Madam Speaker, despite commitments by Beijing to improve human and political rights in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, the situation has not improved -- and, in some cases has become far worse.
Likewise in the past few months, China’s international behavior with respect to despicable regimes in Sudan and Burma has improved marginally at best. Beijing remains these countries’ strongest supporter.
Because of China’s failure to improve its record on supporting human rights at home and abroad, now is the time to call on China to take immediate, substantial and serious action if there is to be any hope that the Olympic Games will take place in an atmosphere that honors the Olympic spirit of freedom and openness.
This resolution does just that. It’s a direct call to China by the House of Representatives to end human rights abuses, honor its commitments for freedom of the press and freedom of movement ahead of the Olympics, permit peaceful political activities during the Games, enter into direct discussions with the Dalai Lama over the future of Tibet, and end its political and economic support of the regimes in Sudan and Burma.
President Bush has decided to go to the Olympics opening ceremony. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this decision, it is clear that the President should not pass up this opportunity to make a strong statement in support of human rights, one of our central policy goals.
This resolution calls on the President to make such a statement before and during his trip to Beijing for the Games.
It is important for the House of Representatives to speak with one voice on the issue of human rights and political freedoms in China ahead of the Olympics. I strongly support this resolution.