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House passes Smith Resolution urging int'l censure of China for human rights abuses

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House of Representatives [March 3, 2004] passed by a wide margin a resolution authored by Congressman Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), Vice Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, urging the international community to sternly rebuke the People's Republic of China for a litany of human rights abuses. The final vote was 402-2.

Smith's legislation - H. Res. 530 - urges the Bush Administration to sponsor and aggressively pursue a resolution condemning China for its human rights abuses at the annual meeting of the United Nation's Commission on Human Rights, which will meet later this month. Smith cited evidence of China's horrific human rights record in the recently released State Department Human Rights Report to successfully argue for his resolution.

While some may argue China is changing its colors, our own report confirmed that the PRC's human rights record remains poor, that the 'government continued to commit numerous and serious abuses,' and that 'the repression is getting worse,'" Smith said.

"On the religious front, there is ongoing aggressive repression of those who want to practice their faith. We see Falun Gong practitioners who are routinely rounded up and beaten and abused; and hundreds have been tortured to death while held in captivity. This oppression is extended to Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and others who face similar oppression," he added.

"Other egregious abuses detailed in the report are extrajudicial killings, gross mistreatment of prisoners, forced confessions, arbitrary arrests and detention, and denial of due process rights.

We also know the PRC continues to force couples to abide by a draconian "one child" policy. This rule says that any child who happens to come along without explicit government permission is to be aborted. Heavy fines and pressure are imposed upon the women, in particular. The PRC calls this "a social compensation fee," which can be six times the parents' annual salary, compelling them to abort their baby, Smith said

"Now that the House has passed this resolution, I hope and I believe the Administration will work hard to get a strong statement passed by the Human Rights Commission. China has been quite adroit in years past of intimidating other countries to vote against us.

"Already, the PRC is trying to generate favorable public opinion by claiming it will protect human rights and private property rights; but as we have learned over the years, China cannot be trusted to keep its work on human rights. We have a moral duty and obligation to aggressively raise this issue on behalf of the numerous victims who cannot speak for themselves," Smith added.

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