Sunday, March 8, 2009

16 Members of Congress Urge Secretary of State Clinton to Address Human Rights in China

USA-Prior to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s visit to the U.S. on March 9, 16 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging her to make certain her conversations with the Chinese government are consistent with the true state of deteriorating human rights conditions in China. The letter, which had bipartisan support, was issued in response to Secretary Clinton’s controversial remarks before and during her visit to China indicating a retreat on the priority of human rights issues in U.S.-China relations. Traveling to China February 20-22, Clinton met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders. She has been criticized by human rights groups for publically commenting that concerns about human rights abuses in China must not interfere with cooperation on the economic crisis, global warming and other issues.In their letter, the members of Congress also expressed their hope of “an Ambassador in Beijing who will be pro-active and engaged in the promotion of human rights with the highest level of the Chinese government” and their desire and willingness to work with the Secretary of State and the State Department to promote human rights throughout the world.ChinaAid commends the 16 signatories of the letter: Joseph R. Pitts (PA, 16th), Tim Ryan (OH, 17th), Trent Franks (AZ, 2nd), Bob Inglis (SC, 4th), Frank Wolf (VA, 10th), Mike Rogers (AL, 3rd), Mike Pence (IN, 6th), Dan Burton (IN, 5th), Michele Bachmann (MN, 6th), Scott Garrett (NJ, 5th), Michael Michaud (ME, 2nd), Chris Smith (NJ, 4th), Randy Neugebauer (TX, 19th), Thaddeus McCotter (MI, 11th), Donald Manzullo (IL, 16th) and John Boozman (AR, 3rd).
The following is the text of the letter: (Click here to view the original letter.)
U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton,
Congratulations on your recent confirmation as Secretary of State. There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead, but we look forward to working together to confront these challenges in the most effective way possible.
We commend you for addressing some of the common challenges facing China and the United States, such as security threats, weakened economies, and environmental concerns, during your recent trip to China. However, these complicated, multi-lateral issues will only be solved when the government and its people work together, with justice and mutual respect. These issues cannot and should not be separated from concerns about human rights and the rule of law. As long as practices of forced abortions, imprisonment of human rights lawyers, and persecution of unregistered churches continue, the people of China will be neither free nor safe.
It is ironic that the Chinese government, while claiming to pursue a harmonious society, simultaneously allows policies which bring harassment on those seeking to follow the law and serve in humanitarian projects. Yet, this is the case for house church Christians and many other religious groups throughout China. They first find their religious freedom denied, then their right to privacy, right to freedom of speech, and right to freedom of association.
The State Department Human Rights Report which was released on February 25th clearly describes a deterioration of human rights conditions in China during 2008. Please make certain that your conversations with the Chinese government are consistent with the findings of this report. We also look forward to an Ambassador in Beijing who will be pro-active and engaged in the promotion of human rights with the highest levels of the Chinese government. Lastly, we express our desire and willingness to work with you and your colleagues at the State Department to ensure continued U.S. involvement and leadership in promoting human rights throughout the world.
Joseph R. Pitts
Tim Ryan
Trent Franks
Bob Inglis
Frank Wolf
Mike Rogers (AL)
Mike Pence
Dan Burton
Michele Bachmann
Scott Garrett
Michael Michaud
Chris Smith
Randy Neugebauer
Thaddeus McCotter
Donald Manzullo
John Boozman
Call or write to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to address human rights issues in China including the persecution of house church Christians. Click here to send an e-mail.
Communication Division:
PA/PL, Rm. 2206
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
As in the days of Noah...

No comments: