Skip to Content

Menu ×

Opening Statement on Human Rights in China Congressional-Executive Commission on China

September 18, 2015

Statement on Human Rights in China

Congressional-Executive Commission on China


I want to thank the witnesses not only for taking the time to testify today, but for the work you do to shine a light on the dire human rights situation in China.  

Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in the United States next week.  His handlers clearly crafted his schedule to project a modern and dignified image of Xi's rule. 

But I see no evidence of modernity or dignity.  I only see a parade of stark contrasts, shameful juxtapositions, and bitter ironies.

* * *

Xi's first stop will be a technology conference that China has organized in Seattle.  Leaders of companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are expected to attend.  

In Seattle, these tech titans will share pleasantries with Xi.  But in China, their companies can't deliver information to the Chinese people because of Beijing's "Great Firewall."  And Xi's government uses that leverage to pressure tech companies into arrangements to censor content.

In Seattle, Xi will talk about expanding trade in technology.  But in China, he's depriving NGOs, journalists, and civil-rights activists access to Internet technology, fearful that they will organize amongst themselves, share information, and undermine the authoritarian regime. 

* * *

Xi will also visit Boeing's factory in Everett, Washington. 

In Everett, he'll no doubt praise the efficiency of the factory, operated by American workers who enjoy labor rights and workplace protections.  But in China, labor organizers stand a good chance of being abducted, severely beaten, and left for dead miles outside the city, as happened to Chinese labor advocate Peng Jiayong [PUNG JA YONG]. 

In Everett, Xi will see that all the workers are skilled adults.  But in China, authorities ignore child-labor laws, leaving 13-year-olds like Li Youbin [LEE YOO BIN] to die after working slave-labor shifts in harrowing conditions. 

* * *

Xi will then travel to New York City, where he'll chair a "Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment" at the United Nations.  

In New York, Xi will praise international "roadmaps" toward gender equality.  But in China, women are subjected to forced abortions, mandated sterilization, and mass implantation of birth-control devices—all to advance Xi's population-control policies.

In New York, Xi will urge other nations to commit to efforts to empower women.  But in China, Xi's regime arrests female lawyers and women's rights activists—like Wang Yu [WONG YOO].  

In New York, Xi will purport to stand in judgment over other nations on women's rights.  But in China, prison guards raped and abused Li Ruirui [LEE REE REE].  She was being held in an extralegal detention center for dissidents, or what is referred to as a "black jail."  Unfortunately, Li's story is not unique.  The grand majority of detainees in so-called black jails are women, and they're at constant risk of rape and abuse by the regime's thugs.

* * *

The highlight of Xi's trip, of course, will be Washington, DC:  a meeting and State dinner with President Obama.   

Xi and President Obama will hold a press conference, where Xi will see a number of journalists representing a free press corps.  But in China, his regime arrests journalists who publish "inconvenient" information.  After a stay in jail, the government parades the reporters before cameras to confess their supposed crimes.

Xi and the President will have a private meeting, perhaps over tea.  But in China, being "invited for tea" has a very different meaning.  It's code among civil-society activists for being summoned by state security services to be interrogated, intimidated, and put on notice that the government is watching you.

During the State dinner, Xi will enjoy the sweetest of meats and the finest of wines in the stately environs of the White House.  But in China, Gao Zhisheng [GOW ZEE SHENG]—a human-rights lawyer—was imprisoned in a dark cell for years and allowed only one slice of bread and one piece of cabbage a day.  He was also tortured with cigarette butts, electrified wires, and toothpicks rammed into his genitals. 

Among Gao's crimes was his defense of persecuted religious groups: Christians, Tibetans, Uighurs, and practitioners of Falun Gong.  These believers are constant targets of government surveillance, imprisonment, torture, and forcible medication.

* * *

President Obama is welcoming Xi to the United States in the grandest diplomatic fashion.   But as they sit next to each other in that State dinner, I hope President Obama recognizes what is perhaps the starkest irony of Xi's trip to the United States.

If President Obama had lived his life in China—as a Christian, a community organizer, a civil rights lawyer, and a constitutional law professor—he wouldn't be enjoying a grand fete with Xi Jingping. 

President Obama would be in prison, or much, much worse.