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Washington, D.C. – At a rally earlier today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called on the Obama Administration to confront the Chinese leadership on its terrible human rights record, including its oppression of Falun Gong practitioners.   Ros-Lehtinen delivered the following remarks at the rally:
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen speaks at Falun Gong rally


(Click here for video)

“As many of you know, I have addressed this peaceful gathering of Falun Gong activists for several years now, yet sadly, things appear to have worsened for our brothers and sisters in China.  The leaders in Beijing have continued their brutal post-Arab spring crackdown, fearing that it could be the Chinese people who could rise up next to confront their captors.  These Communist thugs have a particular interest in repressing Falun Gong practitioners who pursue of ‘truthfulness, compassion and tolerance,’ the antithesis of what China’s rulers stand for.

“The Six-Ten Office, established in 1999 to carry out the repression of Falun Gong, is eerily similar to the Gestapo and the KGB in its propaganda and ruthless methods.  Indeed, Falun Gong adherents have been systematically arrested, tortured, sent to forced-labor camps for ‘re-education,’ placed in mental institutions for brainwashing, and subjected to organ harvesting.  This abhorrent policy has resulted in over thirty-four hundred deaths, and to this day, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong followers are held in labor camps.

“The peaceful men and women of Falun Gong are among the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the world. These murders, kidnappings and other egregious human rights abuses serve as a reminder of the lengths and depths the cruel old men in Beijing will go to in order to retain their bloody grip on power.  Authorities have imprisoned anyone willing to speak out to defend victims of these heinous acts, including human rights lawyer Mr. Gao, who remains incarcerated at a remote facility and unable to regularly contact his family.

“The cowards in Beijing are so scared of Falun Gong’s tranquil teachings that their internet censors have blocked Chinese citizens from searching for it or even discussing it in web chats or via email.  This loathsome persecution of Falun Gong must stop and it must stop now!  It is essential that the people of China continue their struggle for democracy and human rights.  It is essential that friends and supporters of democracy and human rights continue to show their solidarity and support, by speaking out against these abuses and by embracing such courageous figures of conscience as the Dalai Lama.

“China’s rise as a global power has made people hesitant to criticize the regime, fearing economic repercussions.   President Obama must do what is right and not be timid in the face of Chinese bullying and threats.  It is up to the United States, as a symbol of liberty, to confront the immoral Communist leadership in Beijing and speak out for the human rights of the Chinese people.

“This means urging the old men in Beijing to stop repressing Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, all other Chinese as well as North Korean refugees.  It means not allowing ownership of America’s debt to be synonymous with ownership of America’s values.  It is our responsibility to be that shining city on a hill, to be a beacon of freedom, liberty and hope for the entire world to see!

“America must stand with Falun Gong and all the repressed!  Beijing must release Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, immediately.  Set China free!”

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia will host a hearing on Tuesday, July 10 titled, “Chronic Kleptocracy: Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment.”
Since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly emphasized his belief that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of America’s “core interests” in the Middle East.  Throughout these three and a half years, aid to the Palestinian Authority to assist its state-building effort has consistently remained a central pillar of the Administration’s policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  For years, however, numerous concerns have mounted about deep and widespread corruption within the Palestinian political establishment, including reported fraudulent use of U.S. financial assistance.  This hearing will offer Members an opportunity to hear testimony on the extent of the corruption, who within the Palestinian political leadership can be trusted and who cannot, how the Palestinian political environment and the state-building effort are affected by corruption, and how the U.S. should respond.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
2:00 p.m.
2172 Rayburn House Office Building
The Honorable Elliott Abrams
Senior Fellow
Council on Foreign Relations
Jonathan Schanzer, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Mr. Jim Zanotti
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Congressional Research Service
*NOTE: Further witnesses may be added.
Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B are available via live video through the Committee’s website at:

·         At this time, no foreign affairs-related legislation is expected on the floor.
Monday, July 9, 2012
·         Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights: “Continued Human Rights Attacks on Families in China”
2:00 p.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, Chairman
-          Pastor Bob Fu, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association
-          Ms. Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
-          Mr. Steven Mosher, President, Population Research Institute
-          Ms. Yanling Guo, Victim of China’s population control policies
-          Mr. T. Kumar, Director of International Advocacy, Amnesty International  
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
·         Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia: “Chronic Kleptocracy: Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment”
2:00 p.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, Chairman,
-          The Honorable Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Affairs
-          Jonathan Schanzer, Ph.D, Vice President for Research, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
    -       Mr. Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional Research Service
·         Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights: “U.S. Policy Toward Nigeria: West Africa’s Troubled Titan”
2:00 p.m. in Room 2200 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, Chairman
-          The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
-          The Honorable Earl Gast, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development
-          Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President, Christian Association of Nigeria
-          Darren Kew, Ph.D, Associate Professor, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston
-          Mr. Anslem John-Miller, U.S. Representative, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP)
Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at:

Washington, D.C. — The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia will hold a hearing tomorrow titled: “Halting the Descent: U.S. Policy toward the Deteriorating Situation in Iraq.” Since the withdrawal of all U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq, the situation has deteriorated significantly. After the departure of the final U.S. military convoys, an arrest warrant was issued by the Government of Iraq for the Iraqi Vice President, Tareq al-Hashimi, currently the country’s most senior Sunni official. This incident and a recent uptick in violence has set off a political crisis that threatens the nascent Iraqi state, and affects U.S. national security interests in the Middle East.  With the Iranian threat to the east and the conflict in Syria to the west, Iraq sits in the middle of a dynamic, dangerous, and deteriorating region. The purpose of this hearing is to assess the current situation in Iraq as well as how U.S. policy should address it.

Top military officials and security experts will testify before the Committee, including General Jack Keane, Retired, Former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army; Lieutenant General James Dubik, Retired, Senior Fellow, Institute for the Study of War; Kimberly Kagan, Ph.D., President, Institute for the Study of War; and Colin H. Kahl, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security.



TOMORROW - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1:30 p.m.



2172 Rayburn House Office Building



General Jack Keane, USA, Retired

(Former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army)

Lieutenant General (Ret.) James Dubik 

Senior Fellow

Institute for the Study of War


Kimberly Kagan, Ph.D.


Institute for the Study of War


Colin H. Kahl, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow

Center for a New American Security


Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at TV and Radio outlets must register with the House Radio-TV Gallery on Tuesday, March 20, 2011 after 4pm.  Please call 202-225-5214 to register.  Print reporters may contact Andrew Lee to reserve a seat at the press table.






Washington, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs will host two hearings this week examining recent developments in Egypt. This week marks one year since Hosni Mubarak stepped down as the leader of Egypt in response to massive and sustained protests by the Egyptian people. Since then the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), under the leadership of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, has ruled Egypt with the stated goal of turning power over to a civilian government. Egypt’s transition has not been as smooth as many had hoped. A year later, the SCAF is still in control and Islamist groups hold a majority in the Lower House of the Egyptian Parliament.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 15), the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia will hold a hearing examining developments in Egypt over the past year titled “Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, Part One.” The following day (Thursday, February 16) the Full Committee will hold a hearing titled “Egypt at a Crossroads,” focusing on the current situation in Egypt and the way forward. Thursday’s hearing will feature testimony from the presidents of four prominent Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) heavily involved in Egypt: the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists. The witnesses are expected to discuss the current prosecution of NGO personnel, including 19 Americans.

I. Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia: “Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, Part One”

Wednesday, February15, 2012
2:30 p.m.

2172 Rayburn House Office Building


Robert Kagan, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Brookings Institution

Michele Dunne, Ph.D.
Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Mr. Eric Trager
Ira Weiner Fellow
Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Tamara Wittes, Ph.D.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

II. Full Committee: “Egypt at a Crossroads”

Thursday, February 16, 2012
10:00 a.m.

2172 Rayburn House Office Building


The Honorable Lorne Craner
International Republican Institute

Mr. Kenneth Wollack
National Democratic Institute

The Honorable David J. Kramer
Freedom House

Ms. Joyce Barnathan
International Center for Journalists

Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at TV and Radio outlets must register with the House Radio-TV Gallery on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 after 4pm for the Subcommittee hearing and on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 after 4pm for the Full Committee hearing. Please call 202-225-5214 to register. Print reporters may contact Andrew Lee to reserve a seat at the press table.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, made the following opening statement earlier today at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority. For more information on the hearing, titled “Promoting Peace? Reexamining U.S. Aid to the Palestinian Authority, Part II,” please click Congressman Chabot Opening Statement.

Statement by Chabot:

“Since taking office, President Obama has reiterated numerous times his belief that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of America’s ‘core interests’ in the Middle East. Over the past two years, however, even as the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly retreated from a meaningful peace process, American assistance has remained unchanged. Plainly speaking, a fundamental disconnect has formed between our aid policy and our policy objectives.

“I recently travelled to Israel and the West Bank where I was able to witness firsthand the tremendous gains that have been made on the ground. Indeed, the two most prominent features of the Ramallah landscape are construction cranes and unfinished buildings. Unfortunately the current Palestinian leadership appears all too willing to sacrifice the achievements of Prime Minister Fayyad’s state-building effort in the name of political theatrics. Instead of capitalizing on these gains through honest negotiations with Israel, the Palestinian leadership seems to be dead-set on pursuing a path of unilateralism before the UN Security Council and/or the General Assembly this September.
True Israeli-Palestinian peace can only be made between two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, and not the 191 other participants at the General Assembly. If decades of frustration have taught us nothing else, it is that the road to Palestinian statehood does not start in New York, and it is not the place of the United States, the United Nations or any other country or institution to short-circuit the requisite negotiations between the two parties. Indeed, a unilateralism is simply rejectionism by another name.

“For years we have invested heavily both money and effort to help the Palestinians build a state for themselves, and it is irrefutable that our work has yielded results. The security gains on the ground in the West Bank have enabled unprecedented economic growth. Israelis have felt comfortable making security concessions that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. But just because our current aid policy has yielded results, that does not mean that it is currently or that it will in the future. Under the best economic conditions, U.S. aid should not be an ever-flowing stream of taxpayer money; under the current economic conditions it simply cannot be.

“The fact of the matter is that we are rapidly approaching a watershed moment in U.S.-Palestinian relations. Both the potential reconciliation government with Hamas and the unilateral campaign at the UN could not be more contrary to U.S. interests in the region. Rejectionist elements within the Palestinian leadership still refuse to sit and negotiate in good faith even as Israel reiterates its commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Time and again, Israel has demonstrated its commitment to a Palestinian state living as its neighbor in peace and security. But there are no shortcuts on the path to this outcome, and there is no getting around the hard concessions that will have to be made. Although short-term security may be achievable unilaterally, peace is not; Palestinian rejectionism — whether by Hamas or Fatah — must be abandoned.

“If the Palestinians continue on their current path, the question before this Congress will not be what portion of our aid will be cut, but rather what portion will remain.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) slammed the U.S. Department of State as it released its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The State Department failed to list Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) for violations of religious freedom, a recommendation that was made by the congressionally-mandated U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"The State Department’s failure to list Vietnam as a CPC is a grave mistake," said Royce. "The fact remains that no religious group is immune from government coercion and harassment. Buddhists, Catholics, and Evangelicals alike face the heavy hand of Vietnamese government tyranny if they step outside its tight restrictions."

"This report is even more disappointing given Secretary Clinton’s remarks in Hanoi last year, where she said human rights concerns are raised at all levels, both in Vietnam and Washington. When given the opportunity for concrete action, however, the State Department fell flat," said Royce.

Although the State Department’s report gives credit to Vietnam for improving in some areas, it notes that religious groups like Protestants and Buddhists still face government sanctioned violence.

"As the current state of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam is deplorable, the State Department’s decision not to relist Vietnam as a CPC is extraordinarily short-sighted. Secretary Clinton’s call for Vietnam to value the rights of its citizens look like empty words," said Royce.

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated countries that "engage in or tolerate particularly severe violations of religious freedom," as "Countries of Particular Concern."

Due to Vietnam's egregious human rights violations, the State Department had listed it as a CPC from 2004-2006. This subjected Vietnam to sanction, according to law. In 2006, however, the State Department removed Vietnam from this annual list.

"When Vietnam was placed on the CPC list, we saw some positive changes. Unfortunately, when it was released in 2006, Vietnam ramped up its persecution. The State Department’s failure to relist Vietnam does its people a great disservice," said Royce.

Furthermore, the State Department failed to follow the prescription of a House of Representatives Royce-passed resolution that calls for Vietnam to be relisted as a CPC.

Ed Royce is the author of H.Res.16, a resolution calling on the State Department to relist Vietnam as a CPC. Royce is also a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Subcommittee on Asia, as well as the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam.

Washington, DC (July 7, 2011) – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Res. 268, which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted for the resolution and applauded its passage:

“I am proud to stand in bipartisan solidarity with my colleagues to send an unequivocal message to the Palestinian Authority: The U.S. Congress will continue to stand by Israel during this tumultuous time in the Middle East and oppose any unilateral declaration or recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The Palestinian Authority must negotiate directly with the State of Israel in order to seek true and lasting peace and security. Pursuing unilateral recognition by the United Nations on the part of the Palestinians is detrimental to the peace process. Any two-state solutions must be achieved by the Israelis and Palestinians and must be one that requires Hamas to renounce violence, accept Israel's right to exist, and accept prior agreements made by the Palestinians.”
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