CECC's Congressional Members Urge President Bush to Support a China Resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Commission Meeting

Congressional-Executive Commission on China | www.cecc.gov

CECC's Congressional Members Urge President Bush to Support a China Resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Commission Meeting

March 13, 2002

(Washington, DC)—All 18 Members of Congress who sit on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent a letter to President Bush today calling on him to support a resolution on China's human rights practices at the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva, which opens March 18.

"We urge you to approve a concerted and vigorous U.S. diplomatic effort to introduce and pass a resolution on human rights in China,'' said the letter, which was signed by all 18 Congressional members of the Commission.

The Commissioners acknowledged that past U.S. efforts in support of a China resolution have failed. "Nonetheless, we are convinced that active U.S. involvement in sponsoring and supporting such proposals has compelled the PRC government to attach importance to the human rights concerns of the United States and other countries,'' the Commissioners said in the letter.

"While such steps have seldom addressed underlying legal and systematic problems that underpin the most egregious PRC human rights violations,'' the Commissioners added, "they nonetheless have lessened the misery of those released and have established some precedents for subsequent amelioration of violations. These reasons alone make it useful to pursue a China resolution.''

The United States does not sit on the UNHRC this year. However, non-member countries still are able to sponsor or support proposals on country-specific resolutions. UNHRC rules also permit U.S. delegates to participate in a number of UNHRC deliberations.

In the letter, the Members of Congress expressed appreciation for the clear message Bush delivered to the Chinese government during his visit to Beijing last month that "respect for international human rights standards is a top priority for the American people.''

"Your forthright defense of freedom while speaking to Chinese university students in Beijing, and your raising with Chinese leaders such essential questions as religious freedom in China, demonstrated America's desire to see these values thrive in China and elsewhere in the world,'' the Commissioners said.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), and co-chaired by Doug Bereuter (R-Nebraska). It consists of nine Senators, nine members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. Its legislative mandate is to monitor and report on human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress.

The Commission's next full hearing will be on April 11 on the topic of "Human Rights and Legal Reform.'' A staff-led public issues roundtable is scheduled for March 18, and will focus on labor rights in China.

Sen. Max Baucus

Rep. Doug Bereuter

U.S. Senate

Carl Levin
Dianne Feinstein
Byron Dorgan
Evan Bayh
Chuck Hagel
Bob Smith
Sam Brownback
Tim Hutchinson

U.S. House of Representatives

Jim Leach
David Dreier
Frank Wolf
Joe Pitts
Sander Levin
Marcy Kaptur
Nancy Pelosi
Jim Davis