Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prepared Remarks of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

From a press conference of Feb. 26, 2009:

Good morning and thank you for coming here today. I’m here with Congressmen Mike Pence, Frank Wolf, and Joe Pitts and a group of former political prisoners and human rights activists to talk about U.S. policy toward China.

Last week, Secretary Clinton told the global media that concern for the protection of human rights of the Chinese people can’t be allowed to “interfere” with the economic crisis, climate change, and security – as if human rights were disconnected and irrelevant to those issues.

With those words, the Secretary effectively took human rights off the U.S. agenda with the Chinese Government. It was a shocking display of pandering, immediately understood by the Chinese government, whose party-controlled press rejoiced. Secretary Clinton made it clear in Beijing that the Obama Administration has chosen to peddle U.S. debt to the largest dictatorship in the world over defending the Chinese people from its government’s policies of torture, forced labor, forced abortion, religious persecution, human sex trafficking, gendercide, and genocide.

Forced abortion deserves a special word in this list of human rights abuses, as it is the only one that the Democratic Congressional leadership appears determined to fund with U.S. taxpayer money. Yesterday the Democratic leadership blocked amendments to the FY 2009 Omnibus spending bill that would prevent President Obama from lavishing $50 million of U.S. taxpayer money on the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). U.S. Government reports and the international media have consistently found that the UNFPA systematically aids and abets the Chinese government’s one child per couple forced abortion policy. That cruel, anti-family policy has made brothers and sisters illegal in China and murdered tens of millions of children and wounded countless Chinese women.

The protection and promotion of human rights ought to be at the core of our relationship with an egregious violator like China – but the Secretary has signaled that for her it will be a talking point at the bottom of the diplomatic agenda--one she’s in no hurry to get to.

In a sad irony, within days of the Secretary’s airy dismissal of human rights, the Department of State issued its Congressionally-mandated annual Country Reports on Human Rights, which concluded that in 2008 the Chinese government’s human rights record “worsened.”

Every day, brave Chinese risk their lives and liberty in the pursuit of freedom, democracy, protection of the family and respect per human rights. As we speak, Chinese political prisoners languish in gulags – laogai concentration camps – facing unspeakable torture and abuse. As a matter of a fact, approximately half a million each day endure the cruelty and humiliation of the labor camp.

When I read the Secretary’s words, I thought of Wei Jingsheng, the Democracy Wall hero who is here with us today. In 1999 Wei told me—When your government submits to the Chinese government’s demand to stop raising human rights issues, they beat us more; when you stand up to them, they beat us less.

Right now, Chinese political prisoners are paying the price for the Secretary’s words. They are being beaten. Their jailers are taunting them that the world has forgotten them, telling them that nobody cares about their fate.

Congressmen Pence, Wolf, and Pitts have joined me to deliver a message to the Chinese people: there are many of us in Congress who will not let the United States government forget about their human rights; we will keep speaking out for them; and we will do everything in our power to urge the administration to do the same.

After my colleagues speak, I will introduce the former political prisoners and human rights defenders.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

As Hillary Clinton shows weakness, Beijing wins a game with the U.S.

The following is an exceedingly good post from commentator Gordon Chang:

The Chinese Head Game
Gordon G. Chang - 02.22.2009 - 1:22 PM

“It’s a bit chilly in Beijing,” said Yang Jiechi, “but I have confidence that you will see the biggest number of smiling faces here.” China’s foreign minister was not commenting on yesterday’s weather in friendly banter with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His point was that China’s happy people were proof of the regime’s good human rights record.

Yang was lying, of course. But that’s not the point. Clinton knew he was lying, and that’s not the point either. The point is that Yang knew that Clinton knew he was lying but did not challenge him. The Chinese, in short, were putting forth their version of reality and Americans were accepting it. Minister Yang knew he had just humbled the United States.

“You know, a lot of international diplomacy is a head game,” Mrs. Clinton said on Friday before arriving in Beijing. She’s right, and the Chinese have just outmaneuvered her. She thought she could buy their good will by accepting an obvious deception. They, however, interpreted her acceptance of their outrageous views as a sign of weakness. As one Indian observer recently remarked, Beijing now perceives the United States to be “a beakless eagle.” Abe Greenwald noted on Friday that the issue of human rights in China cannot be separated from the supposedly “broader issues.” He’s correct because the Communist Party, which has yet to shed the mentality of its early years, only respects strength.

Mrs. Clinton has lost the initial round of the “head game,” so don’t expect Beijing to be cooperative in the near future. President Obama’s diplomacy in China has just gotten off to a truly bad start.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More about today's editorial

There may be some people who did not read or hear the news, prior to the latest article 'Hillary Clinton Visits Her Communist Masters In Beijing.' Therefore, it may seem abrupt to take in an article which, under better (more normal) circumstances, could be termed shockingly rude.

These are not normal circumstances. For 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, U.S. China policy has been morally indefensible, for turning a blind eye to the atrocities, the genocide, and the crimes against humanity which China's CCP government perpetrates against normal, innocent civilians in China. The CCP, by the way, is still the Chinese Communist Party, the same totalitarian institution that was brought to power by Chairman Mao in 1949.

Before arriving in Beijing, Hillary Clinton telegraphed her attitude about human rights. As reported in the Washington Post, "We pretty much know what they are going to say" on human rights issues such as greater freedoms for Tibet, Clinton told reporters traveling with her on a tour of Asia.

To help to put this into perspective, I will paste in an article from AFP (Agence France-Presse, the newswire) below. It has led to a situation where the human rights community should rightly be roaring angry with Clinton, and today's CSN article amounts to a verbal and rhetorical "hurling of shoes" at Hillary Clinton.

That is as it should be, in light of circumstances. It is a brilliant man in Iraq who started this trend of throwing shoes at world leaders. Recently, China's Wen Jiabao had shoes thrown at him in London. Isn't it great when people catch on? ;-)

Activists 'shocked' at Clinton stance on China rights

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Amnesty International and a pro-Tibet group voiced shock Friday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns hinder cooperation with China.

Paying her first visit to Asia as the top US diplomat, Clinton said the United States would continue to press China on long-standing US concerns over human rights such as its rule over Tibet.

"But our pressing on those issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis," Clinton told reporters in Seoul just before leaving for Beijing.

T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA said the global rights lobby was "shocked and extremely disappointed" by Clinton's remarks.

"The United States is one of the only countries that can meaningfully stand up to China on human rights issues," he said.

"But by commenting that human rights will not interfere with other priorities, Secretary Clinton damages future US initiatives to protect those rights in China," he said.

Students for a Free Tibet said Clinton's remarks sent the wrong signal to China at a sensitive time.

"The US government cannot afford to let Beijing set the agenda," said Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of the New York-based advocacy group.

China has been pouring troops into the Himalayan territory ahead of next month's 50th anniversary of the uprising that sent Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama into exile in India.

"Leaders really need to step up and pressure China. It's often easy to wonder whether pressure makes a difference. It may not make a difference in one day or one month, but it would be visible after some years," Dorjee said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had sent a letter to Clinton before her maiden Asia visit urging her to raise human rights concerns with Chinese leaders.

Before she left, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said human rights would be "an important issue" for Clinton and that she would "raise the issue when appropriate."

China has greeted President Barack Obama's administration nervously, believing he would press Beijing harder on human rights and trade issues than former president George W. Bush.

= = = = =
Other headlines:
CNN -- Clinton: Chinese 'human rights can't interfere' with other crises
Australian news -- In China, Clinton avoids rights issue
Radio Netherlands -- Rights groups shocked at Clinton's China stance
NDTV India -- Rights group slams Clinton's China remarks
USA Today -- Amnesty Int'l 'shocked' over Clinton's human rights remarks