Opening Statements of Committee Members

Opening Statement of Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Hearing on The China-WTO Agreement and Financial Services
9:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank all of our witnesses for testifying today. Although, I must say I am very disappointed that Secretary Summers and Ambassador Barshefsky will only be here for a very short time.

I am opposed to granting the People's Republic of China permanent most favored nation's status. I am very concerned that we are going to give away the last effective tool we can use to get China to change its human rights policies. The State Department, in its annual report on human rights practices of 1997, states that abuses (by the PRC government) include torture and mistreatment of prisoners, forced confessions, arbitrary arrest, and lengthy incommunicado detentions. The report also talks about tight restrictions on freedom of speech, assembly, the press, association, religion, privacy and worker rights. Discrimination against women, minorities and the disabled, violence against women, prostitution, trafficking in women and children and the abuse of children remain problems. Why we would grant permanent most favored nation status, and give up our only means of monitoring China's behavior, is beyond my comprehension.

I am also very concerned that we are feeding China's military. The People's Liberation Army has become stronger and more aggressive. Now they are not just threatening their neighbors, in recent months they have threatened the U.S. military as well. When I hear reports of advanced Chinese fighters approaching U.S. aircraft over international waters, that bothers me. When I read reports of U.S. navy admirals being told that the Chinese cannot guarantee the safety of U.S. warships in international waters, I become very concerned.

In light of these reports, I cannot support China PNTR. I realize this agreement with China may become very profitable for American financial companies. But at what cost? It will not make life for the average citizen of Communist China better and it will not improve the security of the United States of America. Unfortunately, it seems to me, we are selling the Chinese the rope they will hang us with.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.