Clinton Will Defend His Upcoming Trip To China
By Wolf Blitzer/CNN
WASHINGTON (June 10) -- Under pressure for allegedly pandering to the Chinese government, President Bill Clinton is going on the offensive.
On Thursday, he will deliver a major speech defending his policy of "constructive engagement" and his state visit to China later this month.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said, "I expect the president will directly answer those critics who suggest it would be better at this point in human history to isolate the billions of people who live in China and treat that nation as a rogue nation."
But Clinton may have a hard sell. On Wednesday, a House subcommittee heard testimony and saw graphic video tape alleging that China continues a brutal policy of forced abortions.
Former China Birth Planning Official Gao Xiao Duan told the panel,"Once I found a woman who was nine months pregnant but did not have a birth allowed certificate. According to the policy she was forced to undergo an induced abortion. In the operating room I saw the child's lips were moving and how its arms and legs were also moving. The doctor injected poison into its skull and the child died and it was thrown into the trash can."
The Chinese government denies it encourages such abortions. But the White House does not dispute the allegations. It insists the best way to deal with this and other problems is to engage the Chinese government directly.
Critics say the president's policy is wrong.
Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) said, "It has been a policy that has subjugated human rights to trade and subjugated national security to trade interests and profits."
Clinton will be the first U.S. president to visit China since the government crackdown at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
A coalition of human rights activists, including conservative Gary Bauer and liberal Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, has written to Clinton asking that at a minimum he stay away from Tiananmen.
Cuomo said, "It's almost nine years to the day since the Chinese government slaughtered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent student demonstrators there. They have expressed no remorse for that."
In his speech, the president will also defend his controversial authorization of U.S. satellite launchings on Chinese missiles. That too may be a tough sell.