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U.S. Department of State
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Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
April 18, 2000

U.S. Response to Decision of UNCHR To Adopt "No-Action" Motion
On the U.S.-Sponsored China Resolution

The following statement was issued by Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Nancy Rubin, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights, at the Commission in Geneva, in response to the Commission's decision to accept a Chinese motion to take no action on a U.S.-sponsored resolution.

"The United States notes that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights today passed a procedural motion made by China not to take action on a resolution on human rights sponsored by the United States. We sponsored the China resolution as part of our principled, purposeful policy of engagement with China. Our goals were to speak up for the Chinese people and to focus international attention on the marked deterioration in the human rights situation in China during the past year. We believe that we have accomplished these goals. We would like to thank those countries that joined us in opposing the no-action motion on the grounds that it would prevent the Commission from addressing an important human rights concern that clearly falls well within its jurisdiction."

"The gap by which the no action motion passed narrowed once again this year. A growing number of countries now recognize that China should not be permitted to escape scrutiny of its human rights record and that China should not prevent the Commission from fulfilling its mandate."

"Over the past year, the Government of China has expanded and intensified its crackdown on organized political dissent and initiated a full-scale campaign to suppress the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Chinese authorities have also intensified controls on unregistered churches and ethnic minorities, especially Tibetans and Uighurs. In addition, the Government also tightened controls on the media, academia, and the Internet."

"The Chinese Government understands its international human rights obligations. It has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and has acceded to the UN Convention against Torture. China has stated its intention to fulfill its international obligations. However, it has not taken significant, concrete steps to bring its human rights practices into compliance with that convention or with other international human rights instruments."

"The Commission is the appropriate venue for members of the United Nations to discuss violations of international human rights standards. No Commission member should have the right to judge all others yet never be judged itself. By sponsoring a resolution on China, we have helped draw the attention of the world and the Chinese authorities themselves to China's poor human rights record, and the plight of the Chinese people. We hope this will help to improve human rights conditions in China."

[end of document]

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