Mr. BREAUX. Mr. President, for over 2 months the eyes of the world have been riveted on China. The student-led democracy movement has captured the imagination of the American people. The brutal massacre of the protesters in Tienanmen Square 11 days ago and the subsequent roundup of students and their sympathizers have drawn cries of condemnation from around the world, and rightfully so.
However, the Chinese Government has not confined its wave of terror to the People's Republic. Press reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among others, have detailed a campaign of deliberate harassment of Chinese students in the United States. Officials from Chinese consulates in Houston, New York and San Francisco are reported to have videotaped and photographed students demonstrating in front of their buildings. In addition, employees of the Chinese Embassy here in Washington and consular officers in other cities are alleged to have been visiting Chinese students in order to intimidate them into ceasing their activities in support of freedom in the People's Republic. Other students have been badgered by anonymous callers. In at least one case, the lives of a student's family back in China were threatened. Students favoring the crackdown are reported to have warned others not to protest, or organize demonstrations. Implicit in all of these encounters was a warning to the students that Beijing's reach extends to our shores and that they and their families would ultimately suffer. One student quoted in yesterday's Washington Post said, `I would be shot if I go back. I won't even go to prison. I will go straight to the execution ground.' He also feared for his family, saying `they may be held hostage.' In addition to the two consular officials who requested asylum last weekend in San Francisco, a husband and wife from the education section of the consulate there are reportedly considering seeking political asylum because they do not want to provide a `blacklist' of Chinese students involved in demonstrations at the consulate.
Mr. President, if these allegations are true, this is an outrageous breach of American law, and international law; and it is an insult to the sovereignty of the United States. I find this pattern of behavior offensive, and I know my colleagues in this Chamber would, as well.
Foreign nationals in the United States are protected by American laws. The Chinese students in this country have exactly the same rights as American citizens. Unlike in their home country, they are free to speak and write as they please and are free to gather to air their grievances in public. Although the Chinese authorities may be within their legal rights to photograph the student demonstrators, their behavior is politically and diplomatically improper.
Other forms of harassment, including telephone calls and visits to individual students are violations of numerous Federal statutes. The use of intimidation and threats, overt or implied is a violation of American law. Monitoring, or conducting surveillance of individuals by agents of a foreign power is a violation of American law. Perhaps the most serious alleged violation of our law is the use of third parties to convey warnings from Chinese Government officials, or to monitor the activities of other individuals. According to legal experts at the Department of State, this activity would constitute a violation of U.S. espionage laws.
If the Chinese have violated American law, they would also be in violation of international law, which mandates adherence by diplomatic personnel to the laws of the host country. In addition, at this time of crisis in China, and tension between the People's Republic and our country, the Chinese have violated the precepts and norms of international behavior through their actions.
Mr. President, I am shocked and outraged by these actions and I hope that my distinguished colleagues share these feelings. It is imperative that any actions by Chinese officials to harass their nationals now in the United States cease immediately.
Mr. President, I have drafted two letters that I hope my colleagues will join me in sending to the Ambassador of the People's Republic, Han Xu, and to Secretary of State James Baker. The letter to the Ambassador will express our opposition to all activities by Chinese officials against Chinese nationals while they are in the United States. The letter to the Secretary of State will ask him to thoroughly investigate these allegations and to take whatever steps are necessary in order to insure that they do not continue.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.