In our previous issue we reported briefly on China's attempts to block accreditation of Tibetan and Taiwanese groups wanting to attend the UN Fourth Women's Conference in Beijing. These moves coincided with the shifting of the accompanying NGO-forum to Huairou, a rural outpost outside Beijing (Taiwan Communiqué no. 66, pp. 15-16).
The problems for women wanting to attend the conference worsened as the conference date was getting closer. In mid-August, major publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post described how China was manipulating the visa approval process in order to prevent Tibetan, Taiwanese and other critical groups from attending the conference ("China blocks visas for participants in women's forum", Washington Post, 18 August 1995).
At the same time, the issue of Mrs. Hillary Clinton's attendance became a hot issue ("Hard choice for White House on Hillary Clinton and China", New York Times, 17 August 1995). Virtually all editorials advised Mrs. Clinton not to go, because this would signify that the US is not serious in its objections to China's violations of human rights ("Mrs. Clinton to China ?", Washington Post, 18 August 1995).
The well-known columnist Mary McGrory spoke in similar vein: "Her absence would say that the United States finds Chinese behavior unacceptable. It is not just Harry Wu...., it is the way the government treats women... For once, the United States would be putting human rights first" ("First Lady's Dragon Dilemma", Washington Post, 17 August 1995).
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