Vol.3, No.8 Apr 12, 1999
Chinese communist dictator Jiang Zeming visit religious sites in Israel while its government is cracking down on Falun Gong and other christian or non-christians for their peaceful religious beliefs..
April 12, 2000
Web posted at: 12:11 p.m. HKT (0411 GMT)
GENEVA (Reuters) -- The United States tabled a resolution at a U.N. forum on Tuesday denouncing political and religious repression in China, U.S. diplomats said.
The text, obtained by Reuters, rebukes China for violating basic freedoms and urges Beijing to release political prisoners and permit all religious groups to worship.
The United States presented the resolution at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which is holding its annual six-week session in Geneva to examine abuses worldwide.
Voting is set for April 18.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called in a speech in Geneva last month for the forum to adopt the motion.
The four-page resolution expresses concern at "severe restrictions" on Chinese citizens' freedoms of non-violent assembly, association, expression, conscience and religion.
It voices unease at the "harsh crackdown during the past year on members of the China Democracy Party" and on "increased restrictions on the exercise of cultural, religious and other freedoms of Tibetans."
It also rebukes China for "severe measures taken to restrict the peaceful activities" of Buddhists, Moslems, Christians and adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual movement banned last July.
China, which has wide support among developing countries at the 53-member forum, has escaped scrutiny every year since the killings of protestors in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989.
Eager to avoid international censure, China has said the U.S. resolution is doomed to fail. It has announced it will table its own motion to take no action on the U.S. text.
Beijing's delegation has been lobbying hard to marshal support for its motion, whose adoption would quash all substantive debate on the U.S. text, Western diplomats say.
Albright said in March: "We owe it to the Chinese people and to the credibility of this Commission and its members not to shy away from the whole truth, or to hide behind procedural motions."
Jaime Gama, foreign minister of EU president Portugal, has said the EU is committed to dialogue with China on human rights.
But he expressed concern over China's use of the death penalty, restrictions on fundamental freedoms, harsh sentences imposed on political dissidents and persecution of religious minorities. He also noted insufficient cooperation with the United Nations over human rights.
The European Union has yet to say whether it will co-sponsor the U.S. text. Seven EU members -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain -- have voting rights at this year's U.N. rights forum which ends on April 28.
In an Interview by New York Times, Representative Sander M. Levin is "fine-tuning a plan that could give wavering House Democrats the political cover they want to vote yes on a the biggest trade deal in years, an accord with China. If Mr. Levin succeeds, Congress will help hand Beijing a diplomatic coup while opening new markets for American goods but will still keep leverage over China's behavior on human rights, religious tolerance and the environment. "......
"Members are searching for a way to both keep the heat on China and get the benefits of what we negotiated," Mr. Levin said in his Capitol Hill office, where photographs of the Thomas P. O'Neill and Robert F. Kennedy adorn the wall.
"We have to strive to combine active engagement with constructive confrontation." ......
The No. 2 Democrat in the House, David E. Bonior of Michigan, is leading the charge against the deal, and has called Mr. Levin's plan toothless.
In a rare flash of pique, Mr. Levin bristles at that criticism: "It has a lot of teeth in it, and I hope they're sharp and will bite when they need to."
Sander Martin Levin is the grandson of Russian and Polish Jews, was born and raised in Detroit.
Washington, DC Office of Free China Movement, a coalition of pro-democracy organizations around the world, felt that it's not any more monitoring body is needed but serious action to punish Comunist Chinese government for it's worsening human rights violations in the last year. Give PRC PNTR without any condition to punish its obvious serious behavior is just appeasement different name, the result is the same--the world has to face a stronger totalitarian regime which may not be easy to handle like the case in Nazi Germany in 1930s.
Filed at 12:24 p.m. EDT
By The Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Jiang Zemin, president of officially atheistic China, toured Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites Sunday, fending off a heat wave with a white baseball cap and waving genially to tourists.
Jiang, who is the first Chinese president to visit the area, began his tour of Jerusalem's walled Old City on the hilltop known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, revered as the spot where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven, and known to Jews as the Temple Mount for the biblical temples that stood there.
The Chinese president was greeted by Palestinian officials at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the holiest Muslim shrine in the city. Officials there escorted him into the Dome of the Rock mosque.
Jiang, who has been careful not to offend his Israeli hosts, remained diplomatically silent. He has refrained from taking sides on the contentious issues that divide the sides, including Jerusalem.
The Palestinians claim the eastern sector of the city, captured and annexed by Israel in 1967, as the capital of a future Palestinian state but Israel says it will never relinquish sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.
Faisal Husseini, the highest ranking PLO official in Jerusalem, said he told Jiang that the mosque, like the city itself, belonged to the Palestinians. The site is the third holiest in Islam. Husseini also said that such a high-profile visit was a diplomatic coup for the Palestinians.
Just down the hill from the Al Aqsa compound, Jiang made his way to the Western Wall, the sole remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site in Judaism.
Accompanied by a representative of Israel's Ministry of Religion, he peered closely into the cracks between the massive milky beige colored stones -- the last standing remains of the Second Temple, which the Romans destroyed.
It is a tradition to stuff prayerful notes into the cracks of the wall -- the last VIP to do so was Pope John Paul II, last month -- but Jiang chose not to.
A smiling Jiang waved to tourists as he left the Western Wall and headed to the Christian quarter for a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest sites in Christendom.
Inside the dim cavernous church, Jiang bowed his bare head before the rose-colored slab of stone that commemorates the site where Jesus' body was anointed before being buried.
According to tradition, the church is built on the site where Jesus was crucified and buried. When Jiang emerged into the midmorning sun, he donned a white baseball cap that has become his trademark during his visit here.
Metropolitan Timothy, secretary-general to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, guided Jiang during his visit to the church. He said he told the Chinese leader that Christians all over the world should be given their rights, including those in China.
Human rights groups charge that Jiang's China severely restricts religious freedom, and that those who follow doctrines independent of government-sanctioned guidelines are persecuted and jailed.
Jiang's historic visit has been overshadowed by Israel's planned sale of a $250 million spy plane to China, a deal the United States has tried to block, so far to no avail.
He arrived in the Mideast on
Wednesday for a six-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas.
Elon Weinstein, Assistant Editor
Joel Segal, American Director
Tim Cooper, Interantional Director
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