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Congressmen Smith, Wolf and Pitts Openly Question Secretary of State Clinton's Remarks Regarding Human Rights in China
Contact: Katherine Cason, 267-210-8278, Katherine@ChinaAid.org; Washington DC contact: Jenny McCloy, 202-213-0506, Jenny@ChinaAid.org; www.ChinaAid.org, www.MonitorChina.org
 
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- ChinaAid just learned that Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ-4th), Frank Wolf (VA-10th) and Joe Pitts (PA-16), openly questioned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's controversial remarks that the U.S. and China's relationship will be less focused on human rights. The following is an official press release issued by the Congressmen:
 
Congressional Human Rights Leaders: Hillary Clinton Signals Retreat on China Human Rights Under Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ-4th), Frank Wolf (VA-10th) and Joe Pitts (PA-16), leading human rights advocates in Congress, today openly questioned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's controversial remarks over the past several days that the U.S.-Sino relationship will be less focused on human rights and more focused on economic cooperation, global warming and other issues.

At a press conference Tuesday in the Capitol Building, the Members said Clinton has set the tone for the Obama Administration foreign policy priorities.

"In a shocking display of pandering, Secretary of State Hillary 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 combating torture, forced abortion, forced labor, religious persecution, human sex trafficking, gendercide, and genocide," Smith said. "Secretary Clinton said concern for the protection of human rights of the Chinese people can't 'interfere' with the economic crisis, climate change, and security - as if human rights were somehow disconnected and irrelevant to those issues."

"Every day, brave Chinese risk their lives and liberty in the pursuit of freedom, democracy, protection of the family and respect per human rights," he said. "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. It is too much to ask that our Secretary of State firmly and boldly raise human rights rather than a tin cup?

"The Obama Administration effectively dismissed, devalued, and debased human rights - especially women's rights - in the People's Republic of China," Smith said. "Now, today we learn that the Obama Administration and the democratic leadership is poised to lavishly fund the U.N. Population Fund with $50 million of U.S. taxpayer money. This - despite the fact that the UNFPA has shamelessly and systematically aided and abetted 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."

Wolf said Secretary Clinton's silence and assertion that we ought not raise human rights issues with repressive governments, because we know what they are going to say has far reaching implications. 

"History teaches us that bold, public proclamations on the importance of liberty, freedom, and the absence of repression are cause for great hope to those political prisoners who languish behind bars," Wolf said. "Words have power. They have the power to inspire, or deflate; they have the power to give vision or to stifle hope. But for words to inspire the hope for a day when the Chinese people can worship freely, where the press is not censored, where political dissent is permitted - they must first be spoken.

"Silence is itself a message.  Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, 'In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.'  America has always been a friend to the oppressed, the persecuted, the forgotten.  Has our allegiance changed?" Wolf said.

Pitts said he was not only troubled at what Clinton's comments directly indicate--that human rights are apparently not a priority in the Obama Administration--but that she has indirectly sent a disturbing message to those suffering from human rights abuses under a repressive regime.

"For 200 years, people living in oppression around the world have looked to the United States for inspiration and support for their cause," Pitts said. "We should not turn our backs on the importance of international human rights because we are in a recession. We must not let human rights become trivialized.  I urge Secretary Clinton to repair the damage she has done with her comments by expressing the importance of human rights in the U.S. relations with all nations, especially China."

Traveling in China over the past week, Clinton met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.  She failed to meet with any dissidents during her stay, and was criticized by human rights groups for saying that U.S. concerns on restrictions on freedoms in China must not interfere with cooperation on the financial crisis, global warming and other issues.

Wei Jingsheng, former Chinese political prisoner and Chair of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, in a Feb. 21, 2009 letter to Secretary Clinton, said the words coming from the mouth of the Secretary of State of the world's leading democracy sends the message that "human rights diplomacy of the USA has come to its end." Smith chillingly recounted Wei telling him that his prison oppressors reacted to the U.S. showing ambivalence to human rights: "He told me 'When the U.S. government panders, they beat us more. When the U.S. government talked tough, they beat us less,'" Smith said.

Smith and Wolf travelled to China together last July to assess human right conditions as the Bejing Olympics were about to begin. The drastic enforcement of the one-child-per-couple policy via forced abortion and rampant sex-selection abortion. The Chinese Government 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 extreme 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 pain, violence and humiliation and degradation on hundreds of millions of women, many of whom suffer lifelong depression; more women commit suicide in China than anywhere else in the world.

During the July 2008 visit to Beijing, Smith and Wolf pressed for the respect of fundamental human rights. The Chinese secret police threatened eight human rights lawyers they had been planning to meet, and placed several of them under house arrest. The Congressmen asked the Chinese government to release 734 political prisoners in the international spirit of the Olympics. The plea was ignored.

Express your appreciation to the Congressmen:

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ):
http://chrissmith.house.gov/

Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10th):
http://wolf.house.gov/

Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16):
http://www.house.gov/pitts/

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