|(New York, September 9, 1999)—President Clinton should press Chinese President Jiang Zemin for human rights improvements as a precondition for Beijing getting normal trading status on a permanent basis, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 11, Clinton will meet with Jiang in New
Zealand during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
These improvements should include: ratification of one of the two UN
human rights treaties China has signed; taking steps to abolish
reeducation through labor (an administrative punishment); agreeing to a
U.N. convention against forced labor; and opening all trials to outside
observers. The two treaties are the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and
The Clinton-Jiang talks at APEC are expected to focus among other things
on China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Clinton has said
he will ask Congress to do away with the annual renewal process for what
used to be called Most Favored Nation status and is now referred to as
Normal Trade Relations (NTR).
"President Clinton can't talk trade and ignore the ongoing crackdown in
China," said Sidney Jones, Asia director of Human Rights. "The point is
that China needs to meet international standards, in the fields of both
world trade and human rights."
As the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of
China approaches on October 1, Chinese authorities have stepped up their
crackdown on dissent, Human Rights Watch said. Among other things, it has:
"President Clinton can't talk trade and ignore the ongoing crackdown in China.
The point is that China needs to meet international standards, in
the fields of both world trade and human rights."
Asia Director of Human Rights Watch
- officially banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement on July 22, 1999, a
clear violation of the rights of freedom of belief and association. It has
also detained dozens of Falun Gong members without charging them. Chinese
authorities have announced that some of them will be put on trial for
- detained Tsering Dorje, a Tibetan translator on August 15, 1999.
Dorje was stopped in Qinghai with two foreigners assessing a World Bank
project; his current whereabouts are unknown. In a separate incident four
days earlier, Chinese police detained Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur
businesswoman, as she was going to meet American visitors. She is
scheduled to be tried on September 19 for passing human rights information
to foreigners. Restrictions on access to Tibet and Xinjiang remain in
- handed down harsh prison sentences, from eight to thirteen years, to
China Democracy Party activists, including Liu Xianbin, She Wanbao, Zha
Jianguo and Gao Hongming.
- denied outside medical care to Xu Wenli, a Democracy Party organizer
sentenced to thirteen years last December. He was told by prison
authorities that he has hepatitis-B, a serious liver disease, but his
family members are prevented from getting him outside treatment.