CHINA CONNECTIONS (House of Representatives - May 19, 1998)

[Page: H3371]

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 21, 1997, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns) is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.

Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend a lot of people have been calling for hearings on the emerging China scandal. I come to the well this afternoon to rise in support of the New York Times editorial on Sunday entitled, `The New China Connection', that calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor. I thought my colleagues should hear what the Times wrote:

All the disclosures about Johnny Chung, other contributors and their links to China make it clearer than ever that the Attorney General Reno needs to transfer the Justice Department's investigation to an independent counsel. The White House was intensely involved in fund-raising at the highest levels, and only an inquiry led by someone other than a political appointee of the President will satisfy the public.

Mr. Speaker, this is a major concession by The New York Times, and I thought I would call it to my colleagues' attention. These calls for an independent prosecutor come on the heels of groundbreaking and explosive reporting by the Times' investigative journalist, Jeff Gerth.

[TIME: 1045]

Mr. Gerth reported on Friday, May 15, that Johnny Chung has admitted that a large portion of the money he raised for the Democrats originated with the People's Liberation Army, the PLA, of China. Mr. Speaker, this is a communist military party. Mr. Chung has identified the conduit of the illegal campaign funds as a Chinese aerospace executive and Chinese Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chaoing, who just happens to be the daughter of General Liu Huaquing, who just happened to be at that time China's most senior and top-ranked military commander in the PLA.

Mr. Speaker, General Liu was also a member of the top leadership of China's Communist Party as he served as a member of the Standing Committee, the very top circle of political leadership in China. General Liu was also vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission and was in charge of China's drive to modernize the People's Liberation Army by selling weapons to other countries and using the hard currency to acquire Western technology.

Newsweek goes on to point out that the latest scandal, in their May 25 issue entitled `A Strange Brew,' is also very revealing. It appears on July 19, 1996, Colonel Liu, the daughter of General Liu, arrived at the Los Angeles home of financier Eli Broad, shook the President's hand, had her picture taken with him. Ms. Liu, accompanied by fund-raiser Johnny Chung, is known to have attended a military institute in China used for counterintelligence training.

What Liu did a week after meeting the President is even more interesting. She signed papers incorporating a company in California called Marswell Institute. She and Chung were the only listed directors. U.S. intelligence sources say Marswell is an affiliate of a similarly named firm in Hong Kong, which shares ownership with yet another company they describe as a `front' for the `general political department' of the PLA.

Mr. Speaker, what were China and the Chinese military leaders after? There is some evidence that what they were after was a change in U.S. satellite export policy that made it easier for China to use their missiles to launch American satellites, which also allowed China to further improve their missile capabilities. This same missile technology can be used for intercontinental ballistic missiles, which China now has fixed nuclear targets on.

So, Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor this afternoon to echo the comments from the Sunday editorial from The New York Times. It is time for Attorney General Reno to transfer the department's investigation out of their department into an independent counsel, and I ask her to do it promptly.