105 th Congress
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
POLITICAL FREEDOM IN CHINA ACT OF 1997
October 6, 1997.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Gilman, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 2358]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on International Relations, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 2358) to provide for improved monitoring of human rights
violations in the People's Republic of China, having considered the
same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the
bill as amended do pass.
The amendments (stated in terms of the page and line numbers of the
introduced bill) are as follows:
On page 3, line 5, strike ``state' and'' and insert ``state' or''.
On page 3, line 8, strike ``[n]on-approved'' and insert
On page 3, line 12, strike ``Zinjiang,'' and insert ``Xinjiang,''.
On page 3, line 22, strike ``residents'' and insert ``dissidents''.
On page 4, line 2, strike ``1996,'' and insert ``1995,''.
On page 5, strike lines 18 23.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
H.R. 2358, the ``Political Freedom in China Act of 1997,'' authorizes
to be appropriated to State Department additional funds to support
personnel to monitor political repression in the People's Republic of
China (PRC) in the United States Embassy in Beijing, as well as the
American consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Chengdu, and Hong
Kong, $2,200,000 for fiscal year 1998 and $2,200,000 for fiscal year
The China section of the State Department Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices for 1996 states that ``[o]verall in 1996, the
authorities stepped up efforts to cut off expressions of protest or
criticism. All public dissent against the party and government was
effectively silenced by intimidation, exile, the imposition of prison
terms, administrative detention, or house arrest. No dissidents were
known to be active at year's end.''
Testimony and reports from both private non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and the Administration called attention to the
importance of having more State Department personnel assigned solely to
monitor human rights of the people living under the rule of the
Government of the People's Republic of China. H.R. 2358 attempts to
address this need and the important question of whether the cornerstone
of our foreign policy should be the promotion of American values--that
is, the protection and advancement of fundamental human rights of people
around the world.
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor has 52 employees and
a budget of a little over $6 million. It is disturbing that the Public
Affairs office is approximately twice as large, with 115 employees and a
budget of over $10 million. In addition, the Protocol office has 62
employees, ten more than the whole Human Rights bureau. Moreover, each
of the six regional bureaus has an average of about 1500 employees. In
many instances, these are the bureaus the Human Rights bureau has to
contend with in ensuring that human rights is given a prominent role
against competing concerns, and they have a combined budget of about a
billion dollars, or about 160 times the budget of the Human Rights
State Department regional bureau officials based in Washington
enhance their expertise by traveling to the regions in which they
specialize. Officials in the Human Rights Bureau below the rank of
Deputy Assistant Secretary have very little funds at their disposal for
such important trips.
The Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights during
the 104th and 105th Congresses held the following hearings or markups
related to the human rights problems of individuals living under the
rule of the Government of the People's Republic of China:
1. February 2, 15, 1995--Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
2. March 16, 1995--Human Rights and Democratization in Asia
3. April 3, 1995--Chinese Prison System, ``LAOGAI''
4. July 18, 1997--Beijing Conference on Women
5. August 2, 1995--Beijing Conference on Women
6. September 8, 1995--Expereinces of Harry Wu as a Political
Prisoner in the People's Republic of China
7. December 7, 1995--Resolution Concerning Writer, Philosopher,
Human Rights Advocate Wei Jingsheng
8. December 18, 1995--Trial, Conviction, and Imprisonment of Wei
Jingsheng: How Should it Affect U.S. Policy?
9. February 15, 1996--Persecution of Christians Worldwide
10. March 26, 1996--Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995
11. June 18, 1996--China MFN: Human Rights Consequences
12. December 18, 1996--Was There a Tiananmen Massacre?
On September 25, 1997, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and
International Operations met in open session and agreed by voice vote to
favorably report H.R. 2358 to the full Committee for consideration.
On September 29, 1997, the full Committee adopted by voice vote an
amendment offered by Representative Bereuter to strike the provision in
the bill that stated that there is only one State Department official in
the PRC who is assigned to monitoring human rights. An amendment by
Representative Campbell to strike the findings section of the bill was
defeated by voice vote. Finally, on September 29, 1997, the Committee
adopted by voice vote a motion to report favorably H.R. 2358, as
amended, a quorum being present.
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS
In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee reports the findings and
recommendations of the Committee, based on oversight activities under
clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives,
are incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report.
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT FINDINGS
No findings or recommendations of the Committee on Government Reform
and Oversight were received as referred to in clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES
The Committee adopts the cost estimate of the Congressional Budget
Office, set out below, as its submission of any required information on
new budget authority, new spending authority, new credit authority, or
an increase or decrease in the national debt required by clause
2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
Federal Mandates Statement
The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal mandates
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
Advisory Committee Statement
No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) of the
Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this legislation.
Applicability to the Legislative Branch
The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to the terms
and conditions of employment or access to public services or
accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of the
Congressional Accountability Act.
Constitutional Authority statement
In compliance with clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee cities the following specific
powers granted to the Congress in the Constitution as authority for
enactment of H.R. 2358 as reported by the Committee: Article I, section
8, clause 3 (relating to the regulation of commerce with foreign nations
and among the several states); and Article I, section 8, clause 18
(relating to making all laws necessary and proper for carrying into
execution powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth with respect to H.R.
2358 as reported by the Committee the following estimate and comparison
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office under
section 403 of the Budget Act of 1974:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, October 3, 1997.
Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman, Chairman, Committee on International Relations,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has prepared the
enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2358, the Political Freedom in China Act
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be pleased to
provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita D'Monte.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
H.R. 2358--Political Freedom in China Act of 1997
H.R. 2358 would authorize appropriations of $2.2 million each year in
1998 and 1999 to fund additional personnel at diplomatic posts in China
to monitor human rights. Assuming appropriations of the authorized
amounts, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would raise outlays in
each year by the amount of the authorization. Because H.R. 2358 would
not affect direct spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would
not apply. The bill does not contain any intergovernmental or
private-sector mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
of 1995 and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The authorization in this bill would be in addition to amounts
provided in other legislation. H.R. 1757, as passed by the House of
Representatives on June 11, 1997, would authorize $1,747 million each
year in 1998 and 1999 for diplomatic and consular activities. Together
H.R. 2358 and H.R. 1757 would raise annual funding for comparable
activities by $47 million over the amount provided in 1997.
The estimate was prepared by Sunita D'Monte. This estimate was
approved by Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant Director for Budget
Section 1. Short title
Provides that the Act may be cited as the ``Political Freedom in
China Act of 1997.''
Section 2. Findings
Sets forth relevant findings of Congress. In particular, Congress
concurs in many of the conclusions of the Department of State in its
1996 human rights report with respect to the People's Republic of China,
including that China is ``an authoritarian state''; that the government
of China has ``continued to commit widespread and well documented human
rights abuses''; that ``[a]buses include torture and mistreatment of
prisoners, forced confessions, and arbitrary and incommunicado
detention''; that the number of persons detained ``are believed to
number in the thousands''; and that ``[o]verall in 1996, the authorities
stepped up efforts to cut off expressions of protest or criticism. All
dissent against the party and government was effectively silenced by
intimidation, exile, the imposition of prison terms, administrative
detention, or house arrest. No dissidents were known to be active at
year's end.'' Among those dissidents who have been arrested are Wang Dan
(sentenced to 11 years in prison); Li Hai (sentenced to 9 years in
prison); Liu Nianchun (sentenced to 3 years of ``re-education through
labor''); Wei Jingsheng (sentenced to 14 years in prison); Gao Yu
(sentenced to 6 years in prison); and Chen Longde (sentenced to 3 years
of ``re-education through labor'').
Section 3. Authorization of appropriations for additional
personnel at diplomatic posts to monitor human rights in the People's
Republic of China
Authorizes the appropriation of $2,200,000 in fiscal year 1998 and
$2,200,000 in fiscal year 1999 to support personnel at the U.S. embassy
in Beijing and at the U.S. consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang,
Chengdu, and Hong Kong to monitor Chinese political repression.