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Calling on China to End Human Rights Abuses Prior to the Olympics

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank my good friend for yielding. I thank the chairman for bringing this important resolution to the floor and thank the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) for his fine leadership and that of Ranking Member ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN.

A few years ago, Madam Speaker, Liu Jingmin, vice president of the Beijing Olympic bid committee, famously asserted that ``by allowing Beijing to host the games, you will help the development of human rights.'' At the time, the argument seemed plausible, at least to the naive, but in the long run-up to the Olympics the reality has been numbingly disappointing and yet another wake-up call concerning bogus promises made for political and financial gain by the Beijing dictatorship. The pre-Olympic crackdown on political dissidents and religious believers and the crushing of cyber-dissidents is yet another antithetical manifestation to everything that is sane, compassionate or just.

In recent months, the Chinese government has been filling its jails, house arresting, surveilling and warning all known dissidents. These men and women are persecuted simply because they seek to exercise fundamental human freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ironically by the Chinese constitution itself. Tragically but predictably, the Olympics have been the occasion of a massive crackdown designed to silence and put beyond reach all those Chinese whose views differ from the government line. For so many brave Chinese men and women, for the Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, for members of Falun Gong, Chinese Christians, Uighur Muslims, democracy and labor activists and others, this has been a terrible summer, not in spite of but precisely because of the Olympic games. The fact is this is a reproach to the International Olympic Committee and to all those who believe in fundamental human rights.

As we meet here, right now in HC-7 several key human rights leaders, including the great Harry Wu and Wei Jingsheng, are speaking out against the atrocities committed with impunity by the government of China. I would note parenthetically that Wei was let out of prison--Wei, father of the Democracy Wall movement--simply to try to garner Olympics 2000. When the government didn't get that from the Olympic committee, they rearrested Wei Jingsheng and tortured him almost to death. That is the reality of the people we're dealing with.

In fact, let me just point out to my colleagues that any number of the Chinese government's human rights violations should have been a deal-stopper for the International Olympic Committee. Take the one-child-per-couple policy, Madam Speaker, with its attendant evils of forced abortion and rampant sex-selective abortion. In effect since 1979, the one-child-per-couple policy constitutes one of the gravest crimes against women and children in all of human history, and our resolution before us today has appropriate language condemning that atrocity.

The Chinese government massively violates Chinese women with a state policy of mandatory monitoring of all Chinese women's reproductive cycles, mandatory birth permits, mandatory contraception or sterilization, and ruinous fines up to 10 times the annual salary of both husband and wife if they don't comply with the one-child-per-couple policy. This policy has imposed unspeakable pain, violence, humiliation and degradation on hundreds of millions of Chinese women, many of whom suffer life-long depression as a direct consequence. It is no wonder more women commit suicide in China than anywhere else in the world.

As a direct result of this egregious human rights violation, tens of millions of girls are missing today, dead, due to sex-selective abortions, creating a huge gender disparity, a new dark manifestation of genocide which is perhaps more appropriately called gendercide.

The lost girls of China, and the estimates are between 50 to 100 million lost girls, murdered simply because they were girls.

Madam Speaker, 3 weeks ago, Frank Wolf and I visited Beijing in order to press for respect of fundamental human rights. The Chinese Secret Police threatened eight human rights lawyers with whom we had planned to meet for dinner in a public restaurant and placed several of them under house arrest.

We did, let me conclude with this, present the Chinese government with a list of people, 734 prisoners, a short list by Chinese standards, of people who are advocating for democracy and freedom. And with the Olympics now underway, we ask again, let those people and all like-minded human rights activists who languish and are tortured in prison, please let them go.

The resolution is a great one, and deserves everyone's support.


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