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Urging Introduction of Resolution Calling on China to End its Human Rights Violations

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


URGING INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTION CALLING ON CHINA TO END ITS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS -- (House of Representatives - March 02, 2004)

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 530) urging the appropriate representative of the United States to the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to introduce a resolution calling upon the Government of the People's Republic of China to end its human rights violations in China, and for other purposes, as amended.

The Clerk read as follows:

H. Res. 530

Whereas the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, is the most important international forum for discussing human rights and expressing international support for improved human rights performance;

Whereas according to the Department of State, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and international human rights organizations, the Government of the People's Republic of China continues to commit well-documented human rights abuses against the Chinese people;

Whereas the People's Republic of China has yet to demonstrate its willingness to abide by internationally accepted norms of freedom of belief, expression, and association by repealing or amending laws and decrees that restrict those freedoms;

Whereas the Government of People's Republic of China continues to ban and criminalize groups it labels as cults or heretical organizations;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China has repressed unregistered religious groups and spiritual movements and persists in persecuting persons on the basis of unauthorized religious activities using such measures as harassment, surveillance, job discrimination, exorbitant fines, prolonged detention, physical abuse, incarceration, and closure or destruction of places of worship;

Whereas international human rights organizations have documented that torture, maltreatment, the use of confessions extracted through torture, and other abuses while in detention are rampant in the Chinese legal system;

Whereas the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has been particularly harsh;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China launched a brutal campaign to eradicate Falun Gong from their country;

Whereas since this time large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested, subjected to harsh reeducation efforts, and some have even been tortured to death;

Whereas Falun Gong practitioners continue to report harassment and acts of violence at the hands of foreign nationals which have occurred against them during peaceful protests in the United States and other countries;

Whereas the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the possibility of links between attacks against Falun Gong practitioners in the United States and the Government of the People's Republic of China;

Whereas Catholics who remain faithful to the Pope and in communion with Rome face continuing restrictions, including difficulties holding worship services, obtaining building permits for churches, and training clergy;

Whereas Protestant house church leaders are facing increased pressure to register with the official Protestant church or face harassment, detention, and destruction of their places of worship;

Whereas many Catholic and Protestant leaders and believers have been imprisoned or subject to house arrest including Su Zhimin, a Catholic Bishop who was reportedly arrested in 1997 and who is currently reported to be in very poor health;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China continues to exert tight control over the religious and cultural institutions of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims, using torture, arbitrary arrest, and detention without public trial against these individuals for peacefully expressing their religious or political views;

Whereas the whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the boy identified by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama, are still unknown;

Whereas Gendun Choekyi Nyima was 6 years old when the Chinese authorities took him and his family away in 1995;
Whereas it is believed that the Chinese authorities are holding him in a secret location;
Whereas Tibetans caught displaying photos of the 11th Panchen Lama or the Dalai Lama face harassment, fines, and detention;

Whereas in January 2003, the Government of the People's Republic of China executed a Tibetan man named Lobsang Dhondup without due process and despite repeated assurances to United States officials that his case and that of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche would be would reviewed by the Chinese Supreme People's Court;

Whereas this review never happened and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche remains on death row, in the second year of his suspended death sentence;

Whereas enforcement by the Government of the People's Republic of China of its one-child per family policy has been cruel and inhumane and has included the use of forced abortion and forced sterilization;

Whereas this one-child per family policy has led to the abandonment and infanticide of baby girls and a disproportionate number of male children in China, which will have serious and detrimental sociological impacts on China for years to come;

Whereas 14 years after the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, many protesters remain in prison and no independent investigations have taken place regarding the massacre that occurred during those demonstrations;

Whereas authorities in the People's Republic of China have continued their efforts to extinguish expressions of protest or criticism and have detained and sentenced scores of citizens associated with attempts to organize peaceful protests, to expose corruption, to preserve their ethnic minority identity, and to use the Internet for the free exchange of ideas;

Whereas many prisoners in China are confined to state run psychiatric hospitals for simple acts of expressing their thoughts on political issues, like veteran human rights activist and prisoner of conscience Wang Wanxing;

Whereas many Chinese prisoners are in Laogai, forced labor camps in which inmates are subject to various forms of cruel and forced labor;

Whereas the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international human rights organizations have been denied access to the Chinese prison system;

Whereas it well documented that organs taken from executed prisoners are sold for use in transplants in China and abroad;

Whereas the percentage of transplant kidneys estimated to be derived from executed prisoners in China has been put as high as 90 percent of all transplanted kidneys in China;

Whereas organs reported to be harvested from executed prisoners in China include corneas, kidneys, and hearts;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China agreed during the December 2002 session of the United States-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue to invite, without conditions, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Religious Intolerance and Torture, and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit China;

Whereas none of these visits have taken place in the last year and, in the case of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, two agreed upon trips were canceled because of unacceptable conditions placed on the visit by the Government of the People's Republic of China;

Whereas the United States decision not to introduce a resolution calling upon the People's Republic of China to end its human rights violations in China at the 59th Session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva was based, in part, on the belief that the aforementioned agreements signaled a good faith commitment on the part of Chinese officials to improve human rights practice in China;

Whereas when well-founded, balanced, and accurate resolutions regarding human rights in China were raised in previous sessions of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the Government of the People's Republic of China strongly pressured other countries to oppose the consideration of those resolutions;

Whereas since the last session of the United States China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, a number of very troubling incidents have occurred, including-

(1) the arrests of a number of democracy advocates,

(2) the detention and torture of 18 Tibetans who were forcibly repatriated from Nepal with the cooperation of Chinese officials, in contravention of international law,

(3) the ongoing forced repatriation of North Korean nationals, who upon return to North Korea will face almost certain arrest, torture, or even death,

(4) the arrest and sentencing of Internet essayists and labor protesters,

(5) the execution of Lobsang Dondrup and continued detention of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, and

(6) the continued refusal to allow access by United States diplomats and family members of the accused to the trials of those detained for political or religious activities;

Whereas the People's Republic of China has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but has yet to take the necessary steps to make the treaty legally binding;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China is a party to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to Refugees and its 1967 Protocol;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and

Whereas the Constitution and laws of the People's Republic of China purport to provide for fundamental human rights, however, the protections of these rights are often ignored in practice: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That-

(1) it is the sense of Congress that-

(A) the United States Government should continue to insist that the People's Republic of China adhere to fundamental human rights principles and allow its citizens the full enjoyment of those rights;

(B) at the 60th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, the appropriate representative of the United States should introduce a resolution calling upon the People's Republic of China to end its human rights violations in China and meet internationally recognized standards for human rights;

(C) the United States Government should take the lead in organizing multilateral support to obtain passage by the Commission of such a resolution and should draft the resolution in such a way as to highlight specific human rights abuses;

(D) all countries with representatives at the 60th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission should support passage of such a resolution and resist efforts by representatives of the People's Republic of China to oppose the consideration or passage of such a resolution; and

(E) United States Government officials and officials from other governments should continue to speak out in international forums and elsewhere against Chinese repression of religious and political freedom, persecution of Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, Catholics, Protestants, and Uighur Muslims, the unjust arrest and detention of religious leaders and political dissidents, harsh conditions in Laogai and other prisons, coercive family planning policies, and the forced return of North Korean refugees; and

(2) Congress urges the Government of the People's Republic of China-

(A) to take the necessary measures to stop the persecution of all religious practitioners and to safeguard fundamental human rights;

(B) to stop the forced return of North Korean refugees, to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees access to North Koreans inside China, and to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to develop a viable solution to the humanitarian crisis involving North Korean refugees;

(C) to end its coercive one-child per family policy and ensure that no national, provincial, or local government officials subject women to forced abortions or sterilizations;

(D) to immediately hold an open and transparent investigation into the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in
Tiananmen Square, to release all the prisoners held in connection with that event, and to pay compensation to the families who lost their loved ones;

(E) to release from detention all prisoners of conscience, persons held because of their religious activities, and persons of humanitarian concern;

(F) to release the 11th Panchen Lama identified by Dalai Lama and allow him to undertake his rightful role;

(G) to allow the Chinese people to practice freely and openly their religious beliefs;

(H) to adhere to the provisions and guidelines of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the 1951 Convention Relating to Refugees and its 1967 Protocol; and

(I) to allow, immediately and without restrictions, visits to China by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Religious Intolerance and Torture, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee on International Relations and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and as a friend of the Chinese people, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this resolution.

In the three decades since President Nixon made his historic trip to China, that country has undergone a remarkable transformation that all of us in this House should applaud.

Gone are the Red Guards, the mass rallies, and the ubiquitous Mao Suits. Today's, young Chinese enjoy a far better standard of living than their parents. They are often dressed in stylish western fashions. They have access to western movies, books, and the Internet. Bicycles, once the primary means of transportation for millions of urban Chinese, are being replaced by scooters, motorcycles and growing numbers of cars.

But, Mr. Speaker, there is one area where the China of 2004 is little changed from the China of 1972: the Chinese government's persistent and systematic abuse of the human rights of its citizens. Even as we deepen and broaden the commercial, diplomatic, and cultural ties with China, the United States must not sacrifice its commitment to freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and religious freedom.

Chinese prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals are filled with political prisoners. Fifteen years after the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananment Square, many protesters remain in prison and Beijing has continued its efforts to extinguish expressions of protest or criticism and have detained and sentenced scores of Chinese citizens associated with attempts to organize peaceful protests, to expose corruption, to preserve their ethnic minority identity, and to use the Internet for the free exchange of ideas.

China's persecution of religious minorities has been especially cruel. China's small Christian population has been subject to persecution and many Catholic and Protestant leaders have been imprisoned or placed under house arrest. Practitioners of Falun Gong, which Chinese authorities denounce as an illegal cult, have been singled out for especially harsh treatment. Some Falun Gong adherents have been tortured to death in Chinese prisons; others have been sent to reeducation camps that have changed little since the days of the Cultural Revolution.

Beijing's obsession with eradicating the Falun Gong has not been confined to China. The FBI is investigating possible links between the Chinese government and attacks upon Falun Gong practitioners here in the United States.

The Chinese government has continued its brutal repression of Tibet. The whereabouts of the boy identified by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama are unknown. Tibetans caught displaying photos of this child or of the Dalai Lama face fines or imprisonment. Tibetan prisoners have been executed without due process and others remain on death row. Beijing continues to move ethnic Chinese citizens into Tibet in order to dilute and gradually extinguish the cultural and social identity of the Tibetan people.

During the December 2002 session of the United States-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, Beijing agreed to invite, without conditions, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Religious Intolerance and Torture, and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit China. None of these visits have taken place and, in the case of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, two agreed upon trips were canceled because of unacceptable conditions placed on the visit by the Government of the People's Republic of China, including refusing the Commission entry into Hong Kong.

China's refusal to live up to its promises to cooperate with American and United Nations human rights representatives is especially troubling as the United States decision not to introduce a resolution calling upon the People's Republic of China to end its human rights violations in China at last year's session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva was based, in part, on the belief that the aforementioned agreements signaled a good faith commitment on the part of Chinese officials to improve human rights practice in China.

In fact, since the last session of the United States-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, a number of very troubling incidents have occurred, including: arrests of democracy advocates; the detention and torture of 18 Tibetans who were forcibly repatriated from Nepal with the cooperation of Chinese officials, in contravention of international law; ongoing forced repatriation of North Korean nationals, who upon return to North Korea will face almost certain arrest, torture, or even death; arrest and sentencing of Internet essayists and labor protesters; and the continued refusal to allow access by United States diplomats and family members of the accused to the trials of those detained for political or religious activities.

China's continued abysmal human rights record has convinced me that Beijing will not take the necessary steps to improve its human rights record absent the external pressure and exposure of a U.S.-sponsored resolution in Geneva. The late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." The Chinese leadership will doubtless resist our efforts to open the shutters to allow that light to illuminate its repression, but I believe that China will be better for it in the end. The Chinese government would do well to remember that the eyes of the world will be focused on China in four years' time when Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympic Games. For China, readying itself to host the world must mean more than building an Olympic Village and sporting venues. China must also rise to meet the aspirations of the Olympic movement by dismantling the systems of repression that stifle dissent, free expression, and religious observance.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.

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