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Washington, D.C. — The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will hold a hearing TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 25, 2012 titled “Oversight of U.S. Policy Towards Burma.” The Subcommittee will receive testimony from senior Obama Administration officials, and will examine the recent elections in Burma, the Administration’s relaxation of sanctions, and the future role of USAID in Burma. The Subcommittee will also examine how the international community is assisting U.S. aid efforts, and ways to improve those efforts.

    
When:                           
TOMORROW – Wednesday, April 25, 2012
2:30 p.m.

Where:                           
2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Witnesses:                           
Panel I                                 

The Honorable Kurt Campbell
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Department of State

The Honorable Nisha Biswal
Assistant Administrator for Asia
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)    

Panel II

Mr. Aung Din
Executive Director and Co-Founder
U.S. Campaign for Burma

The Honorable Tom Andrews
President and CEO
United to End Genocide
(Former Member of Congress, D-ME)

    
Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website athttp://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/. TV and Radio outlets must register with the House Radio-TV Gallery on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 after 4pm.  Please call 202-225-5214 to register.  Print reporters may contact Andrew Lee to reserve a seat at the press table.

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a two-part hearing examining the future of China’s foreign policy, and current and future U.S. policy towards China.  Part I of the hearing, to be held on Wednesday, March 28, is titled “Investigating the Chinese Threat, Part One:  Military and Economic Aggression.”

China’s growing economic and military footprints are not only impacting the Pacific, but expanding globally as China pursues a more aggressive foreign policy. The hearing will examine China’s current actions to expand and project is economic and military clout worldwide.   

 

When:                            

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

10:00 a.m.

 

Witnesses:

Mr. Dean Cheng

Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center

The Heritage Foundation

 

Mr. John J. Tkacik, Jr.

Senior Fellow and Director of the Future Asia Project

International Assessment and Strategy Center

 

Larry M. Wortzel, Ph.D.

Commissioner

United States – China Economic and Security Review Commission

 

Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/. TV and Radio outlets must register with the House Radio-TV Gallery on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 after 4pm. Please call 202-225-5214 to register. Print reporters may contact Andrew Lee to reserve a seat at the press table.

“The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011” stresses political, economic, and security rejuvenation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) became an original co-sponsor of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's legislation, introduced today, to strengthen the Taiwan Relations Act and enhance commercial and cultural relations between the United States and Taiwan. As the first democratic republic in Asia, Taiwan has proven to be a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the region, and continues to share many common values with the United States.

"Our friends in Taiwan face many challenges. China’s continued belligerent actions in the South China Sea are a serious cause for concern to Taiwan, and America. That is why this legislation is so timely. We need to bolster our support for Taiwan to promote peace and security in the region," said Royce.

This legislation takes important steps to bolster U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations and Taiwan’s status in international organizations. Specifically, the bill calls for the Secretary of State to endorse meaningful participation for Taiwan at the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also calls on cabinet-level officials to engage in people-to-people exchanges, something that has not occurred since 2000.

"For too long, Taiwan has been left out of international organizations. Despite being home to the world’s 18th busiest airport, Taiwan has been kept out of an organization that aims to keep passengers safe. The 35 million passengers that travel to and from Taiwan each year are done a great disservice by Taiwan’s exclusion," said Royce.

Trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan are also a key part of the introduced bill. Significantly, the bill calls for the United States Trade Representative to "resume" Trade and Investment Framework Agreement negotiations with Taiwan and states that a free trade agreement with Taiwan should be the ultimate goal of trade negotiations.

"Both of our countries have built their economies, and their trade relationship, on economic freedom," said Royce. "We should begin negotiations for an FTA with Taiwan as soon as possible. It’s a win for the U.S. and a win for Taiwan."

"This legislation puts pressure on the administration to honor our commitments to Taiwan, and will help ensure that Taiwan has the defense capabilities it needs to defend itself," said Royce.

Rep. Royce is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is an active member of the Friends of Taiwan Caucus.

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(WASHINGTON) Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) today hailed a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against China’s practice of placing restraints on US and other foreign companies that purchase certain raw materials from companies in China.

The WTO ruled that China’s export restrictions on nine basic “building blocks” of manufacturing – bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus, and zinc – are a violation of international trade rules. These nine raw materials are widely used in the steel, aluminum, and chemical industries. Manufacturers in northern Illinois that use steel, aluminum, and chemicals in their final product face higher prices and loss of business to China because of China’s export restraints on these raw materials. China’s export restraints include export quotas and export duties, as well as minimum export price, export licensing, and export quota administration requirements. Click here for more information from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the WTO ruling.

Manzullo, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and co-Chair and co-Founder of the House Manufacturing Caucus, has been working for many years to get China to play by the rules of fair trade and to level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers competing with Chinese companies. He sent a letter to USTR last fall urging them to pursue a case against China for its illegal export “tax” on rare earth minerals, which are vital to aerospace, electronics, automotive, and wind turbine manufacturing in the United States. Manzullo praised the WTO decision as another condemnation on China’s illegal trade activities.

“This ruling will force China to end its illegal export restrictions on raw materials that put American companies at a cost disadvantage and threaten American jobs,” Manzullo said. “This is an ongoing effort to crack down on China’s illegal trade practices, including currency manipulation, illegal subsidies, and lax enforcement of intellectual property protections, that harm American manufacturers and cost U.S. jobs. American workers can compete and win in the global marketplace as long as they are on a level playing field.

“The WTO decision also sets the precedent to halt China’s other export restraints on rare earth minerals. And it underscores the need for the United States to develop more of its own resources so we no longer have to be reliant on the Chinese to provide our building blocks for manufacturing,” Manzullo added.

In the northern Illinois Congressional district Manzullo represents, there are more than 1,400 manufacturers that support more than 51,000 jobs, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Manzullo continually hears from manufacturers in northern Illinois and throughout the country about their difficulties trying to compete on a level playing field with manufacturers in China.
http://manzullo.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=250103
WASHINGTON - Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been detained for many years by Burma’s ruling military junta, testified before a Congressional committee via videotape Wednesday on the recent sham elections and current conditions in the Southeast Asia nation.

U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), who chaired the hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, arranged for Ms. Suu Kyi’s first-ever Congressional testimony and posted it on his YouTube site for all to see. Click here to view Ms. Suu Kyi’s 8-minute testimony.
(click here to view exchange)

Entitled “Piercing Burma’s Veil of Secrecy: The Truth Behind the Sham Election and the Difficult Road Ahead,” the hearing also featured testimony from Aung Din, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the U.S. Campaign for Burma, as well as Chris Beyrer, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights.
Below are Rep. Manzullo’s opening remarks at the hearing:
Chairman Donald A. Manzullo

Opening Statement
June 22, 2011
On November 7, 2010, the military junta that ruled the country of Burma held an election that was universally labeled as a sham due to widespread irregularity and lack of participation by opposition parties. This exercise was nothing more than a well-choreographed maneuver by the ruling elites to transform themselves into a more internationally acceptable civilian dictatorship. Despite this attempt at political gymnastics, the repression in Burma continues and thousands of political prisoners remain locked in jail. The only ray of hope to emerge from this engineered process was the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma’s revolutionary hero Aung San, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. But even this concession can be revoked at a moments notice by the regime.
Today, we have an extraordinary opportunity to hear directly from the woman at the center of the decades’ long struggle to bring freedom to her beloved homeland. This is the first time she has addressed the U.S. Congress in an official capacity, and I am extremely honored to be able to present it at this hearing today. We cannot disclose how we received this video, but we are certainly delighted to have this unprecedented opportunity.
The purpose of today’s hearing is to peer behind Burma’s veil of secrecy to fully comprehend the changes, if any, that are going on in that country. Since the election, we have witnessed a distinct point of view emerging from some Burma experts arguing that no matter how fraudulent, the elections represent an important shift in domestic Burmese politics. As the argument goes, this shift might lead to real changes in the future even if nothing significant occurs immediately. Furthermore, the existing opposition party, the National League of Democracy, is incapable of grasping this opportunity, because the group and its leader, Ms. Suu Kyi, have an “all or nothing” approach. This is what is characterized as the pragmatic engagement theory.
Since the Obama Administration began its policy of pragmatic engagement in 2009, U.S. relations with Burma have not changed. Let us not forget that there are still 2,200 political prisoners languishing in Burmese gulags, including peaceful monks and citizens that took part in the Saffron Revolution four years ago. The Burmese government, as an effort of goodwill prior to a visit by U.S. officials in May, announced a despicably disappointing one-year blanket reduction of jail sentences for all criminals, but it is not clear whether this includes political prisoners. The recent news of clashes in Burma’s Kachin province between government troops and ethnic minorities, which has been the heaviest fighting in 17 years, adds further evidence to the argument that the situation in Burma has not changed.
If proponents of pragmatic engagement are correct, then Burmese leaders should recognize this unprecedented opportunity being offered by the Obama Administration and seek to improve relations with the U.S. by demonstrating tangible change. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The State Department’s visit to Burma in May is further proof that change in Burma is extremely difficult to achieve.
At a time when it seems Western influence is dwindling, Burma is actively engaging with its neighboring countries, constructing gas pipelines to Thailand and China, and accepting investments from China, its largest trading partner. Burma is a country that spends 1.8 percent of its GDP on healthcare, the second lowest in the world while it spends 40 percent of its GDP on the military.
As the lead Republican sponsor of legislation to award Ms. Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008, it is my sincere hope that we will have the opportunity to present her with the award in person. Ms. Suu Kyi and her countrymen have lived under the yoke of oppression for far too long. It is time that free nations stood together to help Burma finally realize the same freedoms that we all enjoy.
WASHINGTON – During a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining the status of religious freedom, democracy, and human rights in Asia, Republican Committee Members challenged the Administration on its treatment of the Dalai Lama and its failure to publically call on Chinese leader Hu Jintao to improve China’s human rights record.

Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called the treatement of the Dalai Lama at the end a February 2010 visit to the White House “shameful.” Ros-Lehtinen also noted the President’s decision, out of deference to China, to not meet with the Dalai Lama during an October 2009 visit which marked the first time that the Dalai Lama did not meet with the sitting U.S. President while visiting Washington since 1991. The Chairman strongly urged the President to meet with the Dalai Lama during his planned upcoming visit to Washington in July. (click here to view exchange)

Showing contrast to the treatment received by the Dalai Lama, Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, characterized Chinese leader Hu Jintao’s reception at the White House – which included a state dinner and a joint press conference with the President – as “red carpet treatment.” Burton pressed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Daniel B. Baer for answers on the Administration’s apparent reluctance to publically press Hu to improve China’s human rights record. (click here to view exchange)

Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, said that President Obama’s failure to publically raise human rights concerns with Hu during their joint press conference was a “grotesquely missed opportunity.” Smith said that without a clear and consistent message from President Obama, U.S. efforts to stand up for the human rights of the Tibetan people and all those persecuted by the regime in Beijing go by the wayside.

(Click to view exchange – Smith discusses the joint press conference beginning at the 2:00 minute mark).


Further information on the hearing, including a full webcast and witness testimony, can be found here. Video of Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s opening statement can be viewed here.

WASHINGTON, DC – On the eve of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, and amid the current Chinese government crackdown on its own people, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), the chairman of the congressional panel that oversees international human rights, introduced legislation to “deny the entry into the United States of certain members of the senior leadership of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and individuals who have committed human rights abuses in the People’s Republic of China.”
“The human rights situation in China is abysmal,” said Smith, a commissioner of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “Today we see a level of flagrant violations of human rights not witnessed since the Tiananmen Square massacre that began on June 4, 1989. This bill sends a message to Chinese leaders who oppress their own people: The United States will not turn a blind eye to these basic human rights abuses.”
The bill, entitled “The China Democracy Promotion Act of 2011,” gives the President of the United States the authority to deny entry into the U.S. to any senior leader of the Chinese government and members of their family who derive benefit from policies or actions that target democratic activists, persecute Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, or any other ethnic minority, or who has participated in the trafficking of North Korean refugees, the forcible return of refugees to North Korea, or the coercive birth limitation policies. H.R. 2121 also bars entry to members of any branch of the security police which has participated in the violent repression of any individual or leaders of religious groups, democracy advocates, human rights lawyers, workers’ rights advocates or independent media, journalists, or Internet users. Click here to read Smith’s bill.
Smith is a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who chairs its human rights panel, which is formally known as the Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee. He is also a commissioner of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
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WASHINGTON, DC – The Chinese government’s renewed crackdown on its own people, including extremely harsh treatment of human rights leaders—many of whom are missing—was detailed at a Capitol Hill hearing today held by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), the chairman of the congressional panel that oversees international human rights.

“The human rights situation in China has gone from abysmally bad to worse,” Smith said. “In fact, we’ve not seen this level of blatant violations of human rights since the crackdown on Tiananmen Square protestors in June 1989. Since February of this year, the Chinese government has significantly increased its oppression of human rights advocates, including activist lawyers, bloggers, clergy and members of independent religious groups. It has resorted not only to social pressure, intimidation, and physical harassment, but also to threats against family members, beatings, and even forced disappearances.” Click here to read Smith’s hearing statement.

Smith is a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who chairs its human rights panel, which is formally known as the Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee. He is also a commissioner of both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Testimony from witnesses at the hearing included statements by: Wei Jingsheng, Chair, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition and former political prisoner; Harry Wu, Executive Director, Laogai Research Foundation, and former political prisoner; Jing Zhang, Director of Operations, All Girls Allowed; Steven Mosher, President, Population Research Institute; Philem Kine, Asia Researcher, Human Rights Watch, and; Andrea Worden, Adjunct Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law.

After he denounced government abuses in China, Wei Jingsheng was arrested in 1979 and imprisoned through September 1993. After a brief release he was again jailed until November 1997. Harry Wu served 19 years in a dozen separate Chinese labor camps, or laogai—supposed reform programs through hard labor. He was freed in 1979, and came to the United States where he established the Laogai Research Foundation, a non-profit research and education organization.

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