[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS IN ASIA:
STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TIBETAN POLICY ACT,
BLOCK BURMESE JADE ACT, AND NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
JUNE 2, 2011
Serial No. 112-40
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California BRAD SHERMAN, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
RON PAUL, Texas GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MIKE PENCE, Indiana RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
CONNIE MACK, Florida GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas DENNIS CARDOZA, California
TED POE, Texas BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
DAVID RIVERA, Florida FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director
Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Robert King, Ambassador, Special Envoy for North
Korean Human Rights Issues..................................... 9
The Honorable Joseph Y. Yun, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State,
East Asian and Pacific Affairs................................. 17
The Honorable Daniel B. Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor....................... 28
Mr. Richard Gere, chairman of the board of directors,
International Campaign for Tibet............................... 51
Mr. Chuck Downs, executive director, Committee for Human Rights
in North Korea................................................. 61
Mr. Aung Din, executive director & co-founder, U.S. Campaign for
Ms. Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director, Human Rights Watch 78
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Representative in Congress
from the State of Florida, and chairman, Committee on Foreign
Affairs: Prepared statement.................................... 4
The Honorable Robert King: Prepared statement.................... 12
The Honorable Joseph Y. Yun: Prepared statement.................. 20
The Honorable Daniel B. Baer: Prepared statement................. 31
Mr. Richard Gere: Prepared statement............................. 53
Mr. Chuck Downs: Prepared statement.............................. 63
Mr. Aung Din: Prepared statement................................. 73
Ms. Sophie Richardson: Prepared statement........................ 80
Hearing notice................................................... 100
Hearing minutes.................................................. 101
The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly, a Representative in Congress
from the Commonwealth of Virginia: Prepared statement.......... 103
Questions submitted for the record to the Honorable Robert King
by the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen........................... 105
Questions submitted for the record to the Honorable Robert King
by the Honorable Donald A. Manzullo, a Representative in
Congress from the State of Illinois............................ 106
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS IN ASIA: STATUS OF
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TIBETAN POLICY ACT, BLOCK BURMESE JADE ACT, AND
NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2011
House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 o'clock a.m.,
in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ileana Ros-
Lehtinen (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. For opening statements, I will
recognize the chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee
on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee for a
3-minute speech. We will then hear from our witnesses, and I
would ask that you summarize your prepared statements in 5
minutes each before we commence with the question and answers
from members under the 5-minute rule.
Without objection, the witnesses' prepared statements will
be made a part of the record, and members may have 5 days to
insert statements, questions and additional material for the
record, subject to the length limitations in the rules.
The chair now recognizes herself for 7 minutes.
Today we are here to discuss the dark clouds of oppression
that hang ever heavier over the peoples of Tibet, Burma, and
I was proud to be a co-sponsor with our late chairman and
strong human rights advocate, Tom Lantos, of the Tibetan Policy
Act, and an original co-sponsor of the Block Burmese JADE Act.
I was also privileged to author the reauthorization of the
North Korean Human Rights Act, which was enacted into law in
Congress has long sought to address the suffering of the
people of Tibet, Burma, and North Korea through legislation to
ease, to some degree, their pain. Let us now examine the
executive branch's track record in implementing these Acts.
There is a common thread that leads to a massive spider web
of human rights and religious freedom violations. At the core
sits China. As we commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the
Tiananmen Square massacre on Saturday, we must never forget
those who fell as the tanks crushed the democratic aspirations
of the Chinese people.
We must never forget that the heirs to this shameful
Tiananmen legacy and their comrades in blood lust continue to
subjugate by the sword not only the Chinese people but also the
people of Tibet, Burma and North Korea. Whatever the motive, a
rising China is at the center of this trio of tyranny which
casts a dark shadow over the otherwise optimistic projections
for Asia's future.
Turning to the three laws that we are examining today,
since 2002 when the Tibetan Policy Act first called for the
establishment of a U.S. official presence in the capital of
Tibet, there has been absolutely zero diplomatic progress. The
State Department must make it perfectly clear to China's
diplomats that there will be no more Chinese consulates opened
in the U.S., not in Atlanta, not in Boston, not in Honolulu,
until the stars and stripes are flying proudly over a U.S.
diplomatic facility in Tibet.
It is also regrettable that the Special Coordinator for
Tibetan Issues, a position created by the Tibetan Policy Act,
could not appear as a witness today to address the oversight
concerns of Congress with regard to this act.
I now would like to turn to the Block Burmese JADE Act. I
understand that the administration has finally put forward the
name of Derek Mitchell to serve as the Special Representative
and Policy Coordinator for Burma, a position created by the
act, and that he is awaiting Senate confirmation.
I would like our administration witnesses to explain why it
took almost 2\1/2\ years to name this official to a key
position legislatively mandated by Congress. I would also ask
the administration witnesses to elaborate on the
administration's approach to the Burmese junta and if the
administration remains committed to pursuing what it calls a
policy of pragmatic engagement, a policy I strongly disagree
Another key component of the Burma law was the prohibition
on the import of Burmese gemstones, rubies and jade. A
Government Accountability Office GAO report on September 30,
2009, stated, ``U.S. agencies have taken some steps, but have
not shown that they are effectively restricting imports of
Burmese origin rubies, jade and related jewelry, while allowing
imports of non-Burmese origin goods.''
If we could work so effectively with the African countries
and our allies to ensure that we could block the importation of
blood diamonds during the conflicts in Africa, one has to
question why it would seem that we have not made the same
efforts with blocking imports of Burmese rubies.
Finally, let me address the North Korean Human Rights Act.
It is especially appropriate that the Special Envoy for North
Korean Human Rights Issues, a position created by the act, is
here today. We welcome Dr. Bob King, a long-time trusted
advisor to Chairman Lantos and former Democratic Chief of Staff
for this committee.
The North Korean Human Rights Act specifically clarified
any confusion on the eligibility of North Koreans for refugee
or asylum consideration in the United States. While the vast
majority of North Korean refugees will continue to be resettled
in South Korea for historic, linguistic, and cultural reasons,
the Act spells out that the U.S. doors remain open to North
Koreans fleeing savage oppression.
Only about 120 North Korean refugees have made it to the
United States in the 7 years since enactment of this
legislation. That raises questions about the State Department's
Another issue addressed in the act is food assistance to
North Korea. The act is clear in stipulating that ``such
assistance should also be provided and monitored so as to
minimize the possibility that such assistance could be diverted
for military or political use.''
I share the concerns of my Senate colleagues in their May
20 letter to Secretary Clinton that any food aid provided would
most likely be used for propaganda purposes to mark the
hundredth anniversary of the North Korean founder. It should be
clear that there should be strong opposition in the Congress to
any attempt to provide food assistance paid for by the American
taxpayer for more bread and circuses in Pyongyang.
I now turn to the distinguished ranking member, my friend
Mr. Berman, for his opening remarks.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Ros-Lehtinen follows:]
Mr. Berman. Well, thank you, madam chairman, and thank you
for convening this very timely hearing focused on the human
rights situation in Tibet, Burma, and North Korea.
Nearly 84 million Tibetans, Burmese, and North Koreans
cannot speak freely, worship how they choose, or elect their
own government leaders. There are few places in the world where
people have endured as long under the yoke of oppression with
little hope of a better life. In Tibet, the uniqueness of
Tibetan culture is being slowly extinguished, strangled by Han,
migration, and Chinese policies that restrict religion
association and movement.
As the State Department notes in its recent human rights
report, government authorities continue to commit serious human
rights abuses, including extra judicial killings, torture,
arbitrary arrests, extra judicial detention, and house arrest.
Hundreds of Tibetans, especially monks, remain incarcerated for
their role in the 2008 protests.
Under the Dalai Lama, who will be in Washington this
summer, Tibetans have sought to overcome adversity and
hardship. Exiled communities have been established in India,
the United States, Europe, and elsewhere to preserve Tibetan
cultural identity, language, and religion. It is a tribute to
the Dalai Lama's moral leadership that the diaspora has
remained strong, but he knows, and we know, that in the future
this strength could be threatened with his eventual passing.
China has long feared and sought to undermine the
transition to the Panchen Lama, the second highest lama in
Tibetan Buddhism. He has been held captive for 16 years, since
he was 6 years old, and during that time has not been seen by
the outside world. It is a sad commentary that Beijing felt it
necessary to imprison a child for so long.
In Burma, the leaders of the country fear their own people,
and thousands have been imprisoned. Last November Burma held
elections for the first time in 20 years. Regrettably, what
should have been an important milestone for the people of that
impoverished country turned out to be more of the same. The
ruling military dictatorship fixed the process to ensure its
continued dominance, and the vote was marred by widespread
fraud and intimidation.
I am pleased the Obama administration has put forward a
nomination for the Special Representative and Policy
Coordinator for Burma, as required by the Tom Lantos Block
Burmese JADE Act of 2008. I hope the Senate will confirm him
quickly. It is important that we redouble our efforts to
pressure the government to end its repression. The economic and
diplomatic sanctions the United States has imposed since the
1990s have too often been undermined by Burma's neighbors.
North Korea's status is unique, a nation ruled absolutely
by one family, in which millions live in desperate conditions,
impoverished, often starving, living in constant fear of
arbitrary arrest and possible torture or execution. According
to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of thousands live in prison
camps, with some children growing to maturity, if they are
lucky, while imprisoned.
In 2004, Congress passed the North Korean Human Rights Act
with overwhelming bipartisan support to focus U.S. attention on
the plight of the North Korean people. The Act provided new
resources to assist North Korean refugees, supported democracy
and human rights programs, and improved access to information
through radio broadcasts and other activities.
It also required the President to appoint a Special Envoy
on North Korean Human Rights, which is now filled, I am happy
to say, by Ambassador King who, as the Democratic staff
director of this committee, worked on the passage of this
milestone legislation. We are fortunate to have Ambassador King
with us today, and eager to hear about his recent trip to North
Korea. We also welcome the other distinguished witnesses, and
look forward to hearing their suggestions as to what we should
be doing to help more effectively human rights in Asia. Thank
you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Mr. Berman. Pleased to
yield 3 minutes to Chairman Smith, chairman of the Subcommittee
on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
As you know, I had the privilege of working with Congressman
Frank Wolf on the passage of the International Religious
Freedom Act in 1998, which includes several important tools for
ensuring religious freedom and that religious freedom is an
essential component of U.S. foreign policy.
I would note my subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow
morning to examine IRFA and proposed amendments to strengthen
our diplomatic efforts in this critical human rights area.
In the context of this hearing, I would note that the
People's Republic of China remains a country of particular
concern, so designated by the act and by the administration in
official recognition that the government engages in systematic,
ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
I personally know scores of religious leaders who have
been, and still are, suffering religious persecution in China.
One of those individuals is Bishop Su of Guangdong Province,
who I met back in 1994. He was rearrested in 1997. Prior to
that arrest, he had been jailed five times, spent a total of 20
years in jail, and had been beaten so savagely that he suffered
extensive loss of hearing.
I would also point out that Gao Zhisheng, a great man who
several of us nominated for the Nobel Peace prize along with
Liu Xiaobo--here is a man who disappeared, and he did provide,
when he was out briefly, a detailed account of the torture that
he had suffered, just like Tibetan Buddhists, just like the
Uighurs, where cattle prods were put into his mouth and on his
genitals, and was almost killed as a result of that torture.
This is how the Chinese Government mistreats. The cruelty
that is meted out against those who try to practice their
faith, be they Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians as
part of the underground church, or other people who are just
trying to practice their faith.
Vietnam, of course, remains an egregious violator of human
rights and already designated CPC. We welcome Dr. Bob King, our
Ambassador, and I look forward to hearing his insights and
recommendation as to how we might better implement the North
Korean Human Rights Act.
It seems to me that the time has come not just to promote
aggressively our efforts to mitigate the nuclear threat on the
Korean Peninsula in North Korea, but also to engage as robustly
on the human rights violations committed by the dear leader in
North Korea. So I look forward to their testimony. Thank you
for this hearing.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much, Chairman Smith.
Mr. Payne is not here. So we will recognize Ms. Wilson for 1
minute for any opening remarks she would like to make.
Ms. Wilson of Florida. I thank Chairman Ros-Lehtinen and
Ranking Member Berman for holding this hearing today, and thank
you for this opportunity.
Human rights, democracy, and freedom have eluded the people
of Tibet, Burma, and North Korea for decades. In Tibet, the
Chinese Government continues with policies that undermine the
proud culture and religion of the people. Although elections
were held and the theoretical transition to a civilian
government has happened, human rights is a foreign word in
Burma, and in North Korea, the most hidden country in the
world, the majority of the people face daily power outages, no
food, and no human rights.
I am interested in hearing how effective have American tax
dollars been in helping the people of Tibet with projects
supported by the United States. I need to know if there has
been any significant improvement for the human rights in Burma,
and if any sanctions need to be removed or renewed.
I hope that we have a better understanding of the current
security situation along the North Korean border for North
Koreans trying to cross to and from China. Most importantly, we
have to do what we can to ensure that all human beings have the
basic human rights that we all deserve.
The religious ethic that we are supposed to help the least
of our brothers and sisters seems to be lost in the countries
of Tibet, Burma, and North Korea. It is the job of this
committee to help them find it.
Again, I thank the chair for this time.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much, Ms. Wilson. The
chair is now pleased to welcome our witnesses.
Ambassador Robert King became the Special Envoy for North
Korean Human Rights Issues on November 2009 following his
confirmation by the United States Senate. Bob is an old friend
of the committee due to his quarter-century of work on Capitol
Hill--you are an old guy--serving for 2 years as staff director
of this committee.
Bob's legislative work, including in support of the North
Korean Human Rights Act, took root as he helped shape
Congressman Tom Lantos' excellent human rights agenda as his
chief of staff for 24 years. Ambassador King holds a PhD in
international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy, and he has just recently returned from a fact
finding mission to North Korea. Welcome back, Bob. Thank you.
We will also then hear from Joseph Yun, who was appointed
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific
Affairs in August 2010. Mr. Hun's portfolio is focused on
Southeast Asian issues. Since last summer, he has been closely
involved in the implementation of the administration's
pragmatic engagement policy directed toward the junta in Burma,
and he, in fact, just returned from a trip to that area.
His overseas Foreign Service postings include South Korea,
Thailand, France, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. He holds degrees
from the London School of Economics and the University of
Wales. We look forward to your testimony, Mr. Yun.
Finally, we have Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Mr. Daniel Baer, who will
address human rights and religious freedom issues in Tibet.
Prior to assuming his position at the State Department in
November 2009, Mr. Baer was an assistant professor in
Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business where he
taught business ethics. Daniel holds a Bachelor's degree from
Harvard and a Doctoral degree from the University of Oxford. He
could not get into my college, Miami Dade community College. So
you had to go to Harvard and Oxford. So welcome back, Mr. Baer.
I would like to kindly remind our witnesses to keep your
oral testimony to no more than 5 minutes. You know this drill
well, Dr. King. Oh, Mr. Berman is recognized.
Mr. Berman. I thank you very much, Madam Chairman. Just as
so often happens around here, the Judiciary Committee is
marking up four bills at the same time as this is going on. So
if a couple of us--I know Mr. Deutch is also on both
committees--are running in and out, it is not because you said
something that offended us or bored us. It is because we had to
cast a vote over there. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much. Dr. King is
recognized. Mr. Ambassador.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT KING, AMBASSADOR, SPECIAL
ENVOY FOR NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
Ambassador King. Madam Chairman, I won't mention your
comment about my age, but I do want to thank you for my job. If
it hadn't been for you and Mr. Berman, I wouldn't be in this
position. So I appreciate that. Thanks also for the invitation
to testify today.
Your letter raised five questions with regard to North
Korea, and I would like to talk a little bit about those.
First, the implementation of the North Korean Human Rights Act.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent to you and to Mr. Berman
copies of a report, the annual report, of the Special Envoy on
the North Korea human rights dealing with the implementation of
the North Korean Human Rights Act. It is unclassified. It is
available. If there are any questions, if you want additional
information than what I have done there, I would be happy to do
The one thing I do want to say in terms of implementation
of the North Korean Human Rights Act: One of the things the act
specified is that the Special Envoy should participate in
formulation and implementation of activities carried out under
My office and the State Department is in the same suite of
offices that Ambassador Steven Bosworth and Ambassador Sung Kim
have, and we speak every day on issues. We have meetings
together. We confer. So I think there is not a problem at all
in terms of my being a participant in what happens in terms of
State Department policy on North Korea.
The second issue that you raised in your invitation was a
question about programs to resettle North Korean refugees in
the United States and to assist North Korean refugees in China.
You mentioned the problems of North Koreans choosing to settle
in South Korea rather than the United States.
Over the lat decade there have been some 21,000 North
Koreans who have settled primarily, as I said, in South Korea.
Because of the unique situation and problems for these
refugees, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt
Campbell has discussed the concerns with his particular group,
with all of our ambassadors in East Asia. The Bureau on
Population Refugees and Migration has had special sessions to
train and instruct staff that deal with those issues.
So I think we have made a conscious effort to try to deal
with the problem of these refugees. We work very closely with
our ally, South Korea, in dealing with these refugees, and work
to allow them to get out as quickly as possible when that is
You asked about the issues of what we are able to do in
China to assist these refugees. If you would like to go into
detail in terms of that issue, I would be happy to come up, but
I would prefer to do it in a classified session because of the
sensitivity of some of the issues involved there.
The third issue you mentioned was broadcasting information
to North Korea. That is a particularly important element in
terms of opening North Korea to outside news and information.
Under the Broadcasting Board of Governors, we provide
broadcasting assistance for Voice of America and for Radio Free
Asia to broadcast. Under funding that is provided to the State
Department, we have provided funds for so called defector
radio, radio operations that are primarily staffed by North
Korean refugees, primarily in South Korea, and those are also
broadcast. So we have continued to put major efforts into the
On the human rights situation in North Korea, the State
Department puts out a series of reports annually on these kinds
of issues. One of them is the country reports on human rights
conditions. The last report calls the human rights conditions
in North Korea deplorable. Mr. Smith mentioned the
International Religious Freedom report, and mentioned that
North Korea is a country of particular concern, then identifies
a particular problem in terms of religious liberty.
The Trafficking in Persons report identifies North Korea as
a tier three country, a country whose government does not fully
comply with the minimum standards and is not making significant
efforts to do so. There is no question that North Korea has
serious problems in terms of dealing with those issues.
The fifth question that you asked about was the food
situation in North Korea. As you know, North Korea has serious
problems in terms of providing food for its population. Under
average conditions, it provides enough food for about 80
percent of the population.
This year, the government of the DPRK has requested
assistance from a number of governments, private institutions,
the World Food Program. There have been assessments conducted
by American NGOs, by the World Food Program, and as you
mentioned last week, I led a team to Pyongyang to analyze the
food situation in North Korea where we were able to have a
field team that is out in the field analyzing what the
circumstances and conditions are. I had the opportunity of
discussing with North Korea leaders the requirements that we
would have in terms of monitoring what goes on, if we are to
provide food aid.
I want to emphasize, first of all, that we have not made a
decision on providing food. Our field team will be back from
Pyongyang later this week, and sometime in the future we will
be making a decision on that issue, but I would emphasize that
the consideration that is most important in making a decision
on food will be the need. We will not take political
considerations into account in deciding whether to provide aid.
We will also have to look at competing requirements for our
resources, and we will have to be assured that we have the
ability to monitor the delivery of the food aid.
I want to mention one last comment in terms of my visit to
Pyongyang. During the last meeting we had with the First Vice
Foreign Minister, during the dinner he commented that my title
caused them some problems. That became an occasion where we had
an exchange on human rights that lasted some 20 minutes.
The conclusion of that was they were willing to talk about
human rights. They are willing to look into some of the issues
that we are interested in raising with them. He invited me back
to Pyongyang to have discussions on human rights, and I am
looking forward to possibly having that opportunity.
Thank you very much. I hope I didn't take too long.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador King follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Dr. King. Thank you so
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOSEPH Y. YUN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY OF STATE, EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
Mr. Yun. I thank you, Madam Chairman and Mr. Berman and
members of the committee. Thank you for the invitation to
testify today. As you requested, I am very pleased to discuss
the central aspects of our Burma policy, recent developments,
and the implementation of the JADE Act.
We are pursuing a dual track approach, combing pressure
with principled engagement. The goals of this policy are to
achieve the unconditional release of all political prisoners,
respect for basic human rights, an inclusive dialogue with
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and others that would lead to
national reconciliation, and adherence to U.N. Security Council
resolutions on nonproliferation. I would say the last is
especially relevant to North Korea and Burma military trade.
The U.S. plays a leading role in shining a light on the
Burmese regime's dismal human rights record. We maintain
extensive, targeted sanctions against the regime and its key
supporters. We work closely with the European Union and its
member states, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian
nations and others to press the regime to undertake genuine
U.S. sanctions are based on a series of executive orders
and key legislation passed over the past 20 years. The most
recent Burma-specific legislation, the Block Burmese JADE Act
of 2008, helps to ensure that we do not allow the use of our
resources to perpetuate authoritarian rule. The JADE Act
includes provisions for financial and travel sanctions that
target former and present leaders of the Burmese Government,
officials involved in the repression of human rights, other key
supporters of the government and their immediate family
As you mentioned, Madam Chairman, the JADE Act requested
the appointment of a special representative and policy
coordinator for Burma to ensure high level focus on improving
the situation in Burma and promoting democratic reform in human
As you mentioned, we are very pleased that the President
has nominated Derek Mitchell for this position. He brings a
wealth of the Asia experience and senior government experience
to the table. If confirmed, Mr. Mitchell will carry out his
mandate to advance all aspects of our Burma policy.
The JADE Act also bans the import of Burmese jade, rubies
and related jewelry to the United States. This aspect of the
Act is effective, although Burma's regime reaps significant
revenues from its tightly controlled gemstone industry and
exports to neighboring countries.
Recognizing that sanctions alone have failed to produce
significant reform, we have engaged in direct dialogue with
senior officials over the past 18 months. Assistant Secretary
Kurt Campbell traveled to Burma in 2009 and 2010. I have also
made two visits to Burma, one in December 2010 and, more
recently, 2 weeks ago.
Burmese authorities expressed the desire for improved
relations with the United States, but to date have failed to
address our core concerns. We are disappointed by the lack of
results, although from the outset we expected that real change
would be a long, slow process. We will continue to urge the
regime in private and in public to engage constructively and
undertake meaningful reform.
Burma's 2010 elections, its first in 20 years, were based
on a fundamentally flawed process with restrictive regulations
that excluded Burma's largest pro-democracy party, the National
League for Democracy. These elections were neither free nor
The regime's proxy political party, the Union Solidarity
and Development Party, won the majority of contested
parliamentary seats, while 25 percent of all seats were
reserved for military appointees. Members of opposition and
ethnic minority parties won a negligible number of seats.
Subsequently, the ruling authority, the State and
Development Council, officially dissolved, and President Thein
Sein, the former prime minister and a retired general, assumed
power. His government comprises almost all active or former
military leaders of the regime.
Following the election, the regime released Aung San Suu
Kyi from 7\1/2\ years of house arrest, the end of an
Currently, members of the international community, when
allowed to visit Burma, are able to consult with her, as is our
Embassy in Rangoon. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide
range of issues with her during my own visits.
We are committed to supporting Aung San Suu Kyi's efforts
to seek reinstatement of the NLD and to hold a meaningful
dialogue with the senior government authorities.
Our challenges in Burma remain daunting, and the human
rights situation remains deplorable. The U.S. alone cannot
achieve progress in Burma, and we are working very closely with
our European allies and our Asian and regional partners to urge
the Burmese Government to engage constructively with the
international community and address longstanding concerns.
Thank you for inviting me to testify before you today. I
welcome any questions you may have. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Joseph Yun follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much.
I am going to break protocol a second, and I would like to
recognize Mr. Connolly for 1 minute, because he was not there
for the opening statements, and you had 3 minutes--1 minute.
Mr. Connolly. I thank you, Madam Chairman and, forgive me,
I have another hearing in another room. So that is why I was
I just want to welcome our witnesses and, thank you, Madam
Chairman, for holding this hearing today. Very important, and
we are delighted to have a special guest, Richard Gere, to talk
about Tibet as well.
Highlighting the human rights issues in all three of these
countries, I think, is very important to the United States
Congress to send an unadulterated message that this congress is
committed to the pursuit of human rights in every country in
the world. We believe that human rights is a universal
aspiration, not just an American value, though an important
American value, and hopefully, this hearing will further that
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Mr. Connolly.
Mr. Baer is recognized.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DANIEL B. BAER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY OF STATE, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR
Mr. Baer. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.
Before we begin, I ant to thank you also, not only for
inviting me, but also for inviting the second panel, the
citizen experts and advocates that are part of that panel are
an important part of this conversation, and I am very grateful.
I am also very grateful that the person whose Tibet testimony
will be a focus today will not be my own. So thank you very
much for inviting Richard as well.
More seriously, before we begin, I want to say how much
being in this chamber reminds me of how proud I am to be an
American and how proud I am that our Government is so deeply
and thoroughly committed to advancing the cause of human
rights. Your holding this hearing today, the members of this
committee holding this hearing today is an example of that
commitment, and I am honored to be here to speak with you, and
I am honored to do the work that I get to do at the State
Department every day.
It is my pleasure to be here on behalf of Under Secretary
Maria Otero, the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, to
report that the Department of State is aggressively
implementing the provisions of the Tibetan Human Rights Act--
Policy Act of 2002.
The administration's goals in implementing this act are
twofold: First, to promote a substantive dialogue between the
Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives;
and, second, to sustain Tibet's unique religious, linguistic,
and cultural heritages.
The administration, including the President, Secretary
Clinton, Deputy Secretary Steinberg, Under Secretary Otero,
Assistant Secretaries Campbell and Posner and myself, has urged
the Chinese Government to engage in a dialogue with the Dalai
Lama or his representatives and, through dialogue, to seek
results. Regrettably, the Chinese Government has not engaged in
such a dialogue since January 2010.
We continue to remind the Chinese Government that the vast
majority of Tibetans advocate, not for independence, but rather
for genuine autonomy in order to preserve Tibet's unique
culture, religion, and fragile environment.
We believe that the Dalai Lama can be a constructive
partner for China. His views command the respect of the vast
majority of Tibetans, and he has consistently advocated
nonviolence. Engagement with the Dalai Lama or his
representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the
interest of the Chinese Government and of the Tibetan people.
In addition to pressing for results based dialogue, we are
implementing the act with Congress' support by helping
nongovernmental organizations that work in Tibet and assist
Tibetan refugees in the region. Through numerous programs, the
State Department and the U.S. Agency for International
Development support cultural and linguistic preservation,
sustainable development, and environmental preservation in
Tibet and Tibetan majority areas, as well as Tibetan refugee
communities in other countries.
Under Secretary Otero recently visited programs in India
and Nepal where we assist Tibetan refugees and where we are
actively seeking ways to strengthen Tibetan refugee
settlements. Next month USAID's India mission expects to issue
an award for a new $2 million, 2-year program to support
Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Of course, our own efforts continue against a backdrop of
continuing repression. We are extremely concerned about the
deteriorating human rights situation in China and, in
particular, in the Tibet autonomous region and other Tibetan
areas. Recent regulations restricting Tibetan language,
education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan
Buddhism, and the arrests of prominent nonpolitical Tibetans
reflect the troubling human rights situation there today.
Religious restrictions in Tibetan areas have dramatically
worsened in recent years. Discriminatory religious policies
have exacerbated tensions between Han Chinese and Tibetan
Buddhists, and triggered the 2008 riots that claimed the lives
of Han and Tibetan civilians and police officers.
Chinese authorities control Tibet's monasteries, including
the number of monks and nuns, and interfere in the process of
recognizing reincarnate lamas. Monks and nuns are forced to
attend regular political patriotic education sessions, which
sometimes include forced enunciations of the Dalai Lama.
As Secretary Clinton has said, we were deeply concerned
when we received reports in mid-March of this year that a young
Tibetan monk at the Kirti monastery in Sichuan self-immolated
in protest over the removal of monks from the monastery
following the 2008 riots. Reports state that as many as 300
monks were forcibly removed from Kirti again in April of this
year, and paramilitary forces still have the monastery on
The State Department's international freedom and human
rights reports state that the Chinese Government represses
freedom of speech, religion, association and movement within
Tibet, and routinely commit serious human rights abuses,
including ex judicial killings, detentions, arbitrary arrests,
President Obama and Secretary Clinton have raised Tibet
human rights concerns directly with Chinese officials multiple
times, including with President Hu during his January 2011
visit to Washington. The President and Secretary Clinton met
with the Dalai Lama in February 2010, and the Secretary raised
Tibetan issues directly and at length in the 2010 and 2011
strategic and economic dialogues with China.
Under Secretary Otero has met with the Dalai Lama four
times since October 2009, and with his special envoy, Lodi
Gyuari, nine times in the last 12 months. In April at the human
rights dialogue in Beijing, Assistant Secretary Posner and I
raised our concerns about China's counterproductive policies in
Tibetan areas of China, and reiterated our call for resumption
of dialogue, and also raised specific cases.
We were joined in that effort by then Ambassador Huntsman,
who visited the Tibetan autonomous region last fall. We also
met with the United Front Work Department which handles Tibetan
policy for the Chinese Government, and pressed the Chinese to
set a date with Lodi Gyuari for the next round of talks.
We again raised concern about Tibetan religious freedom
with Minister Wang Zuo'an from the State Administration of
Religious Affairs. Separately, we have provided to the Chinese
authorities a comprehensive list of individuals from across
China who have been arrested or are missing, and that list
included many Tibetans, including six cases that we
specifically raised during our meetings.
As I said when I began, I along with the rest of the
administration share the goals that Congress expressed through
the Tibetan Policy Act. We will continue to press the Chinese
Government to respect internationally recognized human rights
in Tibetan areas and throughout China, and we will continue to
support efforts to help Tibetans maintain their cultural,
linguistic, and religious heritage.
Thank you again for inviting me today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Baer follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much.
Thank you trio for excellent testimony.
I would like to ask about the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit,
as you related the meeting that had taken place. But during the
Dalai Lama's October 2009 visit to Washington, he was not
invited to meet with President Obama at the White House. The
President then had a state visit to China just 1 month later,
and prior to that the Dalai Lama had met with every President
during every visit to Washington since 1991.
The Dalai Lama, as you pointed out, did meet with President
Obama in February 2010, but was escorted out a back door,
blocked by snow drifts and garbage bags. We have all seen that
disrespectful image. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is coming
back to Washington this July, next month. Do you see any reason
why the White House would not invite the Dalai Lama to meet
with the President next month?
Mr. Baer. Thank you, Madam Chairman. As you said, every
President for the last 20 years has met with the Dalai Lama as
an internationally recognized religious leader and a Nobel
laureate, and including President Obama. I don't know the
specific plans for the upcoming visit, but I know that he met
with him in February 2010, and we are aware that the upcoming
visit is planned for July.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. I would strongly encourage the
President to pay the proper respect that this leader deserves,
and that that sad escort out the back door was shameful. He
deserves better treatment than that. So we hope that they have
a productive meeting, and we also hope that he is treated with
the respect that he has earned.
On Burma, I would like to ask about the administration's
pragmatic engagement policy, whether it is principled
engagement, pragmatic engagement, with the junta in Burma. It
is a test case for President Obama's statement that he made,
his inaugural pledge to ``extend a hand, if you are willing to
unclench your fist.'' However, this engagement policy appears
to have borne little fruit.
Since its adoption, we have seen an American citizen
imprisoned and tortured, Burmese generals engaged in possible
nuclear proliferation with North Korea, a flawed election last
year, and the continued imprisonment of over 2,000 political
prisoners, with only one, Aung San Suu Kyi, released. Can you
please comment on what, if anything, has actually been gained
from over 2 years of this pragmatic engagement with the
generals in Burma?
Mr. Yun. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I would agree with you
that the engagement side of our dual-track policy has yielded
very, very limited, if any, gains so far. I wouldn't like to
point any items as having made progress.
I think there are a number of enormous challenges there.
Number one, what do we do about political repression, as you
mentioned, represented by over 2,000 political prisoners?
What do we do about ethnic minority groups that are
especially on the border area that continues to be deprived of
some of the basic rights; and then, number three, the economic
backwardness and lack of basic health care, basic education,
and so on. While we do very much admit that engagement has made
very little traction, I think our overall assessment is we got
to continue the dual track side, both engagement as well as
We would say that one of the more bright aspects is our
effort to engage ASEANs, especially neighbors such as Vietnam,
Indonesia, Thailand, and other countries, and I think they are
coming around to having a discussion with us. If anyone has
leverage over Burma and the government, we believe it is the
neighbors in ASEAN. So working with that side, the regional
side, multilateral side, we believe very important, and we are
having some traction there. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, sir. Ambassador King,
congratulations on gaining the release of U.S. citizen Eddie
Jun. As you know, many of us have been worried about any quid
pro quo about food aid in exchange for his release. I know that
you spoke about it in your statements, but we worry that, if
there had been any discussions about an exchange for someone's
life, that that only encourages these hostile regimes to take
further hostages so that they can get something in return. But
my time is up, and I will be glad to yield now to my friend,
Mr. Berman, for his questions.
Mr. Berman. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I have 5
minutes for both question and answers. We have three countries,
three witnesses. So I will try to keep myself under control and
ask three questions, and then--ask questions to each of you,
and then, hopefully, enough time for you to answer.
North Korea: Ambassador King, assuming a decision is made
to provide food aid based on this need criteria, what can we
realistically do to ensure there is no diversion of that food
Mr. Baer, we now give assistance, about $16 million a year,
helping Tibetan refugees who cross the Himalayas, helping
Tibetans preserve their cultural identity, giving political
support to the Dalai Lama in negotiations with Beijing. How
would cuts to these programs affect the Tibetan refugee
population in India and Nepal as they seek to preserve their
culture? Would the Chinese Government see or portray such cuts
as diminishing support for Tibet in the U.S.? Would this action
undermine--not that I see great hope for it--the Tibetan-
Chinese dialogue that the U.S. has promoted?
Mr. Yun, on Burma: The chair asked a question that I was
going to ask regarding what we are getting. I supported the
decision to go to a principled and pragmatic engagement with
Burma, but 2\1/2\ years later, one asks, other than Aung San
Suu Kyi, what we have gotten for it. What role will the special
envoy play on things like the Burmese regime's refusal to
release all political prisoners? Play that out for us, what do
we do now?
Ambassador King. Do I get to go first?
Mr. Berman. 3 minutes left.
Ambassador King. I will take one. With regard to monitoring
and being certain that food is not being diverted, if we
provide food aid to North Korea, there are a number of things
that we have done in the past that we continue to work on with
the North Korean Government now. First of all, we would provide
monitors who would be on the ground in North Korea, who would
have access to the delivery of the food, who would follow its
delivery and make sure that the food that is allocated would be
delivered to places where it is supposed to arrive.
We would make sure that those monitors are Korean language
speakers or that there are Korean language speakers there, so
that we will be able to follow it fairly closely.
The kinds of food we provide would be the kinds of food
that are less desirable for the elite, for the military. For
example, we would not provide rice. We would focus on some kind
of a nutrition program that would provide other kinds of food
that would be harder to divert, and we would also bring the
food in at a very deliberate pace rather than having a large
amount come in at one time that would have to be delivered in
So it is a process that we have developed over time that, I
think, would be----
Mr. Berman. I can't control myself. Let me add a question
to this mix. What would a decision to provide food aid--how
would that affect South Korea? What would their reaction be to
Ambassador King. We have had lengthy discussions with South
Korea about providing food assistance. They would prefer that
we not provide food assistance. On the other hand, they have
allowed NGOs in South Korea to provide on their own.
Mr. Berman. Mr. Baer?
Mr. Baer. Thank you, Mr. Berman. You asked about the $60
million a year of programming support that we provide both
within and to Tibetans outside of Tibet. One way to look at
that is, depending on how you count, it is about $2 a person
for Tibetans, and I think those investments are very well made
in terms of supporting the sustaining of linguistic, cultural,
religious culture as well as in providing support, particularly
for the refugee communities in neighboring countries.
You asked what the impact would be. The impact would be
significant of reducing that, I think, both the direct impact
on the people who benefit from that support and, as you rightly
put, we can't control the way that a cut like that would be
perceived, and we can predict that it would likely be perceived
as a weakening of our commitment in a political sense.
So we very much support continuing that support for the
Mr. Berman. Mr. Yun, you got 20 seconds.
Mr. Yun. Thank you, Mr. Berman. We cannot do this alone. We
have to have the international community with us to bring about
any significant change in Burma. That means especially the
Asians, Southeast Asians, Europeans. They have to be with us.
We cannot do it alone, and that will be the main job, I
believe, of the special envoy.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. You did a good job of controlling
yourself. Thank you. Mr. Smith, the subcommittee chairman on
Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.
Mr. Smith. Thank you again, Madam Chair. Let me just ask
Mr. Baer. I guess my question would be to you. Mr. Gere in his
testimony notes that the Chinese Government has intensified its
already restrictive policies that undermine Tibetan culture and
religion, increasingly so since the 2008 uprisings in Tibet.
Tibet remains largely sealed off to the outside world, and
he goes on to talk about how hundreds of Tibetans, including
monks and nuns, remain imprisoned for engaging in nonviolent
dissent, and are subjected to torture or reeducation.
He concludes in his testimony that China, again, is
intensely focused on debate for rational and irrational
reasons, and obviously makes a strong appeal and admonishes all
of us to push for the autonomy issue as a win-win situation.
My question is: What role, in your opinion, does Hu Jintao,
the man who, when he was deployed to Tibet in 1989, even before
that--he met with the Panchen Lama mysteriously, the Panchen
Lama, we believe, was murdered. Nobody knows for sure, and it
was Hu Jintao who ordered, as we all know, martial law and a
crackdown in the immediate aftermath when the Dalai Lama got
the Nobel Peace prize, all of this immediately prior to the
Tiananmen Square massacre. Then all of a sudden, Hu Jintao is
on a meteoric rise, a vertical rise, in the government,
obviously landing where he is today.
So my question is the Hu factor. Do we fully appreciate the
bias, the, I would call it, hatred that Hu Jintao has toward
the Tibetan people, the monks, the Dalai Lama in particular,
and when President Obama did meet with him, many of us were
profoundly disappointed that, when he had his press conference
with Hu Jintao at the White House followed by a state dinner
with all the flourishes, that human rights were not addressed
by the President of the United States publicly.
It was so bad that the Washington Post editorial the next
day noted that President Obama defends Hu on rights, and
President Obama went on to say that they have a different
culture, they have a different political system. Yet the
culture is one that desperately desires freedom and democracy,
and the political system happens to be a brutal dictatorship.
Don't offer a defense for that, President Obama. And yet he
So my question is--and I know you can say how many times we
have dialogues and this and that, but it seems to me that, if
there is not a focused, concerted, consistent, predictable,
absolutely transparent statement from the President of the
United States to his counterpart unelected dictator, Hu Jintao,
much of what we are trying to do collectively on both sides of
the aisle to help the Tibetan people and all those who are
suffering in China goes and is laid aside.
The Hu factor, the autonomy--was autonomy raised by the
President in his visit with Hu Jintao at the White House or at
any other meetings, and again that press conference will long
live in my memory and many others' as a grotesquely missed
opportunity. He could have done it in very diplomatic tones,
but he didn't. So if you could.
Mr. Baer. Thank you, Congressman. First of all, I agree
with you that President Hu's record on Tibet is not a good one.
President Obama engaged him directly on the autonomy issue on
his visit, and he also called for him, publicly, to meet with
the Dalai Lama in February of this year.
I agree that we need to maintain a focused, concerted
effort. We need to not lose focus, and we need to not let
things fall by the wayside. We need to continually raise these
issues. When I was in Beijing in April with assistant Secretary
Posner for the Human Rights Dialogue, this was raised
repeatedly in many meetings with different parts of the Chinese
I think that Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden,
most recently when the Chinese were here for the strategic and
economic dialogue, made clear that not only the issue of Tibet,
which the Secretary raised at length in her meeting with her
counterpart but also the broader issue, the broader repression
in China right now is a serious, serious concern.
It is problematic for the U.S.-China relationship. As Vice
President Biden said, we can't have a firm foundation for that
Mr. Smith. On that point, if I could, because I am almost
out of time: Sophie Richardson asks--she has a number of urges
to the committee and to the administration--that there needs to
be an ask for the release of Tibetan prisoners prior to Vice
President's visit to China later this summer. Will Vice
President Biden ask for the release of those prisoners before
his visit, and insist upon it?
Mr. Baer. We routinely ask, and I expect that we will
continue to routinely ask for the release of not only Tibetan
prisoners but other prisoners. We raised the case of Gao
Zhisheng, who you raised. The Secretary has raised his case
several times, and we will continue to do that. Yes.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.
Smith. Mr. Connolly is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Mr. Baer or Mr.
Yun, with respect to Burma, the administration announced back
in the fall of 2009 a shift in policy toward--we characterized
as pragmatic engagement. In the ensuing 20 months, are there
things we can point to that we think show positive development
from a shift in that policy to pragmatic engagement?
Mr. Yun. Thank you very much. As previously mentioned, I
think the key item, the key gain from principled engagement is
our ability to have meaningful exchanges with neighbors, ASEAN
countries as well as the regional countries. I would agree with
Madam Chairman's assessment that, in terms of concrete gains
coming out of Burma, we have had very few.
Mr. Connolly. Not much.
Mr. Yun. Yes.
Mr. Connolly. In terms of human rights, good for them in
positively engaging with their neighbors, but what about
internally in terms of the plight of Burmese citizens who are
still incarcerated, detained, and abused?
Mr. Yun. That remains the same and deplorable. There are
still about 2050 political prisoners there.
Mr. Connolly. One likes the idea of pragmatic engagement,
but one wonders whether that policy is working.
Mr. Yun. I think, having said that, we have had this policy
for now about 2 years, and I think we should give it a chance.
In order for any policy to work, we have to bring along the
international community. We cannot do it alone, and how do you
bring along the international community? I think that is the
Right now, you have heard ASEANs saying that, in January,
that sanctions ought to be lifted. So we need to engage them
saying that we need to go the same direction. As you know, what
has happened in Burma is that it has turned increasingly to
China, and how do we manage that in terms of their less
dependence on other countries and more dependence on China?
So I think all these things have to be taken into account,
and to say that right now the engagement policy has had limited
gains, I don't think it translates into we should not pursue
Mr. Connolly. Yes, although it is your own testimony you
just gave that said it was limited gains.
Mr. Baer, speaking of China, you cited the fact that
Secretary Clinton brought up the issue of the Dalai Lama and
the need for the Chinese to meet. How is that going?
Mr. Baer. The Chinese have not offered dates for another
round of that dialogue since January 2010. That is the longest
gap since the dialogue started in 2002.
We will continue to raise, as we have several times in
recent months, the fact that we think that it is, as Richard
Gere's testimony says, a win-win, that the dialogue can be a
fruitful way of finding solutions to problems facing the
Tibetan people, that raise tensions that are problems for the
Chinese Government, and that they should not shy away from the
dialogue. They should embrace the dialogue, that the Dalai Lama
is a good interlocutor for them, and that the dialogue can be
productive, if they will engage.
Mr. Connolly. No, I understand our message, Mr. Baer. The
question is results. Have the Chinese responded positively to
that importuning from the Secretary of State?
Mr. Baer. They have not.
Mr. Connolly. They have not. Do we have any reason to
believe they are going to?
Mr. Baer. I hesitate to make predictions about the
decisions of the Chinese Government. We will continue to raise
it. I think that we will continue to press the point that it is
in the pragmatic interest of the Chinese Government.
Mr. Connolly. Well, as the chairman said, perhaps one way
to do that is to make sure he is fully welcome at the White
House. That might be an interesting symbol for the Chinese to
underscore the point you are making.
Mr. King, Ambassador King, I have only 36 seconds, but
don't we need, speaking of the Chinese, the Chinese, frankly,
to use their leverage with the North Koreans if we are going to
ever get behavioral changes in Pyongyang?
Ambassador King. Definitely, and we are working with the
Chinese. I think the Chinese find some of the same frustrations
working with the North Koreans that we do.
Mr. Connolly. There was just a visit by the North Korea
leader to China. Do we have reason to believe that the Chinese
sort of sat him down and a Chinese uncle talk with him?
Ambassador King. We have reason to believe that they raised
the issue of resuming the Six-Party Talks and more cooperative
response on the part of the North Koreans, yes.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much. Mr. Rohrabacher,
the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations chair, is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, and especially
greetings to Ambassador King on having him back with us.
One of the proudest moments I have had in my 22 years in
Congress was when your former boss dragged up corporate leaders
here to this hearing room to demand that they explain their
complicity with the repression of the Chinese people, and I
will never forget that, and I am very proud to have known Tom
Lantos and served with him.
China has allied itself with the world's worst human rights
abusers, and is itself one of the world's worst human rights
abusers; and you find a rogue regime murdering its people, you
will find an alliance with China in that equation.
We are trying to figure out why our protests haven't had
any impact, why when Mr. Hu gets invited to the White House, he
doesn't change his policies after something is mentioned
somewhere to a Chinese official that we don't like repression.
This is nonsense. This is total nonsense. We have built the
economy of China. We have created a Frankenstein monster. It
has been American businessmen making profit off dealing with
that repressive, corrupt regime that is the real message that
America is sending to China. As long as we are sending
technology and capital investment, building their economy,
permitting them the technology they need to repress their own
people, they are not going to take any protest from us
seriously. What is this win-win?
The Chinese policy we have had has been a lose-lose, not
only are the people of China losing and the people of Tibet and
the other repressed groups there, the Uyghurs, and the people
who want freedom of religion and democracy, the Falun Gong.
Yes, they have all lost.
America has lost at the same time. We have our corporate
leaders over there transferring all of our technological jobs
and our basic industry to China, strengthening their
As long as we permit that to happen, don't think they are
ever going to take us seriously about our protests that they
put the Dalai Lama's next successor in prison, and we don't
know where he is. Why should they? Why should they take us
seriously, if there is no price for them to pay at all?
Madam Chairman, I think we need to call corporate America
here, the way Tom Lantos did, and put them on record, because
these guys are obviously giving the right message, but America
by our policy and by our building up of their economy is
sending the wrong message to the dictators in China as well as
in Burma and North Korea and elsewhere.
One note. I would like to ask about Korea. There is a free
trade agreement going through now with South Korea. Does that
free trade agreement permit goods that are being built in that
zone in which North Koreans can come down and work in that zone
so that they don't have to pay them as much as they pay them in
South Korea? Are we going to permit items from that zone to be
exported into the United States under that free trade treaty?
Ambassador King. I am sorry, Congressman. You are getting
beyond my level of expertise on that. I know there has been
concern about it.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, I can tell you this much. We end up
with a free trade treaty with South Korea that permits their
business elite, of course, cooperating with our business elite,
to sell products that were made basically by slave labor,
people coming down from North Korea into that zone, working at
wages that then go to North Korea--and they pay them a
pittance, Madam Chairman, a pittance of that, and the rest of
it will go to North Korea.
If we permit that to happen, how could anybody take us
seriously that we believe that there should be sanctions on
North Korea or that we are opposing the dictatorship in North
Korea, when we are financing them, and we have been financing
them for 15 years.
I think that the world, and especially these poor people
who are repressed in these various countries--they can't hear
what we say, because our actions are too loud. Our actions
speak louder than our words, and they know when we are serious,
and so do their oppressors.
We will have progress in this world when people know that
America is serious about liberty and justice and who we are
supporting, but we haven't been serious. Thank you very much,
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr.
Rohrabacher. Mr. Sires of New Jersey is recognized for 5
Mr. Sires. Thank you, Madam Chairlady. I think there are a
lot of things that haven't been said here that should be said.
One of them is the fact that I don't think the Chinese are ever
going to take us seriously as long as we turn around, we say to
them, look, we are worried about human rights, and at the end
of the conversation say, look, we need another $100 billion.
How can anybody take us seriously when we complain about human
rights, when they go into a State Department, they hack our
computers, they steal our technology, we protest, and they
How can anybody take us seriously? We have the issue with
bin Laden. We have the stealth helicopter. We had to blow it
up. We were worried that the Chinese were going in there to
steal the technology.
The relationship that we have with China is too uneven,
because every time we turn around, we are borrowing money from
China. So I think that is a factor that has to be taken into
consideration every time we make a case for human rights. They
are just not going to take us seriously.
They don't care. They are moving forward. We are moving
backward. They just do not care about human rights. I guess we
do have to make the efforts, but sooner or later, it has got to
I was just wondering, how would the election of a Tibetan
prime minister affect the relationship between Tibet and China?
Can anybody answer the questions? If we have an election where
we have a prime minister, can you tell me, Mr. Baer, and the
relationship between Tibet and the United States?
Mr. Baer. I am not sure how the recent election of the
prime minister of the government in exile will affect the
relationship with China. We continue to support Chinese
engagement with the Dalai Lama and his representatives.
Mr. Sires. That's it?
Mr. Baer. It has been the longstanding policy through a
number of administrations to continue to see the positive
benefits that are available to the Chinese of engagement with
the Dalai Lama, because of the moral authority that he commands
within Tibet and outside of Tibet, and to believe that that is
the best path forward for political dialogue.
Mr. Sires. Well, I am certainly of the opinion, as Mr.
Connolly was, that I think the President should invite him and
should meet with him. He is a world leader. He is someone who
represents millions of people, and to have him to go through
the back of the White House, that is just not acceptable.
We are supposed to be the leader in the world of human
rights. We stand up for something. So for whatever it is worth,
you might just want to relate to the President that there are a
lot of people in this Congress that feel that he should receive
and give him the honors that he deserves. Thank you very much.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Mr. Sires. Judge Poe, the
vice chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations,
is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, gentlemen, for
I think the overall picture should be addressed, and the
overall focus should be on China. China is the culprit
everywhere in the world. No matter where we are, China is
snooping around causing trouble, and it is not good for the
United States, and it is certainly not good for people around
Human rights: China doesn't believe in humans or rights. It
is an organized, criminal activity that is the government. They
steal American trade secrets. They steal our products. They use
slave labor, and yet they own most of our debt, and we seem to
have, in my opinion, a little cozy relationship with the
Chinese and don't take them for what they are.
North Korea: Human trafficking, engaged in human
trafficking into China. I think China is in on it and, when you
have people escaping from North Korea to China--not necessarily
the greatest stellar rights organization in the world found in
China--you know things are bad in North Korea as far as human
China gives a wink and a nod to the human trafficking of
women into China. Probably goes back to their one child
philosophy. I don't know, but it is going on, and that is just
one of the many problems in China, besides Tibet, that is
taking place as well.
Burma: Once again, you got the Chinese nose in Burma doing
what it can to prevent, I think, human rights in that nation.
So I don't know if it is because they own our debt, if it
is because we ignore the fact they are stealing all our
products, then they reproduce them and then sell them back to
the United States, whether they are a trade partner with us,
but do we have as a nation a policy dealing with the human
rights violator, China?
Their tentacles are through the world, North Korea, Burma,
China, but as opposed to looking at each country by itself, do
we have a policy of dealing openly and honest with the world
and Americans about the Chinese tentacles of consistently
violating the rights of people throughout the world? Mr. Baer,
do you want to weigh in on that?
Mr. Baer. That is a big question. Look, I appreciate and
agree with the fact that China, both domestically and as an
international actor, has a very deeply disappointing record on
I think that one of the things that will define our
engagement with China on human rights in the years ahead is the
increasing degree to which we recognize that, when we advocate
for human rights and when we raise it, as we do and as we
should and as Secretary Clinton did publicly during the
strategic and economic dialogue, as Vice President Biden did,
as President Obama did a few months earlier, as we continue to
do that, it is not really about us.
It is about us in that our commitment to human rights is
deeply a part of who we are, but what we are advocating for is
that the Chinese Government should recognize that people want
to be treated with dignity. people everywhere want to be
treated with dignity, and it is not sustainable to deprive them
The desire of the Chinese people and the people in other
countries with which the Chinese have relations, including
North Korea and Burma, to voice their own view of their
futures, to have a say in how they are governed, to be able to
freely assemble and associate and express themselves online--
that is a right, a universal human right that will not be
denied. It will not be denied forever.
Mr. Poe. Let me reclaim my time. But do we have a policy of
dealing with China, not just with the human rights violations
in their own country, but the fact that they are snooping
around all over the world violating human rights of other
people in their country? Do we have a plan?
China ignores us. They don't take us seriously. Is it
because they control our debt, because of the balance of trade?
They just ignore what we have to say. Do we have a plan? I
guess that is what I am asking. Then I will ask Mr. King to
weigh in on that or Ambassador King to weigh in on the
remaining of my time.
Mr. Baer. Sir, yes, we do engage with them on their
engagement outside of China. It is an issue that I myself
raised during the human rights dialogue and that the Secretary
and others have raised in our engagement with them, because,
obviously, China's influence is not just within the context of
our bilateral relationship but also as a rising player in the
So we certainly engage them, and we certainly engage them
not only on their economic and military influence, but also on
their influence on human rights conditions.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Judge, we are going to hold Dr.
King. Maybe someone will follow up. Thank you.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Mr. Burton, the chairman of the
Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, is recognized for 5
Mr. Burton. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. There is an
estimated 8-10 million people in reeducation camps or gulags in
China, and I would like to follow up just briefly on what Mr.
Smith was talking about, that we rolled out the red carpet for
the head of the Chinese Government, and at the press conference
there was no mention about the human rights violations that are
taking place there and in the other countries that surround
China. Do you have any idea why this administration and why the
President hasn't been very public about these horrible human
I would really like to know. Mr. Poe just mentioned, is it
because of the debt that we have with them, the $1 trillion-
plus debt, or what is the reason the administration in a
diplomatic way can't be very, very strong in expressing our
concern about the horrible human rights situation that the
Chinese have and use in that part of the world?
Mr. Baer. I share your view that it is critically important
to make it clear to the Chinese Government that their human
rights practices, including the reeducation through labor
camps, etcetera, are not satisfactory, are intolerable, and
that they are a serious issue to the United States Government
and an impediment to our bilateral relationship. But I believe
that they know that.
Mr. Burton. Well, when the head of the Chinese Government
comes here and gets the red carpet treatment, and they have a
state dinner for him and they then have a press conference with
the President of the United States, it seems to me that there
should have been some mention of the human rights atrocities
that are taking place over there and in the surrounding
Mr. Baer. I believe that President Obama did raise human
rights concerns publicly with President Hu, and I can tell you
that, from the way that the Chinese Government reacts when we
raise human rights, that they are aware that this is a serious
concern and that it is a serious concern to them that we are
Mr. Burton. Well, if that is being done or if that has been
done, I am not aware of it. I have been on the Foreign Affairs
Committee now for a long, long time, and since this
administration took place, I have heard nothing from the White
House about the human rights violations and atrocities that are
taking place in that part of the world.
I would like to also ask Ambassador King. South Korea
opposes giving food aid to North Korea. They are closer to the
problem and know more about the problem of North Korea than
probably anybody, because they are threatened by North Korea
all the time.
You said that there are monitors that go in when we send
food aid, and obviously, we want to feed starting people. But I
remember Mengistu in Ethiopia, and Mengistu was taking millions
of dollars worth of food and the trucks to deliver the food to
the starving masses in Ethiopia, and he was selling it to italy
and to other countries.
So I would like to know how we monitor that and, if we are
monitoring that and it is helping the North Korean people, why
is it that South Korea is opposing it? There must be some
reason, because they are at loggerheads with North Korea all
Ambassador King. We have a particularly close relationship
with South Korea. We work with them very carefully, very
closely. We consult with them on issues that relate to North
Korea and that relate to regional security issues.
We agree with them on many issues. There are some issues
that we disagree. We have not made a decision to provide food.
We are considering the possibility, and we have sent a team to
determine whether there is a need that would justify it.
Mr. Burton. Well, you said you were in Pyongyang, and you
met with them, and you anticipate going back, and you have a
fairly good relationship with them. I would hope that the
President of South Korea would be included in your discussions,
not necessarily with the North Koreans, but that you would have
the opportunity to sit down with him and find out in detail the
reasons why they think this is a mistake, number one; and
number two, I think it is extremely important, if the
administration goes ahead with this humanitarian aid, that it
gets to the people who are starving to death there.
Like money, like gold, you can move it around to the
benefit of the government in question, and I certainly wouldn't
like to see 20 percent of the people in North Korea continue to
starve while this food aid or the money from the food aid goes
to the Government of North Korea so that they can further their
Ambassador King. I have spent more time--a lot more time in
South Korea than I have in North Korea, and I have met with
very senior government officials, and we have had long
conversations about the food aid situation.
In terms of the monitoring, we have experience in the past.
We have provided some food aid to North Korea in 2008, 2009. We
had a letter of understanding in terms of how the aid would be
monitored, and we think we were reasonably successful in terms
of assuring that the aid that we provided was going to those
who were most in need, to children, to nursing mothers, to the
elderly, and we have ways of monitoring to make sure that it
Mr. Burton. Well, I hope that is the case. I remember when
we had the nuclear issue, we thought they were going to be
trustworthy, and they weren't then as well.
Ambassador King. Well, that is why we verify.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much. Congresswoman
Schmidt of Ohio is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. Schmidt. Thank you, Madam Chair, and I first am going
to direct my attention to Mr. Baer.
Last fall I had the rare opportunity, quite by accident, to
have a private meeting with the Dalai Lama for almost 30
minutes, and I found him to be a remarkable, honest, holy man,
somebody that exudes peace and tranquility, and there were a
few messages that he gave to me, one being to make sure that
you take care of your family, but he also wanted me to
understand that the family extended beyond the borders of those
that are in my own home.
So now I feel a little bit of a responsibility toward my
extended family in Tibet and the human rights atrocities that
are occurring because of the Chinese Government.
First, a simple little question, because I don't know
whether this reflects the attitude of the administration or we
just haven't gotten around to it, but I understand that today,
and much of 2010 as well, there has only been one permanent
staff member in the Tibet Coordinator's office in this
administration. Yet under the appropriations legislation, the
Tibet office has been given a $1 million annual budget for
three staff members. Can you tell me why the Tibet
Coordinator's office is not fully staffed? That is just a
Mr. Baer. Thanks very much. You are right. There is one
permanent staff member currently in that office.
Ms. Schmidt. But it has been over a year. Why don't we have
three? Why aren't we working harder?
Mr. Baer. The transition in the last 6 months--the current
occupant of the permanent staff member sitting is directly
behind me right now, and the former occupant is now working for
Senator Kirk. So there is only one permanent staff member. You
Since the coordinator is in the Under Secretary's office,
there are a number of us who work on a daily basis----
Ms. Schmidt. Mr. Baer, we appropriated money for this
particular office to focus on this particular issue, and while
we can talk about all the other reasons why China is acting in
the way that it is, this is just one little thing that is a
simple fix. If we gave you the appropriations for three staff
members, maybe we can do a better job resonating the problems
that Tibet is undergoing if we had it fully staffed.
So it has had well over a year. Why isn't it fully staffed?
Mr. Baer. I understand, Madam Congressman. We have been
trying to bridge the gap with visiting fellows, etcetera, and
we will have--assuming the final security clearance goes in, we
will have the second full staff member in the next few weeks.
Ms. Schmidt. Moving on, I can see we are not going to be
doing this in a quick time frame, and I have only a few seconds
In eastern Tibet, sir, the Kirti Monastery is under siege
by the Chinese security forces. Following the self-immolation
by a Tibetan monk in April who was protesting Chinese policies,
policies that he could no longer tolerate, the police descended
on the monastery, and some 300 monks have been taken away for
``patriotic education.'' I fear what that means to them.
Two townspeople were killed trying to protect the monks
from being taken away. What has this administration, albeit
limited with only one person on board, done to protest the
crackdown on the Kirti monastery? Was it brought up in the
recent U.S.-China human rights dialogue and strategic and
economic dialogue, and have you as diplomatic personnel sought
to visit Kirti Monastery to assess this situation?
Mr. Baer. Thank you. I will try to be expeditious in my
reply. Yes, as soon as we heard about the reports about the
events at Kirti, starting with the self-immolation on March 16
and the crackdown following, we immediately engaged, but we
raised this incident at length, particularly, in a meeting with
United Front Work Department in Beijing.
Ms. Schmidt. Have we visited the monastery?
Mr. Baer. We have not visited the monastery.
Ms. Schmidt. Why haven't we visited the monastery?
Mr. Baer. We have requested a visit to the monastery. We
requested that several times during the course of the humans
right dialogue, both with our interlocutor at the MFA, as well
as the State Administration for Religious Affairs, as well as
the United Front Work Department. We have made it clear that,
if the Chinese Government would--if the reports of the Chinese
Government are accurate, they should not----
Ms. Schmidt. What would happen if we just showed up at the
door and said I want to look?
Mr. Baer. My understanding is that it would be very
difficult for us to get to the door.
Ms. Schmidt. Have we ever tried?
Mr. Baer. I do not know the answer to that question.
Ms. Schmidt. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Ms. Schmidt. I
am very pleased to recognize Ms. Buerkle, the vice chair of
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, for 5
Ms. Buerkle. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Quite honestly, I
am sitting here listening to China's record, the concern that
we have, whether it is that they own our debt, the abysmal
human rights record that they have and they continue to
perpetuate, and as I listen to you all, it is a pretty tepid
response we are getting here today. There doesn't seem to be a
sense of urgency.
So with that, I want to follow up with my colleague, Judge
Poe. He talked about a plan and understanding and
appreciating--making sure this administration understands and
appreciates what is going on.
We didn't get to Ambassador King about his thoughts. If you
can articulate for us, what is this administration's plan that
illustrates to us an appreciation of what is going on?
I guess I would ask all of you, why the tepid response?
There doesn't seem this sense of urgency. Is it because they
own our debt? Is it because we--you know, we are tiptoeing
Mr. Baer, you mentioned that--this is when you were asked
by Judge Poe about the plan, you said it is not about us; China
should recognize that people wanted to be treated with dignity.
Well, guess what? They don't, and they won't unless the
United States of America stands for and sends a clear message
to them that we are protectors and preservers of human rights.
That is what the United States of America stands for, and that
should be the message that they get from us.
So I will just give you an opportunity to respond to that,
and I want to save to 1 minute to yield to my colleague, Mr.
Smith from New Jersey.
Mr. Baer. Let me be brief, and then my colleagues can weigh
in. I appreciate very much your comments, and I share with you
the sense of urgency about the condition of human rights in
China. There has been a backsliding in recent months.
It is of deep, deep concern, and I don't believe that
either--speaking for myself or for Secretary Clinton, that
there is any tepidness in our response. I think the comments of
Secretary Clinton starting in January on the eve of President
Hu's visit, her comments at the rollout of the human rights
reports, her comments at the recent strategic and economic
dialogue have made it very clear that we see this as an urgent
concern, that we see it as China not acting in China's
interest, but as Secretary Clinton said, through the arc of
history countries that disrespect human rights will be less
likely to be stable, prosperous and successful.
So we have made it very clear, I think. It hasn't been
tepid at all, and I would say to you today, I certainly--for my
own part, in my work within the department and when I travel to
Beijing, Ambassador Huntsman was engaged. I expect Ambassador
Locke to be deeply engaged in these issues.
These are an urgent concern for the United States
Ms. Buerkle. If I could just interrupt here, why then--how
do you account for the backsliding that you just referred to?
Mr. Baer. Well, the backsliding has to do with decisions
made by the Chinese Government, and it is true that we, the
United States Government, are not the only lever that affects
how the Chinese Government makes their decisions, but we are
taking a number of actions to make clear to them that, from our
perspective, this is not in their interest, and it is also
inconsistent with what we need to see in order to have a
positive bilateral relationship in the future.
Ms. Buerkle. Thank you. I have 30 seconds left before I
yield to the gentleman.
Ambassador King. I will be quick. One of the difficulties
with our relationship with China is that it involves not only
human rights but a whole range of other issues.
We depend on the Chinese in terms of dealing with Iran. We
depend on the Chinese in terms of dealing with North Korea. The
Chinese are a major player economically. The Chinese are a
major player in the United nations, and we have things we would
like them to do in the Security Council.
Human rights is one of many issues, and we don't have the
luxury of being able to concentrate just on human rights. Human
rights is important. We try to put our efforts into it, and we,
I think, have made some progress in that area.
Ms. Buerkle. Thank you, Ambassador King. I yield my time.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Ms. Buerkle. I appreciate you
yielding. Let me just ask Mr. Baer a brief question.
Since Nuremberg war crimes tribunal and Tokyo as well, it
has been very clear that there is no statute of limitations on
either genocide or crimes against humanity. A few days ago
Bosnian Serb Miladic was found and will face trial at The Hague
for genocide at Srebrenica and crimes against humanity for the
bombing of Sarajevo.
As we all know, Hu Jintao ordered the murder of Tibetans in
1989. It began his rise to power where he now metes out
terrible human rights abuse on a daily basis. My question is: I
believe it is time for an emphasis not just on government
responsibility, but on holding individuals personally
So my question would be: Do you believe, does the
administration believe that Hu Jintao and others who are
committing crimes against humanity and genocide, especially in
Tibet, each and every day should be held accountable at The
Hague or any other venue like it?
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Mr. Smith. That is an
Mr. Smith. That is a yes or no question.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. I am very sorry, but we are out of
time, and I thank the panelists for appearing before us, and we
hope that you come back again with more concrete answers.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Now I would like to introduce our
second witness panel. The chair is pleased to welcome our
Mr. Richard Gere really needs no introduction. While
Richard is celebrated throughout the world for his impressive
career in film, he is here today in another role of equal
importance as an advocate for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and
the people of Tibet.
Richard's interest in Buddhism in Tibet traces back to a
trip he made to Nepal in 1978. He is co-founder of the Tibet
House, the creator of the Gere Foundation, and the chairman of
the board of directors of the International Campaign for Tibet.
He has previously appeared before this committee as a witness
in March 2007 under the chairmanship of Tom Lantos. We are very
glad to have you back, Richard, and I thank you for being
always so gracious as we line up our summer interns, and you
are very kind to take a photo with each and everyone of them.
Next we have Mr. Aung Din, who also previously testified
before this committee in October 2009. Aung Din not only talks
the talk, but he has walked the walk. Why do I say this? He has
served over 4 years behind bars as a political prisoner in
Burma. His arrest resulted from his political activities in
1988 when he helped lead the country's nationwide pro-democracy
uprising as vice chairperson of the All Burma Federation of
After Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of
conscience and helped gain his release, Aung Din came to
Washington, DC. Here, he founded the U.S. Campaign for Burma,
an umbrella group of Burmese dissidents in exile and American
He has received a degree in master of international service
from American University's School of International Service in
2007, as well as degrees from the Singapore Institute of
Management and Rangoon Institute of Technology. Welcome back,
Mr. Aung Din.
We also would like to welcome Mr. Chuck Downs, the
executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North
Korea. He gave us a copy of his latest publication, ``Taken:
North Korea's Criminal Abduction of Citizens of Other
Countries: A Special Report by the Committee for Human Rights
in North Korea.''
His career in defense and national security issues has
spanned more than two decades. He previously served as Deputy
Director for Regional Affairs and Congressional Relations in
the Department of Defense's East Asia Office.
As a senior fellow at the National Institute for Public
Policy, he chaired the North Korea Working Group, which
provided policy recommendations to the Office of the Secretary
He has published numerous articles in the New York Times,
the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and is the
author of a celebrated work on North Korean diplomacy, ``Over
The Line: North Korea's Negotiating Strategy.''
He graduated with honors in political science from Williams
College. Glad to have you, Mr. Downs.
Finally, the committee welcomes Sophie Richardson, the
advocacy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division.
Ms. Richardson has conducted research and published
articles in such publications as the Far Eastern Economic
Review and the Wall Street Journal on democracy and human
rights in China, Hong Kong, Cambodia and the Philippines. She
is also a commentator on Asian human rights issues, having
appeared on CNN, the BBC and the National Public Radio.
Ms. Richardson is a graduate of the University of Virginia
and Oberlin College and speaks Mandarin Chinese. Welcome, Ms.
Richardson, to our committee.
I kindly remind our witnesses to keep your oral testimony
to no more than 5 minutes, and without objection your written
statements will be made as a part of the record. So we will
start with Mr. Gere. Thank you, Richard.
STATEMENT OF MR. RICHARD GERE, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF
DIRECTORS, INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR TIBET
Mr. Gere. How are you all doing, by the way? Everyone
Madam Chairman, thank you so much for having this testimony
today. This hearing is very important, and I, for one, am so
extraordinarily moved by the words I hear but, even more so,
the passion in the voices and the hearts of all of you on this
committee. You are educated. You are feeling. You are committed
people, and as a U.S. citizen we couldn't ask for more than
that of you. So I thank you very much for bringing that with
I have a long written statement. I think you all have that.
I am not going to go through that, but I hope you would look at
that later, because I spent a lot of time working on that. I
will read the first few pages just for context, and I want to
have more of a lively dialogue between us. I think it will be
Much has been covered, by the way, so many excellent
questions and excellent responses. I felt a little sorry for
Mr. Baer who, obviously, is a working stiff and is defending a
lot of things that he probably personally doesn't want to
defend, but he did a very good job at that. I want to thank him
for being here and taking minimal abuse today.
As chairman of the Board of the International Campaign for
Tibet, I appreciate the opportunity to testify here on an issue
that challenges our moral compass and our ability to settle
fundamental differences between people without resorting to
There are few international issues that have remained
unresolved as long as Tibet has, nor one that has so intensely
engaged the emotions of the American people. We Americans care
about Tibet. As Senator Daniel Moynihan once said, ``The
Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949 does not become less criminal
because it has remained in place over such a long period of
time. The Chinese have been brutal. They have made no bones
about it and have made no apologies.''
The question of Tibet's incorporation into the People's
Republic of China and the status of the Tibetans impacted by
Chinese rule in an issue that continues to create obstacles in
the U.S.-China relationship, and for good reason. China
resolutely refuses to recognize the Tibetans' basic rights as
defined not only by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
but also by the Chinese constitution that contains clear
protections for national minorities, whether they are Uyghurs,
Mongolians or Tibetans.
I would like to note that, more recently, we have begun to
witness the same intensified persecutions against Chinese
citizens also, artists, writers, poets, lawyers, free thinkers,
even simple farmers who have been aggressively pursued, in some
cases disappeared, imprisoned or even tortured, all outside the
framework of law. The vast apparatus of the People's Republic
of China moves against any expression of free thinking that is
perceived as challenging the authority of the Communist party,
no matter how nonviolent or benign, which sounds suspiciously
like North Korea, Burma and any other authoritarian regime on
I think we should view the subject of today's hearing,
North Korea, Burma and Tibet, as case studies that are not
dissimilar to failed systems where long simmering tensions have
erupted into violence elsewhere in the world, cases we have
seen today where legitimate grievances are left unattended, and
fundamental freedoms are violently suppressed, where the voice
of the people is stifled, and the rule of law fails to protect
chronically and systematically.
Now to quote Secretary Clinton, Beijing is on a ``fool's
errand'' to think it is immune to change or that it can
continue to suppress the will of its people to communicate
freely as human beings on this small interconnected planet.
If the concept of the will of the people is meaningful to
us at all, as many of us believe--I think everyone in this room
does--then we need to look very carefully at how we engage the
People's Republic of China vis a vis Tibet. We can do, and we
must do much, much better.
Just something I would like to offer before I finish this
part of my discussion is that neither the International
Campaign for Tibet nor the people of Tibet are interested in
China bashing. We have no interest in China failing. We would
like to see a successful China, but one that is worthy as
being, as the Dalai Lama says, an older brother to the other
nations of Asia, a kind, generous, open, beneficent entity in
Asia, and for it to be that is a success, truly a success.
I think, if we follow our own hearts as Americans, and as
we have evolved our own system and insist that all of our
decisions vis a vis China come from that place, we can help
them to become truly successful, and in that process, of
course, Tibet will prosper. I have no doubt about that. Thank
you all very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gere follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHUCK DOWNS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
Mr. Downs. Thank you, Madam Chairman. It is a great
pleasure for me to be here today. As some of you may recall, I
spent a few years working on Capitol Hill for the Policy
Committee. I have the greatest respect for this particular
committee and everything you have done for North Korea.
I appear before you today as the executive director of the
U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and my
statement goes through a number of issues relating to North
Korea, all of which you are familiar with. But you have asked
me to focus on the North Korean Human Rights Act today, which
this committee sponsored in 2004, and Madam Chairwoman, you
reauthorized as recently as 2008. It is a great piece of
legislation, one that stands as a hallmark of the American
people's interest in the human rights of the people of North
Korea. You are to be commented for that incredible achievement,
and it gives us a roadmap from which we can look at a number of
issues relating to North Korean human rights.
Bob King, whose excellent appearance today, his fine
testimony, and his recent trip to North Korea, is a living
example of how wise it was to create a position of Special
Envoy for North Korean Human Rights.
My organization had the pleasure of having as its
distinguished co-chair for many years the late Congressman
Stephen Solarz. I actually remember helping people prepare for
testimony before Congressman Solarz when he was the chairman of
one of your subcommittees. His death is a great loss, as is
that of former Congressman Lantos, he is with us in spirit
Two thousand and four was an extremely interesting year for
human rights in North Korea. You will all immediately think
that that was the year that the North Korean Human Rights Act
was passed. I believe it was passed on July 21st of 2004. The
same year, a former U.S. military defector, Charles Jenkins,
managed to put the North Korean Government in a position of
having to release him so that he could join with his wife, a
former Japanese abductee, in Japan. He left North Korea on July
There was another big event also in July. Some 468 North
Korean refugees who had made it through China, went through
Yunnan Province, made it to Vietnam, and were sent back to
South Korea with the approval of the government and the
cooperation of the Government of Vietnam, socialist Vietnam,
and the Government of the Republic of South Korea.
These actions, starting with the North Korean Human Rights
Act, infuriated North Korea, and North Korea said in a formal
statement issued by KCNA, the North Korean mouthpiece, ``The
DPRK will certainly make NGO organizations in some countries
pay for the North Korean Human Rights Act.''
On August 14, an American citizen, a young man from Utah,
24 years old, decided to travel by himself in Yunnan. He said
goodbye to his friends who went back to Beijing, and he decided
to go up the Leaping Tiger Gorge to a place called Zhongdian.
He visited a restaurant there, a Korean restaurant, three
times, and disappeared.
Our organization is looking very closely at the possibility
that this American citizen, who spoke perfect Korean because he
had been a Mormon missionary in Korea, and he spoke Chinese
very well and, of course, he spoke English very well with a
Midwestern standard dialect--he may, in fact, have been
abducted by North Korea.
This would make the United States the 14th country to have
lost an individual to North Korea. We quite often think that
the Japanese were the only ones abducted from seaside resorts
along the coast of Japan, but that is not, in fact, the case--
the North Koreans have abducted four Lebanese, people from the
Netherlands, people from France, and a Romanian.
The Romanian was lured to Hong Kong, found herself in
Pyongyang. Malaysians and Singaporians were also lured to what
they thought were job offers from people they thought were
Japanese, and they ended up in Pyongyang. Many of these people
were never heard from again except that they had made it into
the notes of other abductees and other defectors and agents who
So thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I appreciate the
opportunity to be here and to focus on the wide range of crimes
that North Korea commits against human rights.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Downs follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF MR. AUNG DIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER,
U.S. CAMPAIGN FOR BURMA
Mr. Din. Madam Chairwoman and Mr. Berman and members of the
committee, thank you very much for holding this hearing today.
Last week the Chinese Government hosted leaders from North
Korea and Burma in its capital, Beijing. So the Burmese
President, Thein Sein received more than $760 million interest-
free loan, and Kim Jong Il also received financial and moral
support from the Chinese Government. So with the strong backing
and blessing from the Chinese Government, Thein Sein and Kim
Jong Il continue their oppression against their own citizens
I believe they also learned from their big brother how it
controls its own citizens under severe restrictions and how it
brutalizes different people and cultures.
So this is the duty of the United States. Where the Chinese
Government has opened its arms to embrace its fellow dictators,
the United States Congress supports people living under the
oppressed regimes in Burma, North Korea, Tibet and all over the
world. Thank you, America.
The Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act authorized a
procedure to terminate the sanctions clearly if the President
determines and certifies that the military regime has (1)
unconditionally released all political prisoners; (2) entered
into a substantive dialogue with the democratic forces led by
National League for Democracy and ethnic minorities; and (3)
allowed humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by
the armed conflict in all regions in Burma. Sadly, these
conditions are not met yet.
Almost all of the generals who have held power over the
last 20 years are still doing so under the veneer of civilian
rule. There are still more than 2,000 political prisoners.
There are still more than 2 million refugees and illegal
immigrants in neighboring countries who are forced to flee
Burma to avoid political, ethnic and religious persecutions as
well as economic hardship.
There are still about a half-million ethnic people who are
hiding in jungles and mountains inside the country to avoid
being killed by the Burmese soldiers, and more than 3700
villages were destroyed or burned down by the Burmese regime in
the eastern Burma area in its decades old military campaign
against ethnic minorities; and there are still tens of
thousands of child soldiers within the Burmese military.
Basic freedoms such as the freedom of press, freedom of
association, freedom of religion and Internet freedom are
restricted. The gap in the country between the powerful and the
powerless, the rich and the poor, the privileged and the
disenfranchised continues wider, unattended, and unabated.
Therefore, I strongly call on the United States Congress
not only to approve the renewal of the sanctions on Burma, but
also to strengthen it and fully implement it. Let me explain
The JADE Act has imposed targeted financial sanctions on
former and present leaders and officials of the regime, as well
as any other Burmese persons who provide financial, economic,
political support for the regime, as well as their family
The Department of Treasury has added names and entities of
targeted people under their Special Designated Nationals (SDN)
list. However, the Burmese cronies under the targeted sanctions
by the Department of Treasury are much fewer in number than
those who are sanctioned by the Governments of Australia and
European Union. Many business cronies who are under the EU or
Australian sanctions are still at large from the U.S. financial
sanctions. I mention some names in my prepared testimony.
Also, the financial sanctions should also target cronies
who are providing the regime with political and propaganda
support. For many years, the regime has carried out a campaign
called Attack the Media with Media to counter international
criticism against its illegal rule through international media
and foreign based radio stations.
In addition to the regime owned newspapers and TVs and
radio stations, the regime allows some cronies to set up media
companies and produce publications of journals and magazines,
as well as broadcasting of FM radio stations. These
publications and broadcasts portray the military as the one and
only institution that can save the country from disintegration,
attack Aung San Suu Kyi and the democracy forces as the puppets
of the western powers, and denounce international pressure on
the regime as unfair and biased, and praise China, Russia and
Cuba as true friends of Burma. So I mention some names in my
However, financial sanctions alone will not hurt the regime
and cronies substantially enough. Over time they can find ways
to avoid the U.S. financial sanctions by moving their assets to
other countries, using the Euro instead of American dollars,
engaging with some agents to make U.S. dollar transactions, and
setting up front companies to cover up their real identities.
Therefore, the crucial part of the JADE Act should be
implemented. The additional banking sanctions contained in the
JADE Act has the power to penalize any foreign bank that is
doing business with the regime or managing the regime cronies'
money. So this one should be implemented. If it does, it will
be an effective threat to the regime and its cronies and
foreign banks that manage their money.
So the dictators in Burma, the military and its proxy party
do not run their country themselves alone. They are fully
supported by the business cronies who are allowed to control
over entire sectors of the country's economy, trade, and
natural resources in exchange for the allegiance and wealth
sharing with the generals. They are like Ruhr industrialist
Fritz Thyssen, who supported Hitler and have funded Hitler and
his Nazi party in Germany before the Second World War.
So the United States should identify cronies like Fritz
Thyssen in Burma and imposed financial and banking sanctions on
them. This will be the best way to cut economic lifeline of the
generals and further prevent them from stealing from the
[The prepared statement of Mr. Din follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you for that recommendation.
STATEMENT OF MS. SOPHIE RICHARDSON, ASIA ADVOCACY DIRECTOR,
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Ms. Richardson. Madam Chairwoman, in an effort to cover all
three in 5 minutes, I am going to cut to the chase. We are
compelled to start with North Korea where, despite lip service
to the human rights provisions in the constitution, the regime
remains one of the most abusive in the world. This is a
government that happily continues to pursue collective
punishment, public executions and a range of forms of arbitrary
detention. It also harshly people who leave the country without
The economic mismanagement and Kim Jong Il's proclaimed
``military first'' policy are also threatening the lives of
countless North Koreans. This year the World Food Program has
reported that North Korea could face its worst food crisis
since the famine of the 1990s, which claimed over 1 million
Given these circumstances, we do urge that the U.S. respond
positively and immediately to the humanitarian imperative of
resuming food aid to North Korea, though donors should insist
on the kinds of steps that Ambassador King articulated about
monitoring of the delivery and the delivery of food assistance.
We believe that some of the startling increases in access
granted by the North Korean Government to the U.S., the U.N.
and others is perhaps evidence of the regime's growing
desperation, and that that should be acted on, and that the
State Department should move to try to make those changes
We also urge that the U.S. continue to strongly press the
Chinese Government to stop practicing refoulement, essentially
sending people back to a well founded fear of persecution by
sending them back to North Korea where they face severe
We also encourage the U.S. to continue to lean on the North
Koreans to let in the relevant U.N. special rapporteurs who can
report on human rights, on food aid, and on issues related to
arbitrary detention and ex judicial executions.
Burma: I am going to spend an extra minute on Burma,
because I am a little bit taken aback by some of the State
Department's testimony this morning.
Some people have looked at the political changes in Burma,
the election of a President and a Parliament, and concluded
that this is a new government. That is a fiction. These are the
same people behaving in the same ways as were running the
country 6 months ago.
We supported the Obama administration's decision to try to
engage the Burmese military 2 years ago, and we welcomed along
the way domination of the United States Special Representative
and Policy Coordinator for Burma, but the question remains,
what policy is there to be coordinated?
I think we also need to spend a few minutes talking about
whether the regime's lack of concessions is in part a lack, in
part a function of the State Department not necessarily--or the
administration not necessarily pulling all the levers that are
available to it. I want to talk about two in particular that
were not mentioned this morning, and that are worth serious
The administration has said that it is committed to
maintaining sanctions against the Burmese Government, but in
reality it has refused to implement the full complement of
sanctions envisioned by the JADE Act, including the one option
most likely to be effective, which is pursuing the banks and
other financial institutions that are holding funds on behalf
of the Burmese junta.
Moreover, 6 months ago Secretary Clinton said that the
administration was committed to--and I quote--``seek
accountability for the human rights violations that have
occurred in Burma by working to establish an international
commission of inquiry.'' But in reality, the administration has
made little or no effort to make the commission a reality.
Now this morning we heard Mr. Yun talk about how the U.S.
can't do things alone. Well, you know what, 15 other
governments have agreed to support the idea of a commission of
inquiry, and I keep asking what the U.S. has actually done to
make this a reality. Instead, I get told that it is hard.
You know, what is really hard? it is really hard being a
Burmese political prisoner right now, and if the U.S. doesn't
pull these levers and pursue all of the means that are
available to it in these circumstances, it is in effect saying
to people like those political prisoners, monks and students
and other people who have come out on the street, you know
what, guys, you are going to have to do it again; you are going
to have to offer yourself up as human sacrifices to try to get
the world's attention again. That is unacceptable.
In Tibet, since March 2008 when protests blew up across the
plateau, the human rights situation, in our view, has worsened
considerably as a result of several new developments, including
a significant increase in the number of troops garrisoned on
the plateau, and intensified propaganda campaigns and hard line
discourse from the government that blames the Dalai Lama and
the Tibetan exile movement for any unrest.
Tibetans now endure even sharper restrictions on their
movements within Tibetan areas and increased surveillance in
other parts of China, and are forced to endure more
restrictions on monasteries and religious activities.
Prior to 2008, when we all know that there were severe and
systematic human rights abuses, the Chinese Government tried to
conceal its security apparatus and political control to project
the impression of Tibetan acquiescence to government policies.
This is no longer the case. We are now talking about blatant
In addition to urging that Vice President Biden raise cases
of Tibetan political prisoners, we believe that the Chinese
leadership and the U.S. leadership should meet with the Dalai
Lama and the newly elected head of the government in exile.
I am happy to provide some other thoughts about China
strategy in particular, and happy to answer any of your
[The prepared statement of Ms. Richardson follows:]
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. Thank you for excellent testimony.
Mr. Gere, I will start with you.
There will be likely a struggle over the next Dalai Lama
when the current one, who is 75, passes away. Beijing
authorities will seek to interfere with the selection of
Tibet's new next spiritual leader, and they would hope to put a
puppet probably that they can control.
We can't imagine in a similar circumstance a European
secular power intriguing in the Vatican to manipulate the
selection of the heir to the See of St. Peter. So as the
selection of the Dalai Lama, according to the reincarnation
system of Tibetan Buddhism, is clearly an issue of religious
freedom, what can or should the U.S. Government do to persuade
Beijing to keep its hands off a purely religious matter?
Mr. Gere. The total absurdity of the Chinese Government
saying that they will be naming the next Dalai Lama, when they
are an atheistic organization, is pretty absurd. This is
totally for the Tibetans themselves and, frankly, with this
Dalai Lama, who is much bigger than Tibet, belonging to the
world, it is certainly not up to the Chinese to make this
This Dalai Lama has said also that he will not be reborn in
a Chinese occupied area. So, clearly, he will be born in
freedom, whether it is in India, but clearly outside of Tibet
as long as it remains under Chinese control and the kind of
repression that there is now.
In terms of the U.S., just be very clear in saying, no,
this is up to the Tibetan people and the religious
organizations within the Tibetan culture to make that decision.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much. Mr. Downs, on
North Korea, the North Korean Human Rights Act provides for
broadcasting inside of North Korea, including by North Korean
Last month, a defector run radio station, based on sources
that it had cultivated inside North Korea, carried a report on
the systematic murder of special needs children. The reported
rationale was to keep the North Korean capital, Pyongyang,
devoid of disabled people. If true, this would represent a
horrific human rights violation of epic proportions.
Can you comment or can Ms. Richardson on the likely
credibility of this report, and can you comment on the overall
effectiveness of these broadcasts into North Korea?
Mr. Downs. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I saw that report,
and personally I thought that it had a high level of
credibility, primarily because it actually identified
individuals involved in the process and identified the source
of the information to a deep degree.
It is not inconsistent with things that we have known that
the North Korean Government has done in the past, and it makes
sense from their perspective. So I take it as a serious
concern. I know that Sophie will want to have some time to
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Yes, and also on the effectiveness
of the transmissions. Ms. Richardson.
Ms. Richardson. I think the broadcasting is incredibly
important, and here I will insert a plea about VOA's Chinese
language services. This is not the time to cut them, rather to
I think in North Korea, too, these services are incredibly
important for bolstering people's sense of a connection with
the outside world, but also transmitting information into and
out of countries that don't have free presses. These services
are crucial, in our view and, to some extent, in our own
On the issue about that report in particular, I haven't
seen it, but I agree entirely with Mr. Downs that those kinds
of practices are consistent with behaviors that we have
reported on in the past.
Mr. Downs. Let me add one thing, if I could, specific to
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Yes, sir.
Mr. Downs. Defectors are particularly adept at getting
information out of North Korea and sending information back
into North Korea. They know what is on the minds of the people
in North Korea. They know how to get the information, and they
have been extremely effective.
I can remember 10 years ago everyone questioned whether
defectors were a good and legitimate source for information
from North Korea. That skepticism has diminished over the
years. People no longer doubt that they are obtaining the best
information. After looking at this issue for 20 years, I can
tell you that there has been a tremendous track record on the
part of defectors for saying accurate things that we were later
able to prove actually happened. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you. Then on Burma, I won't
have time for your answer, but I wanted to bring up again that
the administration has taken over 2 years to name a Special
Representative for Policy and Coordination for Burma, and it is
legislatively mandated in the Block Burmese JADE Act.
I think that this prolonged delay in naming this special
envoy has impeded our U.S. focus on the deteriorating human
rights condition inside Burma and on the necessity to enforce
the sanctions mandated in the Act. So we certainly hope that we
see some movement there. I thank the witnesses again for their
excellent testimony. Pleased to yield to Mr. Berman for his 5
Mr. Berman. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I guess I
would like to ask, on Tibet, Mr. Gere and perhaps Ms.
We have had a vivid demonstration from your testimony and
what the members of the committee have said regarding what is
going on with the Chinese in Tibet. The Chinese like to say,
oh, the Dalai Lama just wants an independent country; he wants
to secede. He has publicly said that is not his goal, but still
no direct meeting with the Dalai Lama. Now he has turned over
governmental responsibilities to the democratic elected
leadership of the Tibetan Government in exile in India, and
Lobsang Sangay has been elected to head the Tibetan exiled
Do either of you see this as an opportunity where the
Chinese might consider directly negotiating with him? Is there
some strategy change here that offers any hope of working or is
this just an implacable opposition? They will always have--they
always invent some reason, and we shouldn't expect anything to
come from this transfer of power?
Mr. Gere. I don't think we can expect anything, but I am an
optimist. I think things can change radically, as we have seen
in our lifetimes. Out of nowhere, things have changed.
Mr. Berman. In the last couple of months.
Mr. Gere. And I think this can happen in China, because the
elements are all there for this kind of radical change. When
people have been repressed this long--and I am talking about in
China, not just Tibet or Mongolia or with the Uyghurs or
anywhere. Change can come extremely quickly.
Now in terms of these negotiations, which between the
Tibetans and the Chinese which were restarted in 2002,
fruitless--to this point, there is nothing that has been
gained. The key negotiator, Lodi Gyari, tries to put a good
face on this, and he says, well, we are getting to know each
other. But beyond that, and maybe a more civil meeting that
they have every year or 2, nothing really has come out of the
Still, from the Chinese side, it is the insistence that
they only want to talk about the fate of the Dalai Lama, where
he will reside, what his circumstances might be. They do not
want to enter into what the real negotiation is from the
Tibetan side, which is the fate of 6 million Tibetans. Now
until they decide to do that, of course, there will be no
Now the other question that you had about Lobsang Sangay,
very interesting case, and I wrote about it a little bit in my
paper. This is a boy who was born in an exiled community, in a
refugee community and was given the possibility of becoming
much more than that.
Long story short, he took advantage of a Fullbright
scholarship and was educated here in the U.S., became a
professor at Harvard, and is now the first freely elected,
fully empowered prime minister of Tibet, in exile, but I think
the evolution of this kind of a systematic movement toward true
democracy in the exiled Tibetan community is extremely
The willingness of the Dalai Lama, who by all accounts--the
psychic energy, the physical energy, everything about him--is
the leader of the Tibetan people, by his own powers stepped
back, because it was good for the people to engage the ideas of
Now if the Tibetans can do that outside of Tibet with all
of the negative circumstances of being a refugee community,
certainly that signals to inside of Tibet that that is also
possible, and also by extension in China that it is possible.
Mr. Berman. You are an optimist, and that is good. There is
no reason to be here if you were not.
Mr. Gere. I will not have it beaten out of me by anyone.
Mr. Berman. I have 52 seconds left here. Mr. Din, Ms.
Richardson, let's assume the administration--and I do believe
truly that the only way they are going to get real change in
Burma is to get the neighbors of Burma to decide that this is a
goal that they will take up with the Untied States. What is
your evaluation of that strategy, and that, therefore, that is
why they haven't imposed the final sanction, or that is why
they haven't quickly enough appointed somebody? This is their
goal. Is that a goal that is achievable, and would it make a
difference? Now 1 second. You have until the chair----
Mr. Din. Mr. Berman, we are not asking for saving our
country from the dictatorship. U.S. sanctions alone will not
make my country free. U.S. engagement also will not make my
country free. The people of Burma are the ones who will save
their country from the dictatorship.
What we are asking is strengthen us better and better, and
we can get stronger and stronger. The stronger we are, the
weaker the region, the chance--the better we have chance to win
the victory. So with the United States, rising of the history
and make themselves whatever effort they can to supplement our
movement in terms of financially, physically and morally, as
well as make the region weaker and weaker by imposing economics
and other sanctions on the region as strong as possible. That
is all we are asking.
Mr. Berman. Could Ms. Richardson just get a word in on this
subject as well?
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you. Could we leave that for
maybe another--maybe Mr. Connolly will help you out.
Mr. Berman. No, that is all right. I could pursue directly.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much. Mr. Smith is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Madam Chair. Let me thank all four of
our witnesses for your very concrete and very serious
recommendations. I think you do each of the countries in
question a great service by having very serious
I mentioned earlier in some of my comments to Mr. Baer a
concern that I have about a lack of personal accountability on
the part of dictators and their henchmen and people who are
just following orders who do heinous things to other people.
Tomorrow in remembrance of the Tiananmen Square massacre, I
will be introducing the China Democracy Promotion Act, which
will empower the President to deny visas to those individuals
who have committed atrocities, and the President would have
that ability to say you are not coming to the United States.
It mirrors what we did with the Belarus Democracy Act, and
I was the author of that, and it does work when we tell the
dictatorships we are not kidding, you are not coming here. I
hope that maybe we could get a full head of steam for that
piece of legislation.
I mentioned earlier, Mr. Gere, and you might want to touch
on it, Hu Jintao's personal animosity toward Tibet cannot be
overlooked. I would say, if it is not hate, I don't know what
it is, and I find it very discouraging that we fail to realize
people's personal animosities who then get into these positions
of power, and they do terrible things. So you might want to
speak to that.
Again, I found all of your testimonies very compelling. Mr.
Downs, you point out that there is no reason for China to have
to bear the burden of resettling all North Korean refugees.
Well, as we all know--and I have actually chaired three
hearings on this, and I would agree with you--the Chinese
Government continues to commit the grave crime of refoulement.
They send people back to certain incarceration, if not
death, but we also found during those hearings that many of the
women who make their way across into China are then sold into
sex trafficking and area abused, sex slavery and are abused
horrifically, and China, to the best of my knowledge, has never
been held to account for its gross violations of the refugee
convention at the U.N. Again, the U.N. doesn't even do a slap
on the wrist vis a vis China for any of its crimes in this
So if you could speak to that, and again--and I hope to get
Mr. Baer to answer the question in the administration. It is
time to hold people like Hu and others personally accountable
either in a criminal venue like The Hague, certainly in other
venues as well like the Refugee Convention.
Mr. Gere. You raised a lot of very good points here,
Congressman. We had a long talk about this earlier this
morning, actually, and the reality of dealing with the
Chinese--I think our President has found new footing on how to
deal with the Chinese. I would like to see him go further, as I
think most of the Congresspersons here would. When he made the
decision not to see the Dalai Lama in September 2009, I believe
it was, he said, no, I want to go to China first and start
fresh with the relationship with them.
On a certain level, that made a great deal of sense, and he
talked to the Tibetan community about that before that decision
as made public. It was the wrong decision, because the reality
is the Chinese only deal with pressure, seriousness, firmness,
and every time we are wishy-washy with them, they take
advantage of it, and this is not true only of the U.S. but of
every other country they have dealings.
A stick and a carrot is very important in dealing with the
Chinese. Firmness is deeply important. They do understand that,
and anything short of that is viewed as weakness, and they will
take advantage of it, absolutely.
Now as to Hu Jintao, when it was clear that he was going to
take over leadership, I asked some of our people in some of our
agencies--let me put it that way--about him, and they had a
psychological report on him.
They said, look, this is a guy who came out of the Party.
From a young man, he was in the Party, and he has group-think,
Party-think. This is not a kind of alpha personality who can
bring change. He is not a Gorbachev. He is not someone who can
think out of the box. He is always going to be within the box
of the Communist party, and for his tenure there, he has proven
himself to be exactly that.
He wasn't a businessman. Jiang Zemin actually was able to
make some large moves laterally. The army at a certain point
pulled a choke chain on him and stopped the entire process of
that, but I think any of these guys that come out of the party
system, there is no way that they will be the free thinkers
that we want them to be to make radical change or even, really,
Hu Jintao, I have no doubt, has animus against the
Tibetans. He showed it, as you said, in 1989, and he continues
to show it now. There were many opportunities and there
continue to be opportunities in Tibet to make things right.
There is a soft way in Tibet for the Chinese to get
everything they want, and for the Tibetans to have everything
they want, and coming from strength, as Hu Jintao has come
from, or apparently, he has been willing or unable to see that.
It is a great misfortune for China as well as Tibet.
One other thing I would like to bring up in terms of this
stick and carrot, the visa thing is real. They do listen to
these kind of things. We want a consulate in Lhasa. That is
important to us. As it is now, the closest we have is in
Chengdu, and Chengdu is actually much further away from Lhasa
than Kathmandu or Dhaka.
So we want this, and we have had it on the table since the
last time I actually spoke to you all, which was in 2007, I
think, and I think it actually was talked about as early as
2002 very seriously. We want that. Now that is at the top of
our list with China.
They want consulates in Boston, Atlanta, elsewhere. This is
a quid pro quo. If you want Boston, we want Lhasa, and to be
very, very clear about it----
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Smith. Mr. Connolly.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Let me pick up
where Mr. Gere was just leaving off. I am going to ask a
devil's advocate question. That is, what real leverage do we
have on the Chinese, frankly, with respect to Tibet?
They have been resettling Tibet with Han for a long time.
You talked about 6 million Tibetans. There are 1.3 billion Han.
Our relationship, if anything, has shifted in a way where we
are much more susceptible to their leverage than they are to
ours, from an economic point of view. The largest trade deficit
we have in the world is no longer Japan. It is China.
They have invested in U.S. debt to the point where,
frankly, they are our largest debtor country--or creditor
country. So when we look at, well, what points of leverage, I
know you cited visas, but given the enormity of Chinese
presence in Tibet, given their intransigence with respect to
any discussion about Tibetan autonomy, the return of the Dalai
Lama under reasonable circumstances, and so forth, how
realistic can it be that the United States could meaningfully
influence the Chinese to a much more enlightened and reformed
view about Tibetan freedom?
Mr. Gere. Everything you say is absolutely true, but the
situation in Tibet can radically change quickly. The investment
in Tibet is fairly superficial from the Chinese side. They have
already taken the natural resources. The hundreds of billions
of dollars in natural resources, including wood, timber,
etcetera, etcetera, that is all gone.
They have a large contingency of military there at this
point, and that costs them a lot of money. But we are not
invading China. We are not going to stop having economic
relations with China, but there are areas that they are very
Human rights, brought up consistently, is annoying to them.
It is like having a thing in your tooth of a lion, a lion with
a little stick stuck in his tooth. It is annoying to the point
he would do anything to get rid of it, and that is what we have
been doing from the Tibetan side now for 40, 50 years.
There is a reason why they still think why do people care
about Tibet; why do they keep bringing up Tibet? It annoys
them, and it is right, and it is true, and it is coming from a
powerful place from us.
Now I agree so totally with you who have spoken ill of the
President for not receiving the Dalai Lama properly. That is
annoying to them, to see the President of the United States
publicly engage in the most appropriate way with the Dalai
Lama. That is a big deal to them.
The fact that the President of the United States would talk
about human rights publicly in front of them saying this is
what we stand for, and we are really not happy with what you
are doing there--that is incredibly annoying to them. Now we
have to do this consistently.
Every time a Congressman goes near the Chinese, they have a
list of Chinese prisoners, every single time. Every single time
Tibet is brought up, every single time the Dalai Lama is
brought up, every single time the negotiations between the
exile government and the Chinese is brought up, in every
situation, whether it is economic, political, etcetera,
educational, artistic exchanges, every single one, these key
points that we care about are brought up, and believe me, they
hear it. They are so annoyed by this.
Mr. Connolly. I really take your point. We need to be
speaking consistently and unwaveringly, because weakness is not
respected on the other side.
Mr. Gere. No. Taken advantage of.
Mr. Connolly. That is right.
Mr. Gere. Immediately taken advantage of.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you. Ms. Richardson, real quickly, I
heard your disappointment in the administration testimony in
the first panel, and I shared it, and I wanted to give you an
opportunity to expand a little bit on Mr. Yun's answer to my
question about how is it going with pragmatic engagement in
Ms. Richardson. Now well, is the short answer. The
administration has, obviously, sent a number of envoys to
Burma, tried to engage in conversations, obviously reached out
to Aung San Suu Kyi and others, but there haven't been any
I think that really is a function of the regime not feeling
any real pressure or obligation to make those kinds of
confessions, and why we need to wait any longer or wait until
the EU, for example, decides that it thinks the new government
is problematic or not all that new or ASEAN allies have a
sudden change of heart and decide to take a tougher position
against one of their own is a little bit of a mystery to me.
We know what this government is. We know how it will act.
The U.S. has leverage available to it, and if it has exhausted
other options and hasn't seen the desired change----
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Ms. Richardson. Thank
you, Mr. Connolly. Mr. Rohrabacher is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman and,
Mr. Smith, I hope you will put my name on as an original co-
sponsor to your China Democracy Promotion Act, and that sounds
exactly right. You are actually doing something rather than
just annoying them.
Mr. Gere, I really appreciate you over the years. Very few
people in your business have had meaningful commitments to
human rights, and you have. What was the name of your movie
where you were the businessman in China?
Mr. Gere. Red Corner.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay, there you go.
Mr. Gere. A very large seller in mainland China.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Let me suggest that any of you who have
not seen that movie should see it, and I thought it was very
courageous of you to participate in something like that that
could have had economic repercussions, for yourself.
I do not believe that annoying dictators and gangsters
makes a difference. I'm sorry, and the bottom line is that, if
you have--and I always have--when I go to these countries, I
carry the list of political prisoners.
Mr. Gere. God bless you.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I do this all the time. Frankly, the other
Americans who are carrying contracts and blueprints for
technology development and the plan for the latest plant that
they want to move from the United States to China--that means
more to them than----
Mr. Gere. I think, if every single one of them had that
list, your list--and that was primary before you got into the
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, I will tell you, the businessmen--as
I say, America's actions speak so loudly that they can't hear
our words of support for human rights, and that is a sad, sad
story. I am saying that, because I disagree with you on that
one point. You are my hero on being committed to human rights
the way you are, and the points you are making are very
important for us to listen to.
The reciprocity demanding for a consulate and Lhasa, for
example, is an important point to make. We need reciprocity
rather than annoyance. We need--for example, Beijing has
permitted two VOA reporters in their country. They have
hundreds of government reporters from China here.
Mr. Gere. Good point.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Let's have some reciprocity. In fact, what
we are showing them, instead of demanding reciprocity, we are
closing up VOA. I mean, how insane. What kind of message does
that send. All the other messages we are going to send, but we
are going to close up the China section of VOA. Yes, we are
sending messages, all right, and I agree with you. We should
never, never try to have violence as our tactic that will bring
about freedom in China.
The people of China are our greatest ally in this fight for
freedom and peace in the world. The Chinese Government is our
worst adversary and enemy. We need to expand that alliance.
One note, Ms. Richardson. Where I agree with many of the
things that you stand for, instead I want to note one thing
that I disagree with your testimony. That is for us to be
feeding the people of North Korea is catastrophe for the cause
of freedom and the cause of peace, and it will not bring a more
If we end up, which we have done for the last 15 years,
providing fuel and providing food for North Korea, they will
then use their money to buy weapons and to repress their
people. There is a track record. It is demonstratable that that
is what they will do.
This is what tyrants do. They don't care about their own
people. So we should not shift the responsibility of feeding
them and providing them fuel to the Americans or other people.
We should leave that--I'm sorry. The North Koreans will suffer
because of their own government, not because we are not giving
it to them.
So, Madam Chairman, we have had a lot of good suggestions
here today, and this has been a great hearing, and I appreciate
you taking the leadership. I hope this committee--we have had
these suggestions now, reciprocity for Lhasa and these other
things that we have heard today. I hope that we follow up on
that, and I do hope that we do call Americans here to explain
when they are doing things that actually help the tyrants in
places like China, but also in Burma and these other countries.
Thank you very much.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr.
Rohrabacher. Mr. Burton, chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe
and Eurasia, is recognized.
Mr. Burton. I just learned that we are cutting off the
funding for VOA to China. I didn't know that, but I will be
happy to join with you in getting signatures on a letter to try
to get that money reappropriated for that. I think that is a
crazy thing. That is the first thing I didn't know.
The second thing I didn't know is that you could sing. When
I saw Chicago, I just couldn't believe you were singing. So I
want you to know that that was very impressive.
Mr. Gere. I just want you to know I am not going to sing
Mr. Burton. That is fine. That is fine. Incidentally, this
morning while I was getting ready to come to work, on the
History channel they had a documentary on Tibet, and I wish you
could have seen it, because I thought maybe you put them up to
that, because it went into all the things that you were talking
about, from the birth of the Dalai Lama all the way up to the
problems that they are having today. So it was kind of timely.
First of all, let me talk about North Korea. My colleague
just said, Dr. Richardson, that we shouldn't be sending food
there. I concur with him. I would love to make sure that the
starving people there get food. I think that is important, but
I remember--and I mentioned before, and you probably heard it
when I was talking the first time around--that Mengistu got
millions of dollars in Ethiopia, and he made money off of it
and used it to repress his people, and it went on and on and
I think that a better use of our funds and our resources
would be to really go after North Korea in every possible way
to make a change, and I know it is going to be very difficult,
but giving them food aid for the starving masses, unless we
could make sure it gets to them--and the monitors you talked
about--that was talked about with the first panel, I just don't
have much confidence in them.
You said the election in Burma was a sham. I think that
most of us were not really aware of all the ramifications of
that, but I will try to make sure that we communicate that to
the rest of our colleagues who aren't here on the Foreign
Affairs Committee with us today.
North Korea said that, when we passed the Korean Government
sanctions legislation, the Korean Human Rights Act, that the
NGOs will pay for that. Can you elaborate on that real briefly?
Have they done that? Has there been any repression of the NGOs
that were there in North Korea?
Mr. Downs. There were no NGOs in North Korea, and the
statement actually said NGOs ``operating in some countries.'' I
have considered that an additional bit of circumstantial
evidence that suggests that the mysterious disappearance of
David Sneddon was actually a North Korean abduction. There are
a number of other circumstances that support the same
You can say that they have taken other actions as well
against NGOs around the world, but in that particular time
period there was one action that, I think, is attributable to
North Korea that was responsive to the anger that they felt at
Mr. Burton. I don't know how much pressure this will put on
these tyrannical governments, but I think your idea of a bill,
which I will co-sponsor with you, to deny visas to anybody from
those countries that are involved in human rights violations is
very good, and I will try to help you get co-sponsors to that.
Mr. Gere, you said that you hope that China, like other
countries, will be successful and that there will be positive
change. We all share your view that that, hopefully, will
happen, but with the military government that they have and the
Communist government, I am not too optimistic that that is
going to happen.
So I am going to give you one more chance to elaborate on
how you think we could put pressure on them or Burma or any of
these other countries, Tibet, and their governments to bring
about positive change.
Mr. Gere. This is a very long discussion.
Mr. Burton. I know, but you are very knowledgeable, and I
would like to hear what you have to say.
Mr. Gere. But, I think, philosophically, too. Look, my
feeling is that nonviolent change, real change, takes a long
time, but once it is achieved, it is solid. It is real. It has
There is no way that China is going to change from the
outside rapidly. They will change from the inside, as we see.
Communication becomes desperately important. We see what the
Internet has done.
We know what the Voice of America has done. I can tell you,
the people, the Tibetans, nuns and monks, friends of mine who
have gotten out of Tibet have said that that kept them alive.
The hope that kept alive in them was extraordinary. For us to
stop that, for the minimal amount of money, considering budget-
wise what that is, is insane to cut that off.
Same in China. People get information. They hear other
ideas. As much as I do agree in this stopping visas, I want
more people to come to the U.S. I want everyone to come to the
U.S. Even if it is unbalanced, I want them to come and see how
other people live, see how we live, see how we think, see the
mistakes we make, the context of our lives. That has changed
our planet rapidly, just seeing each other, engaging each
I was in China--I think the only time I was allowed in the
mainland was in 1993, I think it was, and I have seen since
then many of the Chinese people that I had met at that point
outside and how quickly they changed in the process of just
seeing the rest of the world, hearing the rest of the world.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you.
Mr. Gere. Engaging the rest of the world. It is huge.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much. Thank you. Our
last question and answer period will be led by Mr. Bilirakis of
Mr. Bilirakis. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I want to thank
the panel for their testimony. I only have one question. It is
not directly related to Tibet, North Korea or Burma, but it
characterizes Beijing's influence in their neighborhood.
Recent media reports--we have been discussing this issue,
but recent media reports from the Economist, BBC, and the
Taipei Times have disclosed the Beijing pressures, some of its
Asian neighbors, to interfere with and even stop some
independent media in these countries from broadcasting either
locally or to mainland China.
Such media include Radio Era Baru in Indonesia, Sound of
Hope Radio Network in Vietnam, and the New Tang Dynasty TV in
Taiwan. This is particularly troubling, since two out of the
three countries are democratic countries.
I would like to hear from the panel your thoughts on
China's reach into undermining democracies.
Ms. Richardson. I will try to give you a succinct answer to
that. Yes, these cases that have been reported, I think,
clearly represent the Chinese Government's efforts to shut down
transmissions by particular kinds of media outlets.
The ones you just referred to are affiliated with the Falun
Gong, and we have seen a very concerted effort to make sure
that those can't broadcast either into the mainland or to
Chinese speaking communities across Southeast Asia.
I think it is absolutely true that especially the regions
and the places we are talking about today, feature regimes
that, in and of themselves, are deeply committed to brutality,
and would continue to be so even if China dropped off the map
tomorrow, but the Chinese Government does provide crucial
economic support, diplomatic support, and certain kinds of
other recognition that those regimes really, I think, rely on.
One of my concerns about the hesitation on Burma of needing
the neighborhood support--is the U.S. really looking for the
support of Laos and Vietnam and Cambodia, three governments
that have terrible track records on human rights, to help
protect the people of Burma? That doesn't make a whole lot of
sense. But I think it is very clear to see that the Chinese
Government will try to influence efforts of activism, either by
Tibetans or Uyghurs.
In other parts of Southeast Asia, we have seen a number of
horrifying cases of people being refoule'ed back to China from
Southeast Asia, not least 20 Uyghurs who were sent back from
Cambodia at the end of 2009 and literally not been heard from
These are very worrying trends that, I think, deserve a
certain amount of public scrutiny from the State Department.
Mr. Din. Those radio services such as Radio Free Asia
Burmese service, Voice of America, Burmese service, and BBC,
Burmese service, also the Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo,
Norway--they all are very reliable and a treasure for the
people of Burma, because they only have the true news
information from these radio outlets, not from the government-
That is why the regimes have tried to block these radio
assets. There are many laws in Burma. You can't own a radio or
television without having permission from the local authority,
and you can be sentenced, imprisoned for 3 to 5 years for
listening to the BBC or VOA radio services.
I think that the regime issued the order, and then the
order is government stuff, not to listen to these radio
services. I believe that the regime also received such a so
restricted a declaration from the Chinese Government to
suppress all the radio coming from the international media.
Mr. Downs. If I might very quickly, I think that the
Chinese support of the North Korean regime is pretty well
known, but we need to keep in mind its full range--that they
use their U.N. power quite often to support North Korea
blocking resolutions, against the sinking of the Cheonan, for
example, and this goes all the way down to the local level.
They allow North Korean agents to come in and operate against
North Korean refugees inside China, remove them, and send them
to camps, and it is not like this is completely unofficial.
The Chinese Government itself repatriates North Korean
refugees, and sends them to their own punishment, persecution,
and death back in North Korea, in violation of international
law. I think it is well known. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much, Mr. Bilirakis. I
want to thank our excellent witnesses. Thank you so much. I
also want to thank the audience. Thanks for being with us,
because this sends us a good signal that you are interested in
human rights, and you want to hold those human rights violators
accountable. We thank you so much. Thank you to the members of
the press who were with us.
Mr. Gere, you know I have another special request of you.
We have somehow found another crop of interns who would
appreciate a few minutes of your time, whenever you get done
with the interviews and discussion.
Mr. Gere. I will give you the time to do that gladly, but I
want you to commit to have an executive meeting with Lodi Gyari
and other representatives of the Tibetan movement.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. I will do this. Thank you.
Mr. Gere. Thank you.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. We will do this.
Mr. Gere. Love to have you in part of that as well.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. You know these guys will always be
with you. Thank you so much. Thank you, all of you.
The committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:50 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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