May 18, 2000
Levin China Compromise Decried as Trojan Horse
by Chinese Dissidents
Eighty Former Political Prisoners Deliver Plastic Horses
to Rep. Levin s Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chinese dissidents today gathered on the grounds of the Capitol to demonstrate their opposition to the Clinton administration s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for China proposal. The group of dissidents, including former political prisoners, criticized the efforts by Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) to soften the impact of PNTR by adding parallel legislation designed to assuage the concerns of human rights activists. The action on the Capitol grounds was followed by the delivery of plastic horses to Levin s office and the offices of about 10 undecided lawmakers, symbolizing the Trojan horse that the Levin side agreement represents — an attractive but ultimately dangerous policy.
“The proposal put forward by Representative Levin and others will not solve the problem,” the dissidents from the Free China Movement wrote in a letter to Congress. “A human rights commission, without the power to limit China s access to the U.S. market, will mean nothing to the dictatorship.”
The Levin policy calls for creating a human rights commission to monitor China. Citizen groups, religious leaders, consumer organizations and environmentalists joined the dissidents in criticizing the Levin compromise. The Levin proposal merely duplicates the annual State Department human rights report, which has failed to garner a censure of China in the U.N. Council of Human Rights for the past decade despite increasingly critical reviews of the human rights record in China. Without the annual review, there will be no threat sufficient to give China an incentive to improve its human rights record, said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen s Global Trade Watch.
“Trying to hide a pro-PNTR vote in support of China’s brutal dictators under the totally meaningless Levin review panel is shameful,” Wallach said. “This is why Chinese champions of democracy — in exile after years in China’s prisons and work camps — are in Washington today delivering to Congress small Trojan horses to warn lawmakers not to contemplate the Levin betrayal of human rights.”