Order Code 97-484 F
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
China-U.S. Relations: Chronology of
Developments During the Clinton Administration
Updated July 25, 2000
Specialist in Asian Affairs
with the assistance of
Deborah Johnson and Patricia Nugent
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
China-U.S. Relations: Chronology of Developments During
the Clinton Administration
This report chronicles major developments in U.S.-China relations during the
Clinton Administration, and in the 103rd through the 106th Congresses, from late
1992 to 1999. Throughout this period, and since the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen
Square, U.S.-China relations have been troubled, increasingly so in recent months.
There has been little agreement among policymakers over the direction of U.S. policy
in the post-Tiananmen era. In the wake of Tiananmen, President George Bush first
imposed sanctions on China, but later sought to protect the relationship in the face of
widespread and sometimes heated congressional opposition. Things did not improve
in the Clinton Administration. Relations remained uneven in 1993 and 1994, and by
1995 were deteriorating steadily. By mid-1995, U.S.-China relations were widely
characterized as being at their lowest point since the establishment of the relationship
in 1979. Tensions reached a zenith in March 1996 when China began conducting
ballistic missile exercises off the coast of Taiwan. The United States responded by
sending two carrier battle groups into the area.
Positive developments in U.S.-China relations include the resumption of
summitry, beginning with the October 1997 visit of China’s President Jiang Zemin to
the United States and continuing with the visit of President Clinton to China in June
1998. But more visible since 1998 have been the disappointments and setbacks in
U.S.-China relations. These include ongoing allegations that the Chinese government
was involved in questionable contributions to the presidential and other campaigns in
1996, and charges that U.S. aerospace companies may have transferred sensitive
satellite technology to China. On May 25, 1999, the Select Committee on U.S.
National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with China — the so-called
“Cox Committee — released a 3-volume report alleging that China has systematically
conducted espionage in the United States since the 1970's, and has acquired U.S.
nuclear weapons secrets. Finally, on May 7, 1999, NATO forces accidentally bombed
the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, resulting in mass anti-American protests in China
and accusations by Chinese leaders that the bombing was intentional.
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1992 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1993 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1994 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1995 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
China-U.S. Relations: Chronology of
Developments During the Clinton Administration
The Clinton Administration began in 1993 by rejecting what many opponents by
then referred to as the “failed” Bush Administration approach to China. As had Bush,
President Clinton renewed China’s most-favored-nation (MFN) status, but Clinton
announced that he would link China’s eligibility for MFN status in 1994 with its
progress on human rights. Congress supported this move, and rejected a measure to
disapprove MFN extension to China in 1993. U.S. relations with China remained
uneven for the rest of the year. For instance, U.S. officials imposed sanctions against
China for missile technology sales to Pakistan, and searched a Chinese ship thought
to be carrying chemical weapons ingredients (none were found). Congress passed a
resolution saying that China should be denied in its bid to host the 2000 Olympics,
which, according to Chinese officials, influenced the International Olympic Committee
to reach its negative decision. Still, bilateral trade continued to grow, and an
intermittent dialogue continued, including a series of high-level official visits late in
Relations improved somewhat in 1994. Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd
Bentsen, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Secretary of Defense William Perry,
and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown all visited China. With Secretary Brown’s
visit came $5 billion worth of contracts with China for U.S. businesses. The
Administration waived the sanctions it had imposed the previous year because of sales
to Pakistan, and China strengthened its commitment to the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR). The Administration also “delinked” MFN from human
rights and renewed China’s MFN status, reversing the policy direction it had begun
in 1993, and Congress enacted no new conditions for MFN. But underlying bilateral
tensions continued. China conducted two nuclear weapons tests over U.S. objections,
and the Administration disclosed that it would modestly increase contacts with
Taiwan, which Beijing protested strongly.
Relations eroded steadily in 1995. A pivotal event in the downturn was the May
decision to allow Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, to visit the United States.
Initially opposed to the visit, the Administration reversed itself under heavy
congressional pressure. The decision helped make Taiwan, once again, the central
contentious issue in U.S.-China relations. By mid-June, Beijing had recalled its
ambassador to the United States, postponed other high-level visits, and suspended
talks on a range of issues. Chinese officials charged the United States with violating
the 1978 Joint Communique, which established U.S. relations with the People’s
Republic of China. Neither China’s human rights image nor its U.S. relations were
helped by China’s arrest and subsequent conviction of Harry Wu, a U.S. citizen and
activist, on charges of spying. (Wu was later deported.) In October, President
Clinton met with China’s President Jiang Zemin, but without bold breakthroughs in
relations. Chinese leaders were upset because the United States had insisted that the
meeting between the two presidents be held in New York, rather than as an official
summit in Washington.
By early 1996, U.S.-China contacts were accompanied by a steady drumbeat of
harsh protests and invective from Chinese officials and official state media. Negative
developments in the relationship outnumbered positive ones early in the year. In
January, the Chinese government expelled a U.S. military attache and warned
repeatedly of the likelihood of military action in the Taiwan Strait. In early March,
Chinese military forces began conducting ballistic missile tests off the Taiwan coast;
in response, the Pentagon disclosed it had dispatched two U.S. carrier battle groups
to the area. In May, U.S. federal law enforcement officials ended a lengthy sting
operation, seizing a shipment of 2,000 Chinese-manufactured AK-47 assault weapons
being smuggled into the country by Chinese state-owned arms-trading companies.
Although the United States announced in August 1996 that it would sell $420
million in military equipment to Taiwan — a decision the Chinese objected to — there
also were signs by mid-year that both countries were trying to repair the relationship.
U.S. officials made several decisions not to impose sanctions on China for arms sales
and intellectual property rights violations, and Members of Congress appeared to have
moderated their approach to China. By late in the year, Chinese leaders had muted
their past inflammatory rhetoric about the United States, and several high-level visits
had occurred. Chinese officials privately urged U.S. officials to “seize the
opportunity” of the improved atmosphere to move the relationship forward.
Subsequently, the improvements in U.S.-China relations have been marred by
allegations that the Chinese government may have been involved in questionable
contributions to the presidential and other campaigns in 1996 in an effort to influence
In 1997, U.S. China policy analysts spent much of the first half of the year
focusing on Hong Kong’s reversion to China, which occurred smoothly on July 1.
Since then, congressional interest in China has increased in intensity. By October,
more than a dozen legislative initiatives were pending which either moderately or
more seriously sanctioned China for things ranging from proliferation of weapons to
abuses of human rights and religious liberty to use of prison labor for producing
products for export. Many of the pending measures are strongly opposed by the
Administration, which is preparing for the first official Sino-U.S. summit of the
Clinton presidency, scheduled for October 28-29.
A Note On Sources: The sources for some entries either are named or are clear
from the context. For most dated entries, sources include: the Washington Post, New
York Times, Washington Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, Reuters wireservice
reports, the Hong Kong Standard, South China Morning Post, and Foreign
Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) daily reports.
09/14/92 —- In a press release from his campaign headquarters, then Governor and
presidential candidate Clinton commended the U.S. Senate for placing
conditions on China’s most-favored-nation (MFN) status, and
criticized the Bush Administration’s China policy, saying “The
Administration policies have led the Chinese leaders to believe they
are free to take whatever actions they please without a meaningful
response from the United States.”
Beijing’s first official reaction to the election of Clinton was to
congratulate him, and to state that any attempt to establish conditions
on China’s MFN status was “unacceptable to China.”
12/02/92 —- President-elect Clinton stated that he hoped the United States could
play a constructive role in relieving tensions and concerns in Hong
China joined 125 other countries in signing the convention banning
chemical weapons. Foreign Minister Qian Qichen signed the
document in Paris.
President Clinton named former Ambassador to China Winston Lord
as his designee for Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and
China & Taiwan signed an accord in Singapore which pledged closer
cooperation on trade, technology exchanges, copyright protection,
anti-crime efforts, and repatriation of illegal immigrants. The semiofficial talks which led to the agreement were the highest-level
exchanges between the two since 1949.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher said that the Clinton
Administration would consider linking China’s MFN status to Chinese
willingness to end coercive family planning practices, including forced
President Clinton, in Presidential Determination 93-23, recommended
renewal of his authority to extend China’s MFN status for another
year. But at the same time, in Executive Order 12850, the President
indicated that he would consider new human rights criteria in
considering the MFN renewal in 1994.
By a vote of 105-318, the House defeated H.J.Res. 208, a resolution
that would have disapproved the President’s recommendation for
extension of China’s MFN status for another year.
Beijing lodged a strong protest accusing Washington of harassing a
Chinese ship, the Yinhe. Washington said the ship was believed to be
carrying chemical weapons bound for Iran.
The United States announced it would impose sanctions on China,
required by U.S. law, because of China’s sale of missile technology to
Pakistan. The Chinese government lodged a strong protest.
An inspection, watched by U.S. observers, of the Chinese ship, the
Yinhe, revealed no chemical weapons ingredients on board. The
Chinese filed another strong protest after the search.
The International Olympics Committee rejected Beijing’s bid for the
2000 Olympics in favor of the bid of Sydney, Australia.
National Security Advisor Anthony Lake met China’s Ambassador to
the U.S., Li Daoyu, to initiate efforts to restore high-level U.S.-China
contacts across the board.
China conducted an underground nuclear test, despite a U.S. call in
July for an informal ban on such testing.
John Shattuck, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, visited
Beijing to initiate a dialogue on human rights issues.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy went to Beijing to discuss China’s
purchases of U.S. grains, especially wheat
Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Freeman began two days of
talks in Beijing; they were the highest-level military talks between the
two countries since Tiananmen Square in 1989.
U.S.-China military talks in Beijing concluded with an agreement to
a “modest” agenda of future dialogue and professional exchanges on
such topics as international peacekeeping operations and conversion
of defense industries to civilian use.
270 Members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to
President Clinton expressing their concern over China’s lack of
progress in meeting human rights objectives
Secretary of State Christopher announced the United States was
dropping its opposition to the sale of an $8 million Cray
supercomputer to China.
China unified its dual exchange rates, effectively devaluing the yuan
by 33%. The yuan’s official rate, formerly 5.8 to the dollar, was
brought into line with the swap rate of 8.7. Foreign Exchange
Certificates (FEC) are being phased out under the new system.
The United States announced it would slash China’s textile quotas by
25-30% in retaliation for China’s illegal textile shipments.
Chinese officials told U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, in
Beijing, that they will permit U.S. Customs officials to inspect 5
prisons alleged to be producing goods for export in violation of U.S.
law. The concession puts China in compliance with a U.S.-China
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on prison labor, signed in
1992, which had become moribund after 2 U.S. site visits. According
to a New York Times report, China is to respond to U.S. requests for
information about specific prisons and allow more frequent visits by
U.S. Customs officials. The United States is to report to China on
any violations uncovered by U.S. visits.
Reportedly, U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen presided over the
reactivation of the China-U.S. Joint Economic Committee, which had
been shut down since TAM in 1989.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher met with China’s Foreign
Minister Qian Qichen in Paris. Prior to the meeting, the Secretary told
reporters that China was still not in compliance with President
Clinton’s conditions for securing MFN in 1994.
Senator Sam Nunn, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that withdrawing MFN
from China is “too heavy a weapon” when the U.S. needs China’s help
in stopping the North Korean nuclear threat.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Beijing for three
days of talks about human rights and China’s MFN status.
President Clinton announced that he would be recommending the
renewal of China’s MFN status despite the fact that they did not make
the significant progress on human rights that he had made a condition
of MFN renewal in 1993 (Executive Order 12850). In making the
announcement, the President said he was “delinking” MFN from
China’s human rights record. The President also announced that he
was imposing an embargo on the import of certain guns and munitions
The arms import embargo against China went into effect.
06/02/94 —- In Presidential Determination 94-26, President Clinton recommended
an extension of China’s most-favored-nation status for another year.
06/10/94 —- China conducted a nuclear weapons test.
The United States
The House defeated H.J.Res. 373, legislation that would have
disapproved the President’s recommendation to extend MFN to China
and delink it from human rights concerns, and rejected a bill by
Representative Pelosi to limit the extension of MFN to China.
Secretary of Defense Perry met with a visiting deputy Chief of Staff
of the Chinese Army in Washington.
09/02/94 —- Secretary of Commerce Brown left China after a visit marked by the
signing of over $5 billion worth of contracts involving U.S.
09/07/94 —- The Clinton Administration disclosed a Taiwan policy review that
promised modestly increased contacts with Taiwan. Beijing issued an
10/04/94 —- The United States and China issued a joint statement on China’s
adherence to the Missile Technology Control Regime. The U.S.
promised to waive sanctions imposed on August 23, 1993, allowing
the export of high technology satellites to China.
10/07/94 —- China conducted a nuclear weapons test, its second in 1994.
10/19/94 —- Defense Secretary Perry ended four days of talks in Beijing, resuming
high-level military ties that had been suspended in 1989 as a result of
the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
11/01/94 —- The Administration lifted sanctions it had imposed on China on
August 24, 1993, after China’s export to Pakistan of items listed in
category II of the Annex of the Missile Technology Control Regime
12/07/94 —- The Los Angeles Times reported that China had threatened to end
commercial agreements with the United States if the Clinton
Administration did not acquiesce in China’s entry into GATT by
01/15/95 —- Assistant Secretary Shattuck left Beijing after fruitless talks on human
02/01/95 —- The U.S. trade deficit with China grew in 1994 to almost $30 billion.
02/04/95 —- The United States imposed trade sanctions worth over $1 billion
because of an intellectual property rights dispute with China; China
immediately announced comparable sanctions against the United
02/22/95 —- China protested U.S. support for a UN resolution critical of Chinese
human rights conditions.
02/26/95 —- A U.S.-Chinese agreement on intellectual property rights disputes was
signed, averting a U.S.-China trade conflict threatening $2 billion in
03/12/95 —- The United States and China signed an 8-point agreement to assist
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
03/22/95 —- A U.S. warship visited China for the first time in 6 years.
03/27/95 —- Clinton Administration efforts to come up with a code of conduct for
U.S. firms doing business in China and elsewhere were criticized by
congressional and other U.S. human rights advocates.
03/31/95 —- A legally required U.S. State Department report of March 31, 1995,
warned of potential uncertainties in Hong Kong’s legal and political
systems if greater Sino-British progress on these issues were not made
prior to July 1, 1997. The report also urged the two parties to seek
agreement allowing Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to continue in
office after July 1, 1997, to set up a Court of Final Appeal, and to sort
out differences over an ambitious ship container project. Finally, the
report discussed problems of media self-censorship and discontent in
the Hong Kong civil service.
04/06/95 —- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman criticized the “irresponsible
comments” of the U.S. State Department’s report on Hong Kong.
05/02/95 —- By a vote of 396-0, the House passed H.Con.Res. 53, a bill expressing
the sense of Congress that Taiwan’s President, Lee Teng-hui, be
allowed to visit the United States.
By a vote of 97-1, the Senate passed H.Con.Res. 53, a bill expressing
the sense of Congress that Taiwan’s President, Lee Teng-hui, be
allowed to visit the United States.
05/09/95 —- State Department officials said that a visit to the United States by
Taiwan’s President, Lee Teng-hui, would have “serious consequences
for U.S. foreign policy.”
05/17/95 —- A Clinton Administration spokesman told the press that the
Administration had set up a task force on Hong Kong as of midMarch, 1995.
05/22/95 —- President Clinton agreed to allow Taiwan’s President to make a
private visit to his alma mater in the United States. Beijing protested
05/26/95 —- China postponed the planned visit of its defense minister to the United
06/02/95 —- In Presidential Determination 95-23, President Clinton recommended
an extension of China’s most-favored-nation status for one year.
06/16/95 —- China withdrew its ambassador from the United States in protest over
the U.S. decision to allow Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to visit the
06/19/95 —- Chinese authorities detained Harry Wu, although he had a valid U.S.
passport and Chinese visa, at the Chinese border post of Horgas.
07/20/95 —- The House passed H.R. 2058, The China Policy Act of 1995, by a
vote of 460-10, and tabled H.J.Res. 96 (denying extension of MFN)
by a vote of 321-107.
08/15/95 —- China began ten days of naval exercises and live ballistic missile test
firings in the Taiwan Strait.
08/24/95 —- China convicted Harry Wu of spying, sentenced him to 15 years in
prison, and expelled him from the country.
09/04/95 —- The 4th U.N. International Women’s Conference began in Beijing and
Huairou, a suburb of Beijing. Hillary Clinton attended the conference.
10/24/95 —- President Clinton and China’s President and Party Secretary, Jiang
Zemin, held a “summit meeting” in New York to try to resolve U.S.China tensions. U.S. officials had not agreed to an official state visit
in Washington, D.C.
11/17/95 —- Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye visited Beijing.
01/19/96 —- China expelled a U.S. military attache.
01/24/96 —- The New York Times reported on a series of explicit warnings from
Chinese leaders to the United States over the likelihood of military
action in the Taiwan Strait.
02/06/96 —- Wang Jun, President of China’s CITIC and Chairman of Poly
Technologies (a Chinese military company) attended a White House
reception with President Clinton.
02/06/96 —- President Clinton issued a waiver of restrictions on U.S. satellite
exports to China, contained in the Foreign Relations Authorization
Act (P.L. 101-246), saying that it was in the national interest to export
U.S.-origin satellites to China for the CHINASAT project.
A Chinese rocket carrying a $200 million Loral satellite crashed after
take-off. The incident triggered a series of actions ultimately
culminating in accusations that Hughes and Loral illegally gave
sensitive launch information to China. (See entry for April 13, 1998.)
CIA Director John Deutch complained in an open hearing about
Chinese sales of cruise missiles to Iran, ring magnets to Pakistan, and
M-11 missiles to Pakistan.
President Clinton made a decision to shift major licensing
responsibility for almost all U.S. satellites from the State Department
to the Department of Commerce. The decision was welcomed by
U.S. space corporations, since the Commerce Department factors in
economic concerns in making licensing decisions. (The State
Department looks at security concerns in making export license
03/08/96 —- PRC military forces began conducting ballistic missile exercises
targeting two impact areas near Taiwan. The actions were vigorously
condemned by the Clinton Administration and Congress.
03/10/96 —- Amid repeated U.S. official condemnations of PRC missile tests and
planned live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, the Pentagon disclosed
that two U.S. carrier battle groups had been ordered to the area.
03/22/96 —- Secretary of Defense William Perry postponed China’s Defense
Minister’s visit to the United States.
03/23/96 —- In Taiwan’s first popular election for President, Lee Teng-hui was
elected by 54% of the vote in a four-candidate field.
04/30/96 —- The USTR designated China as a “priority foreign country” under
“Special 301" trade sanctions provisions for not fully complying with
an earlier, February 1995 intellectual property rights agreement.
05/10/96 —- The U.S. State Department declared that no sanctions would be
imposed on China linked to Chinese sales of “ring magnets” to
Pakistan, and the Export-Import (Exim) Bank resumed normal
consideration of loans for U.S. exports to China.
According to a New York Times report of April 13, 1998, this was the
day a review commission that included Hughes and Loral Space and
Communications scientists completed and provided to China a report
discussing sensitive aspects of rocket guidance and control systems —
an area of weakness in Chinese missile programs. The commission
conducted the review as a result of the Feb. 15 crash of a Chinese
rocket launching a Loral communications satellite. The Loral satellite
had been granted an export license as a result of a Presidential waiver
of restrictions in P.L. 101-246 that relate to satellite exports to China.
05/11/96 —- China pledged not to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear
05/15/96 —- The USTR declared it would impose sweeping sanctions on China by
June 17 unless China took steps to adequately enforce the terms of its
1995 agreement with the United States on intellectual property rights.
05/20/96 —- President Clinton announced that he would be requesting an extension
of China’s most-favored-nation (MFN) trading status.
05/22/96 —- Federal law enforcement agents began seeking arrests of Chinese arms
dealers for smuggling 2,000 AK-47 assault weapons through Oakland
on March 18, 1996. According to court papers, two Chinese stateowned arms trading companies were involved: Poly Technologies,
05/31/96 —- In Presidential Determination 96-29, President Clinton extended
China’s most-favored-nation trading status for one year.
06/11/96 —- In an interview with the Financial Times, China’s Premier, Li Peng,
warned that China would give more contracts to non-American
companies unless the United States stopped pressuring China to
change its policies.
06/12/96 —- Assistance Secretary of State Winston Lord, testifying before the
House Ways and Means Committee, sharply criticized Japan and U.S.
European allies for exploiting U.S.-China tensions for their own
06/13/96 —- The Washington Times reported that the State Department had
announced the United States would impose sanctions on China if M11 missiles sold to Pakistan were deployed.
06/17/96 —- U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky announced that the
United States was now satisfied that China was taking steps to honor
its 1995 commitments on intellectual property rights, and that, as a
result, the United States would not carry out its threat to impose
sanctions on China.
06/21/96 —- In Presidential Determination 96-33, President Clinton reconfirmed
satisfactory Chinese reciprocation of U.S. tariff and nontariff barrier
reductions, thereby extending the U.S.-China trade agreement through
January 31, 1998.
06/27/96 —- On June 27, 1996, the House rejected (141-286) H.J.Res. 182, a
resolution that would have disapproved the President’s
recommendation to extend China’s MFN status for another year. At
the same time, the House agreed to a compromise resolution requiring
four House committees to hold hearings before September 1, 1996,
about various ongoing problems in U.S.-China relations.
07/04/96 —- Representative Gerald Solomon, in an essay in the Washington Times,
criticized the Administration’s “policy of unmitigated appeasement”
toward China by, among other things, willingness to extend China’s
most-favored-nation trading status.
07/10/96 —- U.S. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake wrapped up a visit to
China, one of what was considered to be a series of indicators that
U.S.-China relations were improving. Reportedly, the visit resulted
in an agreement to create a high-level commission to promote closer
U.S.-China business relations.
07/24/96 —- The United States and China announced a series of high-level visits in
an effort to improve U.S.-China relations. These included visits to
China by Secretary of State Warren Christopher U.S. Undersecretary
of State Lynn Davis, and Director of the Arms Control and
Development Agency John Holum; and visits to the United States by
Defense Minister Chi Haotian and security advisor Liu Huaqiu.
07/24/96 —- In an essay in the Christian Science Monitor, Senator Frank
Murkowski proposed giving China permanent most-favored-nation
status as a way of increasing U.S. leverage in World Trade
Organization (WTO) accession talks for China and Taiwan.
07/30/96 —- The PRC announced a moratorium on nuclear testing, after the latest
test on July 29.
08/23/96 —- Despite China’s strong objections, the Pentagon announced that it
would sell $420 million worth of military equipment to Taiwan,
including Stinger missiles, guided-missile launchers, and Humvee
08/25/96 —- Citing a classified National Intelligence Estimate, the Washington Post
reported that U.S. intelligence officials believe Pakistan is secretly
building a missile factory with China’s assistance in order to
manufacture missiles modeled after the Chinese-designed M-11
08/27/96 —- China sharply criticized a U.S. decision to sell Stinger missiles and
other military equipment to Taiwan, saying the move would further
damage U.S.-China relations.
09/02/96 —- News reports indicated that China had begun a serious crackdown on
Muslim separatists in Xinjiang Province.
10/30/96 —- China sentenced dissident Wang Dan to 11 years in prison.
11/05/96 —- Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Affairs, Lynn Davis, concluded a visit to Beijing.
11/19/96 —- U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher began a visit to China. In
a speech on November 21 at Fudan University in Shanghai, he
articulated the Administration’s policy toward China.
11/21/96 —- Citing a CIA report, the Washington Times reported that China
agreed to supply Iran with gyroscopes, accelerometers, and test
equipment for missile guidance, and sold to Iran missile technology,
advanced radar components, and nearly 400 tons of chemicals used to
produce nerve agents.
11/24/96 —- President Clinton held an official meeting with President Jiang Zemin
at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Manila, at which they agreed to
exchange state visits within the next two years.
11/29/96 —- China declared that it does not, did not, and will not sell or transfer
any nuclear weapons-related technology or missiles to any country.
12/01/96 —- China and Pakistan announced they would continue their nuclear
12/03/96 —- The U.S. Army announced the award of a $63 million contract to
Boeing to produce anti-aircraft missile systems for Taiwan.
12/04/96 —- In its 1997 report, Human Rights Watch criticized countries, including
the United States, for maintaining that trade and political
“engagement” policies would advance human rights in countries like
12/05/96 —- Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord voiced opposition to
China’s efforts to disband Hong Kong’s elected legislature and replace
it with a provisional body.
12/05/96 —- China’s Minister of Defense, General Chi Haotian, began a 13-day
visit to the United States. During his visit, the General generated
controversy by defending the government’s military action in
Tiananmen Square, denying that any deaths occurred in Tiananmen
Square, and refusing to renounce the use of force to reclaim Taiwan.
12/09/96 —- President Clinton and Secretary of Defense William Perry met with
visiting Chinese Minister of Defense, General Chi Haotian. Beijing
agreed in principle to allow U.S. warship visits to Hong Kong after its
return to China.
12/11/96 —- China’s Selection Committee chose Hong Kong shipping magnate
Tung Chee-hwa as Hong Kong’s first post-colonial chief executive.
12/15/96 —- News reports indicated that China agreed to open its insurance, stock,
retail, wholesale, and banking sectors to foreign investment from 1997
to 2000 as part of a unilateral action plan submitted at the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
12/18/96 —- The House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on
International Relations and Human Rights, held hearings on the 1989
Tiananmen Square crackdown.
12/20/96 —- President Clinton said that it was inappropriate for him to have met in
February 1996 at the White House with Mr. Wang Jun, the head of a
Chinese investment company and Chinese weapons trading company,
which was under investigation for illicit arms trading and whose
representatives have been charged with smuggling military assault
rifles into the United States.
12/20/96 —- The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition agreement
that allows each government to extradite suspects sought by the other,
and prevents Hong Kong from sending extradited crime suspects to
a third jurisdiction after Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule.
12/21/96 —- China’s Selection Committee chose a 60-member provisional
legislature to replace Hong Kong’s elected Legislative Council on July
1, 1997. Critics of the move to dissolve the current, elected
legislature and replace it with the appointed provisional body have
strongly urged China to allow the duly elected legislature to finish its
12/23/96 —- Taiwan’s political leaders proposed major political changes, including
increasing presidential powers and halting all provincial elections.
12/24/96 —- China announced that it had drafted legislation to eliminate the
political crime “counterrevolution” and replace it with statutes against
acts that “jeopardize state security.” (This was later enacted in the
National People’s Congress March, 1997 session.)
12/28/96 —- China sentenced a Tibetan music expert, Ngawang Choepel, to 18
years in prison for an alleged political crime.
12/31/96 —- News reports indicated that China sentenced dissident Li Hai to nine
years in prison.
01/01/97 —- China implemented reforms of its criminal procedures which included
a 30-day limit on administrative detention.
01/06/97 —- The State Department issued a transit visa to Taiwan’s Vice President
Lien Chan for travel to the United States in January.
01/14/97 —- President Jiang Zemin met in Beijing with a 22-member U.S.
01/15/97 —- China returned to U.S. officials the remains of airmen killed in the
country during World War II during a repatriation ceremony in
01/20/97 —- A subgroup of China’s Preparatory Committee submitted legislation
to Parliament to amend or repeal 25 Hong Kong laws and protections
on civil liberties.
An aide to Senator Jesse Helms said that the Senator was considering
introducing a bill to ban members of Hong Kong’s provisional
legislature from entering the United States after the return to Chinese
In a press conference, President Clinton said that his policy of
“constructive engagement” with China had not brought about the
progress on human rights that he had hoped for.
The State Department issued its 1997 human rights report which
accused China of silencing virtually all public dissent in 1996 through
intimidation, exile, imposition of prison terms, administrative
detention or house arrest.
The United States and China reached a 4-year textile agreement
extending current quotas for Chinese textile and apparel exports to the
United States, but providing reduced quotas in categories where
repeated textile transshipments have occurred. China also promised
to allow U.S. textile and apparel products greater access to the
China’s Preparatory Committee, the group charged with establishing
Hong Kong’s government following its reversion to China on July 1,
1997, approved recommendations to curtail the colony’s civil liberty
laws and protections.
Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, in a television interview, rejected
Beijing’s “one country, two systems” proposal for re-unification.
China’s official media charged that the U.S. State Department Report
on Human Rights, issued January 1, 1997, contained “malicious
attacks on and lies about China’s human rights situation.”
The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department’s
investigation into improper political fund-raising practices had
revealed through sensitive intelligence information illegal attempts by
the Chinese government to funnel contributions from foreign sources
to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential
campaign. Beijing dismissed the allegations as a “fabrication.”
President Clinton said the allegations must be “thoroughly
Congressional leaders reported that committees investigating
improper political fund-raising practices would expand their inquiries
to include allegations of the Chinese government’s efforts to buy
Deng Xiaoping, 92, reportedly died of respiratory failure, prompting
a six-day official mourning period in China. Stock markets in China,
Hong Kong, and Taiwan fell following the news, but quickly
James Wood, the former head of the American Institute in Taiwan,
alleged he was forced from his job in January 1997 for attempting to
expose widespread corruption in the organization.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright cut short talks in Beijing due to
Deng Xiaoping’s funeral, but expressed appreciation that Chinese
leaders were willing to go ahead with her scheduled visit under the
circumstances. After the visit, Albright announced that both sides had
agreed to begin expert-level talks on disputed non-proliferation issues.
Bombings in Urumqi, in China’s northwest, killed at least two people
and injured 27. News reports indicated suspicion of Muslim
separatists in the region.
The Washington Post reported that the FBI was conducting a broader
investigation, beyond possible election law violations, into whether
representatives of China attempted to buy influence among Members
of Congress through illegal campaign contributions and payments
from Chinese-controlled businesses.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai
Communique with China, a landmark document signed by President
Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Tse-tung, paving the way for the
eventual establishment of U.S.-China relations.
China’s National People’s Congress approved a national defense law
at its annual session, a move for “safeguarding national security and
transforming China into a lawful society,” according to a notice issued
by the Propaganda Department of the CCP Central Committee, the
Ministry of Justice, and the General Political Department of the
People’s Liberation Army.
Representative Ewing introduced H.R. 941, a bill to grant permanent
MFN status to China on the day it becomes a member of the World
Trade Organization (WTO).
By a vote of 416-1, the House passed H.R. 750 (introduced by
Representative Bereuter), the Hong Kong Reversion Act, making a
number of declarations about Hong Kong’s transfer to China on July
1, 1997, and requiring the Administration to submit additional reports
on issues involving Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese sovereignty.
U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky stated at a
congressional hearing that China must make more significant market
access concessions before it can join the World Trade Organization.
Vice President Gore began a visit to China — the highest level U.S.
visit to China since 1989.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, visited with Taiwan’s
President Li Teng-hui in Taipei. The visit was denounced by Beijing.
Speaker of the House Gingrich met with senior Chinese leaders in
Federal law enforcement officials confirmed that “substantial” wire
transfers were made in 1995 and 1996 from the Bank of China to
Charles Trie, an Arkansas businessman under investigation for
questionable contributions to President Clinton’s and other officials’
election campaigns. At issue are allegations of illegal U.S. election
campaign contributions by foreign governments attempting to
influence U.S. policy. The Chinese government, which owns the Bank
of China, denied any wrongdoing.
The Exxon Corp. announced that its affiliates in Zhejiang and Tianjin
would build two tube oil blending facilities (their first), each with a
capacity of 250,000 barrels per year, in Tianjin and Ningbo.
China announced it would loosen state controls on import rights for
six commodities: rubber, steel, wood, wool, acrylic fiber, and
plywood, to improve its chances of entry into the WTO. The
government will retain controls on imports of six other commodities:
wheat, crude oil, oil products, fertilizer, cotton, and tobacco.
The United States and Hong Kong signed a bilateral agreement on Air
House International Relations Committee Members held a private
meeting in Washington D.C. with Martin Lee, Chairman of the
Democratic Party in Hong Kong..
The Defense Security Assistance Agency gave notice to Congress by
letter of transmittal (Transmittal No. 3-97) about a proposed lease of
defense articles and services to the Taiwan Economic and Cultural
Representative Office (TECRO), pursuant to Sec. 62(a) of the AECA.
(Exec. Comm. 2698) (On the same day, a similar notification by the
Dpt. of State; Exec. Comm. 2700)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on law
enforcement issues in Hong Kong featuring Administration witnesses
and Martin Lee.
The United States and Hong Kong signed the Mutual Legal
Assistance in Criminal Matters Agreement (MLA) and the Transfer of
Sentenced Prisoners Agreement (TSP).
Hong Kong’s Martin Lee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic
Party, met with President Clinton and Vice President Gore at the
White House. The meeting took place in the Vice President’s office,
with the President “dropping by” for the final half of the meeting.
Buddhist Abbot, Chadrel Rimpoche, was sentenced to six years in
prison for communicating with the Dalai Lama regarding the
successor to the Panchen Lama.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, began a four-day visit to
The Dalai Lama met with President Clinton at the White House.
The United States announced that the “present visa validity for 10
years for multiple entries for temporary visits will be extended to
eligible holders of future Hong Kong Special Administration Region
(HKSAR) passports.” (quote from April/May 1997 Hong Kong
The U.S. Department of Defense issued new policy guidance on U.S.China defense relations, following the visit of China’s Minister of
Defense, Chi Haotian, in the way of the Taiwan Strait crisis. The
guidelines noted that appropriate categories of U.S.-China military
activity include: high-level visits; functional exchanges; participation
in multinational security fora; and establishment of confidencebuilding measures.
China’s Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen, arrived in Washington for a
series of meetings with U.S. officials. Among his comments about
Hong Kong, he said that under China’s rule, “the democracy,
freedoms, and human rights enjoyed by the Hong Kong people will be
more extensive” than under British rule. He also denied any Chinese
involvement in U.S. political election campaigns.
China’s Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen, met with President Clinton in
Washington, discussing issues ranging from trade to Hong Kong.
According to an April 13, 1998 report by the New York Times, a
classified Pentagon report of May 1997 concluded that U.S. national
security had been harmed by Hughes and Loral Space and
Communications scientists who, on May 10, 1996, had given sensitive
rocket guidance and control information to China. (See entries of
May 10, 1996, and April 13, 1998.)
Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a speech at the Paul H. Nitze School of
Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore, said that he supported extending MFN for China for only
3 to 6 months.
President Clinton announced that he would recommend an extension
of China’s MFN status for another year.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Treaty
Doc. 105-3, dealing with surrender of fugitive offenders (with Hong
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on renewing MFN for
China. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and USTR Charlene
In lieu of S. 903, the Senate passed H.R. 1757, the Foreign Relations
Authorization Act, a bill to consolidate foreign affairs functions and
authorize foreign relations programs, and that contained a provision
requiring the President to appoint a Special Envoy for Tibet, with
U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen warned China that its sale of
anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran could backfire by starting a new Gulf
conflict that could halt oil shipments to Beijing and the United States.
On a vote of 34-5, the House Ways and Means Committee rejected a
resolution disapproving the President’s request for extending MFN to
China for another year.
By a vote of 173-259, the House defeated S.J.Res. 79, a resolution
that would have disapproved the President’s recommendation to
extend MFN to China for another year.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright left for a visit to Vietnam,
Cambodia, and Hong Kong (for the reversion on July 1.)
The 1997 Pacific Rim Forum meeting was held in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty.
International press sources reported the launching of a new campaign
of repression against Muslim separatists in Xinjiang province. The
campaign will focus heavily on propaganda and education, but use of
force has been noted by Chinese officials as a very effective means of
maintaining social order in the region.
The State Department released a report entitled, “United States
Policies in Support of Religious Freedom: Focus on Christians.” The
report criticizes Chinese government efforts to restrict the Protestant
and Catholic unregistered house-church movements, despite Chinese
Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religious belief.
The Chinese government denounced the State Department’s report on
religious freedom as ignorant about religion in China.
The People’s Republic of China appointed two diplomats to key
organizations in Hong Kong. Jiang Enzhu, former ambassador to
Britain, will head the Xinhua News Agency and over-see a
downgrading of its functions. Ma Yuzhen was appointed head of the
Hong Kong Branch of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, a new
organization created on July 1, 1997.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced that the United
States will appoint a “Special Coordinator” for Tibetan issues within
the State Department. The State Department expected to make an
appointment by November 1997.
The State Department announced that it expects to issue a transit visa
to Taiwan’s President, Li Teng-hui, in September, allowing him to
pass through Hawaii.
Officials of Chinese Religious Organizations strongly criticized the
State Department’s report on religious freedom as distorted and
Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) arrived in China at the invitation of
Qiao Shi to engage in four days of talks with Chinese officials,
including Defense Minister Chi Haotian and President Jiang Zemin.
National security advisor Samuel R. Berger met with Chinese
President Jiang Zemin to discuss preparations for an October summit
at the White House. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and
Pacific Affairs, Stanley Roth, and National Security Council senior
director for Asian affairs, Sandra Kristoff, accompanied Berger on this
visit which was scheduled to last through August 13.
Taiwan announced that it re-established diplomatic ties with Chad.
In a news article Chinese leaders recently expressed alarm over
Congressional anti-Chinese sentiment to a top aide to President
Clinton. That sentiment has been expressed in a number of bills being
considered by Congress to sanction China for human rights abuses,
weapons proliferation, and threatening Taiwan.
National Security Advisor, Samuel R. Berger, held talks in Beijing
with President Jiang Zemin on ways of ensuring a successful USChina Summit in October 1997. One of the U.S. proposals was in the
area of human rights, suggesting that China release political prisoners
Wang Dan and Wei Jingsheng for health reasons.
China sentenced Chen Xiatong, the son of former Beijing Mayor,
Chen Xitong, to 12 years in prison on charges of bribery and diverting
public funds. This was the most serious corruption scandal to be
exposed by the government since the Communist Party took control
Representative Frank Wolf announced that he made a secret trip to
Tibet on August 9 -13 where he heard stories of repression, torture,
and a systematic effort by the Chinese to suppress Buddhism in Tibet.
He urged President Clinton to press China on Tibet issues and
described Chinese policy there as, “boot-heel subjugation.”
Taiwan’s Prime Minister, Lien Chan, resigned his post, making way
for Vincent Siew to assume the office. Mr. Lien retained the post of
China’s New China News Agency accused Rep. Frank Wolf of
deliberately trying to “stir up trouble” and lying about conditions in
Tibet. In one article, the leader of Tibet’s legislature, Raidi, defended
Chinese policies and insisted that monks, nuns, and Tibetans can
During the visit of Japan’s Prime Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, to
China, the two countries agreed to exchange visits of heads of
Lee Teng-hui, President of Taiwan, attended the opening ceremonies
of the “Universal Congress on the Panama Canal” despite opposition
from China. China’s use of trade and economic pressure succeeded
in persuading many heads of state and industry leaders not to attend,
downgrading the international image of the event. The American
delegation was led by Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation, and
Thomas F. McLarty, President Clinton’s special envoy for Latin
American and Caribbean Affairs.
Secretary of Commerce William Daley left for China to attend the
U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT)
September 8-9, and the China America Telecommunications Summit
(CATS), September 10-11.
Tung Chee-hwa (C.H.), Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, arrived in
Washington, D.C. for meetings with political leaders and
policymakers. During Mr. Tung’s visit, he met with Administration
officials and Members of Congress to assure U.S. officials that Hong
Kong’s political system would not be changed.
In a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
Assistant Secretary of State on Human Rights, John Shattuck,
announced the Clinton Administration’s opposition to H.R. 2431, the
Freedom from Religious Persecution Act of 1997. The bill would
impose sanctions on Chinese officials and entities involved of
persecuting people on the basis of religion.
China agreed to return a powerful supercomputer to the United States
that it had illegally transferred to a military institute.
The 15th National Party Congress commenced in Beijing. Key
decisions made by China’s party elite were ratified by the National
People’s Congress. Jiang Zemin’s economic plan to continue
economic reform by privatizing the State owned sector was approved.
Zhu Rongji was named Premier, and Wu Yi was promoted to the
position of Foreign Minister. Jia Qinglin was named mayor of Beijing.
Jiang appointed Zhang Wannian and Chi Haotian to the highest
A letter, signed with the name of former head of the Communist
Party, Zhao Ziyang, circulated in Beijing during the 15th Party
Congress. The letter challenged the official position of the Party on
the Tiananmen Square crackdown of June 4, 1989 — which is that the
killing of hundreds of demonstrators was justified to quell a counterrevolutionary rebellion.
The IMF and World Bank Group Joint Annual Meeting began in
The Senate agreed to a resolution, S.Res. 125, commending Dr. Jason
C. Hu, the Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural
Representative Office, on his appointment as Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of China.
China warned the United States and Japan not to include Taiwan
under the security umbrella of the new U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin met with Chinese President Jiang
Zemin and Economic Advisor, Zhu Rongji in Beijing to discuss the
upcoming state visit of Jiang and China’s economic policies.
Hong Kong’s Provisional Legislature approved plans for the 1998
legislative election. The plan designates 20 seats to be elected under
a system of proportional representation, 30 seats to be elected by
functional constituencies, and a final 10 seats to be elected by an 800member electoral committee. The plan has been criticized as an effort
to weaken political parties in favor of pro-Beijing groups.
China announced that it had successfully tested a new type of longrange ground-to-air missile capable of evading radar detection.
USIA Director Joseph Duffey left for a visit to New Delhi, Beijing,
The Australia Group Annual Meeting (Chemical/Biological Weapons
Nonproliferation Regime) began in Paris.
Hong Kong Chief Executive C.H. Tung delivered a state of the SAR
speech to mark the first 100 days of rule by China. While his speech
focused on the economic and social development of Hong Kong, he
announced that elections for the legislature will be held on May 24,
China signed the U.N. International Covenant on Economic, Social,
and Cultural Rights, and indicated that it would put the signed
agreement before the National People’s Congress for study and
U.S.-China Summit. President Jiang Zemin became the first Chinese
leader to visit the United States since 1985. Issues discussed at the
summit included weapons proliferation, Asia-Pacific security, the
trade imbalance, legal and political reforms, human rights, and
peaceful nuclear cooperation. President Clinton announced after the
summit that he was prepared to initiate nuclear energy cooperation
with China under the 1985 U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Act.
A State Department press statement reported that the Secretary of
State had designated Gregory B. Craig as Special Coordinator for
Tibetan issues within the State Department — an added responsibility
to his ongoing role as Director of Policy Planning.
A new Sino-American Energy and Environment Technology Center
was established at China’s Qinghua University in Beijing.
Wei Jingsheng, China’s most famous dissident, was released from a
Chinese prison on medical parole and sent to the United States for
medical treatment. He was serving a 14-year term when he was
At Beijing’s Qinghua University, ground was broken to establish an
American-style law school.
China’s State Council approved a 25-article administrative regulation
restricting “harmful information” from appearing on the Internet.
Among other things, the new rules ban anything that “defames
government agencies,” “ impedes public order,” or “damages state
interests.” Under the rules, both distributors and consumers can be
held liable. According to a Washington Post report (12/31/97), about
620,000 Chinese are online.
U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, speaking during his trip to
Beijing, said that President Jiang Zemin had assured him that China
would not transfer additional anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran.
According to Human Rights Watch/Asia, a Ministry of Public Security
circular was issued ordering all localities to tighten controls on
religious information and personnel from abroad prior to the
Christmas religious holiday.
Hong Kong began slaughtering its 1.3 million chickens in an effort to
prevent an avian flu pandemic traced to chickens in the territory. The
Director of Hong Kong’s agriculture and fisheries department said “it
is probable” that chickens from China are the source of the outbreak
of the “A H5N1" flu type. Chinese authorities claimed that chickens
in China are healthy, and that none have tested positive for the virus.
According to Xinjiang Legal Daily, 16 people were executed in
Urumqi, Xinjiang for what Chinese officials claimed were charges of
murder, robbery, independence-related activities, and promoting
“ethnic hatred.” It was unknown how many, if any, were ethnic
China’s new, more restrictive Internet regulations went into effect.
Pursuant to section (b)(1) of P.L. 99-183 and section 902(a)(6)(B)(i)
of P.L. 101-246, President Clinton certified that China had provided
“clear and unequivocal assurances” that it was not assisting any
nonnuclear weapons state to develop nuclear weapons. The
certification paved the way for Sino-U.S. nuclear energy cooperation
to begin. Congress has 30 consecutive legislative days to consider the
agreement before cooperation can begin.
In an editorial, the official China Daily accused the United States of
using Radio Free Asia to “contain Asian countries’ development and
disrupt their stability.”
Xinjiang Daily reported the execution of 11 separatists, including
Abduselim Kahar, for subversion and threatening national security.
According to Human Rights Watch/Asia, Chinese security officials
released Father Wang Zhongfa, a priest in an “unofficial” church, who
had been arrested several months earlier.
In Presidential Determination 98-13, President Clinton reconfirmed
satisfactory Chinese reciprocation of U.S. tariff and nontariff barrier
reductions, thereby extending the U.S.-China trade agreement another
The House International Relations Committee held a hearing on the
President’s certification to initiate nuclear energy cooperation with
A Chinese spokesman said that no press would be allowed to
accompany a U.S. delegation of religious leaders set to arrive in
China the second week of February and scheduled to several cities in
China and Tibet.
Don Argue, President of the National Association of Evangelicals;
Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese
of Newark, New Jersey; and Rabbi Arthur Schneier left for China to
study for themselves the religious situation there. The three left China
on February 26, and have said they will issue a report about their
observations in March. The three religious representatives were
invited to China as a result of discussions at the October 1997 U.S.China summit.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that no
agreement had been reached with the Chinese government on ICRC
access to Chinese prisons. Negotiations have been ongoing since
The House Governmental Reform and Oversight Committee held
hearings on the activities of China and other countries to influence
U.S. policies and elections. Among those who testified were Janet
Reno, Attorney General and Louis J. Freeh, Director, FBI; George J.
Tenet, Director, CIA; and Lt. General Kenneth A. Minihan, Director,
National Security Agency, Department of Defense.
The House International Relations Committee’s Asia/Pacific
Subcommittee held a markup on H.Res. 364, urging a resolution
condemning China’s human rights practices be introduced and passed
in Geneva at the 54th Session of the U.N. Commission on Human
Rights in Geneva, scheduled for March 16 - April 24, 1998.
A Washington Post article reported that President Clinton would
make a state visit to China in June 1998 rather than waiting, as had
been anticipated, until late November when an Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting was scheduled.
The Senate passed S. Res. 187, a resolution urging the United States
to introduce a resolution condemning China for its human rights
record before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The measure
passed by a vote of 95-5.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a closed door session
on U.S. nuclear cooperation with China at which Bob Einhorn
China’s Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen, announced at a press
conference in Beijing that China would sign the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of two key U.N. human
rights treaties. China signed the second key treaty, the U.N. Covenant
on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, on October 27, 1997, the
day prior to the U.S.-China summit in Washington.
According to U.S. news reports, the Clinton Administration had
discovered that China was planning to secretly sell massive quantities
of uranium-enrichment material to Iran in violation of its pledge made
at the October 1997 U.S.-China summit.
The 54th U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting began in Geneva,
Switzerland, scheduled to last until April 24.
It was announced that Loral Space and Communications and China
had signed an agreement for China to launch five Loral satellites
between now and March 2002.
According to a New York Times front-page article, a classified May
1997 report by the U.S. Department of Defense had concluded that
scientists from Hughes and Loral Space and Communications had
turned over scientific expertise to China that had significantly
improved the reliability of China’s nuclear missiles.
Ending a three-year freeze on relations, Chinese and Taiwanese
negotiators agreed to resume low-level talks beginning April 21-22.
China suspended talks with Taiwan in June 1995, in retaliation for
Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the United States.
According to The Washington Post, Chinese authorities detained two
Catholic priests — The Rev. Shi Wende, on March 14, and the Rev.
Lu Genyou, on April 5 — because of their association with
“underground churches” in Hebei Province.
Secretary of State Albright began a visit to Beijing.
India tested 3 nuclear devices.
President Clinton announced he was recommending an extension of
China’s MFN status for one more year. (H.Doc. No. 105-262)
The Speaker’s Task Force on Hong Kong, chaired by Representative
Bereuter, issued its third quarterly report on the situation in Hong
Kong. (Printed in the Congressional Record, p. E987.)
Representative Solomon introduced H.J.Res. 121, a joint resolution
to disapprove extending China’s MFN status.
The House International Relations Committee and House Government
Reform Committee held a joint hearing on allegations that it is
Chinese policy to sell for transplant human organs harvested from
By a vote of 409-10, the House passed H. Res. 463, establishing a
Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial
Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of the
Select Committee is to investigate allegations of technology transfers
Speaker Gingrich appointed the following 9 Members to serve on the
Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial
Concerns with the People’s Republic of China: Cox, Goss, Bereuter,
Hansen, Weldon, Dicks, Spratt, Roybal-Allard, and Scott.
President Clinton began a nine-day summit visit to China, stopping
first in Xian, then going to Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, and finally Hong
Kong. During a roundtable discussion in Shanghai, the President
discussed U.S. policy toward Taiwan — a discussion which later
became controversial after American newspapers reported the
President had reaffirmed the “three noes” of not supporting
independence for Taiwan, not supporting one China-one Taiwan, and
not supporting Taiwan’s membership in international organizations
comprised of nation-states, such as the U.N.
In China, a group of activists announced the formation of the China
Democracy Party, an effort to challenge the monopoly of the Chinese
President Clinton remarked in Shanghai that the United States did not
support Taiwan independence, nor pursue a two-China policy, nor
believe Taiwan should be a member of international organizations that
require statehood. The remark engendered charges in the United
States that the Administration had made subtle changes in traditional
U.S. policy on the subject.
The Senate considered and passed two resolutions relating to Taiwan:
S.Con.Res. 30, relating to Taiwan’s membership in international
financial institutions, and S. Con. Res. 107, reaffirming U.S.
commitments with respect to Taiwan.
Senator Lott provided an update on the work of four Senate
committees investigating the allegations of satellite technology
transfers to China. (Congressional Record, p. S8088)
By a vote of 166-264, the House rejected H.J.Res. 121, a resolution
that would have disapproved the President’s recommendation for
extending most-favored-nation status to China for another year.
Legislation was enacted to replace the term “most-favored-nation” in
certain U.S. statutes by the less misleading term of “normal trade
relations.” (Enacted in Section 5003 of the Internal Revenue Service
Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, P.L. 105-206.)
Representative Bereuter submitted the fourth quarterly report of the
Speaker’s Task Force on Hong Kong (Congressional Record, p.
The Chinese government banned logging along the Yangtze River,
concerned that extensive logging had contributed to devastating
floods on the Yangtze earlier in the year.
According to the Asian Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Coca-Cola
company, which currently has 21 joint-venture bottling plants in
China, will soon complete a 10-plant expansion.
According to the Asian Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials announced
a ban on untreated wooden packing material from China, saying the
wood was infested with the Asian long-horned beetle. U.S. officials
estimated that the ban would affect as much as 40% of China’s
According to the New York Times, Secretary of Defense William S.
Cohen received Chinese pledges that China will move ahead with
modest joint military exercises and exchanges with the United States
According to the Asian Wall Street Journal, Legend Holdings Ltd.
and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) reached agreement
to jointly develop and distribute software in China.
According to top U.S. trade official U.S. Undersecretary of
Commerce David Aaron, “The lack of progress on bilateral
market-access issues and the slowdown in WTO-accession talks are
cause for serious concern.”
The New York Times reported that a group of intellectuals in China
was circulating two manifestoes declaring how individual rights were
repressed in China, and rejecting government’s contention that human
rights are a relative rather than universal concept.
The Senate passed the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act by
vote of 98-0. The absence of religious freedom in China had been an
important behind the legislation. The bill became P.L. 105-292.
After having suspended high-level talks since 1995, Taiwan and
Chinese negotiators met in Shanghai to resume discussions.
President Jiang Zemin and Taiwan’s senior envoy to the mainland,
Koo Chen-fu, met in Beijing for the highest-level talks between
Taiwan and China since 1949.
The Asian Wall Street Journal reported that a noted economist,
Angus Maddison, had determined that China’s total economic
production may be on a part with that of the U.S. by 2015.
The second U.S.-China defense consultations ended between General
Zhang Wannian, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military
Commission (CMC), Chinese Defense Minister General Chi Haotian,
and U.S. under secretary of defense Walter Slocombe.
The Asian Wall Street Journal reported that delegates from the U.S.,
China, and North and South Korea agreed on procedural details for
discussions on ways to reduce tensions along the DMZ.
According to the New York Times, China had eased restrictions in
family planning system, in an effort to achieve population control
through patient education, contraceptive choice, and heavy taxes for
couples who choose to have an additional child.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin left for Russia and Japan.
According to the New York Times, China’s President Jiang Zemin
wanted Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi to offer a clear-cut written
apology for World War II behavior by Japan, and a statement about
relations with Taiwan similar to that made by President Clinton during
his visit to China in June 1998. Japan rebuffed Mr. Jiang on both
counts, instead offering instead an oral apology for the war.
Beginning today, all shipments to the United States from China
containing solid-wood packing materials must be accompanied by
official certification that the wood has been chemically treated to kill
the Asian long-horned beetle.
China reported an economic growth rate of 7.8% in 1998.
The United States and China resumed official talks on human rights
issues with the visit of a Chinese delegation to Washington. The talks
had been suspended since 1995.
According to press reports, China had built up its short range ballistic
missiles opposite Taiwan, and was continuing military-backed
construction on disputed islets in the South China Sea.
The U.S. government announced it was rejecting a $600 million
Hughes satellite sale to China because of concerns about technology
The Pentagon released a report, mandated by Congress, detailing the
military balance in the Taiwan Strait between China and Taiwan.
China vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have extended the U.N.
peacekeeping mission in Macedonia, reportedly retaliating for
Macedonia’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Secretary of State Albright made an official visit to China.
Press reports citing official Chinese statistics stated that 215,000
labor-related protests had occurred in China in 1998, involving 3.6
China’s Premier, Zhu Rongji, made his first official visit to the United
States as Premier, meeting with President Clinton at the White House.
Amnesty International criticized Beijing’s “gross violations” of human
rights in Xinjiang.
At the U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, China
blocked a U.S.-sponsored resolution critical of China’s human rights
Over ten thousand Chinese devotees of “Falun Gong” ended their
demonstration in Beijing to protest restrictions on their right to
practice the meditation. Falun Gong is a meditation taught by a
martial arts master living in the United States.
The CIA reported to Congress that China had obtained significant,
classified nuclear weapons information from U.S. nuclear science labs
as a result of espionage.
NATO bombs hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia,
killing several Chinese nationals and wounding 20 others. U.S. and
NATO spokespersons termed the bombing a tragic accident, saying
that the Embassy had mistakenly targeted because an out-of-date map
had been used to program bombing targets. The incident sparked
massive and violent Chinese protests against U.S. and NATO
embassies and other facilities in Beijing and elsewhere in China.
China suspended all senior level military visits with the United States
indefinitely, and suspended all military interactions scheduled for May
1999. China also halted cooperation with the United States on human
rights and non-proliferation issues.
China announced that all port visits by U.S. Navy ships to Hong Kong
would be suspended until further notice.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings about the
accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
Witnesses included Assistant Secretary of Defense Franklin Kramer,
and Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth.
President Clinton recommended renewing China’s normal trade
relations (NTR — formerly known as MFN, or most-favored-nation
status) for another year.
The 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Rep. Rohrabacher introduced H.J.Res. 57, a bill to disapprove normal
trade relations (NTR) to China.
According to the Washington Post, NATO’s involvement in Kosovo
has caused Chinese military analysts to begin rethinking their security
A U.S. delegation headed by Undersecretary of State Thomas
Pickering departed for China to explain how NATO bombers
accidentally bombed China’s Embassy in Belgrade.
The Chinese government issued a statement rejecting the U.S.
explanation for the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese
Embassy in Belgrade.
The U.S. Consul-General to Hong Kong, Richard Boucher,
announced that China had banned at least one U.S. military aircraft
from landing at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport. The aircraft in
question was said to be a U.S. navy P-3 Orion on a navigation training
flight. In May 1999, China had suspended port visits to Hong Kong
by U.S. Navy ships, a ban still in effect in late June 1999.
The House Ways and Means Committee unfavorably reported
H.J.Res. 57, disapproving normal trade relations (NTR) for China.
Taiwan’s Lee Teng-hui said that Taiwan-China talks should be
conducted on a “special state-to-state” basis.
China outlawed Falun Gong, a spiritual sect in China whose leader, Li
Hongzhi, has lived in New York since he left China in 1998.
The House defeated H.J.Res. 57, a measure to disapprove President
Clinton’s recommendation to extend normal trade relations to China
for another year.
U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators announced they had reached
agreement on terms for China’s WTO accession.
The United States and China reached agreement on compensation for
damages arising out of the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese
Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999.
The House passed H.R. 1838, the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act,
by a vote of 341-70.
On February 21, 2000, the PRC government issued a White Paper,
“The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue,” with a mix of
conciliatory gestures and a new threat to use force if Taiwan
authorities delay cross-Strait talks.
The Administration made public an unclassified version of an annual
report mandated by P.L. 105-107, on Chinese espionage against the
The Washington Post reported that Taiwan is seeking to purchase 4
U.S. Aegis destroyers, giving it enhanced air defense capability.
The House Ways and Means Committee reported H.R. 4444, a bill
granting China permanant normal trade relations (PNTR), by a vote
of 34-4; the Senate Finance Committee also reported its version of the
bill, S. 2277.
By a vote of 237-197, the full House passed HR. 4444, a bill granting
China PNTR and establishing a range of monitoring and reporting
President Clinton recommended extension of China’s normal trade
status for another year.
Representative Dana Rohrabacher introduced H.J.Res. 103, a bill to
disapprove the annual extension of China’s normal trade status.
Secretary of Defense William Cohen left for four days in China to hold
talks on proliferation, missile defense, and Taiwan issues.
The Washington Times reported that Russia had completed work on
a second Sovremenny-class advanced warship purchased by Beijing,
and that sea trials began late in June 2000. According to the article,
the exercises were to include at least one test launch of an SS-N-22
Sunburn anti-ship cruise missile.
By a vote of 147-281, the House rejected H.J.Res. 103, a joint
resolution of disapproval for renewing China’s NTR status for another