(Washington, DC, May 2, 2000)
DAY 1 IN WASHINGTON, DC: MARTIN LEE MEETS US PRESIDENT DEMOCRATS
MAKE STRONG CASE FOR PNTR - AND HUMAN RIGHTS - AT WHITE HOUSE
On the first day of their visit to Washington, DC,
Democratic Party Chairman Martin LEE and Legislator Chungkai SIN met
President Bill Clinton and senior Administration officials to press
for permanent Normal Trade Relations (pNTR) for China. The Democrats
were received in the Oval Office by President Clinton for a 35-minute
meeting, after which they were introduced by the President to 20-odd
members of Congress who are undecided in the critical upcoming vote.
Secretary of Commerce Daley, USTR Barshefsky and Secretary of Agriculture
Glickman also attended the White House reception for the Members. In
total, the Democrats spent an hour and fifteen minutes at the White
"President Clinton and his Administration have made
'engagement' the centerpiece of their policy on China," said Martin
Lee, the Democratic Party leader. "As a Chinese citizen, I am lending
my support to pNTR for China. But I want to be clear. This is not a
reward for China. It is something we should grant so that the people
of China have a chance to improve their lives and eventually bring in
the rule of law. "
While in the US capital, the Democrats are also discussing
the erosion of Hong Kong's rule of law, threats to press freedom and
the future of democratic development in the territory of nearly 7 million
Martin Lee explained to the US President and members
of Congress that along with normal trade relations for China, there
needed to be a commensurate commitment to improving human rights and
the rule of law for China's 1.2 billion citizens.
"We need a genuine effort across the board to improve
basic rights and freedoms," said Lee. "I do not consider pNTR and WTO
for China to be the end of a campaign - but rather the beginning. And
in the future I would like to see the same sort of all-out effort to
encourage reform in China that we are seeing to get this piece of legislation
passed in Congress."
Legislator Chungkai Sin emphasized to the President
and members of Congress the importance of the trade agreement to encouraging
internet expansion across China. "Today, there are 10 million internet
users in China," said Mr. Sin. "pNTR has the potential to push the development
of telecommunication infrastructure and greater freedom of information.
This is but one example of the ability of this deal to improve the lives
of ordinary Chinese citizens. "
In their meetings this week, the Democrats are making
a point to see a broad range of policy-makers who take very different
stances on the pNTR bill. Martin Lee and Chungkai Sin today saw Congresswoman
Nancy Pelosi, who opposes PNTR, along with other undecided members.
Tomorrow (May 3), they will meet US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
at the State Department at 11:00am. Later, they will see Members of
Congress Chris Cox and John Porter, along with the Caucus of New Democrats,
a group of 60-odd moderate Democrats, hosted by Congressman Tim Roemer,
caucus co-chair. Other confirmed meetings this week include Representative
Sandy Levin, Senator Connie Mack, Representative Bob Matsui, and Representative
David Dreier, who will host a group of undecided Republicans on Thursday.