Lee pressures China to act on Darfur

lee2.jpgRep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is co-sponsoring a resolution officially calling on China to use its “unique influence and economic leverage” with Sudan’s government to stop the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region.

“China’s support for the status quo in Sudan and their apparent reluctance to join the international community in condemning the atrocities being committed in Darfur have become critical factors in prolonging the ongoing genocide,” she said in a news release. “This resolution sends a clear message that China needs to join the international community in working to end this genocide.”

The resolution notes China “has long-standing economic and military ties with Sudan and continues to strengthen these ties in spite of the ongoing genocide in Darfur.” For example, China purchases at least 70 percent of Sudan’s oil and has reportedly cancelled about $100 million in debt owed by the Sudanese government. China also recently provided funds for a presidential palace in Sudan at a reported cost of approximately $20 million. And international human rights watchdog Amnesty International recently accused China and Russia of selling weapons to Sudan that are used in violence in Darfur.

The measure calls on China to urge Sudan to allow a United Nations-sanctioned peacekeeping force into the region, and to comply with U.N. resolutions demanding disarmament of militias operating in Darfur. It also calls on China to join the international community in threatening sanctions on the Sudanese government if it continues to carry out or support attacks on innocent civilians or to frustrate diplomatic efforts to end the violence.

This comes as Chinese preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are heavily under way. The resolution recognizes that the spirit of the Olympics is “incompatible with any actions supporting acts of genocide.”

“By hosting the Olympics, China puts itself in the international spotlight and invites questions about their commitment to human rights, particularly with their ongoing support for the government of Sudan, despite its campaign of genocide in Darfur,” Lee said. “To suggest that somehow it is unfair to ask those questions is ridiculous. If China doesn’t like the scrutiny, they can stop tacitly supporting genocide.”

The House resolution is co-sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; a Senate version has been introduced by Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Right on for Barbara Lee and her colleagues!



    I agree with Richardson’s innovative idea, given the general silence among nations vis-à-vis China’s ghastly atrocities in the human rights realm, especially towards Tibetans, and especially with its dozens of prisons which for Tibetans are exactly like Auschwitz and Dachau.

    I posited the same idea in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, in correspondence to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and to many, many, heads-of-state, that the moral indignation of the nations in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 could be harnessed into at least the threat of a boycott, perhaps worded more diplomatically. Sen. Edwards clearly agreed with this point by Richardson during the recent debate.

    Make no mistake: this is probably the last chance in human history to do anything constructive about Tibet, to prevent henceforth the genocidal treatment of Tibetans remaining in Tibet, which has since 1959 seen 1.2 million Tibetans killed, roughly 20% of the entire population of Tibet.

    If American political powers and their pundits won’t use the remains of our powers of moral suasion in the world at large, and if we are to once again docilely capitulate to dimwitted politicians who say that the Olympics is only about sport, and not about politics, we are no better than the many nations who were oblivious to the growing obviousness of the genocide of Jews in Europe before and during World War II.

    Actually, the USA was for many years oblivious in this regard, all of which is thoroughly documented in Arthur Morse’s book, While Six Million Died. In that light, we think Richardson is on the right track, and even more so, when you consider the dead pets and the poisoned toothpaste from China. That is just not “about politics:” that was life and death for many, including at least 100 dead children in Panama!

    News: In what may be its most audacious Olympic act yet, China’s Ministry of Public Security has issued an incredible directive that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Falun Dafa Information Center has learned. Pariah groups include:

    – eerily vague “key individuals in ideological fields”
    – “overseas hostile forces”
    – “counter-revolutionary” figures
    – the Dalai Lama and all affiliates
    – members of “religious entities not sanctioned by the state” (e.g. Roman Catholics)
    – “individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet,”
    – and even certain types of “handicapped” persons.

    Members of the Falun Gong would be barred, as would “family members of deceased persons” killed in “riots” — a euphemism for events such as the Tiananmen Massacre — and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which the regime brands “national separatists.” Only at the very bottom of the directive does it identify “violent terrorists” and members of “illegal organizations” as targets for investigation and possible barring.

    Stephen Fox
    New Millennium Fine Art
    217 W. Water St.
    Santa Fe, NM 87501
    505 983-2002