WASHINGTON (May 21, 1997) -- An official of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) declared at a news conference here that the Catholic Bishops oppose renewal of most favored nation status for China because "it is the best available means to send a clear signal to the Chinese government that the United States will not ignore pervasive violations of religious liberty, human dignity and the rights of workers."
"In urging the Congress not to renew MFN for China, the U.S. Catholic Conference insists that religious liberty is a foundation of our freedom, and that hard experience has shown that a free society cannot exist without freedom of conscience," said John Carr, USCC Secretary for Social Development and World Peace.
"Freedom for markets without freedom of worship is not really freedom at all," Mr. Carr continued. "Despite the hopes of the Administration and others, religious persecution in China is serious and apparently growing."
"The Bishops I represent know that if they served in China they would face harassment and perhaps imprisonment simply for teaching Catholic doctrine and voicing their fidelity to the Pope," he said.
Mr. Carr spoke at a news conference conducted by Congresspersons Nancy Pelosi of California and Frank Wolf of Virginia. In addition to the USCC, other groups participating in the news conference were the Family Research Council, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Campaign to Save Tibet.
Over the last several years, the period during which the MFN renewal debate and the question of religious freedom in China have assumed a higher profile than ever before, the USCC has been among the most active advocates of a strong and effective human rights component in the bilateral relations between the U.S. government and the Peoples Republic of China.