Laogai Research Foundation

September, 1996 Newsletter

U.S. Senate Hearing on China MFN Status

On June 6, 1996, Jeff Fiedler, director of the Laogai Research Foundation, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The subject of the hearing was the renewal of Most Favored Nation(MFN) status for China. Also testifying were Mr. Sven Kraemer, former member of the National Security Council; Nina Shea, Director of Freedom House; Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO; and Lodi Gyari, International Campaign for Tibet.

Mr. Fiedler opened by stating the Foundation’s support for the revocation of MFN. He cited China’s multiple human rights violations including the harvesting of prisoners’ organs, religious persecution, and the extensive Laogai system. In addition, he called the Chinese government "internationally irresponsible" given their behavior concerning the sale of missiles to Pakistan and threatening military exercises near Taiwan. He expressed concern over the annual debate over Chinese MFN, saying that the debate misses the point and wrongly encourages the American people to believe that the issue of China policy is centered around a trade argument.

He then addressed two issues that "demonstrate the problem with U.S. China policy." The first was the failure of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Mr. Fiedler gave the history of the MOU, including its inception in 1992 by the Bush Administration, President Clinton’s misleading statement of compliance with the MOU in 1993, and the reissue of virtually the same document in March of 1994. He effectively demonstrated to the committee that instead of punishing the Chinese for non-compliance with the MOU, the government continually makes excuses for China’s government. Even with this year’s State Department Human Rights Report acknowledgement of China’s non-compliance with the MOU, the Clinton Administration has again made a call for renewal of MFN.

The second issue that Mr. Fiedler raised was that of the Chinese military companies and their presence in the United States. He informed the Committee about the many PLA Departments that conduct business in the U.S., highlighting the fact that in essence MFN is granted to China’s army. As Mr. Fiedler said, "allowing Chinese military companies to do business in the United States is ridiculous as a matter of policy. It is tantamount to subsidizing the modernization of the Chinese military..." He continued to list the many military-affiliated companies located within the United States, including CJA Equipment in Michigan, PTK International in Atlanta, and NORINCO branches all over southern California and New Jersey.

Mr. Fiedler concluded with a concise explanation of the reality of Chinese economic growth. He said, "a supernationalist economic giant will also be a supernationalist military and political giant." While many spin tales of economic liberalization, Mr. Fiedler confronted the reality that the communist party still holds the reins of power in China, and with continued American governmental and economic support, the communists will continue to oppress the people of China without fear of consequence.

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Milpitas, CA 95036-1375

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