- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001

Members of Congress at a hearing on trade with China this week were divided on whether China is the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany.
The debate, sparked by a spate of recent human rights abuses, came during a session by the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade on whether to renew normal trade relations with China.
Tuesday's hearing focused on overall U.S.-Chinese trade relations, the status of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the extension of normal trade relations (NTR) status to China for an additional year.
Since 1980, when NTR status was first granted to China, it has been extended annually.
Rep. Philip M. Crane, Illinois Republican, said Congress should continue to build its trading relationship with China on multiple fronts.
"We need to keep the momentum going by renewing China's NTR status for another year," Mr. Crane said.
But several lawmakers objected because of China's human rights record.
"If the U.S. wants China's human rights record to improve, the U.S. ought to withhold normal trade status until the Chinese government proves that it will treat its own people, its mothers, fathers, religious leaders and even common criminals with the dignity, compassion and respect that all human life deserves," said Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican.
Mr. Wolf said he was particularly upset with China's detention of American University scholar Gao Zhan, who has been imprisoned in China for five months on spying charges.
"As we have increased trade, the human rights situation in China has grown worse," Mr. Wolf said.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, brought Nazi Germany into the debate.
"After World War II, most American leaders said 'never again' would we ignore Nazi-style tactics by any regime on this planet. How soon some people forget the tragic lessons of recent history," he said.
Mr. Rohrabacher said it was a "shame" to even think of renewing normal trade relations with China.
Rep. Sander M. Levin, Michigan Democrat, called that comparison unnecessary. "We do not have to make an analogy to Nazi Germany to be concerned about the human rights," he said.
Jeffrey Auster Bader, assistant U.S. trade representative, spoke in favor of renewed NTR status for China.
"If we fail to grant NTR status to China, it is predictable that the WTO accession process I have described, with its benefits to U.S. business, labor, farmers and ranchers, will grind to a halt," Mr. Bader said.
"In such a scenario, we can expect to fall into a cycle of retaliation and counterretaliation with the Chinese, with markets closing rather than opening, and sales and jobs going to U.S. competitors."

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