For Immediate Release
July 16, 2007
Washington , D.C. - Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today delivered the following
statement on the floor of the House today addressing multiple concerns about China ,
the products it produces and its poor record on human rights:
"Imagine a country where factory workers have no workplace
safety, labor or environmental protections and are required to work 80
hour-weeks for no more than $110 per month to produce goods for export.
"Imagine a country which boldly supplies missiles and chemical
weapons technology to countries that support or harbor terrorists.
"Imagine a country that oversees a network of espionage
operations against American companies and the U.S. government.
"Imagine a country which tortures and imprisons Catholic
bishops, Protestant church leaders, Muslim worshipers, Falun Gong
followers, and Buddhist monks and nuns just because of their faith and
systematically destroys churches and confiscates Bibles.
"Imagine a country which has a thriving business of harvesting
and selling for transplant kidneys, corneas and other human organs from
executed prisoners who are thrown in prison with no trial or sentencing
"Imagine a country which maintains an extensive system of
gulags - slave labor camps, also known as the "laogai" - as large as
existed in the former Soviet Union that are used for brainwashing and
"reeducation through labor."
"Sadly, none of this is imaginary. Such a nation exists. It
is the People's Republic of China .
"Sadly, too, that's just part of the list of egregious actions.
"In 2006, the Chinese government arrested 651 Christians that
we know of. Currently, China has 6 Catholic bishops in jail and another
9 under house arrest. Renowned human rights advocate Rebiya Kadeer has
watched from exile as the Chinese government arrests and beats her
family members in her homeland.
"Late last year, western mountain climbers captured on
videotape a horrifying scene: Chinese police shooting from their North
Face tents at a group of Tibetan refugees crossing Nangpa Pass. A
17-year old Buddhist nun was killed and several others were wounded.
"There are some who assert that human rights are something
that should come once stability has been attained. They say that
protection of human rights comes second to attaining economic power and
wealth. We must reject that notion.
"During the debate over granting China permanent normal trade
relations status, proponents argued that economic liberalization would
lead to political liberalization in China, that exposing China to the
West's ideas and values would lead them to play a more constructive role
in the international community, and that the U.S. and other
industrialized nations could influence China through economic activity
to better respect the rights of its citizens to fundamental human rights
and the unfettered practice of their faith.
"Instead, we have seen why the protection of basic liberties
should not come second to economic growth. The China of today is worse
than the China of yesterday, or of last year, or of the last decade.
China is not progressing. It is regressing. It is more violent, more
repressive, and more resistant to democratic values than it was before
we opened our ports to freely accept Chinese products.
"And now, in addition to all of the horrible things the
Chinese government does to its own citizens, it does to other countries'
citizens as well. It poisons children in Panama , the Dominican
Republic , and Australia , with toothpaste containing an industrial
solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze. This toothpaste was
marketed under the brand name "Mr. Cool."
"Some 1.5 million wooden toys in the Thomas the Tank Engine
line of children's trains were recalled after manufacturers discovered
that the Chinese-made toys were slathered in lead-based paint, a
substance that is toxic if swallowed.
"China continues to send American consumers adulterated and
mislabeled food products, including prunes tinted with chemical dyes,
dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical, scallops and
sardines coated with putrefying bacteria, and mushrooms laced with
"Food and Drug Administration inspectors who traveled across
the world to investigate the recent mass poisoning of U.S. pets stemming
from tainted pet food from China arrived at two suspected Chinese
factories, only to find the factories had been cleaned out and all
"On June 28, the FDA banned the import of five types of
farm-raised shrimp and fish from China because they are so contaminated
from unsafe drugs in China 's polluted waterways.
"A recent NPR story described how garlic from China outsold
garlic grown in California for the first time last year. China began
dumping garlic at U.S. ports below cost in the 1990s. Hefty tariffs
kept the garlic imports at bay for a few years, but since 2001, imports
of Chinese garlic have increased fifteen-fold.
"Several Fourth of July celebrations in my district, including
in my hometown of Vienna , Virginia , included malfunctioning fireworks
that injured 11 people, including children and an infant. These
fireworks came from China .
"Some 450,000 imported tires were recalled from Foreign Tire
Sales after it was discovered that the Chinese-made tires were sold
without a critical safety feature that prevents the tread from
separating from the tire. A blown tire can cause the driver of the
vehicle to lose control of his or her car and crash.
" China is one of the world's leading producers of unlicensed
copies of goods ranging from movies and designer clothes to sporting
goods and medications. According to the Motion Picture Association of
America , 93 percent of DVDs sold in China are unlicensed copies. The
MPAA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups say that
despite stricter Chinese enforcement, product piracy is growing amid
China 's booming economic expansion.
" China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week
and within a year will be the biggest source in the world of greenhouse
gases. It is building factories and infrastructure all over the
developing world, but we have no solid data on China 's plans or
programs. A recent editorial in The Washington Post reported that World
Bank experts estimate that toxic air and water in China kill some
710,000 to 760,000 Chinese each year.
"During a recent visit to Sudan , Chinese President Hu Jintao
promised to build a new palace for the Sudanese president, Omar
al-Bashir, despite Bashir's role in orchestrating the ongoing genocide
in Sudan 's Darfur region. This is in addition to the recent Amnesty
International report that China is selling weapons to the Sudanese
government, which are then being used to kill and maim innocent
civilians in Darfur .
"China bullies neighboring Taiwan, repeatedly threatening to
launch missiles from the mainland for Taiwan 's refusal to accept China
's claims of sovereignty over the democratically governed territory.
"And despite all of these abhorrent acts, China was still
awarded the honor of hosting the 2008 Olympics. The Olympic Games: an
event designed to lift up "the educational value of good example and
respect for universal fundamental ethical principles," according to its
own charter. Does China 's behavior sound like a "good example" to the
rest of the world? Or that it is reflecting "fundamental ethical
principles" that all nations should aspire to?
"Amnesty International reports that the Chinese government is
rounding up people in the streets of Beijing that might "threaten
stability" during the Olympic Games, and is detaining them without
trial. Human Rights Watch reports that the Chinese government is
tightening restrictions on domestic and foreign media, in an effort to
control what information leaks out about China 's repressive and violent
nature during coverage of the Olympics.
" China has even gone so far as to claim it will "force rain"
in the days leading up to the Olympics, in order to have clear skies for
the Games. They intend to fire rocket shells containing sticks of
silver iodide into Beijing 's skies, provoking a chemical reaction that
will force rain - despite mixed reviews on the soundness of this science.
" China 's desperation to conceal its true character leading
up to the Games smacks of the Nazi bid for the Olympic Games. Analysts
are likening the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Olympics, in which
Nazi Germany soft-pedaled its anti-Semitic agenda and plans for
territorial expansion, fooling the international community with an image
of a peaceful, tolerant Germany under the guise of the Olympic Games.
"Like the Nazi regime in 1936 Berlin , the Chinese government
is preparing for the Olympics by hiring U.S. firms to handle public
relations and marketing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Where is the outrage over China 's unacceptable behavior?
The facts are before us. The United States can no longer say that
things are improving in China .
"But China would have America and the world believe that is
the case. China has hired a number of large lobbying firms in
Washington, DC to push China 's agenda with the U.S. government.
Documents from the Department of Justice show these lobbyists as having
a significant presence on Capitol Hill, including almost 200 meetings
with Member offices between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006.
" America must be a country that stands up for basic decency
and human rights. America must speak out on behalf of those who cannot
speak for themselves - men and women who are being persecuted for their
religious or political beliefs. Our foreign policy must be a policy
that helps promote human rights and freedom. Not a policy that sides
with dictators who oppress their own citizens.
"Next time you make a purchase, and you see the words "Made in
China ," think of the poisoned toothpaste, the contaminated food, the
polluted waterways and airspace, the exploding tires, malfunctioning
fireworks, the human rights abuses, and the intimidation of religious
leaders. Remember that China poses a threat not only to its own
citizens, but to the entire world. American businesses have an
opportunity to capitalize on China 's failure to protect the safety of
its food exports. American businesses should seize this opportunity by
reclaiming their place in the global market. The United States
government and American consumers must be vigilant about protecting the
values that we hold dear."
Contact: Dan Scandling