WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of H. Res. 422, which calls on China to increase its efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur:
"I strongly support this legislation - introduced by my colleague and good friend, Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California - which calls on the government of the People's Republic of China to use its unique influence and economic leverage to stop genocide and violence in Darfur, Sudan.
"As we know all too well, China and Sudan have a robust and flourishing relationship. President Hu has canceled millions of dollars of Sudan's debt, given interest-free loans to Sudan, offered to build new railway lines, and continues to purchase the vast majority of china's oil from Sudan. Even more troubling, Amnesty International recently reported that China continues to supply arms to Sudan, which, in turn, are used against the innocent victims of the ongoing violence in Darfur.
"As long as China continues to invest in Sudan and supply arms to the Khartoum regime, China remains, by extension, a liable party in the ongoing genocide.
"This resolution is a wake-up call to the Chinese government: The United States Congress is monitoring China's collaboration with Sudan's repressive regime. And we will not stand idly by.
"We will not tolerate China's unconditional support for the Sudanese government, and we call on China to be better partners for peace - both in Sudan and around the world.
"While we applaud China's offer to send 275 military engineers as part of the heavy support package, it is simply not enough. And while we initially supported China's decision to appoint a special envoy to Darfur, I was deeply disappointed by his recent statement, upon return from the region, that, "I didn't see a desperate scenario of people dying of hunger there."
"We call on China to use its unique leverage with Sudan to do the right thing - to urge Khartoum to drop its objections to a hybrid peacekeeping force, to cease support for the actors carrying out violence in Darfur, to protect the humanitarian infrastructure in this devastated region, and to help advance a new peace process among the Darfur rebel groups and the government of Sudan.
"Exactly two months ago this week, I led a fact-finding trip to Sudan to see first-hand the continuing humanitarian crisis in Darfur and to explore possible responses by the United States and the international community. Congresswoman Lee, who has been such a strong leader on this vital human rights issue, was a member of our group.
"One response, upon which all 11 bipartisan members of the CODEL agreed, is that we must call on China to join the fight against this genocide.
"That is what we are seeking to do with this resolution, which I am proud to co-sponsor.
"Some may claim that this resolution is merely symbolic. I strongly disagree.
"While this resolution is not a panacea to the heart-rending genocide in Darfur, we know from experience that continual pressure on those who collaborate with repressive regimes can yield real results.
"I urge my colleagues to support this resolution."