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MARKUP OF H. RES. 364, H. RES. 361, AND H.
CON. RES. 218
THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1998
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:10 p.m., in room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Doug Bereuter (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding. Present: Representative Bereuter.
Mr. BEREUTER. The Subcommittee will come to order. The Asia Pacific Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee today meets in open session to consider three resolutions:
First, H. Res. 364, addressing U.S. consideration of a resolution condemning China at the U.N. Human Rights Commission; second, H. Res. 361, calling for free and impartial elections in Cambodia; and, third, H. Con. Res. 218, urging a cease-fire in Afghanistan.
On each of these resolutions, there are a number of modest changes that have been requested by the Administration and by various Members of the Committee. These are changes that I believe staff have worked out to the satisfaction of the interested Members, as far as I know.
Consistent with the wishes of Chairman Gilman, and without objection, I will be offering these proposed changes as amendments in the nature of a substitute at the appropriate place in the proceedings.
Is there objection?
Mr. BEREUTER. I thank my colleagues for being here on a very busy day. At least we are not expected to be interrupted by votes on the House floor. To my regret, we are also marking up the IMF bill in Banking Committee, so I have a few conflicts.
The first order of business is H. Res. 364, which the clerk will now report.
Mr. ENNIS. "H. Res. 364, urging the introduction and passage of a resolution on the human rights situation in the People's Republic of China at the 54th Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
"Whereas the State Department's".
Mr. BEREUTER. Without objection, further reading of the resolution will be dispensed with, it will be printed in the record, and open for amendment.
[H. Res. 364 appears in the appendix.]
Mr. BEREUTER. Before we begin the formal process of considering the resolution, I would like to make a few comments. I will then recognize the Ranking Member and other Members of the Subcommittee for any comments they might wish to make.
I would also alert my colleagues that, at the appropriate time, I will offer an amendment that updates the original draft and addresses a number of concerns.
H. Res. 364 was introduced on February 12th by our colleague, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, and addresses the question of whether the United States should propose a China resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
The Commission begins its annual session on March 16th, so this is an important, time-sensitive resolution for us to consider.
I have, in fact, initiated such actions myself in the past, and I asked Mr. Smith to add me as a co-sponsor to this resolution.
The European Union has, to my regret, announced that it will not support such a resolution, arguing instead for expanded dialog. I think some of you may remember that Denmark was courageous and supported that last year, and they were threatened very overtly for having taken that initiative.
I would tell our friends in Europe that I, too, support expanded dialog, but I also believe it's important to raise very real_human rights questions and concerns that the American people have raised regarding the PRC.
The resolution quotes from the State Department Human Rights Report, noting extra-judicial killings, torture, forced abortion, and sterilization, expanded attempts to control religion, and tight controls against China's many minorities.
Certainly, Beijing is annoyed that, year after year, the United States has raised this issue at the U.N. Human Rights Commission, but, for many of us who are genuinely concerned in better Sino-American relations, human rights is an appropriate U.S. con
I am aware that the Clinton Administration is debating whether to advance such a resolution in the upcoming session of the Human Rights Commission.
I would, however, cite the March 3rd editorial in the Washington Post, which states:
"It's not too late for Mr. Clinton to support such a measure. He can still send a message that America supports, or at least sympathizes with, the fighters for freedom inside China.
"Alternatively, he can send a message that his friendship with these oppressors is too important to put at risk with impolitic words.
"For someone who hopes to become, this year, the first President to visit China since the massacre at Tiananmen Square, this should be an easy choice."
Indeed, I think it should be an easy choice, and I urge my colleagues to support this worthy resolution.
Now, I would like to call on the distinguished gentleman from California, the Ranking Member, for his comments.
Mr. BERMAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree very much with what you've just said. I think the Administration does need
to pay urgent attention, and not just merely lip service, to this issue.
There is nothing about this resolution, or an intense focus on the many abuses of and failures of Chinese policy in the area respecting human rights that are recognized by international standards, that is inconsistent with trying to have a positive relationship with China with embracing engagement, with opposing containment, with acknowledging that, in a number of areas, our relationship with China has improved, that we are hopeful that the recent gains in the area of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are secured and expanded, that we will have commercial relationships, that we will maybe even have, in certain areas, cooperation between our militaries, and still pushing the notion that we do not find their current practices, in a whole variety of areas, acceptable, any more than we should say that we are going to break off our contacts with China because we don't like their criticism of our policy toward Iraq.
We've just seen a recent arrest by the FBI of two Chinese officials for allegedly marketing human organs from executed prisoners. We all know about the grievous state of human rights in Tibet and Xinjiang, the treatment of religious leaders in China, continued human rights problems within China itself.
These alone are reasons enough for the Administration to take the lead in once again introducing a resolution before the 54th session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
The European position, which is becoming all too frequent on so many areas, is not an acceptable position for us, and I think this is a good resolution and I urge its passage.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Berman. The gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Salmon, is recognized.
Mr. SALMON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to concur with you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Berman, that this is a timely measure and it's very, very important.
As one of those Members, along with you, Mr. Chairman, that has consistently supported constructive engagement, I would like to reiterate that I believe that our national policy toward China ought to focus its attention, as a number priority, on the human rights situation in China.
I have supported, in the past, the ability to expand trade with China, because I believed that that was the best mechanism for continued dialog.
However, it seems as though, during the course of the year, the Chinese Government only seems to be receptive to our wants and desires regarding prisoner exchange, giving us the prisoner lists, and allowing prisoner release when the MFN issue comes up.
I continue to be very, very frustrated that the Administration doesn't make more of an issue of human rights when these meetings occur.
I know, when President Jiang came to the United States, you and I were able to sit down and meet with him, and I believe that Mr. Gephardt and others who shared quite vocally their opinions of this lack of improvement of the human rights situation in China
I wonder when we're going to get the same kind of attention from this Administration. I dearly hope that, as the President prepares to go to China-and it is a very historic event I think, as Mr. Berman said I hope that it's going to be much more than just a photo opportunity shoot for both sides, and I hope that there will be some meaningful dialog.
Meanwhile, there are political prisoners and religious prisoners who languish in these gulags, and they're not being treated very nicely, which is probably the biggest understatement of the year. I had an opportunity to sit down with Wei Jingsheng, I know, as you did, a couple of weeks ago, to listen to the atrocities that still occur in the Chinese prisons.
I, as you, have worked on the issue with Tibet, and know that it continues to be a real thorn in our side, and for anybody who cares about religious freedom.
This step is a good step, but it's the very least that we can do. And, if our allies cannot support us in decrying one of the grossest human rights violators in the world, then I think it goes back to the issue of why so many of our colleagues don't want to update our U.N. dues.
It's because many believe that the United Nations is completely ineffective dealing with important problems like that.
If they can't accept this modest proposal, if they can't take this baby step toward calling upon China to improve its human rights situation, then I've got to question the validity and the credibility of the United Nations as a whole.
This has to go forward, and we're taking the right step right now. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Salmon. Do other gentlemen wish to be heard? The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Fox, is recognized.
Mr. Fox. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just today I had an opportunity to meet with Harry Wu for breakfast, along with Wei Jingsheng, and both-as you know, Harry, for 15 years, was in prison, and Wei for 18 years.
It couldn't be more clear to me that this resolution couldn't be more timely, H. Res. 364, because in speaking with them this morning, we learned that almost 4,000 prisoners are killed each year in China, many for minor crimes.
Then, their body parts are sold-a kidney for $20,000 apiece, a liver for $30,000, a lung for $30,000, so on and so forth, but whatever the market will bear. And the recent arrest in New York by two more individuals makes it very much a close-to-home issue.
They even talked this morning about the possibility of having an adopt-a-prisoner program, so we can keep the emphasis on the exposure to this issue.
When we visited China, they said human rights violations weren't going on, and that it was a matter of someone's imagination and that, if there was a problem, they would address it sometime.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, that this resolution goes to exactly the heart of what Mr. Jingsheng and Mr. Wu asked for.
That is, that the House of Representatives urge, in this resolution, that the President initiate an immediate and determined U.S.
effort to secure passage of a resolution on human rights violations in China at the 54th Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
strongly urge the passage of this resolution, and thank the Chairman, Mr. Smith, for the leadership on this issue.
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Rohrabacher, I understand you are an original co-sponsor of the resolution.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I co-sponsor all three resolution, and I'm very grateful to your leadership, Mr. Chairman, in bringing them forward. That will be very supportive. Thank you very much.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Rohrabacher.
The Chair has an amendment in the nature of a substitute, which should be in the Members' packets, which the clerk will read.
Mr. ENNIS. "Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute. "Urging the introduction and passage of resolution".
Mr. BEREUTER. Without objection, the amendment in the nature of a substitute is deemed to have been read and is open for amendment at any point.
[The amendment of Mr. Smith appears in the appendix.]
Mr. BEREUTER. I would like to explain that the amendment is acceptable to the author, Mr. Smith, and is identical, in fact, to the language adopted last week by the International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee. His staff and our staff here worked on that together.
It addresses a few minor factual issues. For example, the first "Whereas" clause on Page 3 now reflects the fact that the United Nations did not participate in the China Resolution of 1991 but has done so every other year since Tiananmen Square.
The amendment also acknowledges, in the final "Whereas❞ clause on Page 2, that Beijing has taken a number of positive steps that advance certain aspects of human rights conditions in China.
Last, reflecting the view that the House of Representatives speaks for itself and is its own master, the amendment deletes references to a number of NGO's that have urged that the House pass such a resolution.
Humanitarian groups certainly are within their rights to urge such action, and even to be commended, I would add, but the House does not require and, doubtfully, should reference such support to justify our action.
The question is now on the amendment in the nature of a substitute. If there are any Members that want to be recognized, I will certainly hear from them.
Mr. BEREUTER. As many as are in favor will say "Aye."
[Chorus of ayes.]
Mr. BEREUTER. As many as are opposed will say "No."
Mr. BEREUTER. The ayes appear to have it, do have it. The motion is agreed to.
Are there further amendments or debate on the resolution? The gentleman from California.
Mr. BERMAN. I'd just like to be added as a co-sponsor of the reso