Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

On the Administration's Decision Not to Pursue a Resolution Condemning China's Human Rights Abuses at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva

March 13, 1998

How shameful that the Clinton Administration, in this the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has chosen to give a victory to the authoritarian regime in China by not pursuing a resolution condemning China's human rights practices at the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

This decision is in the face of no real progress to report on stated pieces of the Administration's human rights policy including ensuring access to Chinese prisons for the International Committee for Red Cross; promoting a dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government; and, obtaining the release of political and religious prisoners.

The Clinton Administration has hung its decision about Geneva on the thin reed of the agreement by China to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. International Covenants, in order to take effect, require three stages -- signature, ratification, and implementation. Five months ago, in order to smooth the Clinton-Jiang Summit, the Chinese government signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. So far, they haven't ratified it and they certainly have not implemented it. Why should we expect more from this new decision?

Just today, several leading newspapers are carrying stories about how the Administration caught the Chinese government on the verge of violating arms control promises which were supposed to have been the centerpiece of the Clinton-Jiang Summit last October. While the Administration attempted to keep this violation a secret, now that it is public knowledge, they are trying to spin it as a success.

It is no surprise that this decision was put out, once again, late on a Friday afternoon, where there can be little public attention to it. Perhaps, the Clinton Administration itself is ashamed by this decision.

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