Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Leads Bipartisan Opposition to MFN for China

Dissident Wei Jingsheng Also Speaks Out Against MFN

July 21, 1998

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today encouraged her colleagues to oppose MFN for China, also known as "Normal Trade Relations," at a news conference the day before the House is expected to take up legislation on the issue. "The Administration seeks this special trade status for a nation that proliferates weapons of mass destruction, maintains trade barriers that bar U.S. products from its market, and continues to arrest, detain, exile or harass those who peacefully express their political or religious beliefs in China and Tibet. MFN for China has been the centerpiece of the Clinton Administration's U.S.- China policy. Clearly it has not been successful in making the trade fairer, the people freer and the world safer," Pelosi said.

Rep. Pelosi was joined at today's news conference by her co-chair on the Congressional Working Group on China, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Joe Scarborough (R-FL) and Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, among others. In a letter to Members of the House, Wei expressed his belief that the vote on MFN is a very important tool for reform within the Chinese Communist Party. "If the Congress is not able to make the Chinese communists realize that the loss of MFN is possible, then the more enlightened wing of the CCP cannot pass this pressure on to persuade the hardliners."

Wei also recalled that the MFN vote had a direct influence on the treatment of prisoners of conscience. "When I was still in prison, I clearly felt that if Most Favored Nation trade status passed the Congress with ease, various ‘instructions' from the Chinese communist judiciary organs made treatment for political prisoners much worse." Wei said treatment improved when there were indications of a difficult time for MFN in Congress.

Also participating in the news conference were Kevin Kearns, President, U.S. Business and Industry Council; Gary Bauer, President, Family Research Council; Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and Thea Lee, Assistant Director for International Trade, AFL-CIO.

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