[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 56 (Tuesday, May 9, 2000)]
[Pages H2738-H2745]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            TRADE WITH CHINA

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Shimkus). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 6, 1999, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell) 
is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, in the next hour, many of us in the 
Congress will lay out what our position is on the China trade vote, 
which is to come up in a very short period of time.
  The time has arrived for a vote on what is now commonly referred to 
as permanent normal trade relations, or PNTR, for China. We used to 
call this MFN, or most-favored-nation status. I suppose the proponents 
thought PNTR sounded kinder and gentler. But bad policy is bad policy, 
no matter what we call it. So here we are again. This year, the vote is 
a little different. If annual NTR was not bad enough, this year we are 
going to vote for permanent NTR status for China. Our argument is not 
and should not be with the Chinese people. This vote is not a 
referendum on the 1 billion people who are forced to live under 
Communist tyranny. This argument is about America's relationship with 
the Chinese government.
  What has the Chinese government done to deserve PNTR? They have not 
improved the living conditions of their people as China is one of the 
worst offenders of human rights in the world. China is a country that 
does not tolerate political dissent or free speech. In the New York 
Times this past Monday, we see story upon story. This government uses 
executions and torture to maintain order, to persecute religious 
minorities, and to violate workers' rights. The State Department report 
on human rights practices in China is filled with atrocities. Our trade 
with China has increased, and yet human rights practices are getting 
  Some feel that American jobs will be lost if PNTR is not passed. The 
growth in exports would generate 325,000 new jobs. This will not match 
the over 1 million jobs lost in the United States due to rising imports 
from the low wages in China. This is a net loss of an additional 
817,000 jobs, on top of the 880,000 jobs already lost due to our 
current trade deficit with China. How can we do something so great in 
raising the minimum wage for our workers, for our families, and in the 
next breath give first-class treatment to a nation that features slave 
labor prison camps as part of its manufacturing community?
  And have they made strides to make our trading privileges reciprocal? 
Has our trade deficit decreased? No, it is now $68.7 billion and 
climbing, an increase of 14.6 percent, a 6 to 1 ratio of imports to 
exports, the most unbalanced relationship we have had in trade in 
United States history. But I do not see the infrastructure in China to 
accept any substantial amount of American merchandise. Who, making 13 
cents an hour, can afford to buy an automobile? Why would the Chinese 
government purchase American software for their computers when they 
already run pirated versions of our own software?
  We have seen the failure of NAFTA to improve the living conditions in

[[Page H2739]]

Mexico. This deal is not any different. Maybe China has acted favorably 
with regards to weapons proliferation. Let us look there. No, they have 
failed on that front as well. The People's Republic of China refused to 
join the Missile Technology Control Regime, despite President Clinton's 
offer in 1998 to support full participation. China is the only major 
nuclear supplier to shun the 35-nation nuclear suppliers group that 
requires full scope safeguards. They rejected entry into MTCR as well 
as NSG.
  And the administration's reaction is to bring up this final vote? Is 
this our response? It simply does not make sense. This vote determines 
the message we are going to send to the Communist government in China. 
Are we going to vote to give permanent most-favored-nation status to 
China, thereby giving tacit approval to the Chinese government's 
practices and policies? Would that really be the normal thing for us to 
do? Or can we make a stand for a change here and now?
  Let us have a novel idea. Let us say, no, your policies are not 
acceptable to the people of the United States. Our workers, our clergy, 
our families say no. This is not a government in China that we have 
been able to trust. They have broken every commitment they have made 
with the United States of America. It has broken every trade agreement 
it has signed with the United States over the past 10 years. This year 
will not be any different. I see no reason to end our annual renewal at 
this juncture in time. We should not vote to rubber-stamp a failed 
trading arrangement into infinity. That fails our people and it is 
wrong. Trade rights should be a privilege to be earned, not a right 
merely handed out.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. WOOLSEY. I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell) for 
  Mr. Speaker, I am outraged that we are less than 2 weeks from a vote 
that will ask Congress to permanently give up our economic trade 
leverage with China, permanently, not year by year but permanently. 
Considering China's abysmal record regarding previous trade agreements, 
it makes no sense for Congress to give up our annual review of China as 
a trading partner.
  The question becomes simple, it becomes straightforward; namely, why 
should we reward China for its terrible record of violating past trade 
commitments with a permanent special trade status? Why? Some Members of 
the House will argue that trade with China will put an end to these 
past abuses as well as bolster the U.S. economy. They are wrong on both 
counts. Trade is beneficial only if it is a two-way street. But right 
now, there is no way that we can characterize our trading relationship 
with China as reciprocal.
  It is a fact that we have a trade deficit with China in the billions 
of dollars. Furthermore, the economic benefit of trading with a 
repressive nation is negligible when we consider how workers are 
treated, especially child workers in China. China workers are being 
exploited in order for the United States to receive benefit, benefit 
from low pay, benefit from no workers' rights, benefit from outrageous 
human rights practices.
  Some of my colleagues will go even further and argue that China has 
made progress in many areas over the last few years. But when I see 
harassment of religious leaders, the sale of weapons technology to 
rogue states, imprisonment of students and those who dare to speak 
their minds, I have to ask, is that progress? And, of course, the 
answer is no, that is not progress. Congress cannot be fooled. We must 
not be fooled into thinking that the same failed policy of economic 
engagement would be different this time around, particularly if the 
agreement is permanent.
  It is very much like thinking you have fallen in love with somebody 
who has a lot of faults and saying, I am going to marry this guy, and 
then I am going to change him. That does not work, and we know it. It 
is long overdue for U.S. trade policy to address human rights and 
workers' rights, not only with China but with all of our trade partners 
and with all of our trade negotiations. Trade cannot be free, it cannot 
be fair when there is no freedom and no fairness for the citizens of 
the country involved. Yet year after year our policy of granting 
special trade status to China has not resulted in improved human 
  As it stands now, this trade deal does not address China's horrendous 
record of failure to abide by internationally recognized human rights 
and workers' rights. And how long are we going to ignore China's 
continuing policy of forced child labor? Child labor is known to be 
concentrated in China's southern coastal cities. It is estimated that 
hundreds of thousands of children migrate with their parents from rural 
areas to this export processing area to engage in income-earning 
activities. The conditions these children work under are horrific.
  For example, we are familiar with the scenarios like the Nike company 
negotiating a deal with a sweatshop in China to pay teenage girls 16 
cents an hour to make gym shoes that sell here in our country for $120 
a pair. However, reports often overlook other foreign-invested textile 
enterprises like the one in Guang Dong that employed 400 rural 
migrants. 160 of these were child workers. At this plant, a 14-year-old 
girl, exhausted from working 18 hours a day, fainted. As she fell, her 
hair was pulled into a machine and she died on the spot.
  These worker abuses are not limited, though, to just the large 
multinational corporations. In December of 1994, China Women's News 
reported on a brick shop owner in Henan Province using forced child 
labor. The children had to carry bricks for over 10 hours each day and 
were fed only melon soup.

                              {time}  1745

  Here, more than 40 workers shared a makeshift hut. Moreover, they 
were not given one cent of the wages they had been promised.
  The contractor employed guards to keep watch on them 24 hours a day, 
and on August 13, 1994, the workers started a fight as a distraction so 
that two children could escape and report the case to the public 
security bureau. When the police arrived, more than 100 child workers 
were found in the brick shop.
  While arrests were made for this one incident, no further information 
is available on follow-up activities or punishment of the forced labor 
  These examples highlight serious reasons that we cannot give up our 
annual review of China. Why should we tempt our own corporations to 
shift appropriation to China where labor is undeniably cheaper, where 
there is less oversight on working conditions, and where those who 
disagree have no right to organize against their oppressors. Chinese 
workers, especially forced child laborers, have no power to speak out 
for a better deal, no right to organize, no right to basic dignity. 
There is little hope for improvement unless we as a Nation are 
courageous enough to take a stand and say, we do not support it.
  An annual review of China's trade status is our only leverage to 
pressure China to make progress on worker and human rights. Like many 
others throughout the country, my constituents in Marin and Sanoma 
Counties support free trade, but they overwhelmingly want the United 
States to engage in responsible trade policy. Free and fair trade is 
important, but they do not feel it is more important than freedom of 
worship, freedom of speech, freedom to vote, or freedom to enjoy the 
most basic of human rights, including the rights of workers.
  The United States is already China's best customer. We buy all their 
stuff. I do not believe we need to give China authorities another 
economic incentive to change by granting permanent Most Favored Nation 
status. Instead, if we use our economic clout, if we have the courage 
to leverage our economic strength for real reform, we will give the 
people of China a chance to help themselves. When China starts to live 
up to its agreements, when it starts to demonstrate a real commitment 
to human rights, only then should we consider granting permanent 
trading status to China.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back to the gentleman from New Jersey.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman. I yield 
to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Lipinski).
  Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New Jersey for 
granting me this time.

[[Page H2740]]

  Mr. Speaker, in the modern world today, we see a world where 
multinational corporations controlling billions of dollars can, with 
the tap of the mouse, in a short e-mail, move manufacturing plants, 
facilities and capital from one country to another in the never-ending 
pursuit of higher profits. Untold numbers of American workers have had 
their lives disrupted like chess pieces on a chess board. Day after 
day, night after night, the evening news and Wall Street economists 
trumpet our economic prosperity in the 1990s. We see record corporate 
profits drive the stock market to all-time highs, and an elite group of 
shareholders partaking in the profits.
  Unfortunately, they do not normally talk about the real lives and 
real people hidden behind the rosy statistics of economic growth. Real 
people who are coming to the conclusion that unfortunately, the 
American dream may be just a dream in reality. They do not talk about a 
Nation where working families pay more and more taxes and big business 
pays less and less. They do not talk about stacked wages that have 
plagued the American middle class for well over a decade.
  They do not talk about big business and the 111,000 layoffs in 1998 
that jumped 600 percent to a record 677,795 layoffs in 1998. That is 
600 percent in less than 10 years to 677,795 layoffs in 1998 alone. 
They do not talk about the $68 billion trade deficit with China. They 
do not talk about the 2.6 million manufacturing jobs sucked away by our 
growing trade deficit in the last 20 years alone. That is 2.6 million 
manufacturing jobs. They do not talk about the subjugation of public 
values and even patriotism to the continual pursuit of potential 
  Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of things Wall Street does not want to 
talk about, and there are a lot of things they do not want American 
working families to know. So they only tell us what they want us to 
hear. We hear about how free trade and free markets are such wonderful 
things, that we need to give PNTR to China for us to continue our 
robust economic growth. But contrary to the elitist proclamation of the 
high priests of free trade, free trade will not save the world and it 
certainly is not going to save the surging U.S. trade deficit.
  Mr. Speaker, giving China PNTR will only make a bad situation even 
worse. We already have an unfair trading relationship. On average, we 
only apply a 2 percent tariff on Chinese products. China turns around 
and slaps a 17 percent tariff on U.S. products, even after the U.S. and 
China had an agreement back in 1992 where China promised to remove 
major market barriers to U.S. products. China broke that promise. Again 
I say, China broke that promise.
  So what is to say that China will not break the one brokered and 
agreed to last year? What is to say that China, after agreeing to 
certain concessions in return for the Clinton administration's support 
for China's acceptance by WTO will not turn around and break the 
agreement once again? The Chinese leaders in Beijing did it at least 
once before and, in my opinion, they will certainly do it again.
  Mr. Speaker, make no mistake about it. China is still a totalitarian 
regime run by a single party, the Chinese Communist party, and it is a 
party that is intent on keeping its grip on power.
  We did not give PNTR to the Soviet Union when it was a Communist 
dictatorship. We did not give it to Cuba. We did not give it to North 
Korea. We did not give it to Libya. Why should we treat China any 
differently? The answer is quite simple: We should not.
  Mr. Speaker, PNTR comes to a vote before this body next week. I urge 
all of my colleagues to think about this and how this trade deal could 
possibly benefit American workers, or, for that matter, workers across 
this world. Really, that is the simple question: does this benefit 
working men and women in this country or around the world? The very 
simple, direct answer is no, and that is the way we should vote on this 
piece of legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman very much for yielding me this 
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I yield to the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Bonior).
  Mr. BONIOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding me this 
time. I want to congratulate him and my friend from Illinois (Mr. 
Lipinski) for an outstanding statement. I think the gentleman from 
Illinois has got this right on the money. He understands completely 
what is happening here, as does the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
Woolsey) and others.
  What we are here tonight to discuss the issue of trade with China and 
Most Favored Nation status, but also to focus in on the question of 
human rights and how that is important in our talks and negotiations in 
our relationships with other nations.
  Let me just say at the outset and reiterate what my friend from New 
Jersey has said. The Chinese government is a brutal, authoritarian, 
police State. If someone opposes the government on religious grounds, 
on trade unionist grounds, on democratization, political 
democratization grounds, that someone will end up in jail. It is as 
simple and as painful and as stark as that. The jails in China are 
filled with people who dared to try to express themselves religiously. 
Catholics, Buddhists, Protestants, Muslims, all languishing in jail 
because they dare practice their religion. We have had Catholic 
archbishops languish in jail in China for 30 years, and that repression 
continues today.
  The New York Times yesterday wrote something about China cracking 
down on liberal intellectuals, and they said, and I quote, ``China's 
leaders are trying to rein in a growing and increasingly assertive 
liberal intellectual movement, criticizing prominent academics and 
authors in speeches, forbidding newspapers from running their articles, 
and punishing or shutting down publishers who have brought out their 
  ``Despite his western-leaning, economics President Jiang Zemin has, 
in the last year, constantly reiterated the importance of standing fast 
by Communist idealogy.''
  The New York Times goes on to say, ``In the last few months, those 
admonitions have led to a series of punitive actions against writers 
perceived as straying too far in a liberal or reformist direction.''
  Liberal intellectuals have been criticized. Publishing houses have 
been shut down. Academics have been fired. Newspaper editors have been 
  This is the latest in a long series of crackdowns the regime in 
Beijing has undertaken to suppress dissent, stifle democracy activists, 
and maintain absolute and maximum control.
  Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom last week, the 
Commission on Religious Freedom issued their annual report. The 
Commission, I would tell my colleagues, is an independent group. Seven 
of its 9 members were appointed by supporters of permanent Most Favored 
Nation status for China. The Commission opposes permanent MFN for China 
without substantial human rights improvements. Rabbi David Saperstein, 
a highly respected religious leader, is the chairman of the Commission.
  Experts from the Commission's findings and recommendations are, and I 
quote, ``Chinese government violations of religious freedom increased 
markedly during the past year. Roman Catholics and Protestant 
underground `house churches' suffered increased repression; the 
crackdown included the arrests of bishops, priests, and pastors, one of 
whom was found dead in the street soon afterward. Several Catholic 
bishops were ordained by the government without the Vatican's 
participation or approval.
  ``The repression of Tibetan Buddhists expanded; government 
authorities in Tibet, in defiance of the Dalai Lama, named Reting Lama. 
Another important religious leader, the Karmapa Lama, fled to India.
  ``Muslim Uighurs, having turned increasingly to Islamic institutions 
for leadership in recent years, faced heightened repression of their 
religious and other human rights, as they responded to a deliberate 
government campaign to move Han Chinese into the region in order to 
out-populate the Uighurs, the Muslims, in their own land.''

                              {time}  1800

  While many on the Commission support free trade, the Commission 
believes that the United States Congress should grant China permanent 
normal trade relations status only after China makes substantial 
improvements in respect for religious freedom.

[[Page H2741]]

  Michael Young of George Washington University Law School, who 
described himself as a passionate believer in free trade, said, ``The 
extraordinary deterioration of religious freedom in China is close to 
unprecedented since the days of Mao.'' Mr. Young cited cases of women 
beaten to death by police for trying to practice their religion.
  The conditions the Commission has laid out are reasonable, and they 
include the following:
  Require China to provide unhindered access to religious leaders, 
including those in prison, detained, or under house arrest in China;
  Release from prison all religious prisoners in China;
  Require China to ratify the International Convention of Civil and 
Political Rights.
  If we look at our own State Department country reports on human 
rights practices, they state in their latest report that China's ``poor 
human rights record deteriorated markedly throughout the year, as the 
government intensified efforts to suppress dissent, particularly 
organized dissent . . . The government continued to commit widespread 
and well-documented human rights abuses in violation of internationally 
accepted norms.''
  Permanent MFN supporters claim that the Internet and technology will 
unshackle the Chinese people, but the record shows the opposite has 
happened. According to the State Department, authorities have blocked 
at various times politically sensitive websites, including those of 
dissident groups and some major foreign news organizations such as 
Voice of America, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the 
British Broadcasting System.
  The news is also not good for workers in China. They pay workers in 
manufacturing in China a miserable 13 cents an hour. We have heard 
about the sweatshops and we have heard about the child labor. We have 
heard about the beatings of women in the workplace, as the gentlewoman 
from California (Ms. Woolsey) so eloquently demonstrated for us just a 
few minutes ago on the floor.
  If you are a worker and you stand up for workers organizing for 
workers' rights or for better wages, if you stand up for workers, you 
are going to end up in jail. ``The government continued to tightly 
restrict worker rights, and forced labor in prison facilities remains a 
serious problem,'' said the State Department in the report.
  For instance, there is the case of Guo Yunqiao, who led a protest 
march of 10,000 workers to local government offices following the 1989 
massacre. He is currently serving for that act a term of life in prison 
on charges of hooliganism for leading a protest.
  In the case of Guo Qiqing, who was detained in Shayang County on 
charges of disrupting public order, he had organized a sit-in to demand 
money owed to the workers.
  There is the case of Hu Shigen, an activist with the Federal Labour 
Union in China, who is imprisoned in Number 2 prison in Beijing and has 
12 years remaining on his sentence. Mr. Hu is seriously ill and has 
been charged with ``counter-revolutionary crimes.''
  The list goes on and on and on. I think people get the point. What is 
going on in China is a brutal, suppressive military police state. It is 
simply that. For us to reward them for this behavior after they have 
been put on notice by their own people and by the world community year 
after year after year sends the complete opposite message of that which 
we should be sending to the Chinese government.
  It is ironic to me that governments now who operate in a suppressive 
manner seem to be the governments in the world who are receiving, in 
many instances, the open arms of capitalists, free enterprise, free 
  The argument the other side makes is, well, the free market will lead 
to economic, democratic, political reforms, and religious reforms. The 
reality is just the opposite. I do not think a lot of my friends have 
read Orwell. They could use this technology to suppress as well as they 
could to open up.
  The fact of the matter is that the Chinese have and still are 
suppressing their people on religious, trade unionist, and political 
grounds. So it is very clear to me that what we have here is a 
situation that needs our most fervent attention. We need to be standing 
up for Wei Jingsheng and for Harry Wu, who spent countless years in 
jail fighting for the right for their own people to speak on a 
political, an economic, and on religious grounds that they cannot do 
today. I want to be associated with those people.
  People say, well, the market opened up America. A market did not open 
up America. The United States of America and the reforms that we have 
here, the political process that we have here, the right to practice 
our religion, the right of trade unionists to organize, collectively 
bargain, fight for a decent wage, a better living standard, a better 
pension, all the things that we have today, those did not come from the 
free market, they come from people who challenged the free market, who 
marched, who demonstrated, who were beaten, who went to jail, and some 
even died in order that people would have the right to vote, in order 
that people could form political parties, in order that people could 
make a decent wage and have a pension and have health care and have 
education for their kids.
  That came at a terrible price, but it was a price they felt worth 
paying, and it is a price that all of us have benefited from for the 
last 100 years in this country.
  That same dynamic is going on in the developing world and it is going 
on in China today. The question we have to ask ourselves, is who are we 
going to associate ourselves with? Who are we going to stand with? 
Whose side are we on? Are we on the side of those who are struggling 
for these basic decent human freedoms that were struggled and fought 
for in our country, or are we going to be on the side of the free 
market unfettered capitalist approach that has not worked in opening up 
a society and providing these freedoms, and that will not work unless 
it is tempered with some basic human decency and dignity?
  I suggest that the American people overwhelmingly choose the side 
that we represent and are on today. So I just want to commend my 
colleagues, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown), and my other colleague 
who has been the champion of this issue, the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Pelosi) for their passion on this issue and for 
standing up.
  The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown) has talked quite well and quite 
eloquently in the past about this dynamic of multinational corporations 
moving in to nations that restrict these basic freedoms because that 
will give them a free hand, free leverage in which to maximize their 
profits. That is exactly what is going on with globalization.
  Unless we take on this issue of globalization in a humane, decent 
way, open it up, give seats at the decision-making table to those who 
represent labor and the environment and human rights, we will continue 
on this path of oppression and we will be a weaker Nation as a result 
of that in more than just a material way; we will be weaker in terms of 
our moral standing within our community, and we will betray the basic 
tenets of our Founding Fathers and the grandparents and ancestors who 
fought for these liberties that the Chinese dissidents are so valiantly 
struggling for today.
  I thank my colleague. I appreciate his time for coming down and 
speaking on this issue. I know my friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
Brown) has similar thoughts on this issue. I would love to hear from 
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan, and I 
thank him for his leadership, as well.
  I yield to my good friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown).
  Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New Jersey 
for his leadership on this issue in organizing this special order, and 
special thanks to my friend, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
Pelosi) for her leadership and good will and good work on this, and the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Bonior), who has been fighting the right 
fight on trade issues, unfair trade issues, for at least this whole 
  The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Bonior) stood in this hall with me 
and several others, but he was here night after night during the debate 
on the North American Free Trade Agreement

[[Page H2742]]

in opposition to it, and what he predicted and what he projected 
absolutely, unfortunately, has come true in relations with that country 
and our trading partners that way. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Bonior) has a perfect understanding of what is happening with 
  As we walk the halls in this job and go back and forth between 
committee hearings and meetings in our office and the House floor, we 
have seen more CEOs of America's largest corporations walking the halls 
than at any time of the year. Every time we vote on China trade 
relations, there are more corporate jets at National Airport, more CEOs 
walking the halls of this Congress.
  When one of them stops and talks to us, they invariably say that 
engagement with China will mean more democracy with China; that as we 
go to China, as we trade and engage with them more, as we sell them 
more and buy more from them, that democracy will be able to flourish in 
  They have been telling us that for 10 years, when our trade deficit 
with China in 1989 was $100 million, million with an M, and today that 
trade deficit with China with this engagement that we have undertaken 
with the Chinese, our trade deficit now is $70 billion with a B, $70 
billion. But they continue to tell us over and over, let us do more of 
this with China, more engagement, more trade, and things in China will 
get better.

  They tell us that there are 1.2 billion potential consumers in China. 
What they do not tell us is their interest is that China has 1.2 
billion potential workers for those American corporations and other 
western companies that invest in China and sell products back to the 
United States.
  The real question on globalization and democratization, perceived 
democratization, predicted democratization of developing countries like 
China, the real issue boils down to this: that as we have engaged more 
with developing countries, as investors have gone into developing 
countries, western investment has shifted from those developing 
countries that are democracies to those developing countries that are 
authoritarian governments.
  We see fewer investment dollars going to India, a democracy, the 
world's largest democracy, and more investment dollars going to China. 
We see fewer investment dollars, relatively, going to Taiwan and South 
Korea, democracies, and more investment dollars going to countries like 
Indonesia, authoritarian governments.
  In the postwar decade the share of developing country exports to the 
United States for democratic nations fell from 53 percent to 34 period. 
In other words, corporations want to do business with countries with 
docile work forces, with countries where people earn below poverty 
wages, in countries where people are not allowed to organize and 
bargain collectively, in countries that pay 25 cents an hour. They have 
been moving away from democracies into authoritarian countries.
  In manufacturing goods, developing democracies' share of exports fell 
21 percentage points, from 56 percent to 35 percent. Again, 
corporations, Western investors, are choosing to move away from 
democracies in their investments, developing democracies, and going to 
developing authoritarian countries, because U.S. investors like the 
idea of a docile work force, like the idea of workers that cannot talk 
back, like the idea of workers with low wages, like the idea of 
investing in countries where the government is not free, where workers 
simply do what they are told.
  In example after example, we can see investment moving from those 
democracies to countries like China. China has certainly been the 
largest one where that has happened.
  Again, these CEOs that roam the halls of Congress these days and tell 
us that if we engage with China it will mean more democracy in China, 
these same CEOs will have us believe that their interest in China, 
their going to China, will cause this blossoming of democracy, this 
blooming of democracy in China.
  But look who the major players in Communist China today are, those 
people who are the major decision-makers in the direction that Chinese 
society goes: the Communist Party of China; the People's Liberation 
Army in China, which controls many of the businesses that export to the 
United States; and Western investors.
  Which of those three entities, the Communist Party, the People's 
Liberation Army, or large Western companies, multinational companies, 
which of those three groups want to empower workers? Which of those 
three groups want to pay higher wages? Which of those three groups want 
more democracy in China? Which of those three groups want to change 
markedly Chinese society?
  I submit, Mr. Speaker, that none of these three groups want to see 
change in these societies. That is why Western investment finds its way 
into countries like China, rather than a country like India.
  If American business investors in China and around the world really 
want a democracy, they would not be going to China. They would not be 
taking development dollars out of democratic countries and putting them 
in authoritarian states. That is why the argument they make, that 
engagement with China will mean a more democratic world and a more 
prosperous and democratic China, is absolutely bogus.
  Mr. Speaker, we as a Nation, we as a Nation have no business 
rewarding investors that go to countries like China instead of 
countries like India. We have no business taking sides in that sense by 
rewarding those countries and those investors whose values run very 
different from ours, run counter to ours.
  In this country, in this Congress, we believe in democracy, we 
believe in free markets, we believe in people being able to move from 
one job to another, we believe in people being organized and bargaining 
collectively. We believe in the kind of democratic values that made 
this country great.
  Our passing PNTR is going to mean more of the same in China: more 
repression, more oppression from the government, a government that 
resists democracy because they have the power to.
  We will be making those same entities, the Communist party, the 
People's Liberation Army of China, much more powerful if we continue to 
pour monies in and give them most-favored-nation status.

                              {time}  1815

  So, Mr. Speaker, I would again thank the gentleman from New Jersey 
(Mr. Pascrell) for this time. I congratulate the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Pelosi) for the good work she does, and urge my 
colleagues to vote no on Permanent Most Favored Nation Status for the 
People's Republic of China.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I now recognize 
the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New Jersey for 
yielding, and for his very substantial leadership on this issue to the 
American people.
  Mr. Speaker, how much time is the gentleman yielding to me?
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, how much time do we have?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Shimkus). The gentleman has 15 minutes 
  Mr. PASCRELL. We have to get one, two, three more speakers in.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, some people think I can talk all day on 
China and are afraid that I will, so I will try to be succinct and get 
to just a few basic points, because so many of my colleagues have 
touched on the very serious human rights violations and the very 
substantial trade violations.
  Mr. Speaker, China has violated agreements between our two countries 
and, of course, there is the issue of proliferation. I think I will 
focus in the short time allotted to me, Mr. Speaker, on the fact that 
today a number of our former Presidents joined President Clinton in 
calling for Congress to pass Permanent Normal Trade Relations with 
China. These Presidents, who have been a part and parcel of this policy 
which is a total failure, are asking Members of Congress to put their 
good names next to a policy that has failed in every respect.
  Permanent Normal Trade Relations is the cornerstone of the Clinton-
Bush China policy. There are three areas of concern that we have in our 
country about that policy. First of all, and in

[[Page H2743]]

no particular order of priority, we have the issue, since this is a 
trade issue, of the substantial violations of our trade relationship 
which continue. When we started this debate, we were talking about 1, 
2, $3 billion that was the trade deficit we suffered with China. That 
was over a decade ago. Now the trade deficit for this year is projected 
to be over $80 billion.
  So this idea that if we kowtowed to the regime, and we gave them MFN, 
Most Favored Nation status, now called Permanent Normal Trade 
Relations, the name has been changed to protect the guilty, if we do 
that then the China market will be opened to U.S. products, it simply 
has not happened.
  In the area of trade, China has violated every trade agreement, be it 
the market access agreement, the agreement on intellectual property, 
the agreement on use of prison labor for export, the agreement on 
transshipments, any trade agreement we can name.
  So, President Clinton is sending us this request for Permanent Normal 
Trade Relations based on the 1999 U.S.-China trade agreement. What 
reason do we have to think that China will honor that? The President's 
request is based on broken promises, not proven performance.
  Already, China is engaged in its traditional reinterpretation of the 
agreement. For example, let me give some comparisons. The Trade Rep's 
fact sheet, our Trade Rep's fact sheet says China will import all types 
of U.S. wheat from all regions of the U.S. to all ports in China. 
China's Trade Rep says it is a complete misunderstanding to expect this 
grain to enter the country. Beijing only conceded a theoretical 
opportunity for the export of grain.
  On meat, China, according to our fact sheet, the U.S. Trade Rep's 
fact sheet, China will lift the ban on U.S. exports of all meat and 
poultry. China's negotiator said diplomatic negotiations involve 
finding new expressions. If we find a new expression, this means we 
have achieved a diplomatic result. In terms of meat imports, we have 
not actually made any material concessions.
  The ink is not even dry on this agreement. This is a 1999 agreement 
that is already being reinterpreted by the regime. The list goes on: 
Petroleum, telecommunications, insurance, et cetera. I talked about the 
history of it and I do not have enough time to go into the history of 
their trade violations.
  Some would lead us to believe that we who are opposing this request 
of the President are willing to risk U.S. jobs in support of promoting 
human rights in China. But the facts point to a situation where this is 
a very bad deal on the basis of trade alone. On the basis of trade 
alone. If we could forget the brutal occupation of Tibet. If we could 
forget the serious repression of religious and political freedom in 
China. If we could forget that for a moment. If we could forget China's 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That would be chemical, 
biological and nuclear technology to Iran, to Pakistan, to the Sudan, 
to Libya.

  To Libya, it is very recent. This is a major embarrassment in the 
Clinton administration policy. But fortunately for them, this 
information came out during the Easter break and it has not really sunk 
in. But this is a very serious violation. And it proves again that 
kowtowing to the regime does not get us any better benefits in terms of 
stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, making the 
world a safer place, any fairer treatment, making a fairer deal.
  Mr. Speaker, they want us to give China a blank check, while China 
gives us a rubber check by not even honoring the deal that they are 
putting forth. And then in terms of human rights, we are a country of 
values. When people say, well, other countries do not do this. We are 
not other countries. We are the United States of America. We are the 
freest country in the world and we have a commitment to promote the 
aspirations of people who aspire to freedom. That does not mean we go 
to war for them or anything like that, but it does mean that we should 
at least, at least recognize the repression they are suffering for 
  Wei Jingsheng, a hero. He has spent many, many years of his life, 
probably half of his adult life in prison. Harry Wu has spent years in 
prison. They know that the United States must not act from fear of what 
the Chinese regime might do. We have to act from strength and 
confidence in our own sense of values.
  So when the President says, ``Oh, you either want to isolate China or 
engage China,'' he does a grave disservice to this very serious debate. 
Certainly we need to engage China, but we need to do it in a 
sustainable way that sustains our values and sustains our economy and 
sustains a world peace in making the world a safer place.
  The administration is willing to ignore Tibet and China and all of 
that. They are willing, more seriously, to ignore China's proliferation 
of weapons of mass destruction. They are willing to say that the human 
rights situation is improving in China, when we have the National 
Catholic Conference of Bishops supporting us; when we have, as was 
mentioned by others, the new Commission on Religious Freedom supporting 
us in this, and the list goes on. In terms of the environment, the 
Sierra Club, in terms of agriculture, the National Farmers Union, the 
list goes on.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to join the working people of America to 
oppose this and say to the President there is a way to do it. A decent 
way. And it is a way that says let us see some proven performance 
before we surrender to the dictates of the Beijing regime the only 
leverage we have, which is our annual review.
  So it is not about ``engage or isolate.'' Certainly we engage. It is 
not about whether we trade or not. Certainly we trade. It is a question 
of how we do it. And it does not have to be according to the terms and 
the timing of the Beijing regime, but more in keeping with what is 
right and what is appropriate for our great country. We are leaders in 
the world; we should continue to be so. And I would hope that the 
President and the former Presidents would respect the intelligence of 
the Members of Congress to know that they should not ask us to place 
our good name next to their failed policy just so that we can help 
redeem the lack of success they have, instead of allowing us to go 
forward in a very positive way.
  We all have a responsibility. We all have a responsibility to come to 
an agreement on trade with China that is responsible. Give us a chance 
to do that. I urge my colleagues not to support this, but to allow us 
to do it right and not according to the terms and timing of the regime 
in Beijing. With that, I will yield back.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Vermont 
(Mr. Sanders).
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman very much. 
Interestingly, on this piece of legislation we have all of corporate 
America telling us what a good deal it is and the multinationals are 
pouring huge sums of money into this campaign. But, meanwhile on the 
other side, we have trade unions representing millions of workers who 
are saying this is a bad deal for American workers. We have most of the 
environmental organizations in this country who are saying this is a 
bad deal for the environment in this world. We have human rights 
organizations and religious organizations who are saying this is a bad 
deal if we are concerned about human rights and the dignity of people.
  So on one side are the big money people who, over the last 20 years, 
have invested over $60 billion in China in search of labor there where 
people are paid 15, 20, or 25 cents an hour. And not surprisingly, 
these people have concluded that this is a great agreement. Well, I 
suppose it is if one is a multinational corporation who wants to throw 
American workers out on the street and hire people at 15 or 20 cents an 
hour. I can understand why they think it is a good deal.
  But it is not a good deal for American workers. American workers 
should not be asked to compete against desperate people in China who 
are forced to work at starvation wages, who cannot form free trade 
unions, who do not even have the legal right to stand up and criticize 
their government.
  The truth of the matter is that in the midst of the so-called 
economic boom, the average American today is working longer hours for 
lower wages. One of the reasons is that we have a miserable

[[Page H2744]]

failed trade policy that has cost us millions of jobs and that has 
forced wages down in this country.
  So I will be very brief because I know that there are other speakers, 
the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) is here. But I would urge my 
colleagues to vote no on this PNTR. Stand up for American workers, for 
human rights, and for the environment and let us have the courage to 
take on the big money interests.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I now recognize the gentlewoman from Ohio 
(Ms. Kaptur) for the balance of our time.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me and 
for his leadership on this. We could not ask for a better Member of 
Congress. I also want to thank the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) 
for allowing me these few minutes, and I will try not to use all the 
  It has been a joy to work with our colleagues to open up the truth 
about China to the American people. And today in Congress, we held a 
bipartisan hearing on one of the dimensions of this debate that has not 
been talked about. We called our hearing ``Women in China, Women in 
Chains''. C-SPAN was there for the entirety of this hearing where there 
were four witnesses, women from China who came to tell their incredibly 
compelling stories. Stories of repression. Stories of forced abortion. 
Stories of missing women and children. Stories of women in the 
countryside and in factories as exploited workers. Women married to men 
who are fighting for democracy, many in prison from 10 to 30 years. 
Other women imprisoned because they participated in a spiritual group, 
Falun Gong.
  Other women from Tibet. A young woman whose roommate had demonstrated 
in Tiananmen Square and was shot dead, and that young woman today came 
before our committee. She had been activated through that, even though 
she is a physicist by training, telling how she has gotten involved in 
trying to tell the American people the true story of what is happening 
in China. And the story of women workers in the countryside who are 
producing the majority of food in that country. Women in the factories, 
exploited women workers, their voices we tried to lift up.
  Mr. Speaker, I just want to let the membership know that the hearing 
itself, because it was recorded on C-SPAN, is being advertised on their 
Web site at www.cspan.org. My colleagues can look for the hearing on 
women's rights in China to hear the truth about what is happening in 
that country.
  Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank my colleagues, the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
Pelosi), who was here, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey), 
the gentlewoman from California (Mrs. Napolitano), the gentlewoman from 
New York (Ms. Velazquez), the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Mrs. Mink) and 
the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Peterson) for joining us today and 
helping us to listen to these stories where women basically told us, 
look, the only time that prisoners who are democracy demonstrators are 
let go in China is during the debate here in the Congress of the United 
States on trade with China.

                              {time}  1830

  They said please do not give that away. If you give this power from 
the United States to the World Trade Organization, the enforcement will 
not occur. We are the only Nation in the world raising concerns about 
Communism in China. And once it goes to the WTO, it will be lost. 
America will retain her power by using our bilateral trade negotiations 
with China to at least, at least give voice to over 1.2 billion people 
who cannot voice their own opinions inside their society.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. 
Pascrell) so very much. You truly have been a leader, not just for 
America's workers and farmers but for the worlds and a liberty-loving 
Member, obviously of this Congress. And, as I said, to the people who 
assembled at the hearing this morning, the flag over this Capitol flies 
24 hours a day and it flies not just for America but for the cause of 
liberty everywhere.
  For those women today who testified, who cannot return to China in 
fear for the lives of their families and relatives, we stood proud with 
them today. We understood what this Constitution is all about, and we 
hope that the young people of our country will watch www.cspan.org to 
see the world's new democracy fighters in countries like China who are 
paying the most precious price with their lives, sacrificing their 
families, giving everything to try to bring a greater measure of 
freedom to a country that still remains Communist in every aspect of 
life there. I thank the gentleman so very, very much. Please watch 
www.cspan.org. Look when this program will be broadcast.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Ohio 
(Ms. Kaptur) and I thank the speaker for your patience and endurance.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. PASCRELL. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.

                      Report on Texas A&M Bonfire

  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, the University of Texas and Texas 
A&M have been playing football for over 100 years. It is one of the 
most intense athletic rivalries in the Lone Star State. In 1909, 
students at Texas A&M began a tradition that we now call bonfire. They 
went out and gathered old packing crates and pallets and trash and 
limbs from the community and built a bonfire to testify to their 
undying commitment to beat the University of Texas in the annual 
Thanksgiving football game.
  By the mid 1940s, what had been basically an exercise in getting some 
logs and some trash and had grown into quite an operation, and the 2 
years that I worked on bonfire in 1968 and 1969, the stack, the height 
of the bonfire reached 109 feet.
  It is not unusual today for a bonfire at Texas A&M before the 
University of Texas football game to weigh over 2 million pounds, to 
have 5,000 to 7,000 logs and to be in the 70-foot to 80-foot range. 
Because of some accidents and concerns about environmental issues 
beginning in the 1980s, the administration at Texas A&M put a 
limitation on the number of logs, the height of the stack, the diameter 
of the stack.
  This past November, I believe, on November the 18th, two days before 
the game, the bonfire collapsed, killing 12 students and injuring 27 
others, a terrible, terrible tragedy by any definition. As a 
consequence of the bonfire collapse and the injuries and the death, the 
administration at Texas A&M put together a Bonfire Commission to go out 
and investigate the causes of the problem and to determine what, if 
anything, should be done to correct the problems, and whether to even 
have a bonfire.
  This is the report that was released last week. It is approximately 
2\1/2\ inches in diameter. It does not make any recommendations to the 
administration at A&M to do, but it does determine what caused the 
collapse. The chairman of the commission is a distinguished engineer 
named Leo Linbeck from Houston, Texas, and the commission members are 
Veronica Callaghan, retired major general Hugh Robinson, Alan Shivers, 
Jr., William E. Tucker, the consultants are McKinsey & Company, Fay 
Engineering, Packer Engineering, Kroll-O'Gara and Performance 
Improvement International.
  It cost about $2 million. They interviewed several thousand 
witnesses. They have over 5,000 pages of documents. The conclusion of 
the Bonfire Commission is that the bonfire collapse was because of 
structural failure, the weight of the logs on the top stacks became so 
great that it forced a pressure down into the first stack, that created 
a lateral pressure that forced the logs on the bottom stack to come 
out, and there was a catastrophic collapse.
  They investigated, researched whether human factors such as alcoholic 
consumption, horseplay played a role in the collapse, and the answer is 
no; although, there was some of that, and it should be prohibited.
  I think the Bonfire Commission has done a commendable job. They have 
been very extensive. I have glanced at the entire report. I have 
actually read page by page approximately half of it. And as a 
professional engineer myself, not a civil engineer, not a structural 
engineer, obviously, I am convinced that the commission has done its 
job in determining the causes of the problem.

[[Page H2745]]

  The President of Texas A&M, Dr. Bowen, has said that he will consider 
this report and decide in the next 2 months whether to allow the 
bonfire tradition to continue or not, and if he makes a decision on 
whether to allow it, under what conditions it will be allowed.
  This report makes no recommendations about whether it should or 
should not be continued, but it does point out some things that I think 
are worth highlighting.
  Number one, one obviously need to have structural integrity of the 
bonfire. One needs to have professional oversight of the bonfire.
  Under the tradition of Texas A&M, it has all been done by students. 
There was no written design, it had to be certified as having 
structural integrity. Each bonfire student leadership looked at what 
was been done the year before and then decided what to do this year.
  I cannot tell Dr. Bowen what to do, but I would certainly think that 
some of the things he has got to consider is have a design that is 
actually on paper that has been certified as structurally sound by 
professional engineering groups, and then make sure that there is 
oversight to see that the design is actually implemented.
  Speaking only for myself, I can certainly understand if Dr. Bowen 
decided not to allow the bonfire to continue, but I would hope that he 
will allow the tradition to continue under very restrictive and 
overseeing regulations.