveal this information because it would break Chinese law. Give me a break.

Google, for its part, created an exclusively Chinese search engine that only a Joseph Goebbels could love. Type in any number of vile words like ``human rights'' or ``Tiananmen Square massacre'' or ``Falun Gong,'' and you get rerouted to government propaganda, much of it heavily anti-American, much of it heavy anti-President Bush, and filled with hate, especially for the Falun Gong.

How did Google respond to our deep concern about their enabling of a dictatorship to expand its hate message? They hired big-time Washington lobbying firms like Podesta-Mattoon and the DCI Group to put a good face on it all, and presumably kill my pending legislation, the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006.

Amazingly, Cisco showed no seller's remorse whatsoever that its technology, especially Policenet, a tool for good in the hands of honest cops and legitimate law enforcement, but a tool of repression in the hands of Chinese police, has now effectively linked and exponentially expanded the capabilities of the Chinese secret police.

Microsoft also censors and shuts down blogs that Big Brother objects to. You can be sure that no serious discussion of human rights was on the agenda at President Hu's visit with Bill Gates at Microsoft.

China's continued repression of religion is among the most despotic in the world. In February, a BBC report said that China had warned Hong Kong's newly appointed Cardinal, Joseph Zen, a well-known critic of China's suppression of religious freedoms, to remain quiet on political issues. Citizens practicing a faith other than officially sanctioned religions are often subjected to torture, imprisonment and death, at which time prisoner organs are frequently harvested to meet demand. Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Muslim Uighurs are all being persecuted for their faith. Today numerous underground Roman Catholic priests and bishops and Protestant pastors languish in the infamous concentration camps known as the Laogai for simply proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the early 1990s, Madam Speaker, I met a bishop, Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding Province, a gentle and kind man who celebrated mass for our small delegation. I was deeply inspired by his faith. He had recently been let out of jail, and his compassion was overwhelming even for those who jailed and mistreated him. He had no animosity for his jailers, only compassion and forgiveness. Soon after my visit--he was sent back to prison. What kind of regime incarcerates a truly noble man like this? Bishop Su has now spent 30 years of his life in prison for loving God and for loving his neighbor and even loving the despotic dictatorship that so hates him. What kind of barbaric regime hurts a man like this?

And then there is the special hate that Beijing pours out on the Falun Gong. Nearly 7 years ago the Chinese Government began its brutal campaign to completely eradicate the Falun Gong through whatever means necessary. Many party members as early as 7 years ago or so and army officials began to practice Falun Gong. Like all dictators and totalitarian terror systems, the PRC fears and hates what it cannot control, so it decided to destroy and intimidate those who practice Falun Gong. We see before us now a Stalinist nightmare revived for the 21st century, hundreds, perhaps thousands, dead as a result of torture; tens of thousands of jailed individuals without trial held in labor camps, prisons and mental hospitals where they are forced to endure torture-brainwashing sessions.

I would note parenthetically that when a woman protested on the White House lawn when President Hu was making his speech, it may have been impolite for her to do that, but had she done that in China, Madam Speaker, she would be dead now, having been subjected to torture and then an execution. That is the reality on the ground in the People's Republic of China.

Just over a year ago, Madam Speaker, Beijing finally released the renowned Uighur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, who also testified at our hearing from prison, where she had be held on trumped-up charges and lived there in prison for over 6 years. We had hoped this signaled some sort of genuine improvement. Maybe things were beginning to turn. However, we have now learned that nothing could be further from the truth, and the Muslims, like the Tibetan Buddhists and like so many others, are being continually harassed and put into prison.

Madam Speaker, coercive family planning in China has slaughtered more innocent children than any war in human history. It is a weapon of mass destruction. Coercive family planning has wounded Chinese women by the millions. And one psychological consequence is that some 500 women commit suicide each and every day in the People's Republic of China. China's one child per couple policy decreed back in 1979 has killed hundreds of millions of babies by imposing Draconian fines up to 10 times annual salaries for both husband and wife on their parents who are told they must abort their child. Brothers and sisters in China, Madam Speaker, are illegal.

Sex selection abortions, a direct consequence of the one child per couple policy, has led to gendercide. Approximately 100 million girls are missing in China, killed by sex selection abortion. One Chinese demographer has admitted that by the year 2020, 40 million Chinese men will not be able to find wives because Beijing's weapon of mass destruction, population control, destroyed the girls.

Then there is the whole issue of labor rights. We heard from the policy director of the AFL-CIO who raised significant and profound issues of labor rights violations by the Government of China, Ms. Thea Lee, who spoke at our hearing. We all know that solidarity in Poland made the difference in ushering in respect for human rights in Central and Eastern Europe and then Russia, and that in China there are no labor rights, and there is no recourse for hundreds of millions of Chinese laborers trapped in these poor working conditions. Ms. Lee pointed out that those who protest unjust wage and labor practices are often put into prison. They, like religious and prodemocracy advocates, are tortured and cruelly mistreated by the Government of China.

So let me just say, Madam Speaker, this resolution puts us on record as a Congress in a bipartisan way; Mr. Lantos, who has been just outstanding and a champion on behalf of the human rights in China, Mark Kennedy and Frank Wolf and so many others who daily speak out against these abuses. This resolution gives us all an opportunity to speak truth to a despotic power that is literally getting away with murder that they must stop these egregious violations of human rights, and they must stop now.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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