WASHINGTON (July 12, 1999) -- Congressional refusal to renew China's "normal trade" status will send "an unmistakably clear message about our national concern for the protection of basic human rights," according the Chairman of the U.S. Catholic Conference International Policy Committee.
In a letter to members of the House Ways and Means Committee, Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark urged Congress to vote to deny continued Most Favored Nation trading status to China.
"A strong vote to deny MFN/NTS to China should strengthen the Administration's commitment to putting human rights at the top of the China agenda and send a strong signal that the status quo is not acceptable," said Archbishop McCarrick.
Archbishop McCarrick acknowledged President Clinton's efforts to raise the issues of religious liberty and other human rights with the Chinese government. He said, however that little has changed in the last few years of "increased engagement."
"Indeed, the continued detention of religious figures as well as of democracy advocates only point up the necessity for unrelenting official U.S. firmness on issues of human rights and religious freedom," Archbishop McCarrick said.
He noted specific violations which have been raised before, including the persecution of unregistered Protestant and Catholic churches, intereference by the state with "recognized" churches, and the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists.
The full text of Archbishop McCarrick's letter is attached.