During the past few weeks, the Communist Chinese authorities in Peking have continued to behave like an unreliable, unpredictable and belligerent bully on the international stage. Below are just a few examples.
On Monday, May 15th, China detonated a nuclear device at its test site at Lop Nor, in the western region of Xinjiang. The irony of the matter is that the nuclear test came three days after the approval by 175 members of the United Nations of the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). At the New York NNPT conference, which ended on May 12th, China and the four other nations which presently have nuclear weapons promised to conclude a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty by the end of 1996, and agreed to exercise "utmost restraint" in the testing of nuclear devises in the meantime. The Chinese explosion so angered Japan, that on May 22nd, the Japanese authorities announced they would cut back financial assistance for development projects in China.
China's attempt to isolate Taiwan internationally reached a new low when it put pressure on the United Nations to deny six Taiwanese women's groups from attending the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995. At the instigation of China, the six Taiwanese women's groups, which applied to participate as non-governmental organization (NGO) observers were denied accreditation by the U.N. organizing committee unless they register as part of the PRC delegation. Eight women's organization from Tibet and several from Hong Kong were also barred from attending the conference.
China's moves to bar the NGO women's organizations coincided with attempts by the Chinese hosts to move the tandem NGO-meeting to a rural outpost outside Peking. This generated strong protests from NGO women's organizations around the world. On 23 May 1995, three nations -- Canada, Australia, and New Zealand -- threw their weight behind the women's organizations, and urged the Peking authorities to have the NGO-forum take place in Peking, next to the venue of the UN-Conference itself.
China's attempt at politicizing the United Nations Women's Conference has provoked protests from American Congress, European Parliament and human rights organizations. On 27 March 1995, 53 members of Congress signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher urging the administration to "denounce vigorously, publicly and privately, any attempts by the Chinese government to suppress, harass, or intimidate Chinese citizens or foreign nationals during the conference or in preparation for the event." Twenty-three members of the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues also wrote to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright asking her to "oppose strongly any efforts that the Chinese government may make to exclude certain NGOs for political reasons."
On March 16, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Ghali protesting that women's organizations from Taiwan and Tibet, as well as U.S.-based non-governmental organizations monitoring human rights in mainland China, were not recommended for accreditation under pressure from Beijing.
On 18 May 1995, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the government of PRC to allow women from Taiwan and Tibet to attend the UN Fourth World Conference on Women. The resolution has some stern warning for China. It urges that official delegates to the Conference should stage a public demonstration before the opening of the NGO forum if Beijing did not reverse its decision to bar Taiwanese and Tibet women from attending the Conference. It also says that UN conferences should not be held in China in the future if the effectiveness of the conference is reduced by obstacles placed in the way of the NGOs.
During the weeks leading up to the sixth anniversary of the bloody Tien'anmen Massacre of 4 June 1989, Chinese police arrested dozens of Chinese dissidents in a dragnet that spread from Beijing to Hangzhou and Nanjing in the East, Xian in the far northwest, and Chongking in the south. The crackdown followed a flurry of petitions for more democratic freedoms in China and for release of political prisoners. A May 16 petition demanded the release of all prisoners of conscience in China, including those jailed following Tien'anmen. In another petition, issued on 25 May 1995, 27 relatives of victims of the 1989 crackdown appealed for a full parliamentary inquiry. Also on May 25th, dissidents released a new version of the 1993 "Peace Charter", which called for political pluralism and a transition to democracy in China.
Taiwan Communique comment: it is now becoming painfully clear that the Clinton Administration's May 1994 de-linking of extension of China's MFN status from a review of human rights was a mistake, and that the "constructive engagement" approach with China is not working.
China is simply arrogantly disregarding basic human rights and thumbing its nose at other nations which attempt to hold human rights high. Sadly, it remains necessary to maintain significant pressure on China through a wide array of leverages -- including trade measures -- in order for that country to observe even the most basic of human rights.
Two other examples where China is attempting to block freedom of expression internationally:
Back to: Table of Contents
Copyright © 1995 Taiwan Communiqué